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Late `20`s English three speed test ride (very bad) and build (a lot better)...

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Vintage Velo

On Training Wheels
Hi Guys,
Thought I`d share a couple of videos I`ve done on an antique English 3 speed that I`m preparing for L`Eroica Tuscany later this year.
I think its a Russ though can`t be sure - ignore what I mention in the video about being Reynolds 531 - think its just the earlier plain Reynolds as I`m working off almost zero remaining decals... though I found an A & P mark (Accles and Pollack) tubing stamp on the bars and the fork steerer tube so might be one of their frame tube sets made up by Russ.

Please note - these early bikes are not my area of speciality so I`m learning a lot... Dan.

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Very nice.
I have a couple old English bikes and have done extensive research on them. I've found that the English bike industry had a very interesting evolution that affected the entire worlds bicycle evolution and production.
The V-CC in England has a massive library being updated monthly.
There are some very serious Facebook Groups concerning niche marques and timelines.
Something that is harder to understand today about early manufacturing of nearly everything, is that products were primarily local. Parts to make products were sourced locally and the products themselves were generally sold locally. For instance, pre-war Birmingham Bicycles generally have mostly all Birmingham sourced parts. Only the higher end of a companies offerings had parts from further away, and certainly no foreign parts. A bike manufacturing company in London didn't have a lot of choices so they had to source parts from further away which made their bikes more expensive, hence more exclusive yet not necessarily higher quality.
This lead to there being so many bicycle and bike parts manufacturers that none of them were making any money after the war. The government then incentivized a consolidation of the industry. This and advancements in transportation allowed expansion to parts sourced further away and from foreign sources became the norm by the 1950's.

Yes, Reynolds 531 time line is 1936-1939 / 1946-1990s they stopped bicycle tube production during the war. They were a Birmingham company. A&P was further out of town to the NW. A lot of Wolverhampton bikes used A&P.
Russ was a London Company so their bikes had a mix of English parts, cost more and therefore sold less.
Etc....etc.
Interesting stuff.
Thanks for the videos.
 
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Russ was a premium maker of road/club style bikes, particularly before WWII. They marketed themselves as a "small builder" where you had a wide variety of choices in the equipment on the bike. Brampton, Bayliss Wiley, and Chater Lea equipment all could be commonly specified by the customer. Frames were of better tubing, A&P or Reynolds often. You could also buy a basic frame and do your own fitting. They even offered a service where you could come to the factory and have your own add-on equipment checked and tested for how it would run on the bike. All high-end stuff here compared to a mass-builder like Hercules Cycle or even Raleigh. Extras on top of all this could be specified - special paints and pinstripes, etc., and by the 1930s chrome frame and fork finishes.

K model hub would date to between 1918 and 1937, and perhaps you have a date on it somewhere that can help. I'm not sure I caught which hub you were running. It sounded like an SW in the first video, which I would swap out for either your original K or for an AW. For a high performance road bike, the later AM or FM medium ratio hubs also would be good options. Hub retrofits today are common because the pre-1937 hubs are hard to get parts for. The domed quadrant shifter on the frame dates to the 1930s and is a nice piece to have. Some people dislike them and some people really like them. They have a little different feel from the handle bar "click" type shifters.
 
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I did find another A & P small mark on the fork steerer tube so I`m now assuming its made Accles and Pollack tubing - the Reynolds sticker assumption was based on maybe 2% of the original sticker, if that. Original K hub was alas unsavable but was a serial numbered one, had to source a repairable K hub, a K5 so that would be `35 I think. I`ve had the shifter apart once as it jumps in the middle position - almost sorted but still a little eratic so I`ll have another go at it, Dan
 
K5 is a 1935 hub. The later ones are somewhat easier to repair than the earlier ones, though they're all kind of unusual 90 years later.

The usual problems with the quadrant are that the flat spring gets weak or corroded, and that the tooth engagement tooth on the shifter arm gets worn or bent. If you target those two issues, you'll probably sort out the problem. A replacement spring can be made from a piece of solid hose clamp stock if need be.

 
I did find another A & P small mark on the fork steerer tube so I`m now assuming its made Accles and Pollack tubing - the Reynolds sticker assumption was based on maybe 2% of the original sticker, if that. Original K hub was alas unsavable but was a serial numbered one, had to source a repairable K hub, a K5 so that would be `35 I think. I`ve had the shifter apart once as it jumps in the middle position - almost sorted but still a little eratic so I`ll have another go at it, Dan
The V-CC have two catalogues available to view to members, 1932 and 1938.
In both of these publications all frames are built of 'Reynolds' tubes; either "A" butted, "HM" (High Manganese) or "531"".
The fork steerer may be 'A & P' but that doesn't mean that the rest of the tubes are.
Perhaps they did things differently in 1935 but the rear hub may not be original, most of their offerings were singlespeed after all, but as @SirMike1983 mentioned above, a frame only purchase was a catalogue option.

E.F. Russ frames may be identified/roughly dated by the frame number, as some records are kept.
Does your example have the distinctive "Russ" chainstays?
A photo would be useful.

The V-CC does have an 'E.F. Russ' Marque Enthusiast.
 
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