Sunday, 7 October 2018

Lenton Sports bicycle

Changed; 24/05/2019, 25/05/2019

My own bikes have been a child's bike with solid tyres with awful stabilisers fitted that did not help at all, a 20",  a 24" bike with very rusty rims, chain, stirrup (rod) brakes that was as much as I could afford with my pocket money.  My father promised me the Lenton Sports bike when I was big enough to ride the bike and this is my first bike with gears.  Compared to my sister's then new ~1974, 3 speed unisex "Shopper" bike had grease bearing, was heavy to lift and heavy to peddle. 

Picture above right;  The Raleigh Bicycle Company's Heron, 1946 sports bike's sprocket.  Raleigh manufactured at Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham, England.  I was surprised to find the brilliant chromed sprocket covered and protected by a coating of black oil and dirt.  Other chrome and steel has been speckled with surface rust for most of the bikes life.   

Although the Lenton Sports is steel framed it is made light but strong by not having any welded joints.  Welded joints are brittle so a welded frame is normally made heavier to give it strength.  The unions are forged from single pieces of metal and are brazed to the tubing, for strength but without brittleness.  Where possible single pieces of metal are formed to shape rather than parts joined.  I'd say the bike is the best of the best engineering made by Raleigh at the top of what it did, making excellent sports bikes and bikes for daily use but with the same sport bike light to peddle technology.  These bikes or the Sturmey-Archer gears had been winning in competitions for year decades whereas no dérailleur geared bike had won a race at this time.

Please leave comments below.  I have discussed much of Raleigh Bikes, Sturmey-Archer gears and bike history in various Facebook groups before writing this blog.  The book, The Sturmey-Archer Story, by Tony Hadland has also been very helpful [and I have made reference to that book].

Picture left; close ratio 4 speed, FM and AF hubs uses a second elliptical gear coupled to the main elliptical gear to achieve the medium or close ratios. Similar to AR ultra close ratio 3 speed hub introduced two years earlier [Pg 105/106].  The second elliptical gear drives the sun pinion.  The later FW uses a single elliptical gear.

The 1945 FW 4 speed hub, that is fitted on this Lenton Sports bike is different.  The elliptical gear has a single ring gear but one of two sun pinions is locked by ball bearing clutch in the stationary shaft to provide a super-low bottom gear.  This is an efficient gear hub that was made until 1969/70 and is counted as one of the set of acclaimed 4 speed hubs.

Picture left, is from that book is the plaque awarded to Sturmey-Archer by the Cycling Touring Club for the greatest advance in cycling design or equipment for their 4 speed hubs in 1939. [pg 105/106].

Britain was known for engineering that was second to none, but British textiles, film industries were also excellent.  What has survived a century and is in running condition is the best of the best such as American Model-T ford cars, British Singer sewing machines and Raleigh bikes.  Many machines made before 1914 did not last, metal parts did not spring but bent or were brittle and cracked this is because there was more variability in engineering but less formalised skill and knowledge  That is engineering was more of an art then.  I suspect a lot of  Victorian steam trains boilers cracked, or for other reasons, were scrapped after a short life and I have seen a fine looking steam train scrapped after only 10 years of use in museums.

Obviously a bike will not last indefinitely but will last neglected outside for many decades.  Another bike could be in reasonable order after 100 years, I have seen a 1909, Raleigh bike, which although badly corroded in places, most of the enamel and the gold lines on it are sound.  As if the machine has personality and appreciates being liked and gives remarkably good long service in return for having been cared for.  I have seen a picture of a 1951 Raleigh sport bike that had been in continuous use (as of 2018) and the paint is good still although chipped. 

Things changed - 1970' new cars delivered with faults - poor management in British industry - designed in obsolescence and designed to ware-out;

Timex watches can run without maintenance for 50 year although my 1974 Timex remained very accurate for 30 years but the knurling on the winder wore quickly and would have been unusable within 5 years without the patch I applied.  That patch was to keep fitting and replacing a rubber sleeving on to the winder.   The  better fix for the watch, I understand, is to replace the winder with a better winder from another make of watch.  British Textiles were still made to high standards and a 1975 Burton's made-to-measure coat would be made to last a lifetime.  After 20 years one of the buttons got loose but the coat always felt lovely to wear compared with anything off-the-peg.  British Leyland were still making very well made Rover cars and Minis but many of the cars they made although very good were delivered with fault's (Gremlins).   The Leycare warranty was featured in advertising during the 1970's along with the admission that new cars might be delivered with gremlins.

Picture right - Yashicamat (1950's) equal to a German Rollei (Rolleicord or Rollieflex) in quality, far eastern products can be equal to the best.

The 1970's marked a time when life had become easier, full employment, virtually no homeless.  Mortgages, pensions and financial services was trusted to mutual and friendly societies and that is what what most people did.  The banks still had a Quaker philosophy of supporting and looking after their customers but these things changed.  Significantly more things were designed or were badly made so they wore out or become obsolete quickly.  There was little place for repairing shoes, bikes and what was repaired was carried out by replacement of a module rather than of a part.  Built in wear out had already been the case for example valve TV's designed with the valves over stressed, 1930's Ford cars with cheap regulated price parts, maintenance and engines designed to last only 25,000 miles (that is as long as a ~1935 Ford Anglia manufacturer's gold-seal replacement engine lasted purchased in the 1950's).   More people chose things they could unwrap, played with briefly, then be discarded, so many British manufactures tried to follow the trend but failed producing rubbish in the first place.  Raleigh bikes went with the trend, changing enough but continued manufaturing in the UK until 2012.

During the post war (political) consensus until 1980 - if you could do the job you were given the job.  There was a place for philanthropic, commercial and government services and investment called, The mixed economy, regulate so that what worked was done.  Significantly manufacturing and engineering were still supported.  The prejudice against engineers being people who work on dirty engines as opposed to ingenuity the correct meaning was always true.  There was an expectation to be employed and anyone would feel or be made to feel very uncomfortable about being unemployed.  Generally periods of unemployment lasted just a day.  For longer term unemployment state national insurance paid unemployment pay and your mortgage interest was paid.

At the end of the 1970's the problems in British industry were in hand or had been fixed by the government and union initiatives such as ethics in BAE Scotland, The Lucus Plan, Triumph motorbike Cooperative.  To protect against monopoly's from unfairly pricing was addressed by the creation of British Sugar Corporation, Giro-Bank (not that sugar prices should be regulated which surely conflicts with public health).  High value investment and return supported by National Enterprise Board (significantly Ferranti), also British Leyland (significantly the Metro) was resolved even though unionised work force lost jobs to robot assembly.  The National Coal Board and British Rail had already been successfully nationalised in the 1946 and 1948 from failing private companies so British deep mine coal was the cheapest and safest in the world (NUM early 1980s).  The working week had reduced from up to 48 hours prior to world war two to typically 40 hours a week but many worked 37.5 hours and the number of hours were reducing to 35 hours in some cases with up to 30 days annual holiday.

The current era since 1980 was planned in the 1970's was for the country to move to financial services as the main method of exploitation.  The "military industrial complex" remains the same a monster out of control as was warned would happen when the phrase was used by US President Dwight D Eisenhower.  Therefore the creation of money and excessive very cheap (below UK costs and some virtually slave labour) consumption displaced and undermined a lot of manufacturing in the UK.

1946 LENTON sports (Raleigh);
My father was promised the bike if he matriculated (pass his school leaving exams) his mother paid £19 and something (£19/14- ?)  Evidently my father had to wait until after leaving school in 1944 for the war to end and his bike to be delivered.  There are two numbers on the frame which confirms the date of early 1946, my father was conscripted that summer and returned 18 months later.

Crank case No. 453967 Z (under the crank),
Frame number; 289193 P (below the saddle)

This Lenton Sports bike is a MKII [web], Model 25 [Facebook].

The FW, 4 speed wide hub.  4 speed Sturmey-Archer gears have a reputation for being unreliable.  The hub's date code is 50 I, (January 1950), may be the completion of the order but might be an upgrade or a warranted replacement.  My father chose a more comfortable saddle instead of the standard sports bike saddle.

