Sunday, 7 October 2018

Lenton Sports bicycle

  • Introduction
Changed; 03/01/2021, 08/12/2021

My own bikes have been a child's tricycle, a bicycle made by Triang with solid rubber tires, a single rod brake that operated on the front tire and awful *stabilisers fitted that probably did not help at all, a 20" and 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 his Lenton Sports bike when I was big enough to ride the bike which is my first bike with gears.  Very much lighter to pedal and flew when I touched the pedals.  My sister's then-new ~1974, 3-speed unisex "Shopper" bike, was a heavy bike that was heavy to pedal

The 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 have been speckled with surface rust for most of the bikes life.   The sprocket (chain wheel) is made in two parts and you can see one of the three screws' threads in the picture.  You can see a black lumpy deposit left from oiling the chain with 3-in-one oil for the bikes first 25 years.

* The stabilisers on my first bicycle were preventing me from riding the bike properly and I feared falling off rocking from one stabilise wheel to the other.  I quickly learned to pedal and ride the bike soon after the stabilisers were removed.  I also recall wobbling when I went too fast, not being able to stop and inevitably falling off, evidently, child bikes are not optimised, unlike adult bikes of that time, the early 1960s.  Some modern adult bikes such as the 1980s Astra that I ran for a few years also do not handle well are heavy to pedal, and most tire your wrists with vibration unlike the Lenton sports holds the road handling very well, feels comfortable and secure on the road.

I ran a few motorbikes, a number of cars for many decades and learnt a lot about car maintenance and driving that is applicable to bicycles consequently.  I have been running a number of bicycles in recent years see;

What is said of sports-bikes of this age; 
"Touch the pedals and the bike flies" Lenton sports 1946. 
"Fearless" Evans 1938, "Wow" and "Amazing". The high-
tensile-steel frame "Alive" plus Long wheel-base "Best ride ever".
"It just goes and glides. I sit in it, not on it", Elswick Hopper 1959".
I am also told a good alloy and carbon road bike is like a spaceship 
on two wheels and wonderful to ride.....but you feel every bump if 
the road surface is rough, but his old Fothergill floats over everything. 

Picture Lenton sports November 2021 with dirt and oil from regular lubrication which quickly builds up after cleaning.
The bike now has all four speeds working the gear cable used to have sleaving on the inner cable.  The front brake 
cable nipple has been resoldered.  The correct end cap put on one peddle.  Cleaned enough to get an impression 
of the lovely polychromic green colour in places was like as I remember it 30-60 years ago.  The lamp bracket is 
useful to carry a few spare elastic bands to hold modern lights that often fall off.  Tieing lights on with a secondary
 piece of string can help.  The low down lamp is now a decoration I purchased in the 1970s but I do not use it.  The 
first thing my father added when the bike was new was the blue scotch tape, which has protected the chrome handlebars.

Old Raleigh bike frames are British steel, are robust because they do not have any welded joints that are brittle and can fracture. The unions and joints are forged from single pieces of metal which protect the grain of metal and are brazed to the tubing, for strength without brittleness. Where possible straight tubing is used.  The Lenton bikes are all a bit different, you could have straight or drop handlebars, single, three or four-speed internal gear hub with close, medium or wide spacing, you could have a sport or a terry type saddle and a front Dynohub.  Later bikes also had derailleur gear option plus, colour such as the top of the range polychromic green, various decoration including Reg Harris Olympic torch.  In addition, the parts differ from batch to batch of bikes, and the Raleigh Herron chain wheel and brass knurled brake cable adjusters seem to be very uncommon on the Lenton.

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 sports bike, light to pedal technology. These bikes and other bikes with Sturmey-Archer gears had been winning in competitions for decades whereas no dérailleur geared bike had won in competition at this time. Derailleur gear bikes started to win races in 1950. Both derailleur gears and internal (hub) gears provided 3 or 4 gears until this time. 

