Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lightweight Bikes with Sturmey-Archer Hubs

This past weekend I attended the Philadelphia Bike Expo.  One of the highlights of the show was a Schwinn Paramount display and seminar.  I was surprised to see some 3-speed versions of the Paramount.  I never realized that Sturmey-Archer hubs were fitted to the top of line Paramount model.  There was a Schwinn Paramount, model P-11, "Tourist", that could be ordered with a Sturmey-Archer hub and upright handlebars.  Here are some pictures of the two on display, both were early 1950's.

Alloy AW hub

Notice usual stem/handlebar combination,  this one had chrome fenders instead of the Bluemels Noweight's

The Paramount's were hand built in a special shop using lightweight tubing, very similar to the Carlton/Raleigh relationship.  Lightweight bikes (Reynolds 531 tubing etc.) of the early 1950's with 110 mm rear drop out spacing for Sturmey-Archer hubs have always had a special interest to me. Peter C. Kohler has written excellent articles on the Raleigh lightweights such as the  Raleigh Record Ace (RRA) and the various Clubman type models.

Here is another example, the little known Carlton Corinthian:

and now the Paramount P-11 Tourist. Today they are all very collect able and command high prices.  I have never owned or ridden any of them and probably never will, but I can't help but wonder if they actually ride that much better then a common Raleigh Sports 3-speed.  I guess it just matters what side of the fence you fall on, rider or collector, but I will continue looking for one I can afford.

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