The FW four-wide variant hub (picture left); Was a new model alloy hub launched in 1945 although Tony Hadland's book is more authoritative and says lighter alloy hub option was launched in 1948 but alloy hub was discontinued in 1960's.  Apparently the steel hub was more reliably.  I would say the gearing and the gear spacing has been chosen well, as others said at the time also.

The bikes four speed selector (picture below right);  Has one patent number 498,820 on it.  In 1948 some modifications were made including a modification to reduce rattling in the selector.  This modified selector has a second patent number 649,009 that distinguishes.

The rider can change gear easily with the bike stationary or moving;
Keep the peddling forward slowly and with lightest peddle pressure then move the gear selector.  Changing up a gear is best done with the leaver held between two fingers.  When parking the bike put the bike in to the highest gear in order to release the cable tension moving the peddle to complete the operation, of cause.

Pictured right;  I have pushed the gear selector cable through so that you can see an extra square washer on the cable.  This extra washer is an undocumented part and is important because it prevents the small diameter anchor from wedging the selector and jamming it.  The smaller anchor would wedge the halves of the movement apart if the cable were assembled in accordance with the workshop diagram (without that square washer).

This extra square washer is most likely a modification carried out by a craftsman.  It is not uncommon in manufacturing prior to the 1980s for informal modifications to be carried out.  It of cause still occurs that a concession is made to a manufacturing process but by 1980 the concession or modification would be formerly documented rather than a note on a scrap of card or be a mental note be made.  I don't not know what Raleigh's policy on formal or informal concessions and modification was but company's that work either way both ways work.

As an electronics design engineer I working for an old scientific instrument maker where I was shown many things done quickly and precisely using techniques that could be called knack.  Those methods had been developed by the craftsmen employed in the past, are vital but could be easily dismissed looking easy and trivial and lost when people leave or craftsmen were not replaced.  Asking how accurate is this?  I have been shown very high precision work made by a professional with equipment and test instruments all made by the company.  The culture of excellence went through the company bottom to top.

Technical detail observed;
  • The mechanism selects easily.  There is feature since 1910-1912 to hold the gear even if the cable is not optimally adjusted but this feature is not on all hubs or speeds (if I have understood correctly).  Sturmey-Archer patented very many modifications but most of them were not implemented.  All gears are in constant mesh but are only engaged using dog, ball bearing clutches or the free-wheel pawls which are selectively disabled, even so dog clutches can be chipped.
    • The FW hub on the Lenton sports does not have the low speed pawls permanently connected but over run in High gear instead there is a neutral between N and H gears and that appears to be the case.  This is no doubt done in order to improve the hub's efficiency though I am sure such improvement would be very marginal. 
    • (A 1948 patent not implemented would have put two gears N and H closer together and ensured they overlapped - therefore be no neutral between those two speeds.  This patent once again did not normally have the low speed pawl over-run by the high speed pawls except whilst changing gear as far as I understand)
  • The main point is that a light oil lubricated Sturmey-Archer hub is very efficient and easier than most other types including dérailleur gears to use.  The efficiency in N gear is of the order of 98% falling to 92.5% in other gears (proportionally to the difference from N gear).  I don't know what this means but if I move either wheel half a spoke width either direction or the same direction it will move back due to the weight of the tyre valve.  Whereas when the bike came out of my shed after 25+ years it required movement of two spoke widths but in any case the difference was not discernible when peddling.  My assumption is that the wheels are well balanced which is flawed logic but the argument is very well corroborated by anecdote.  Normal gear and is the direct drive speed and is discernibly more efficient.
Later in the Sturmey-Archer Story the book quotes different comparative tests.  The book covers the history of Raleigh and gears during the time when their bikes were made to be the best without unnecessary cost.  The company made many cross licensing agreements with UK and Europe bike makers.  Significantly the FW, 4-speed wide hub provides a hub design with up to 5 gears with just one extra set of meshing gears carrying just a small percentage of the power.  The FW is similar to the 1912 four speed hub patent gained in cross-license agreement with Fichtel & Sachs, Germany. The Universal Torpedo four-speed hub but was not successful then.   Fichtel & Sachs bike gear maker with the same reputation in Germany as Sturmey-Archer in Britain.  The single cable 5 speed variant patented by Henry Sturmey was also not taken up by any manufacturer no doubt because fear that cyclist would similarly to the earlier 4 speed hub case considered two or three speeds adequate.   A five speed hub but with two cables was launched in the 1966 and their was a modification to the early four speed hub to provide the extra gear.  A single cable version of the five speed hub was launched in the 1980's similar to the 1921 patent used two elliptical gear assemblies but the power trains was through one or the other but not both elliptical gears (any patent would have expired by then).

Old British patents used to be granted for long period of time;-  Used to be granted for much longer periods of time such as 40 years for the cylinder head design the 1930's Austin OHV cylinder head used in a lorry at first but well known as the Mini engine.  I do not know how long a patent that had not been developed into a product would last for by comparison but that would be more relevant.  

German website archive of bicycles or Fichtel & Sachs hubs;
Universal Torpedo including the 4 speed hub gear (opens PDF)  - Brochure some features such as ball bearings in the idler pinions are selling points rather than beneficial.  BSA had a similar feature.  - more documents.  - parent website (I can't read because it is in German).

The 1939 AF & FM close and medium ratio 4 speed hubs [Pg 105/106].  These hubs are different to the FW and have a second elliptical gear.  The two elliptical gear assemblies that one is coupled to the other (providing an opposing drive and thereby the difference in two bigger ratios is the close ratio required).  These were similar to William Reilly's brother Henry's 1908 patent for a four and five speed hubs not developed at that time but I do not know how they compare with the 1912 F&S Torpedo hub.  I am told these particular four speed hubs have a lot of friction [Facebook], conversely the four speed and the three speed close and medium ratio hubs developed in 1937 were very well liked in competitive cycling when a number of cycling records were broken with them.

By 1980 Raleigh were making 1.5 million bikes a year.  During the 1970's the average distance cycled was only
20Cm a year.  Company's had car parks with cycle racks and an old company may have had as many employees
who cycle to work as cars driven to work but a new company would have fewer employees that would cycle to work.

Video Left; After 30 years - moving the wheel 2 spoke widths and it moves back.  I am advised and observe that the transmission's friction on these old bikes is less than a modern bike.  The wheel movement included the gear hub and transmission.  Now after using the bike for some months (200kM perhaps?) the rear wheel only needs to be moved 1/2 a spoke width and it moves back and the front much less movement and it will move back.  The bike has probably only been used 20,000 - 40,000 miles all weather and my father had a cycle cape.  The front bearings are worn to the point of having tight spots as the shaft is turned but are fine when I adjusted to the loosest range of the tolerance 1/4 - 1/2 turn of slack.  On the other hand the frame, saddle and everything is tight like new and nothing loose.  Also nuts and bolts that have not been touched in the life of the bike or for many decades move as easily as a new bike I found when I adjusted the seat and the handlebars recently.  Some spokes were loose though.
  • Oil the bike weekly or fortnightly with a teaspoon of 20SAE oil in the hub when using the bike and then the bike will last almost indefinitely.
  • The bike will need tyres, brake blocks, tubes some adjustment including the spokes from time to time and after 100,000 miles will need a new sets of ball bearings, which are cheap to buy. 
    • A very heavy person using a bike up steep hills and 7 miles a daily may find a modern mountain bike the best but they ware one out every 5 years.
    • Raleigh Catalogue of 1930's gives an example of a cyclist who cycled 100,000 miles in 500 days.  That is 200 miles a day.  That the user should be oiling the bike daily.
    • Oil in the hubs will run down the spokes and eventually on to the rims but I have not found it gets on to the braking surfaces.  Judge how much you use, you will not find oil gets to the brakes.  If you do low mileage then put less than the teaspoon of oil the recommended weekly or fortnightly.
    • More recent advice differs, and I believe, is one teaspoon first use then 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of oil every 100 miles but of 30SAE oil. A tin of Sturmey-Archer oil I purchased in the 1970's is a thicker oil and probably is 30SAE - the tin does not state the oils viscosity?
    The bike is exceptionally* light to peddle with virtually silent free-wheel which was no doubt due to sludge in the hub but after a years use the free-wheel is quiet.   It was very nice having that same delight with the bike in early summer 2018 when I took it out of the shed and found the bike running smoothly but more surface rust and less of the original colour paint left.  The same delight with the bike I felt when I started riding the bike as a boy in about 1970.