Dérailleur gears were not permitted in competition until 1937, have medium ratios between speeds.  Sturmey-Archer made close, medium and wide ratios between speeds, gear hubs at this time.   Wide-ratio between gears with easy gear change is suited for all type's of use but particularly everyday use is very low friction and no skill required to
handle, unlike dérailleur gears.
The bike pictured right; Is a modern bike Raleigh, Urban 2.  The derailleur gears work well, the bike is fairly light to pedal, fairly fast by modern standards.  This bike is a little heavier than the Lenton at 15Kg, bigger which suits me better with 27" (700c) wheels but not particularly comfortable.  Alloy frame with steel forks to improve the ride but suffers some cathodic corrosion.  I would pass myself on the Lenton with the bike feeling like it is pulling and encouraging me to go faster by comparison.  This dérailleur is unusually robust and reliable for that type of variable-gear but few guys are willing to admit that they never change gears on such bikes or don't like them.  By comparison, the frame feels dead and does not carry you over the ups and downs of the road unlike the lively steel vintage bike so you find yourself changing gear and changing down more.
Raleigh introduced this type of road bike, with road tires in about 1990 as a hybrid or mountain bike.  Some have internal hub gears and mudguards, all have fitting holes for mudguards.  So where the Lenton sports came complete with toolbag and tools in 1946 but for saddlebag and lights, these modern bikes do not have standardised mountings for lights and need mudguards.  Neither bike can have a chain guard fitted but that does not inspire people to clean and oil the chain.

Some have described the close-ratio hub AC or FC as having little difference changing up to high but feeling the difference when going down a speed but the cyclist maintains the cadence.  By comparison, a wide spacing ratio internal hub gear feels more like driving a car.  If you required lower or higher gearing you changed the rear sprocket or have a double sprocket fitted, whereas many modern bikes are fitted with internal gears or derailleur gears which usually cover a wider range but those internal hub gears can be less efficient consequently.  

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 use a second epicyclic gear coupled to the main epicyclic gear to achieve the medium or close ratios. Similar to AR close-ratio 3-speed hub introduced two years earlier [Pg 105/106].  The second epicyclic gear drives the sun pinion.  The later FW uses a single epicyclic gear.

The 1945 FW 4 speed hub, that is fitted on this Lenton Sports bike is different.  The epicyclic gear has a single ring gear but one of two sun pinions is engaged using dog clutches to the stationary shaft to provide a super-low bottom gear,
 which was changed a little during 1950.  This is an efficient gear hub that was made until 1969/70 and is counted as one of a set of acclaimed 4-speed hubs.

The picture left, from the Sturmey-Archer Story 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.  Some bikes and other makers used knowledge and new materials such as resilient lightweight seamless steel tubing.  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 and art in engineering but less formalised skill and knowledge.  That is engineering had less precise parts, materials, and tools and there was less standardisation.  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 engine retired from service after only 10 years of use, in museums.  People normally saved boxes, tins, jars, bottles, paper bags for other use and took a shopping bag with them when going shopping until the 1980s.

Anecdote it used to be said by Raleigh representatives that; A Raleigh bike will last 100 years.

Obviously, a bike will not last indefinitely but will last used or 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 sports 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 years but my 1974 day, date, time Timex (pictured right) was made to wear out in 5 years when the knurling on the winder wore away.  You could have the winder replaced by a better winder but I fitted a piece of rubber sleaving periodically and the watch remained very accurate for 30 years.  When wound up every morning was accurate all winter, losing 1 minute a month in the summer and 2 minutes a month in the hottest month.  Evidently designed to wear out had been well-engineered so that just one part that would fail but the watch would not be compromised until after the warranty period.  My patch was to fit and to keep replacing a rubber sleaving onto the winder or to wind the watch with a rubber band stretched across your fingers.

