Ca. 1937 Adler Dreigang / 3-Gang German bottom bracket 3 speed


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Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#1
I recently ended up with the bike from this thread:
http://thecabe.com/forum/threads/1931-32-german-adler.97504/
I've been intrigued by these bikes for a long time, but they seldom show up in the US. High protective tariffs at the time undoubtedly had something to do with that, because even in Germany these were expensive bikes, listing for around 125 to 150 Reichsmarks when equivalent bikes were less than 100 r.m. (excahnge rate was something like .75 USD to the r.m.). Add in the fact there was almost no market for adult bikes in the US at that time. The bike arrived dis-assembled and very well packed and I started right in tearing it apart even more. This is a quality machine and a real treat to work on. Paint is in pretty good shape and will be kept. It gave off the same nicotine stain ook that Raleighs of the same vintage do when rubbed down. That paint is awesome and bulletproof, and this is the same, confirmed by some text in the Adler manual I got off of eBay- dipped, baked asphalt based paint. Some ghosts of decals and pinstripes remain:
IMG_12191_zpsqlkrwbkc.jpg

Evapo-rust was on sale at a nearby Harbor Freight, so I gave it a try. Boy howdy, did it work well:
IMG_12181_zpsqisiwgb8.jpg

My usual coating of shoe polish should keep the chrome bits presentable. When the original owner brought the bike back to the US they had to make a few changes. I think the rack is a US model, and at some time the original rims were swapped out for 26" metal clad wood rims and 1X1.75 singletubes, and the front hub for a (presumably) pre-built wheel with a New Departure hub. Why? Due to various Nazi austerity measures, by 1936 the only bike tires made in Germany were 26X1.75 clinchers, and these were not available in the US until the dawn of the middleweights. To keep the hybrid look I'm swapping the rims out for a pair of 26" Velocity Blunts. I've found a couple of really good German bike sites. For general information and reprint catalogs, manuals etc,
http://fahrradsammler.de/
and a big general old bike board at:
http://www.altesrad.net
Lots of information on both sites, but putting it kindly German grammar can be complicated so machine translation at best will get you an "all your base are belong to us" quality, and at worst, Monty Pythons Hungarian-English phrase book-
I'm having fun with this. More news as it happens.
 
Last edited:

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#2
Here is some of the original paint and pinstriping that was protected by the fork crown cap (gabelhaube) for 79 or so years:
IMG_12291_zpsocs4mdkm.jpg
 
Likes: Kato

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#3
This bike received an enthusiastic "Lets paint the spokes and chain too" touch up job in the distant past, but that paint will soften up with my favorite cleaner/degreaser, "LA's Totally Awesome" from the dollar store once it's soft it can be brushed off with a stiff plastic or brass brush. There is still a lot of polishing to do on the reflector, but it looks like the manufacturer is still in business! I think that is cool and on the way I found out about a picturesque ruined castle I had never heard of before, the Hohentweil- check it out if you like castles perched on top of extinct volcanoes! The glass raspberry reflector is marked "BULLDOG", which I've seen before but I don't know where the factory was.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohentwiel
cd8aba8a-d3c1-4040-a275-8c3fc8cc536b_zpsea7ssvlb.jpg
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#4
The front fender (Schmutzfanger- I just like to say the word) is going to need some body work. It fits in my suitcase so I'll take it home with me for an upcoming week off. It is thin enough that I think brazing the rip around the mounting tab would cause more trouble than it would solve. I'll probably sandwich it between two new plates and rivet them all together. Any other thoughts or suggestions are welcome!
IMG_12241_zps2vt7eods.jpg
 
Last edited:

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#5
A little exploratory surgery revealed no problems inside the bottom bracket. Hooray. The shifter rod was stuck in low (Berg gang, or mountain gear) but that was just because of some burrs and solidified grease in the guide bushing. No funny wear patterns, missing teeth or broken parts. I can sleep now.
IMG_12301_zpsuvp70dft.jpg
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#6
Back home, so I have a chance to use tools and pick up parts. I am NOT going to bring a truing stand back with me to the motel. I'll get the rims close enough, and if necessary the local bike shop can fine tune them. Once I had everything apart, I noticed that left crankarm was slightly bent. Fixing that would be a nightmare by the side of the road, but back home I have a hydraulic press I built for making headbadges (an ongoing project- I'm getting better at it!). Literally 5 minutes of work and the axle and the pedal were back in the same plane. Here is the press:
press_zpsupv7zy9w.jpg
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#7
I'm still looking up lubrication and overhaul instructions for the Torpedo coaster brake, but I do like the bracket to positively locate the torque arm. Removing the hub is not a problem because the bike has horizontal dropouts. 1930's, diamond frame, horizontal dropouts it has to be a racing bike! Not really, although there were some dreigang racers built:
https://der-stellmacher.jimdo.com/historische-fahrräder/adler-3-gang-straßenrennrad-1937/
Here is my hub- this could be an easy mod for a Klunker:
2f3b2394-4e91-4081-a11a-8d788cabacb2_zpsy2pjuami.jpg
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#9
Thanks for the link! This is an interesting machine to work on. From what I can find on the web they are not common in Europe, but there are a lot of survivors just because it's unusual. Very few have made it to North America. A ladies bike sold pretty cheaply at Copake a number of years ago, and I think I saw one in a museum on line. That's why I was so happy that nothing seems broken in the gearbox. Next project here at home is to straighten the front fender and fabricate a new mounting tab. And root around in the scrap box for some aluminum to fabricate a new tail for the "Schutzblechfigur" or fender mascot. Right now it's a Manx Adler. Here is a source in Germany for other fender mascots- most are brand specific, but there are some good looking generic ones.
http://velo-classic.de/oxid2/index.php?cl=search&searchparam=schutzblechfigur
fbf5ba5f-1489-426a-9c1f-0e2e5bd64179_zpsszwxcewp.jpg
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#14
Relief is an understatement... Moving the shifter rotates shifter hooks in angled slots to slide the intermediate gears right or left. If you scroll down, there is an exploded view of the gearbox at:
http://www.ddrmoped.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=6710#
Other manufacturers made bottom bracket gears around the same time. Here is an interesting thread on a Wanderer two speed, which simplified the shifting by just kicking the end of the axle, like a modern Schlumpf unicycle hub:
http://www.altesrad.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18766
The Facebook bike is definitely an Adler- It's good to see another one on the road!
 

sam

I live for the CABE
May 24, 2006
1,387
342
San Antonio, United States
#15
A friend has a Victoria(german ) BB3 speed. These bikes can be built into a true 3 speed fixed gear.
 

Dale Alan

I live for the CABE
Jul 26, 2013
1,855
726
Northern NY
#16
That drawing is interesting,I thought working in that gear box would be a nightmare. Does not look all that complicated,I guess it all depends on if things are froze up or not.
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,660
597
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#18
Some work in the garage has the front fender looking a lot more like a fender, although with the loss of a lot of paint:
IMG_12331_zpsrgcyjrmq.jpg

Goof-Off removed enough of the top layer of Rustoleum to show how the pinstripes ended- no fancy box lining on the fender, at least:
IMG_12321_zps2x336ubo.jpg

The black paint is just not sticking very well, and I don't think a lot of it can be saved. The gearbox is really pretty simple, and once you understand how it works, simpler than a Sturmey Archer AW. If larger and heavier. To see it in action, scroll all the way down on this page:
http://www.scheunenfun.de/datenbank_adler.htm
They made a cut-away gearbox that shows exactly how things work.
 

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