    [*exceptionally light to peddle - all Raleigh bikes of this sort of age are all like this].

    I have been walking 7 KM most days for years. Have changed my diet more recently to a
    Mediterranean diet approximately, that is, vegan or fruit and vegetable plus wild fish and 

    the consequence is that although I am obese I do not suffer with headaches, hay-fever, 
    aches and pains that I used to get.  This is important when starting to ride a bike again it 
    will ache a bit when you start out in the morning so don't ride every day and don't go 
    more than two 1 to 2KM journeys and ride on the flat at first.  At very first cycle just 200M 
    expect to wobble have a break then have another ride do that on a Sunday when the 
    road is quiet.  A nice old hub geared bike will feel like it is helping you as if the bike were 
    pulling you along a bit.

    To make riding easier to start by setting the saddle by the old method; 
    Set the saddle as high you can so you can just reach the ground tip-toe.  Later you can set the 
    saddle height higher using what I believe is similar to1980's method see further down the page.

    The war grade tyres wore out quickly so my father fitted tandem war grade tyres and they did not ware out but perished a little, fairly quickly but then remained fairly stable.  One of those was replaced though in about 1968 as a thank you to my father for lending the bike to a colleague.  I have never ridden the bike far but I lent the bike to a friend who rode the bike to Brighton about 35 miles or so in about 1988.  I was using the other war grade tandem tyre last year (2018) but have replaced it.

    The wheel rims are stamped Dunlop 26" x 1 1/4" the front tyre is Dunlop war grade Tandem V, 26" x 1 1/4".  The chrome is quite thick and bobbly in places on the wheel rims although the chrome on the bike is smooth.  Raleigh used to claim in the 1930's that there chrome was the best and that claim does not seem to be exaggerated.  I've see poorer chrome finish on 1960's cars.

    Some Raleigh bike frames started to be made of aluminium from 1951, I understand?  I mentioned above my bike by comparison is all steel with features like brazed joins and the joins made of single pieces of forged metal for comparative; strength and lightness.  I am also advised that when alloy frame sport bikes were introduced by Raleigh the frame was still marked ALL STEEL.

    Unfortunately the bike was stored in a shed with one wheel in the mud, this has caused a little corrosion to eat into the rim which causes one brake pad to keep wearing out but the corrosion is not enough to have weakened the wheel.  Otherwise the bike's metallic green paint has mostly fallen off which is a distinctive flaw in these MK II Lenton sports bikes made 1946-47.  The little of the metallic green paint that has survived was heavily coated in oil and dirt - evidently cycle oil has protected the paint.  The MK2 Lenton sports' gold Olympian runner logo probably was designed to mark 1948 London Olympics as well as to mark the start of peace time manufacturing.

    The rear tyre was a replacement in 1968-ish and has 26" x 1 1/4", 597mm_32mm even this dimension tyre is now (2018) difficult to obtain and you need the correct inner tube, a bike shop is likely to order the wrong size.  Even these tyres are tight and you need metal or strong plastic leavers to get the tyres on.  The bike is strong but I broke one front spoke in about 1971-2 riding over some tree roots.  I did not fit the replacement properly, I should have fitted the nut and trimmed the spokes length, I learnt this when I punctured the inner tube instead.  The rubber on newer Michelin tyre looks better than the old war grade tyre looked decades ago.

    Tyre Arithmetic - this seems to work properly for an old bike;
    What does 597mm_32mm mean?
       31.75mm = 1.25" x 25.4; Rounds up to; 32mm
       660.5mm = 597 + (31.75 x 2)
       26" = 660.5mm / 25.4; The tyre diameter agrees.

    So what does 650A, E? mean? It is a tyre size code number not a dimension.

    The tyre's outside diameter is larger than 660mm (26") but that figure is roughly the wheel's outside diameter when fully inflated and the bike is carry the rider's weight.  If the measurement on the tube, tyre and rim are all the same then they will all fit but a bike shop are unlikely to have those on the shelf for an old bike.

    Warning I have looked at a newer bike tubes, tyres and this arithmetic does not work out for those.  For a mountain bike the tyre diameter say 660mm is important but different width of about 38-55mm are interchangeable.  This is also true of the tubes.  The problem though is the tolerance tends to be poor so they can almost fall-off or be very tight as I have found with both bikes.  It is in any case it is important to bed the tyre in by partially inflating the tyre and bouncing it on the ground.  In conclusion the number 26' for a mountain bike is just a number related to the bead diameter - wheel rim diameter and is what this code determines in this case.

    Because the tyre is tight fit (bike shops do get in and sell the wrong size tubes and tyres and may tell you what they have got in for you will be suitable but it probably won't be suitable) so fit the tyre and remove it without the tube before you try with the tube.  Also move the cloth tube protector I added more cloth from a ripped down cotton bed sheet.  Also check that the ends of the spokes are below the surface of the nuts they would have been adjusted over the life of the bike.

    Pictured above left;  The tyre pump is a Bluemels motorbike pump with an adaptor for a bicycle valve.  One of the holding clips on the bike was loose and fell off.  It rusted and has not stood the years as well as the bike.  I have painted some parts with Hammerite ant-rust treatment. It has a fold out foot stand.  This pump has always been fitted on the bike.

    Bluemels was a UK company 1860 to 1983 but is now part of  SKS Germany

     Anti-rust treatment - I have been recommended two products;
    •  ACF-50 (which leaves white metal) and Hammerite (which turns the rust black).
      • Hammerite works well.
      • Just leaving it and let the oil the comes out of the hubs carry on protecting other parts has worked well. 
      • For chrome I've been recommended wire wool, T-cut or Brasso but also rub aluminium foil.
        • These are drastic methods that may only work once because you rub through paint or chrome quickly.  
      • Soaked in CLR for a bit and scrubbed with a copper scrubber.  Then used Turtle Wax Chrome cleaner and polish.  Said to be safer than aluminium foil.  The result looks very good on Facebook.
      • Linseed oil [is flammable so be careful not to leave any soaked rags in the sun] - turns the rust brown and does not look so good but looks okay and is said to be good on the paint 
        • The colour does not change but is brought out by cleaning off the black oil and dirt. The Heron badge is a lovely deep tarnished brass. 
        • It has been suggested to me that using linseed oil on the transfer logo particularly was risky and I should use mineral oil.
      • Citric acid a bit stronger than lemon juice is said to clean rust - I've seen this on you-tube it looks good but I don't know how well it compares with other methods? 
      • Acetone (such as nail varnish remover) is environmentally bad and ill strip paint but is also the most effective way of removing the sticky oil that acculturates on the lubricated metal surfaces such as spokes and hubs.  But with more work White spirit also works and is less harmful to the paint if inadvertently gets on the paint.
        • Cleaning inside the hub can successfully restores function, I am advised.  Simply dismantling cleaning and reassembling or even just soaking in white spirit or paraffin may be all that is required.
        • Old oil paintings and probably a dirty painted bike logo can be cleaned with acetone with a very quick wipe over.  I have used linseed oil as a safer option on the bike.
      • The stitching of the saddle has deteriorated although the leather looks exceptionally good.  By comparison the tool pouch, saddle bag and peddle shoe grips which had leather straps had all deteriorated and had been discarded by 1970.  I do have a comparable quality pair of shoes but things of this quality were often available but not at an excessive price.
        • There are two particularly good shoe repairers in Tunbridge Wells;
          • Humphrey in High Brooms will only take on work in which the outcome will be good and long lasting.  Mr Humphrey who has been in business since 1961 did not wish to take on this job.  As I say he has done lots of better work than most for years, for me.
          • Guest's in Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, will taken on more difficult work and work that might not turn out well.  He has done a very nice job hand stitching a saddle which looked in accessible to stitch.  Guest's have been established a little longer.
      Picture right above;  The LENTON sports logo looks like a downward pointing arrow but probably is a stylised Olympian runner's torch.  The flat top has 45' corners with looks like gold stencilled outline on a transfer?  The letters are italic capital 3D metallic green as the bike and deep blue shadow outline, I think.  On the tube section from the crank to the steering column  the words ALL STEEL are printed red with black 3D shadow or outline.