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 was 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 1970s along with the admission that new cars might be delivered with gremlins.  All makes of car were delivered with faults or defects became apparent years later both Audi and VW had defects in electrical areas but very few other faults so have well deserved excellent reputation whether made in the UK or elsewhere.  Ford cars with few exceptions were almost faultless but with cheap fault free short life highly life tested parts at this time.  

Between 1940 and 1980 more so than before 1940 small companies were merging into big companies leaving the country with a big surplus of the best designers and engineers in the world.   Engineering such as computing and aircraft designers from World War 2 was the best and it was a challenge not to lose all of it.  The Political Consensus of this period was that all governments tackled the issues.  Finally turning the last big one around British Layland (BL) with the launch of the Mini Metro car in 1980.  BL became Rover Group, cars were now delivered without faults and the cars continued to last well, some of the cars last a very long time.  So many companies closed in the 1980s or were sold by the government very cheaply and ended up mostly foreign-owned, probably financed by private UK money instead of state-owned.  Public and financial institutions who bought shares and sold them profited well whether they kept them and sold them straight away called stagging, but overall jobs were lost, useful employment and purpose for a lot of people was a big loss. 

The 1970s marked a time when life had become easier, full employment, virtually no homeless. Mortgages, pensions, and financial services were trusted to mutual and friendly societies and that was what most people used.  The banks still had their founding Quaker or other philosophy of supporting and looking after their customers but these things changed.  Significantly more things were designed to wear out or were badly made so they wore out by the time the novelty wore off or they become obsolete quickly 
and were discarded.  There was little place for repairing shoes, bikes and what was repaired was carried out by replacement of a module rather than of a worn or broken 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 manufacturers regulated prices on parts and maintenance.  A ford engine 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 1950s).  Most small cars of this time engine's did not last longer than 15,000 miles* but the engine was designed to be reconditioned three times.  More people chose things that only needed to last long enough to buy, open, be played with briefly, then be discarded, so many British manufactures tried to follow the trend but cut costs instead, failed because they started producing rubbish instead.  Raleigh bikes went with the trend, changing enough but continued manufacturing good quality bikes in the UK until 2012 but bike makers did not need to design in obsolescence or to wear out many bikes are and have always were bought but then ridden just once. 

Note; * Cars life were improved by adding, oil and air filters to reduce engine wear.  Later improvements to oils also meant thinner engine oil is both better lubrication and less inefficient engines.  In the 1950s? CC Wakefield Ltd's Castrol brand multigrade oil became available so summer and winter oil changes became unnecessary and over subsequent decades car servicing frequency was reduced to once a year.  Improvements to carburation by redirecting air intake from the hot exhaust manifold getting the engine running at optimum temperature quickly thereby improving efficiency and reducing cold engine wear.  The gearbox attempts to match engine power to road and driving requirements but electric transmission used in trains and shipping plus long trains and modest rail gradient improves efficiency.  Efficiency traded for speed and reduction in some pollutants makes an internal combustion engine a very bad compromise, less bad than they were.  So a gearbox requires driving skills that make driving for fun rather than functional.  Helical cut gears improve efficiency and synchromesh makes gear changing easier but bicycles with a good steel frame and hub gears are much easier, comfortable and very much more efficient at their peak of popularity during the first 80 years of the 20th Century.  Evidently, cars were never intended to have such short life but American cars tended to be gas guzzlers by comparison instead because the USA has a more exploitative hold over oil suppliers, which was a bad thing as well that has become true here in the UK although the phrase Chelsea tractor is used against some of them particularly because small cars became much more comfortable after 1980 just like many European cars were.

Picture left - Yashicamat (the 1950's) equal to a German "Rollei" Rolleiflex (or Rolleicord) in quality, far eastern products can be equal to the best.  I have a hot-shoe to cable and a connector adaptor that operates flash.  My grandmother who was a photographer bought her first Rolli when they were new in the 1920s or 30's she tried one in a shop and insisted on having that one not another off the shelf, this was important because things were much more variable in their manufactured quality then, this was true until about 1980.

