Category Archives: Finding Your New/Old Bike

Tips and tricks into finding the the three speed bike of your dreams.

Still under a lot of construction but my new site is open.

I’m excited, I’ve started my new blog/site. Though the opening post isn’t three speed related the site will still focus on the three speeds, its just going to be a part of a bigger bicycle picture. Honestly, most the information on three speed is pretty complete and available online, and those that continue the subject do so in a way that I can’t really compete.

Granted my site still needs a lot of work. But I have decided that now is the time to start publishing. This will likely be my last post on this blog, it will remain open until I have a chance to migrate what is here that I feel also belongs over there.

So without further ado, I ask you go check out the first post.

Now I need to go and get my splash page and sidebars going on the other site.

And for those in Portland, see you at the Tweed Ride Sunday. I’m excited because I’m going to be riding a new project and it’s a pretty cool one.


In case you haven’t noticed.

I haven’t done much with this little piece of the web, but that is starting to change.

When I started this blog I wasn’t really sure where to go with it, I lacked any kind of vision or focus so I just kinda went on whims. Now I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about where I fit in, after all there is no shortage of great bicycle blogs out there. So I took some time to kind of discover my voice so speak (pun intended).

Well as you can see there are some changes afoot. So keep an eye out, I’m working on it, and trying some new stuff (as well as trying to get the layout just right (I never liked the old lay out much). And there will be regular features, and some other good stuff. Though I very well might take some of the old stuff out or redo them, still not quite to that point yet.

So lets hope for some rain, been hard to focus on this that much in the last month or two since the weather has been so Superbe . It’s hard and unsafe to write and ride at the same time.

So until next time please forgive me if things look off, I’m by no means proficient in web design, and so lets just say we’re under construction now.

The American- Austrian Three Speed

Before I start this post I would like to take a moment and thank Velouria of the blog Lovely Bicycle!.  I had read her most recent post about a test ride she did on a Humber bicycle, and I posted in the comments about the fact that the wife and I make necklaces that feature that particular chainring design which we sell on Etsy.  Not only did she allow my comment, but also commented on it with a better link (see look I can do it do too with a dashboard….), as well as a tweet.  The response has been excellent, and this is the best way that I know of to say thanks.  Thanks for allowing the post, as well as thanks for the excellent blog and the hours of entertainment that you given me over the years.

For those that aren’t familiar with it, definately check it out.   And I have been wanting to write up an article on “why you should consider a three speed” for new riders but Velouria set the bar pretty high with this post.  I have sent numerous people asking “why” to this particular page for quite awhile.

I’d also like to thank Shawn of Urban Adventure League and the Society of Three Speeds for hosting a great SOTS ride last Saturday despite the wet weather.  I promise in the future to post more about your great rides in the future.  They’re always a great time and always fun to get to together with old friends and making new ones.

And on a general note, I’m going to soon start playing with the format and perhaps how I do some of these posts in the near future,  and likewise I suspect that there will soon be the start of my posts on maintenance and repair of these bikes.

PLEASE NOTE:  I Admit it, I was wrong.  This bike was made in Austria by Puch.  For some reason (and I should have caught it because I called it a Sears Sportsman) I was confusing it in my mind with the Huffy Sportman which was made by Raleigh.  It most likely Sachs internal hub, parts are not interchangeable with the Sturmey Archer parts.  Bottom Bracket is most likely english threaded rather than the Raleigh thread.    This doesn’t really change my general opinion of the bike. Though if the hub does start to have problems it might be a little more difficult to find replacement parts for it.  But a visit to Community Cycling Center or City Bikes here in Portland  and you’ll probably be able to find  it (especially City Bikes on 19th and Ankeny).  If not there, there is always Ebay.

Also I have kept all my mistakes in the original post and simply drew a line through them. And added some information more relevant to the bike posted.   This is because I want to remind myself not to get to carried away before I post.  I’ve always felt a little taste of humble pie has got to taste better than a foot in the mouth.  Pass the mouth wash please.

And thanks Shawn for point it out.

Now on with the bikes.

Todays’ review is going to be a bit different,  Because I’m going to be breaking one of my rules.  I’m actually going to recommend that someone should purchase this one.  So if you’re looking for an old three speed this one despite a kind of crappy ad, looks be one that I’d get for daily riding…if I didn’t already have a couple to choose from.

First here is a link to the actual ad.

Here are the pics from the ad that I downloaded.