      Political perspective

      The logo on the bike is new modern and forward looking, in keeping with the time, The Labour Government and the NHS.  The pre-World War two Lenton Sports logo has William Morris style swirls and curves.  The later logo is a plain italic capital letters.  The tubing on all pre-war bikes had a gold line running along the centre.  The bike was made at the beginning of the period 1945 to 1979, called "The post war (political) consensus".

      The price of the Lenton Sport at £19/14- was double it's 1939 price.  In turn a basic Raleigh single speed bike cost £10 in 1947.  My mother had a new £10 Raleigh bike purchased in Brighton, England for her to share with one of her sisters it was taken back to Scotland because a bike could not be purchased where she lived.  My mum says it was hard to peddle the 7 miles to where she worked fruit picking.

      There was a period at the beginning of World War 2 when the war seemed to be over-there the period was called the phoney war but the corner turned after D-day well captured in the film D-day with Richard Attenborough.  The mood changed to we are in it together a spirit carried on after World War Two until, in my opinion, the 1970s and specifically ended with Mrs Thatcher's government. 

      At the time wealthy classes and the working classes had a bond of mutual support because a person from one class could be be rescued from a bombed building by someone from another class.  Men had been billeted together and talked about what they wanted after this war that they did not get after WW1.  At the same time the government did not want to make the mistake of the post WW1 where Germans and allies people suffered badly and Hitler rose out of that.  Similar things were happen in Britain.  The warnings King George V made after WW1 were ignored then but was heeded after WW2.

      Picture above left;  I think Raleigh captured the mood of the time right with "Lenton sports" bike logo.  Picture right the 1945 Labour manifesto it does not matter if the picture captured the mood of the people because the manifesto content did capture the wish of the people.  The Conservative Party manifesto cover was of Winston Churchill giving the Victory V looks back but people expected better than war.  Also the bike pricing between the cheapest and the top of the range is just 2:1 (£750 to £1,500 in 2018 money) for better bikes than the modern equivalent.  Raleigh were making munitions but were still also making 5,400 bikes a week that is; 280,000 a year compared to 400,000 and 1.1 million bikes a year in 1939 and 1951 respectively.

      In reality Winston Churchill would have given the people the NHS just the same as the Labour Government did.  It was of cause an easier job for the Labour Government with mass popular support that it had.

      The Lenton sports MK II was made for just two years 1946 and 1947 although the Lenton sports bikes were made for decades.  Briefly the world was not at war, USSR were allies and British soldiers were seconded to Palestine police in 1948 until new friends and enemies were found.  Wars are manufactured to sell weapons and the warning from 1962 about the military industrial complex has not been heeded.  In the 1970s it was stated that UK would change to a post manufacturing exporter of financial services.  Since 1998 Sturmey-Archer stopped being British owned making gear hubs and since 2012 Raleigh stopped being British owned and making bikes in the UK.
      Riding with best efficiency and comfort.
      Set the saddle height so that at the furthest stretch you leg is almost 
      straight.  Apply pressure from the ball of your toe on the peddle. 
      You start by kicking off, to bring yourself upright and going.  Don't
      set the saddle so high that you are unstable on the road that is
      even though peddling is easier.
      Comparison of modern and old bikes mostly 1902-1910


      Lenton the name of the bike might be connected to Lenton Priory, Nottingham that existed in 12th-14th century.  Raleigh and Sturmey-Archer was located at; Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham at the time of the bike's manufacture. Sturmey-Archer was a subsidiary of Raleigh at that time.  Raleigh's 1930's Nottingham head office

      Notice the knurled brake adjuster and lock nut. I have re-soldered two of the brake cable ends. Every nut, bolt including adjust the saddle and handle bars moves as easily as a new bike although some of those parts have never been touched, greased or oiled in 40 to 70 years.

      The metal grip peddles are good at preventing your shoes from slipping on the peddle even when it is wet unlike rubber grip peddles. Give the peddle a slight knock backwards to be ready to move off and it spins till it hits your shin but you will learn to overcome that.

      Many patents were registered by Sturmey-Archer but not implemented. Interchangeability of replacement parts was important and this aspect was common with British manufacturing. Customers expected and imposed conservatism on the company such as not taking up technical leading product development offered at times. This does mean though that the four speed hub design is less optimal than it could be if the cable were pulled from the other side of the hub and there is a non-Sturmey-Archer modification to do that (reversing the order of the gears).

      How the bike was made - This documentary is dated 1945 but evidently shows pre-world-war-two, bikes 
      being made.  Pre-WW2 bikes have the gold line painted on the frame tubing.  You can see the hub gear 
      parts being made. Even in 1910 the quality of the tempering of the gears was very high and a part 
      should not be scratchable with a file and when bent should spring back.  Steel improved greatly at the 
      beginning of the 20th century then improved considerably after each of the world wars.  By comparison 
      pre-1914 car's gears usually had bits broken of of the teeth this is mitigated in the Sturmey-Archer gear 
      hub by using dog clutches and very good quality control on the metal tempering.

      The bike's transmission is all lubricated with 20SAE oil such as 3-in-1 brand.  The drawing in the link below shows the another type of oil port on the crank case and hub.  But there are different styles of oil ports such as the ones on this bike.  It is a brass hole and the one in the crank also has a ball that needs to be pushed down.  This crank oil port needs a special oil can and you can see further down the page that I have adapted an old oil can filler to form a funnel in order to make lubricating the hubs easier.

      Picture Right; the metallic green paint has mostly fallen off which is typical of the MK II Lenton Sports bike.  The under coat is enamel but I guess the top colour might be a war grade paint?

      The original mud guards were cream in colour, brittle Bakelite.  These replacement Bluemels Lightweight mud guards have remained plastic and are much better.  The mudguards look right but there was no reflector on these replacement mudguards. They were fitted in about 1970.

      B bottom gear - cable is at its greatest tension.

      Gears have been used in church clocks and windmills as early as 500AD. Making gears involved too much work to be developed anything other than very well financed work but may not have been developed further than ideas drawn on paper.  Only a tiny number of those ideas have survived such as drawn by Archimedes, novelty such as Hero's (steam) engine no doubt would not have had a practice use and was not developed.  The Chinese South-Pointing Chariot based on a differential gear built in the 3rd century but could have been developed in the 27th century B.C.E.  Drawings that looked like elliptical gears, although no physical machine was intended, were carved into stone as Mayan calendar with a cycle of a little over 5,000 years.

      In Britain metal was used for tools and weapons but machines were made of wood usually.  British Kings in the 12th century were finding quests abroad and bringing back strange wonders, maths and astronomy to the British Isles.  Tempering the swords very rarely got it right they chipped and shattered. 

      1418 Giovnni Fontana, is credited with building the first human powered four wheel land vehicle 

      Some bicycles began to manufactured in the 18th century, these were wooden and had no peddles. The first sketch known is much earlier drawn by Gian Giacomo Caprotti – a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci.


      L low gear - hold the leaver between two fingers and move the leaver up and a lot of tension is released in the cable.

      The spring tension is higher between B and L gears in these early versions of the four speed hubs.

      In 1950 the gear selector pictured was replaced by a new modern gear selector that was numbered (1, 2, 3, 4) and the numbers rotated and placed so it is readable with the selector mounted as it is on my bike instead of named using the letters (B, L, N, H) was introduced.  Before 1945 the selector was placed on the cross-bar but there was an optional handlebar selector offered was different it was a leaver that rotates in a barrel with notches for each gear.