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 British prejudice against engineers being people who work on dirty engines as opposed to ingenuity the correct meaning was always true.  The Technician makes the dirty engine, clean, working and functioning, or the design proving or reporting design improvements or flaws using his dexterity and skill, often called in a derogatory way a grease monkey for a car mechanic (technician).  Craftsman is the most prestigious type of technician.  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 Lucas Plan, Triumph motorbike Cooperative.  To protect against monopoly's from unfair 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 and the ULA), also British Leyland (significantly the Mini Metro car) was resolved even though unionised workforce lost jobs to robot assembly.  The National Coal Board and British Rail had already been successfully nationalised in 1946 and 1948 from failing private companies so British deep mine coal was the cheapest and safest in the world (National Union of Miners 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 was reducing towards 35 hours in some cases with up to 30 days annual holiday. 

The current era since 1980 was planned in the 1970s 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 coined by US President Dwight D Eisenhower.  Therefore the creation of money and excessive very cheap (below UK costs and what is or amounts to exploration of labour, environment and other things) consumption undermined and thereby displaced a lot of manufacturing in the UK, intentionally. 

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 1945 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.

Crankcase No. 453967 Z (under the crank),

Frame number; 289193 P (below the saddle)
I am advised that the bike was made, 53,000 frames perhaps 1 to 6 months made before May 1946. 

This Lenton Sports bike is an MK II [web], Model 25 [Facebook].  Picture right some cleaning shows the lovely steel chain wheel (front cog 2018), the picture above more cleaning also wiped down with linseed oil a few times (2020).  The plastic bottle top used as a pedal cap has since been replaced with the correct cap thanks to a Facebook friend. 

The FW, 4-speed wide hub.  4-speed Sturmey-Archer gears have a reputation for being unreliable.  The hub's date code is 50 1, (January 1950), which may be an upgrade or a warranted replacement.  The selector and probably the rear wheel were changed as part of the hub replacement because the plating is a different quality more bobbly on the rear wheel.  The rear wheel is 40, 2mm zinc plated but rusted spokes seem to be all original.  The front-wheel has 32, 1.5mm bright steel spokes and all of the spokes have been replaced at least once.  My father chose a more comfortable saddle instead of the standard sports bike saddle.  The saddle has also been re-stitched a little more by a local shoe repairer since these pictures.  I have also been replacing springs in the saddle (2021) but this is not working out so well. 

The Raleigh Record Ace (RRA) was a custom made to order and the most expensive Raleigh bike that only some dealers could sell.  The Lenton Sports MK I, MK II or Lenton Clubman MK III were the top of the range standard bike that all dealers could sell, I understand.  The RRA is a lighter weight bike at 27Lbs (12kg) with panniers, 9Kg with lightweight wheels, 1" (25mm) greater ground clearance and has a number of racing records.  These bikes cost about 50% more than the same manufacturers top of the range bike.  Otherwise, the Raleigh price ranged by 2:1 between the top of the range and basic adult bikes.  The RRA has a time of 3 hours, 40 minutes (Ray Booty 1950s) and at least one 1948 Olympics medal held by Reg Harris who otherwise trained on and endorsed the Lenton. 

Similarly, many manufacturers supplied different dealers with a broader or a narrow range of parts, accessories, bikes and new products - it used to be necessary to visit another town to find out about and obtain things.  By comparison since 1980, it has become normal to only find a limited range of the same things anywhere.  A broad range of different colour toilet paper, shampoo are two exceptions but those are supplied by a narrow range of parent companies.  It is now very unusual to find different things and the expectation of speaking to trained staff on the use and the type of product is now not expected or offered.  This uniformity and narrowing of choice were promoted, at the time, as "choice".