The AD reads:

“Stunning Sears 3-Speed for sale.
$150 or best offer!
Super comfy seat! Great for rides in the rain or shine!”

Yes that’s right,  It’s an old mail order/department store bike.  I know…I know!  Everyone in the bike world says if you want a quality bike don’t buy a department store bike.   But first, I don’t always agree with things “everyone” says.  And second this isn’t your typical department store bike.

You see much like today, most the bicycles made are manufactured by a fairly small number of factories.  As you’ve noticed in my last couple posts many companies made many different brands of bikes for pretty much anyone that would buy them – even other bicycle companies.  However, mail order companies would contract out to manufactures for bikes all the time and slap their names on them.  And some years those bikes were really great bikes, but with a store brand.  J.C Higgins, Free Spirt, Hiawatha among others are department store bikes brands in which the manufactures varied sometimes year by year.

In this particular case (or at least I’m 95% certain since the ad information is vague at best) is a Raleigh Sports Puch made specifically for Sears.  This would put it’s date of manufacture somewhere in the mid 60’s to early 70’s.  And looking at the pictures it appears to be in great condition.

How do I know it’s a Raleigh built bike  (I obviously don’t).  Well there are a number of clues.  First it looks to be a Sturmey Archer AW hub.  It is most likely a Sach’s hub, though not as common in the US as the Sturmey Archer hub they are second oldest IGH manufacturing company – second only to Sturmey Archer.  It too is a very dependable IGH, though the parts are a little more scarce in the US than the vintage Sturmy- Archer parts. Though it’s hard to tell for sure it doesn’t appear to be the Shimano 333 IGH (which I don’t recommend ever since they aren’t really repairable). It has a pretty big arm that comes off the hub which usually stands out pretty good even in bad pictures.

Also the bike has cottered cranks, you can see cotters in both pictures if you look hard enough.  Most the bikes that Sears offered with three speeds in the 60’s had ashtabula cranks (or one piece).  Ashtabula cranks are a pretty solid clue that the bike was American made, especially with single speeds and three speeds.

The front fender narrows towards the forward, another subtle Raleigh feature, and likewise the front brake looks to be the same that was the Sports in that time period.  Apparently not a Raleigh exclusive.

The paint and stickers appears to be in great condition.  And the price is slightly lower than many of the three speed listings on CL right now (in the Portland market), and they’re willing to negotiate.

The listing doesn’t include a seat tube length, but it appears to probably be 21″ which should fit most people between 5′-6″ ish to about 5′-10″ish.   So if you’re looking definately check this one out.

The only problem I see is that they say it works great in the rain, and best I can tell it’s original steel rims and likely original pads too.  It will stop in the rain, but even I wouldn’t say it stops “Great” in the rain.

Tweed Ride Portland Oregon 4/7/2013

Yesterday was a great day for a great ride.  Roughly 75+ of us took off dressed in our vintage (and not so vintage) Sunday Best.  Definitely seemed like there was many more of us than last year, who despite a pretty good down pour just before the ride started hung in there and was rewarded with a beautiful ride for the rest of the afternoon.  Though it was just wet enough for us to make our presence known by out squealing breaks as we rode down Mt Tabor and then later down the Sandy Ridge on the way to the Velocult.

Here are the few pictures that I took.



Before the ride at Mt. Tabor

Crossing SE Stark at about 63rd

IMG_0578 IMG_0579

Regrouping somewhere in Alemeda


Wilshire Park


I tend to get more into socializing than snapping pictures, so I gotta be a little more diligent about taking photos of bikes.  Despite the fact that I don’t mind my picture being taken or my bikes, I do feel a little uncomfortable asking others for a picture of them or there bikes.  But it’s difficult, because other than when I wan’t to be an artist, I’ve never been much of a photographer to begin with.

My pictures didn’t turn out to good so I’d recommend checking out the flickr pics from W.D.Vanlue (his blog the prudent cyclist).  Or this video by Russ Roca from the Pathless Pedaled.

or the KGW news spot.

Bystanders for the most really got a kick out of us.  A wave and a chorus of bells greeted most of them as we passed.  Even the at the car which laid on its horn at us as we blocked the 60th and Glisan intersection.

I do gotta admit that the ride was a great route, and I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I don’t ride in that part of town very often (though that will likely change now) since it really isn’t too far from my house.

Like others I would like to thank everyone that was a part of putting on this great ride.  And I can hardly wait for the next one.