      The British Empire had been formed in the 16th century and Britain started ruling the seas and thereby ruled most of the world.  It may be said that Indian received fare rule of law in exchange for profit returned to the UK.  A large class of wealthy British and clergymen with an income developed many ideas that had no use until long after there death.  One of those was Erasmus Darwin's Hydrogen and oxygen pumped to an expansion chamber rocket motor, that had no application until the 20th century.  17th and 18th Century gave Britain steam power.  Steam power improved greatly and gave us the power to build machines that powered the industrial revolution.  The Newcomen Engine was used to pump water out of mines despite its inefficiency (0.5% verses 35% or higher for a modern steam turbine).  This was the change that turned many centuries old ideas or toys to entertain emperors and kings turned to practical use.  The most modern steam trains reached 20% efficiency but diesel is more efficient and electric much more efficient can take and return power to the rail grid in some cases.

      History of bicycling in pictures  Much engineering was developed by amateurs with a lot of leisure time and money.  This turned to commercial research.  All funded from the exploitation of the world by the Empire nations.

      In the cold about 30 years ago a spring broke in the gear selector but I only recently 2018 thought of a better fix.  This time the fix worked.  The bike was stored in a shed and has deteriorated in that period but the wheels move more freely than any new or any other bike I have looked at.

      N normal gear - This is a fast but easy on the flat.  Unfortunately the hub clicks slowly in this gear so I don't use this gear (this gear is fine it is probably gummy oil that has acculturated stopping a spring from moving properly).  If the cable is adjusted using the gauge on the hub then the top three gears are fine but Bottom gear can not be used.  My Father told me the clicking had been a problem when he used the bike.

      19th Century marked the start of unification of measurement and parts with Whitworth thread sizes.  Metrication was proposed and started through out the sciences although the Russian Rouble (PDF) had already been decimalised in the 16th century.

      Britain is credited with the first auto-mobile in 1800-1810 but there seems to be others in USA and one Paris using the first Internal Combustion Engine although steam or electric were used generally. Many types of bicycle were developed.  1896 The flash-boiler was patented this meant a steam cars could go from turn-on after 90 seconds then move silently and in gentle way but the very fast steam cars such Stanley Streamer and Doble that were also silent, had no gears but took 10 minutes before the steam pressure was enough to go.

      There were also 100's of bicycle and bike gear patents registered;
      First practical elliptical gear hub was made by Scott and Phillot 1878. At this time there were very many bike inventions patented but an American machinist Johnson made the first commercially successful elliptical gear hub in 1895.  Depending on what you read between 500 and 1,000 patents in the last two decades of the 19th century but another significant factor was that the quality of metals was going to improve greatly over the next two decades.  The ideas re-invented for thousands of years capability and wealthy all came together to implement them.

      William Reilly invented much more robust and cost effective elliptical hub gears after leaving the Hub and Two speed gear Co,  that later became owned by BSA. Reilly asked his fellow engineer James Archer to patent it in his name instead. The Reilly had signed a condition that bound him even after leaving that company 2-3 years earlier that was resolved when patent's and cross licensing was negotiated between BSA and Sturmey-Archer years later. But in Reilly's opinion his invention was never fully attributed to him. The 1902 patent three speed hub proved to be the lightweight, efficient ,robust hub that Raleigh Bicycle company were looking for. They returned to the original design after making changes and mostly kept to that design but with improvements. [pg 78]

      William Reilly was employed at Sturmey-Archer significantly ensured the process of tempering the hub gear parts was of a high standard. The components should bend and spring back but not crack. Gears made by car manufactures at that time generally cracked and pieces break off. He seems to have been passed over, perhaps because of his demanding standards but tolerated when necessary but that is not recorded. I observe that people who do a job efficiently and very well are often not liked.

       - Reference; The Sturmey-Archer Story, Tony Handland (dedicated to William Reilly the unaccredited inventor of the modern bike elliptical gears hub).

      Bicycle chain may have been invented in about 1880 there is unconfirmed one of about 1878. These earliest chains were less robust until the type with a shaft inside a tube were developed. At first each link pivoted on the two thin metal link points {references to follow}.

      Dérailleur gears were developed in 1905 or 1899?.  This type of gear  provides close speed ratio's but Sturmey-Archer did not provide until the 1930's when there was an interest in close speeds ratio's.  Dérailleur gears become fashionable in the 1970s.  The mechanism is not protected so gets damaged, dirty needs adjustment and requires skill to use which probably is an attraction and why dérailleur gears became popular.  Dérailleur gears are the cheap high maintenance option and hub gears have become the expensive low maintenance option.
      Sturmey-Archer used to make parts for hybrid hub and dérailleur gears.  I guess the hub gear is used to get you started from stationary so therefore a wide ratio hub is most suitable?  I have read elsewhere that close or medium ratio hubs put back a little force in free-wheel on to the chain that may cause it to come off with dérailleur gears. 
        • The advantages are;  Dérailleur close speed ratios, Able to start with the dérailleur in a high speed by selecting a low speed with the hub gear when stationary.   Disadvantages of the vulnerable and slower gear change of the dérailleur and the dead weight of the hub gear.

          H high gear - the cable is slack and this is how the bike should be left when not ridden.  If you peddle hard you can fly along at 30MPH+ Otherwise the bike rolls along with light peddling occasionally or braking to keep the speed down to 20MPH.

          20th Century -  from about 1910 cars with internal combustion engine had a starter motor fitted but required a lot of maintenance and perpetration first.  Petrol cars were fun and had to be driven with skill and these were  different to silent cycling, electric or a steam car.  Meanwhile in France car manufacture had not been stalled by the horse lobby as it had been in Britain and small 500cc, £600 cars petrol, also steam and electric were being made.

          Bikes were really developing fast with lightest weight hub gears, frame and the lightest to peddle bikes succeeded.  Raleigh and Sturmey-Archer made the best for a very long time.  At the beginning of the 20th Century there were a number of excellent bikes and gears being made. BSA made a Sturmey-Archer gear hub under licence but with a ball races in the planet gears that hardly reduced the now very low friction any more.  Helical gears to reduce friction and gear wine did not seem to exist in bikes and not in cars until after WW1.  The Sturmey-Archer gear hubs use straight gears but the hub operates very quietly.

          Picture right FW alloy hub;  By 1945 bikes had got to the ultimate with the FW gear hub.  The oiling port on my bike is a simple brass hole but some bikes have an oil port with a spring cap.  If you look through the hole the metal is bright silver and brass inside.  The wheel only needed to be moved two spoke widths after 25+ years unused in the shed and it moved back to its balance position.  After some months of very light use the the wheel only needs to be moved half a spoke width.  Not only is the transmission very low friction and silent but the free-wheel mechanism is also virtually silent.

          Pictured right is a 1950 Lenton sports and is mostly original;

          I am advised by Rob Luke (Facebook) - "This is a 1950 and mostly original as I got it here in Canada it was likely sold by the Eaton's Department store that was a huge importer of Raleigh. Fenders still had Raleigh transfer and I switched to similar drop bars to what it would have had. It had an AW S/A but I got a FM as the upgrade was often. I attached the as found even had the front Raleigh hub knock offs. What ever you can do to promote these bikes is great."

          Perhaps the export model is different it clearly has much better paint than the paint  on my bike, which has mostly fallen off.  It is also reasonable to assume that the paint process used on bike was sorted out by 1950.

          Rob also tells me the chain guard was added on was wrong colour.  By comparison my bike does not have space between the tubing and the big sprocket for a chain-guard and the sprocket brushes the bike frame a slightly.

          Left the 1950 Lenton sports bike after restoration note Lenton Sports logo 3D text on the saddle tube section is the same as my bike.  The crank to steering tubing is different my bike is ALL STEEL in red 3D.