The FW four-wide variant hub steel hub (pictured left); Was a new model with an alloy hub variant that was launched in 1945 although Tony Hadland's book is more authoritative and says the lighter alloy hub option was launched in 1948 but the alloy hub was discontinued in the 1960s.  Apparently, the steel hub was more reliably.  I would say the gearing and the gear spacing has been chosen well, this was also said at the time. (inspection hole for cable adjustment, you should check that the indication rod is not coming loose periodically pictured)

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 two patent numbers the second patent number is 649,009 that distinguishes the two types.  But my identification is wrong and the gear selector is also 1950 no-doubt changed with the gear hub and rear wheel. 

The rider can switch (change) gear easily with the bike stationary or moving;
Keep peddling forward or backwards* with the lightest pedal pressure whilst moving the gear selector.  Changing up one speed is best done with the lever held between two fingers particularly if the trigger spring is weak.  When parking the bike put the bike into the highest gear in order to release the cable tension moving the pedal to complete the operation, of cause. The gears might complete the change when you take your foot pressure off the pedal a feature that prevents gear change when loaded - The point is the gears are delightfully easy to use and respond better to smart but sensitive use.  

When the bike is môving I find that I virtually stop pedalling but there is still enough movement in the pedals for the gears to change easily.

* 3-speed AW usually changes more easily if the pedals are moving backwards when stationary.  I am advised this is not correct and there is an alignment issue in the hub that if fixed the AW will change when peddling lightly or applying light pressure in a forward direction just the same as any other Sturmey-Archer internal gear hub should.

The four-speed wide (FW) hub on the Lenton Sports is fiddly to set up and is hard to pull the lever to Bottom gear.  This is a common complaint or that only three of the four speeds work.  The hub used to click in N (3rd) gear, probably since new, but it does not now since it has been serviced in recent years and the compensator spring replaced.

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).  The inner cable was also replaced in the 1970s it rusted and broke where it runs over the wheel under the saddle which had been neglected to oil or grease them.

This extra square washer could be an undocumented modification.  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 most companies the concession or modification would be formally documented rather than a note on a scrap of a card or be a mental note be made.  I don't know what Raleigh's practices on formal or informal concessions and modification were but successful companies can work, either way, both ways work.  It is safer and more efficent for a company to have real formal systems of documentation and of using them rather than to see those things as a cost and just for an ISO9000 auditor to tick a box.

As an electronics design engineer, I worked 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 a 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 selected using dog clutches, a type of dog, a ball bearing clutch or selectively disengaging the free-wheel pawls, even so, dog clutches can be chipped.
    • The FW hub on the Lenton sports does not have the low-speed pawls permanently coupled but overrun 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. 
    • Sturmey-Archer patented very many ideas but only implemented some of them.  A 1948 patent that was not implemented would have put two gears N and H closer together and ensured they overlapped - therefore there 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 the wheels move very freely.  Normal gear is the direct drive speed and is discernibly more efficient, I have not noticed this on any other bike.
The other factor that makes older bikes particularly light to pedal is their longer wheelbase and particularly the long curved springy steel fork compared with modern bikes.  So the bike seems to fly over bumps rather than go in and out of each bump and be knocked back by the unevenness of the roads.

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 the UK and European 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 agreements 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 (1857-1930) was also not taken up by any manufacturer no doubt because of fear that cyclists would similar to the earlier 4-speed hub case consider two or three speeds adequate.   A five-speed hub but with two cables was launched in 1966 and there was a modification to the early (1945-1950 FW) 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 epicyclic gear assemblies but the power trains were through one or the other but not both epicyclic gears (any patent would have expired by then). 

