Phillips Birmingham Bicycle

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3-speeder

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 26, 2017
607
Lansing, MI, United States
Hello. Welcome to the CABE.
Neat looking bike. Phillips rod-brake roadster. It looks like it might have a Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub in back. There should be a date stamp on that with the year and month that the hub was made. The bike would have likely been built around that time. Look for a stamping under the logo like pictured below. That would be 56 12 so December of 1956
Some Phillips info here:

1138751
 
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3-speeder

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 26, 2017
607
Lansing, MI, United States
Maybe rotate the wheel around until you see the logo and date stamp. That bike looks like it will clean up well. Paint looks protected under that dust. Nice looking pin stipes
 
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3-speeder

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 26, 2017
607
Lansing, MI, United States
As far as value.... That's kinda tough. It varies fom one area to another. Not as much hype on these as the old balloon tire tank bikes. I happen to love them. Price would be whatever someone will give you for it but this isn't a high dollar find.
 
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blackhawknj

Look Ma, No Hands!
Nov 29, 2016
43
70
Plainsboro, United States
The flattened crown on the front fork looks like it came off a Dunelt.
 

juvela

I live for the CABE
Aug 2, 2014
1,596
Playa del Rey, United States
-----

"Birmingham" means pre-Raleigh but not necessarily pre-Tube Investments.

-----
 
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3-speeder

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 26, 2017
607
Lansing, MI, United States
What is the average value ?
I was hoping to have a better idea of the date before trying to put a price on it. Can you get a pic of the front side of the shifter lever? Any luck on the hub date stamping? A fifties made Phillips may fetch around $150-200 to the right buyer in my market and if older maybe more, or it may sit on Craigslist until you offer it at $100.
Note: Pulley wheel on shift cable looks plastic so likely 50's unless it's a replacement
 

jimbo53

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jul 17, 2015
895
Charlotte NC
You've got the TCW, a Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub with a coaster brake. The "TCW" on yours is in the same place as the "AW" in @3-speeder 's picture. The date code will be just below.
Unfortunately, the SA TCW is one of the few SA hubs that are problematic in their operation. Combining a coaster brake and 3 speed transmission inside the same shell created an unreliable situation that made shifting and braking at the same time dangerous. To explain it much better than me, bike guru Sheldon Brown devotes a whole section to this hub on his site:


To upgrade to a reliable AW hub, you’ll need to break the wheel down and rebuild the wheel with the better hub and put on a rear caliper brake, cable and brake lever.
I’m faced with a similar situation with a project bike. Unfortunately, the low values of these bikes doesn't justify the time/expense needed to do this if you’re looking at flipping. It’s a real shame, because there old British roadsters make excellent city bikes and give a great riding experience.
 
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Oilit

I live for the CABE
Dec 30, 2015
1,049
Concord NC
Unfortunately, the SA TCW is one of the few SA hubs that are problematic in their operation. Combining a coaster brake and 3 speed transmission inside the same shell created an unreliable situation that made shifting and braking at the same time dangerous. To explain it much better than me, bike guru Sheldon Brown devotes a whole section to this hub on his site:


To upgrade to a reliable AW hub, you’ll need to break the wheel down and rebuild the wheel with the better hub and put on a rear caliper brake, cable and brake lever.
I’m faced with a similar situation with a project bike. Unfortunately, the low values of these bikes doesn't justify the time/expense needed to do this if you’re looking at flipping. It’s a real shame, because there old British roadsters make excellent city bikes and give a great riding experience.
The good thing about the TCW, at least from what I've seen, is that bikes with this hub almost always had a front caliper brake as well, so you had at least one brake even if the rear hub was out of gear. Of course, if the rims were wet then you might need to pull a Fred Flintstone.
 

3-speeder

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 26, 2017
607
Lansing, MI, United States
I was surprised to see the TCW hub on a bike with front and back rod brakes. Good candidate for the swap to an AW hub
 

Oilit

I live for the CABE
Dec 30, 2015
1,049
Concord NC
I was surprised to see the TCW hub on a bike with front and back rod brakes. Good candidate for the swap to an AW hub
Good catch, I hadn't noticed that! Come to think of it, I've never seen a TCW on a rod-brake bike. Replacement maybe?
 
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SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 27, 2008
3,199
Inactive
A couple points:

He can do a straight swap to an AW from the look of it - he has the standard, low-mount rear stirrup brake already. It would be a mere hub swap from TCW to AW. Then he would have just standard rod brakes front and rear. The coaster brake is superfluous on that bike. And if it were my bike, I'd do that because he's fine as to front and rear rod brakes being present.

Certainly looks to be a pre-merger Birmingham Phillips to me. TCW would denote post-war but pre-1960, assuming it's original. On the fork - check the decals/transfers. Bear/shield would mean Dunelt, Lion or gold banner Phillips.

Sheldon overstated the neutral/brake issue on the TCW. When adjusted properly, the neutral transmission to brake issue is not really a problem any more than the neutral is when shifting between Normal and High. Keep the cable adjusted and be aware of how to properly set up the hub.

The main issue on the TCW is the use of a single, fragile E-clip to separate the brake assembly from the transmission. There's a notch around the outside of the axle in the center where the E-clip sits. If the clip is weak and migrates out of the slot, it will cause a wide array of malfunctioning in the hub. The best way to test this is to hard-drop the transmission into high gear while backpedaling. The result is that the clutch can force the e-clip out of the slot when the brake driver cone is not supporting the e-clip. If you can hard-drop into high while braking or backpedaling, your e-clip is probably OK. If the hub begins to malfunction after the test (loss of engagement, shifting adjustment way out of whack, etc) then the clip needs to be replaced. Do not try to ride the bike at all if you have a faulty e-clip.

Aside from the e-clip is just that the brake isn't all that strong. The shoe size is rather small for an adult bike, though the soft shoe metal certainly gives smooth braking. It's just that between the input of braking force through the transmission and the small shoe size, it's kind of a weak brake. The AW is the better hub if you don't need a coaster.
 
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