I live for the CABE
Why is it slower? It it weight, friction or something else? Or have you really dug into it yet?Two weeks since the initial report, I've put 55 miles on the bike with only one minor adjustment needed (crank cotters needed pressed in better, will definitely need replaced with better ones sometime in the near future). It's reliable. It's reasonably comfortable. It rattles, and due to a slight warpage in the chainwheel there's a scrape inside the chaincase that cannot be adjusted or beaten out. I'll live with it.
Compared to my two commuter Raleighs (Sprint S5 and Tourist It's slower. Much slower. Running all three bikes geared to within two gear inches of each other (the Flying Pigeon and Tourist are identical) in direct drive (all are set up with AW's), I keep an average speed of 10.5mph on the Flying Pigeon, 11.7 on the Tourist, and 11.8 on the Sprint. The frame angles are even more lax on the Pigeon than the Tourist, so handling is an entirely in proportion between the two. The Tourist almost handles like a Sports in comparison to the Chinese bike. And my heart rate is definitely elevated while riding the Pigeon over either of the Raleighs, thus backing up my impression that I'm working harder.
Now, there was one big surprise that I didn't expect. Understand, I'm 70 years old, 5'10", weighing in the low 170's, and I ride daily (weather permitting, of course) a minimum of five miles a day on one of the two Raleigh commuters, and at least one day a week knocking out 20-40 miles on one of my derailleur bikes (all European dating from 1959-1992). And I've been doing this daily since I retired in April 2019, and especially this year since the self-sequestering leaves me with a lot of time and nothing to do. Once I'd worked out the last bug on the Flying Pigeon, I took it for it's first intended 5 miles loop around the neighborhood. I was having fun, the bike was working, I'm in the process of getting used to it, and it was a warm, gorgeous day. By the time I got home, I'd knocked out 11 miles. Had fun.
And when I got out of bed the following morning, I couldn't stand up! Screaming pain in the lower back, buttocks and upper legs! You'd have thought it was the first time I'd gotten on a bicycle since my college days and I got stupid as to distance ridden. I guess the setup of the bike uses a lot of muscles differently from the Brits (I never had a physical adjustment problem between my Tourist and the Sprite, or any other 3-speed I own/have owned), and from the registering of my heart rate, I'm using my body a lot harder to get the same speed and distance in.
Happily, taking it easy for a day or two (I continued to ride the Flying Pigeon rather than switch over to one of the Raleighs) and my body quit hurting, and as of today I'm doing just fine on it. That said, the bike is not going into the commuter line with the Sprite - while fun to ride, it's a lot more work and effort for the results it delivers. My local commuting is done within a five mile radius of the house, that has three major shopping malls within it, and the bicycles are used completely as long as I don't have to haul major items. I may end up using it during baseball season when I go to Richmond Flying Squirrels games (season ticket holder), saving myself parking by driving to within a mile or two to the stadium, parking in a local free lot and cycling down to the game.
Incidentally, discussing this bike in another 3-speed forum, another member mentioned that he'd passed on a chance to pick one up (the seller was asking a lot more than what I paid for mine), and the ad for the bike mentioned "having Slime in the tubes". Looks like my problem of the wheels internally ripping tubes apart isn't confined to my bike alone.
If you have a chance to ever pick one up, do so. If nothing else, it's a wonderful chance to experience what bicycles were like back between the wars. Just don't pay too much, and expect to do some troubleshooting. I eventually intend to rebuild the original wheels with good European rims (once I find them), and we'll see what happens from there.