Modifying any FW gear hub to five-speed to improve gear selection and provide 5 speeds using two cable

Old British patents used to be granted for a long period of time;-  Used to be granted for much longer periods of time such as 40 years on the 1930's Austin Over Head Valve cylinder head used in a lorry at first but well known as the Mini engine.  {I do not have the references now and have not been able to reconcile those details with what I have read more recently on Austin} The engine head designer came from Jaguar car's worked on the Merlin Engine for Rolls Royce then went on to do the same for Austin engines which was to create a lot of swirling turbulence in the combustion chamber in order to spread the flame quickly and thoroughly - as far as I can guess?  Copyright act 1911 gave protection for the author's lifetime plus 50 years.

The patent may have less relevance than Sturmey-Archer's philosophy of conservatism in making small changes taking cyclists with them rather than leading.  Many say Raleigh were over conservative and missed some opportunities such as choosing not to build the Molton bicycle for that company but the RSW16 developed subsequently was at least equal to the Molton.  That is avoiding investing in a new design that would become a commercial failure,  only making the most necessary changes and not doing things that compromise the bike such as by adding friction.  That is the original three gear hub sold all over the world but a four gear hub fails, decades later the four gear hubs are acclaimed  Then a modified four gear to provide five gears followed by a single cable five gear hub a few more decades later.  Lesson learnt that each step is small and when the cyclists were ready.  The improved dynohub and lighting failed in the 1980s but is popular now but is made in other countries.

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 gears are selling points rather than beneficial.  BSA which was the S-A earlier X series 3-speed hub built under licence had a similar feature - They claimed a friction reduction and silkiness was only on a part that contributes a very small amount of friction - so the claim was misleading and the ball bearing stopped being fitted in due cause anyway by S-A and BSA.

The ballbearing in the idler gears story is typical of design where you include a feature consider it then take it out before you go into production alternatively you see it later and deal with it if it becomes an issue or you need to make a change anyway.  I can probably think of many of these cases in every electronic design project that I have worked on.  Think it was a silly idea anyway and do it less often during my career but do carry out those that seemed silly at first but turned out to be very beneficial.  Another more conservative designer may not have explored the idea anyway and gotten the design done plain grey and our manager would have given one or other of us the job depending on which he wanted.  - 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 from the FW having a second epicyclic gear.  The two epicyclic gear assemblies in which one assembly is coupled to the other (providing an opposing drive and thereby the difference in two bigger ratios is the medium or 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 was making 1.5 million bikes a year.  During the 1970s the average distance cycled was only 20Cm 
a year.  Companies 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.

After 30 years the bike had lost most of its brilliant metallic green colour and had an orange layer of rust  - 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 under 50,000 miles all-weather and my father had a cycling cape. Mum told me that dad used the bike a lot so the mileage is no doubt higher? The front bearings are worn a little 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 there is nothing lose but in prime condition. 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, handlebars and spokes recently. Some spokes were loose though and many are different no doubt having been replaced with many of the spokes on the front wheel the Raleigh Bright Steel and they are a brilliant yellow/silver. All the rear wheel spokes are dull grey and some with a slight amount of surface rust, consistent with the hub/wheel and gear selector being replaced in 1950. It appears that the MK3 Lenton is not fitted with Bright Steel spokes they are not mentioned on the catalogue page anymore.
  • Oil the bike weekly or fortnightly with a quarter of a teaspoon of 20 SAE oil in the hub when using the bike and then the bike will last almost indefinitely.  First, scrub with a brush if necessary but in any case, wipe off the dirty oil with a rag.
  • The bike will need tyres, brake blocks, tubes some adjustments including the spokes from time to time and after 100,000 miles will need new sets of ball bearings, which are cheap to buy. Apparently, the chain may be okay at 100,000 miles if is on an enclosed type bike.  It depends on the terrain the Lenton's chain is not worn but stretched there are long steep hills into Sevenoaks where the bike did most of its use. 
I read that the link spacing is 0.5" and the chain should be changed if it is stretched by 0.5% but if the chain has stretched by 1% then sprockets may need to be changed as well.  Check the chain with a 12" ruler that is 1/16" should be changed or 1/8" the sprocket may also need to be changed.  There are various different width chains and modern chains are constructed differently so that they have sideways flexibility to suit derailleur gears.  
Worn sprocket can be seen to have hooked teeth
The chain length is stretched to 12 1/8" that is +1%.  The chain internal width is 3.5mm on a 3.1mm width sprocket but 4mm is a suitable replacement.  The sprocket was not the correct type for a variable gear hub apparently though it fits properly.  This type of screw fitting can alternatively take a derailleur with a wide hub forming hybrid gears. 
    • I have seen pictures of sprockets warn down to spikes but it is said that an AW hub will still look as if it were made that morning inside.
    • +++ A postman used his 1910 bike for 50 years 75 miles a day.  He had his bike serviced and many parts including forks were replaced under guarantee and Raleigh and never charged for the parts.  +++++ 
    • 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 wear one out every 5 years.
    • Raleigh Catalogue of the 1930s gives an example of a cyclist who cycled 100,000 miles in 500 days.  That is 200 miles a day.  That cyclist would be oiling the bike daily.
    • Oil in the hubs will run down the spokes and eventually onto the rims but I have not found it gets onto 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 30 SAE oil.  A tin of Sturmey-Archer oil I purchased in the 1970s is a thicker oil and probably is 30 SAE - the tin does not state the viscosity of the oil?
    The bike is exceptionally* light to pedal with a quiet free-wheel.   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 pedal - all adult high tensile steel with variable gears bikes of this sort of age are like this].