          Although oiling the bike is quick and easy if you do not clean the grime it attracts then you will get dirty black stains on anything that touches it.  The big draw-back with modern bikes is how heavy they are too peddle since all light oil transmission was replaced by greased bearings.  This happened;
          • The crank in 1961(USA Facebook) 
          • I don't know when the hubs started being greased (1960's 1970s perhaps?) but by 1991 bikes did not have 20SAE oil lubricated hubs in the UK.
          • At some point the oils viscosity recommended increased to 30AE - I understand.  It is better to use thinner oil than risk parts within the hub not operating properly.  Oil is often discussed in social media but bear in mind that oil for out door general use is right but not high temperature engine oil or automatic gear fluids are likely to be very inappropriate oils their additives and nature is different.
          • The Sturmey-Archer gear hubs stopped being fitting with oil ports from 1991/2 (Facebook).
          Modern bikes are consequently hard to peddle.

          The Sturmey-Archer oil was right for the bike 30 years ago but what you might buy for a modern bike may be heavy and prevent the pawls (freewheel and gear selection parts) from moving reliably.  The pawls have a very light spring and are counter balanced.  I have the plastic filler from an old can of oil as an extension to reach into the oil ports.

          The tube is a car automatic brake bleeder made using a bike valve.  The bike tyre valve is the only connection with a bike this is a very useful tool.   I have replaced master and slave cylinders on cars for decades on my own using this tool and a jam jar of brake fluid for the end to be immersed in.

          The pipe wrench tightens on a large bolt so if you don't have the correct spanner it can work but don't pull by the end of the leaver that will put too much leverage and crushing force on the nut or bolt.  Wire cutters and pliers then the next adjustable spanner is much better than it looks reaching in to places and with care should not slip.  If you have the space to work the mole wrench is the best.  The adjustable wrench at the end looks rubbish and it is rubbish, the jaws spring apart and slip round of the nut you want to move.  The metric spanners fit many nuts and bolt heads but not all and I have more metric spanners.  Three grease guns have no use on a bike other than to dispense grease without contaminating the tin of grease.  The grease gun clicks onto a nipple and offers considerable pressure to get any unmaintained vintage car's bearings lubricated but the other two pump type grease guns do not have much pressure.

          The correct tools;

          Use Youtube to see what is inside but don't take any advice so much of it is very wrong. Haynes car manuals give sound general advice use them.

          Nuts and bolts  The threads will cross if you mix them and the part be ruined as you can see in the picture;
          • British Standard Cycle (bikes and motor bikes) - Apparently Raleigh do not use these sizes.
          • Whitworth.
          • British Standard Whitworth - which uses smaller spanners.
          • British Association (BA)
          • American Fine (AF)
          • Unified fine (UNF)
          • Metric
          The two important things are the oil and the C-spanner. When putting the crank bearing caps back it is necessary to use a minimal amount of grease to hold the ball bearings in the cup. 
          • Then screw the cap and crank back together finger tight, check the crank turns and check the tightness again. 
          • Loosen the ball cap 1/4 to 1/2 turn and tighten the ring nut with the c-spanner.  With a wheel bearing similarly turn the shaft with your fingers and loosen the nut until there are no tight spots - the ball bearings ware oval and will pit the bearing shells if there are tight spots hence the tolerance 1/4 to 1/2 turn of slack. It there are still tight spots you need to replace the ball bearings but if the shells are pitted that is another problem and I have no experience of either issue.
          • The sprocket will wobble a little but that was unchanged after I opened the crank for the first time ever. The chain is in good order.
          • Otherwise assemble dry then oil normally (the small amount of grease will wash out in time and the extra friction trivial anyway) - this is different to the correct advise because the bearings are over sized compared to a car and it is more important that everything is kept free of grit than everything be lubricated as it is assembled as you would do with an engine or gearbox.
          I damaged a cotter pin as a teenager - hence my warning and my example based on Haynes Car manual on assembling a bearing.  I've crossed threads by mixing the wrong thread pitch nuts and bolts but in this case I probably crossed the thread having hammered the cotter pin out to remove the peddle.  I then stopped and did not proceed to check inside the crank thinking it better to leave well alone.

          Sturmey-Archer maintenance 1957

          Car Foot-pumps may not be able to attain a high enough pressure for a bike.  I had one that did not but I have recently purchased another car foot-pump which claims to be suitable and it is. Like the 3-in-1 oil it was purchased from an independent cars spares shop.

          Hub gear's
          My bike has a FW (4 speed hub), pictured above left, is virtually identical to the five speed twin cable hub introduced in 1966.  Parts are fairly interchangeable between the two hub types.  Some FW hubs can be adapted to 5 speed hubs.  The extra cable selects between the normal sun gear locked and the super/high/low sun gear locked.  Notice the oil port pictured is different to my bike and has a spring loaded cap.  My bike has brass oil port and the one in the crank has a sprung ball.  The cable setting gauge can be see through the left hand nut in this picture.

          Page Right - from the Sturmey-Archer Story on the S5, five speed hub - this S5 is very similar to the FW 4 speed hub.

          The Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub gear of 1902 succeeded later variants because of it efficiency and robustness.  A combination of designs by Reilly but patented in the name of Sturmey and Archer designs plus others and some of the financing from the Raleigh cycle company.

          There is plenty of information on the web but I could not see precisely how the hub gears works.  I have included a number of videos below showing variations of the similar things.  Some of this was explained to me in relevant Facebook groups.

          All hub gears are based on the original 3 speed, elliptical gear constant mesh design.  The gears are selected with dog clutches and a mechanism for disabling one of two pairs of free-wheel ratchets called pawls in the diagram.  Three of the seven combinations of gear ratios are of practical use.  Bathed in a light oil, if you were to over oil the hub the oil will run back out of the filler otherwise oil constantly comes out of the hub through the bearings if it is being oiled adequately.

          Although meshing teeth of gears are inefficient elliptical gears are efficient.  This is because only a fraction of the power is carried through the meshing pinions.  That fraction of power is the percentage increase or decrease in speed of the selected gear.

          FW Hub – has two sun wheel cogs and the planet pinions have a large and a small cog.  There is a single outer ring gear which meshes with one set of planet pinion cogs (I have never taken a hub apart)
          • Low Gear - uses the same sun pinion as higher gear.
          • Bottom – One or the larger sun wheel pinions is de-clutched from the shaft and then the other is clutched to the shaft.  The relative speeds are low as well as the gears being lubricated with cycle oil makes this extra pinion also efficient.  There clutch mechanism is based on ball bearings that are pushed out of holes in the fixed shaft by movement of the operating cable.

          Green Pawls - freewheel ratchet mechanism.  There is space for movement so preventing side-thrust bearing on to the meshing pinions, ring gear and bearings.  There are separate bearings to carry the weight of the bike and the rider called side thrust.  Some bikes pre-World War 1 bikes are fixed wheel or freewheel on just some speeds.

          Blue - Ring gear.

          Brown - Planet pinion/gear cage.

          Yellow - Sun pinion/gear.

          5-speed hub uses, I understand from the web, mostly the same parts but their is a separate cable to select which sun pinion to de-clutch and to clutch to the shaft.  The selector is called supper-low/supper-high on in the lever's other position is the usual medium three gears.  The S5 was launched in 1966 and withdrawn in 1974 and replaced in 1977 S5/1 but the 1982 to 1991 S5/2 Introduced was made so repair was simply the replacement of the whole assembly.  Also a stronger spring and better sun pinions fitting locking clip but primarily was different having two elliptical gear sets in an efficient way using one or the other not pass the power through both [I have misunderstood that last point, the video below does not show two elliptical gear sets on the S5/2].

          S5/2 hub explained is very similar to the FW hub  [PLEASE USE THIS LINK IF THE 
          VIDEO DOES NOT PLAY] This video is the clearest I have seen although I do not 
          understand German.  The ball bearing sun pinion clutch mechanism is not shown.

          Bright Red - Low & Bottom - Pushes the ring gear pawls to disengaged them so that High and Normal gear pawls are disabled.

          Orange - Normal - Engages the input power to the ring gear and the pawls are engaged. Direct drive is engaged. Both pairs of pawls may be carrying power thereby preventing slip between some gears.

