Sunday, September 4, 2011

Three Speeds of Fun

Another style of bike that is both historic and has been gaining renewed popularity over the last decade or so is the internal geared hub bicycle. These dependable and long lived hubs have no exposed parts and are pretty much maintenance free. Their short coming is that they don't offer as many gearing options as the more common derailleur gear bikes such as a 10 speed. Many modern utility and “city” bikes offer 7 and 8 gear hubs, but the classic version is the English-three Speed exemplified by the Sturmey-Archer hub that has been around since the early 1900’s.

One place to see great classic three-speeds is the Old Three-Speed Gallery. Amongst the beautiful bicycles featured there is the 1959 Robin Hood Sport pictured above. While it might not be the highest priced or rarest bike they show, it does bear a striking resemblance to my own 1959 Centaur Sport pictured below. So I love it!

I guess with only about 50 miles between Nottingham and Coventry, the makers of their Robin Hood and my Centaur (the respective homes of each manufactures) must have had the same inspiration that year. (These cities were the heart of the bicycle
industry of England, and the world, for generations.)

Another place to find a plethora of information about the venerable old three-speed is on the page of the late Sheldon Brown. Sheldon (and those who now maintain the page) have a treasure trove of information about makers, models, age, and maintenance of these great machines.

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