Thursday, January 16, 2014

1963 American Machine and Foundry (AMF) / Hercules Three Speed

This is an 1963 AMF/Hercules three-speed my son acquired from a local flea market.  A typical example of one of the many budget version three-speeds exported to the US by Raleigh.

Raleigh had acquired most of the smaller British bicycle manufacturers by the late 1950's, including Rudge-Whitworth, BSA, Triumph, Robin Hood, Gazelle and others.  Raleigh Industries, along with Tube Investments (TI) which owned Hercules and Phillips comprised the majority bicycle manufacturing in the UK.  In 1960 Raleigh Industries was purchased by and was merged into TI .

Before the merger TI had been exporting re-badged budget versions of their bicycles to the US manufactures, chain stores, and mail order companies, These were sold under the customer's own brand name. This practice of exporting re-badged budget versions of brand named English three-speed bicycles continued after the merger with Raleigh.  This is an example of a bike exported to the American Machine and Foundry (AMF) company and marketed as an Hercules/AMF three-speed.  AMF had its own RoadMaster bicycle line but these where the typical heavy single speed American balloon tired bikes. Importing a three-speed allowed them to compete in the expanding US market for light weight "English Racer" type bikes. These budget versions were manufactured at the Raleigh plant at Nottingham.  The frame was the same as used on the Raleigh Sports. Typically they had a brand unique headbadge and transfers, mattress saddles instead of leather, a generic chainwheel not containing any brand names, initials,or symbols in the web of the chainwheel.  These chainwheels were similar to the Williams "utility" model F170, found in catalogs of the period.  A more generic fork with a chrome crown, instead of the iconic Raleigh tube fork, Endrick rims instead of the Raleigh Westrick type rim, and no air pump pegs or chaincase bracket braze-ons.  They did come equipped with a Sturmey-Archer three-speed hub.

This particular bike is missing the fenders and chainguard, but since my son intentions were to create a "racer" type build. they won't be needed.  It has a Sturmey-Archer "TCW III" three-speed hub.

Interesting transfer.

Generic chainwheel used on many budget Raleigh imports.  These can be seen on Robin Hoods, Triumphs, etc. ,and  on the Raleigh "Junior"lines.  Very similar to the Williams F170 model.

Generic fork instead of the normal Raleigh "tube" fork.

Sturmey-Archer TCW III dated February 1963.

Plans are to check the frame and dropout alignment, rebuild the hubs, headset, and bottom brackets, replace the cables chain, and tires wheel truing, and general clean-up and de-rusting.  I've never rebuilt a TCW hub, it should be interesting.  I have read that these hubs are problematic when it comes to good braking, so we shall see.  I have a number of AW type hubs the could be used as a replacement if necessary, but I would like to see how a properly rebuilt and adjusted "TCW"  type hub performs.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Coffee Mug/Saucer Bell

Happy New Year!

For all the Coffeeneuring fans, this is a coffee mug and saucer bike bell purchased over the Holidays from the Wheel Base in Fredrick, MD.  The mug handle is the bell striker.  Surprisingly; it has a very nice tone.