          Blue - high - Engages power to the planet gear and power is taken from the ring gear through the red pawls. The planet pawls turn more slowly and are therefore over run.

          The other cable locks one or the other sun pinion to the shaft. The difference in the FW hub is that there is one cable so the super-high speed can not be reached by this mechanism. When the cable is slack the selector plate is to the left and engaging the planet but as the cable is progressively pulled through each gear to the left H-N-L and the Red low ratio sun pinion carries the power. When the cable is pulled against a spring L remains engaged but the cable then pulls the ball clutch to lock the dark-yellow sun pinion and thereby give Bottom gear (super low).

          Ball clutch mechanism S5 single cable and other detail.  {CLICK THIS LINK IF THE WRONG VIDEO IS SHOWING}

          5 speed hub 1921 Henry Sturmey slightly wider ratios than the model launched in the 1960's. Same method of super-low/high by sun-gear selection. This model was reported in the Cycling in 1924 but not made. This used a single cable and was not introduced again for another 60 years. I could not follow the description but I don't think there is a gear in which the gears are not moving in mesh. Launched for a year then withdrawn 1974 with no 5 gear hub offered. (pg. 156). The five speed gear patent 1940 (pg 111) selected two gears overrunning two of the pawls to take power from the faster ratio then tripping out the slower pawls.

          Hub gear configurations and arithmetic  (PDF) - This is a very good explanation of the drive paths with a lot of detail.  This PDF is an addendum to the Sturmey Archer Story by Toney Hadland.

          This link may be interesting it is a new website and the author is said to be well informed;

          A different strategy low maintenance but friction is not important; (modern bikes)

          Blue track rider, A frame, Special DS, Bazani, "18 gear", 26"

          This modern mountain bike has 18 gears (3x6) is equal to about 8 speeds.  I saved the bike from being scrapped in order to compare a modern bike with the Lenton sports bike.   The dérailleur gears are all low speeds so there should be no difficulty starting from stationary, then the rider should change gear promptly to resolve the cross chaining.  The spokes are tight and uniform tensioned so evidently the bike has had very little use but even so the steering bearings was cross-threaded (I was a boy once and did more harm than good sometimes in maintaining my bike).  The front suspension is seized up or set very hard and I have not been to dissemble and check it.  Many parts are broken or rusted that would not be so on an older bike - for example when carefully prised off one of the front suspension rubber bungs and it broke off. 

          Comparison - The mountain bike will go up any hill can go at extremely low speeds and handle in a small space all beating a road bike.  Then a long wheel base road, touring or sport bike will fly past the mountain bike easily on the flat.  In my case get off and push on may hills on either bike that I would have peddled up as a slim teenager.  The hub gear bike is much better at stop start bother free cycling required in town.  It is very distracting listening to the chain to here if the selector needs to be moved a micro-click, whether it will change in time for what you see approaching and whether it will do all that safely with traffic all around you - the answer is yes hub gear bike even if it is was made in 1920.  The sports or touring bikes like the Lenton sport by comparison have a long wheel base and understeer so you stand to get across a bad patch in the road without falling off better.  You can see the forks curve forward on the Lenton sports to provide a lot of under-steer and the long-wheel base provide stability over bumps.

          Another comparison of old and new bikes

          Evidently a considerable amount of work has been carried out on the bike's design to ensure the bike performs well when new but has a short life.   The bike itself looks very nice it is comparable in weight to the Lenton sports although the frame is welded.  The bikes and most things are bought with no expectation of long reliable life and that maintaining the bike would not be viable anyway. 

          I am advised that the bikes chain and front springs should be oiled and greased but nothing else.  Some modern bikes are very light plastic frame and I am advised that the frame can break. The rear suspension makes the mountain bike less controllable I am advised.  Similarly the Wall-of-Death  motorbike show run 1920's and 1930's "Indian" solid frame bikes for the same reason. The Indian has a low centre of gravity the Wall-of-death have adapted a modern motorbike that they use but that bike they say is not so predictable to ride.   The Wall-of-death show visited Hastings, East Sussex in May 2018. 

          If by sitting on a sprung bike your leg reach is shorted then peddling will become hard work consequently.  I have also found as I was advised that the chain comes off easily or fouls up so it is a good idea to always carry a rag.   The chain will stay on better if everything is kept clean and adjusted and that is my experience of the bike since doing that maintenance.  The chain and sprockets are made of comparatively much thinner metal so are they are sharp and will cut your fingers easily.

          I am advised to change gear one speed at a time and give the bike time.  I am also advised to avoid changing the front dérailleur gear, which is under chain tension - so the best advice is change gear by keeping the bike and peddles moving but under lightest effort (chain tension).  The rear dérailleur gear can be changed under load easily enough by comparison.  I also found that to start when the chain is cross chained and the smallest sprockets used that the chain tension was too light to prevent the chain from bunching and the transmission seizing - I could not find the adjustment for this but in any case it is not a normal way to ride the bike.

          I observe that when the chain is oiled black carbon lubricant loading comes out.   Evidently if the chain is not lubricated it will rust but if it is lubricated the carbon lubrication will be washed out and the black will get on your clothing.  You loose both ways, so don't lubricate to much and you don't need to lubricate often.

          This mountain bike is made very much like an old British made Ford cars were, cheap and cheerful, needing lots of cheap maintenance, spares and were popular.  People fondly or cynically used to call Ford car's Dagenham Dustbin (where Ford made cars in the UK).

          Left and right - car cycle rack donated to a charity shop with bits missing.  I have adapted it by drilling more holes so that it is now a fold up bicycle maintenance stand. 

          The bike stand is necessary for dérailleur geared bike maintenance so that the chain hangs normally and the adjustments can be reached.  Otherwise turn any other bike upside down to work on it works fine but the stand may also be useful for a bike with drop handlebars.


          Until sometime in the 1960's all Raleigh bikes and probably all bicycles were made as sports bikes but with variants of saddles, panniers, racks, baskets, chain guards, mudguards and straight handle bars.   They were not made heavy to achieve strength and robustness, unlike the Indian motorbike and almost everything else.  By the way, the name Indian was chosen in respect to the first nation people of America.  British engineering tends to be what works and is different to US engineering which tends to be expedient heavy design with lots of parts.  German or Swiss engineering is very correct.

          So the extra feature of a bicycle is light weight, light to peddle and very robust a combination unique to bicycles and UK lead the world in this technology for 90 years.  During this time many Sturmy-Archer parts are interchangeable with other makers parts around the world due to cross licensing and conservativism of the designs.

          I mentioned hubs and cranks changed from thin oil to lubricated with grease. The S7 - 7 gear hub was introduced in 1973 with the no-slip between gears feature. This hub probably would have had higher friction almost certainly because it incorporated three elliptical gear assemblies and the drive path was through a number of meshing gears. The non-slip feature considered not to have merit  previously but bikes with hub gears were being marketed to regular cyclists as easy, strong and reliable compared to dérailleur gears having become fashionable in sport bikes. The 7-speed gear hub of about 1997/2000 uses the mechanism of a third sun pinion and a third cog on each of the planet pinions to form what might have been efficient but by then grease was used in the bearings and there was no lubrication port in the hubs. The 1973 S7 the cable rotated a shaft operating cams rather than pulled a rod but the later seven gear has in effect ultra low and high gears.

          The Raleigh bike lifetime guarantee;  Offered since 1902 were not transferable and lasted for the life time of the original purchaser of the bike.  Such guarantees were fairly common on high quality British products.  Because they were on parts only a shop may resist carrying out a repair at it's own cost or try to justify passing on that cost to the customer.  Some were said not to be worth the paper they were written but I expect they were carried out although there is a subjective judgement that a manufacturer would make to determine if it the cause was due to normal ware-and-tare.   I don't know how well Raleigh compared.

          I don't know how Raleigh applied it's policy on replacement spares but I have read in a Raleigh document that they would charge for re-magnetising a returned dynamo had been let demagnetise.  That is put a soft iron keeper with the magnet.  That suggests that Raleigh might replace anything in exchange for the broken part that has not been broken by misuse but I have not read that anywhere or that said in reply to my question in any public forum?

          End of Sturmey-Archer in the UK;  Ownership changed and the equipment and manufacturing shifted to Taiwan in about 2000 turned around from what had become make-do return to good quality control in manufacturing again.  This story can be re-told for so many companies from the 1970's.  Hubs were not made for very high endurance any more though.

          Probably the most efficient geared bike transmission 

          Shaft drive bicycle is not new but the one in this video 
          claims 99% transmission efficiency (if enclosed and 
          kept clean).

          Ceramic speed - I can see that the gear teeth are slotting in on roller bearings not sliding up the tooth so there does not seem to be the velocity modulation that conventional tooth gears have.  The velocity modulation in straight gears can make them wine.  Presumably the transmission is normally enclosed in order to keep the grit and dirt out so thereby staying a low friction transmission?

          The gear changing occurs by timing the slide of the pinion across the crown disk at an appropriate time.  Hopefully a cable operated variant will be developed so that a cyclist won't become stuck with a flat battery?

          If the change operation lifted the shaft and dropped then the gears could be changed at stationary.

          John D. Rockefeller owned a single speed shaft drive bicycle it may have been a Columbia shaft-drive bicycle of 1900.  At that time chain drive was very new then having been only developed in about 1880 and may have had a poor reputation because originally the couplings swivelled at two points rather than having a shaft inside a large tube to form longer bearings that modern chains have.

          The Sturmey-Archer story mentions the Deal Drive (automatic gear Victorian invention) more efficient (pg. 173).  I don't know what this was but some ideas don't retain the natural foot circling cycle action that gives a rider feel for what he or she is doing.

          Other Sturmey-Archer bike components and assemblies;
          • Hub brakes were reckoned to be very good smooth, progressive and powerful.  Some variants were operated by back-peddle others by cable and they could also include a gear hub.
          • Hub dynamo was introduced in 1935 and is claimed not to add friction but a few people I've spoken to say that it does.  The power taken is very little and no more than the power output 2W used in the lamps.  If peddling at a reasonable pace putting in the same effort as walking then 50W of effort then 4% would be used which is more losses than N gear and similar to B  gear (guess?).
            • 1982 XAG 3W, 6V meeting new lighting standards and 4 times more efficient 30 pole, alloy dyno-hub sampled but not introduced. Then all dyno-hubs withdrawn in 1984.
            • During the 1980's permanent magnet motors became much more efficient requiring less copper.  They used more powerful magnets.  Also much smaller air-gaps were possible due to better engineering tolerance and bearings with very little play.  Greater power density and efficiency was achieved  provided those motors or generators did not drive directly but had flexible couplings.
            • Basic generator theory determines that the output is a constant current but the voltage (with no load) is proportional to the speed of the wheel.  That is;  300mA = 2W / 6V, With old fashioned series lighting circuit open lamp fails all lights will go out but with modern parallel lamp connection one lamp fails the other lamp will receive to much current.  The ratings vary depending on the age of the bike.
          • Various lighting parts and battery units to be used with the hub dynamo or Dyno-Gear-hub .
          • Fixed wheel and back-peddle brake.
          • An internal combustion engine was briefly badged Sturmey-Archer.

          The Sturmey-Archer Story, Tony Hadland, ISBN; O 9507431 2 7
          • 1887, 3 bikes a week made.  The shop in Raleigh Street, Victoria was purchased and renamed the Raleigh Cycle Company.
          • 1896, 30,000 bikes made this year.
          • 1914, Over 50-60,000 bikes made that year.  My Grandfather had a three speed before WW1.
          • 1939, 400 thousand bikes made a year.
          • World War Two years 280 thousand bike made a year.
          • 1951 1.1 million bikes made a year.
          • 1980 1.5 million bikes made a year. Nearly as many as car sales.
          1955 bikes were ridden 20 million KM/yr but during the 1970's the 
          figure was only 4 million KM/yr and this amounted to only 20cm/year.

          Comparison of efficiency (appendix gives a range of different figures - these seem most relevant)
          • N - gear is 1% and more efficient than dérailleur gear.
          • AW 92.5-96% but dérailleur 92% 95%.S5, FW B 87%
          • Losses 5-10% both gear types. over a gear ratio range +33 -25%

          Tony Hadland blog supplement to the book;

          Lots of old bike related pictures

          Bike discussion forum.

          Catalogue pages of bikes around 1939 to 1950 including the Lenton Sports.

          Supplier of old bike transfers.

          Pictures of another Lenton Sport

          Archive of Sturmey-Archer catalogue pages and technical data.

          Archive of Veteran bicycles catalogue pages and technical data.

          When were bicycle gears invented - Guardian Newspaper.

          Drive train history - Velo News.

          YMCA, Recycle - Bike project;

          About some of the comments I have made in the text;
          • S-A Sprinter S7 1997-2000 has a single ring gear, single elliptical cage, each planet gear is a single 3 cog component, 3 sun gears. Giving 3 speeds + 2 more super-wide speeds + 2 more ultra-wide speeds.
          • 1966, S5 two cable hub launched.  Note Tony Hadland's book draws attention to the point that the single cable version was not launched until the 1980's but I add that old patents such as the 1921 Henry Sturmey's patent on the single cable 5 speed hub may have still been active or recently expired.  I have read that patents used to be granted with a life of 40 years  before WW2.
          • Selectors and hubs and some other parts are often made under license by different makers so may be mixed with British made versions of Sturmey-Archer.  The important point is that parts made since Sturmey-Archer closed in the UK and relocated to Taiwan are very unlikely to be interchangeable with parts made in the UK over the previous century.
          The bike logo;
          The postwar period was exciting with the finest quality made for the people, up to a point just the white English.   The deferred Olympics to be held in London in 1948 and the Festival of Britain in 1951.  The lovely 1946 Lenton Sports bike and it's golden stylised Olympic torch reflects all of that well.

                          LENTON SPORTS

          • Left; MK1 up to 1939 --- Feature of the bike frame was a gold line stencilled on some of the tube sections.
          • Centre; MKII, 1946-1948  --- It looks like a serrated arrowhead with a gold stencil outline on mustard yellow with deep blue shadow, metallic green text.  I have been shown drawings of an Olympian runner's torch.  The torch in the logo does not have the flame.
          • Right;  MKIII from 1950 --- Clean plain italic text.

          Having a liking for well made machines does not get many new machines sold but it does create interesting and useful work for a spares and repair industry.  More importantly making well made and maintaining things empowers people but buying new things with a short design non-repairable life reinforces helplessness.  This TED video discuses emotional attraction to robots.

          The attachment we have to each other, fury animals and anything that looks like a face also to machines or favourite films and stories all comparably have a connection by need and usefulness.  So my conclusion is different to Kate Darling's point.  It is that excessive attachment to short lived objects or shallow friendships may be harmful to us?

          I have been rubbing the Lenton Sports down with linseed oil and doing that has improved all surfaces, enhanced the logo and given the heron badge a lovely tarnished brass a lustre.  The Ever Ready lamp rattles it always did, so I put some rubber inner tube over the hook, and in the battery compartment that has helped.  I do not have the original green tin lamp.  I have adapted a modern head wearable lamp to light the kerb edge and fitted a flashing red lamp to the rear rack.

          The front tyre is new but worryingly it has much less tread than the old war grade tandem tyre I was using last year (2018).

          In nature Gaia works were life manages and looks after the environment a badger, fox or a human can leave a village or set then return to it some years later and it has all cleaned up again by nature.  But modern humans just come back to the mess they leave.  I leave the final sensible words to Carl Sagan;

          The cosmologist Carl Sagan lessons from space exploration, mythology, speaks on caring for the climate is possible.

          The benefit of cycling compared to walking it is that it is gentle on your joints like swimming and can alleviate aching ankles for example.  Cycling complements walking and life.  Drop handlebars might cause your wrists to ache instead though. 

          Picture right; Bike cleaned a little more using Linstead oil so the metallic green
          frame colour and gold outline Olympic torch can been seen a little better.