    I have been walking 7 KM for 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 from headaches, hay-fever, aches 
    and pains that I used to get.  This is important when starting to ride a bike again you probably 
    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 your 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.  
    good 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 should set the saddle height 
    higher using what I believe is similar to the 1980's method see further down the page.  That is 
    with your heel on the peddle your leg should be almost straight.

    The war grade tyres wore out quickly so my father fitted tandem war grade tyres and they did not wear 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 further than I want to push the bike home with a flat tyre.  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 1930s that their chrome was the best and that claim does not seem to be exaggerated.  I've to 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 sportbikes 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 polychromic 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 polychromic green paint that has survived was heavily coated in oil and dirt - evidently, cycle oil has protected the paint.  The MK2 Lenton sports' gold decoration that could be stylised Olympian runner's torch, a shield or most likely a serrated javelin head pointed to the ground to mark peace in the world.   The decoration is on the post-WW2 Lenton's up until the 1948 London Olympics.
    • The paint is called Polychromatic Green in the next model the; MK III, Lenton Clubman. There is no catalogue page for the 1946-47 MKII Lenton Sports, I have read but elsewhere I have found a short single page on this bike.  The technical differences between the bike models and the Lenton Sports, MK I and MK II becomes the Lenton Clubman MK III in 1949.  The lesser super sports becomes the Lenton Sports losing its bright orange gloss for a dark metallic green - I read or am advised.
        • The first Lenton was 1940, MK1 lady's bike, it does not mention that Reynolds 531 steel was used, but this use of aircraft steel became a feature after WW2.  I am advised that Reynolds 531 steel was used on sports bicycles from 1935 when it first became available but I have not found it mentioned in catalogue pages.  The frame on its own is very light can be lifted with two fingers.
        • I don't know if my bike ever had the Reynolds 531 steel label because I can not read the gold label at the top of the tube section between the crank and the saddle.  Alternatively, this may be the dealer in Sevenoaks' label?  
          • Other MK2 Lenton sports bikes do have the Renolyds 531 Steel label but there are other differences between each bike made.  The differences are not in any way seem compromises for post-war shortages and make-do policy of the time but everything looks just perfect for the job required.
        • The British manganese steel frame is Reynolds 531 Steel.  This type of frame makes the Lenton sports noticeably very light compared with some folding bikes and light compared to most ordinary town bikes.  The bike would weigh originally with the standard saddle under 14Kg and a conventional steel men's sports bike 1.2 Kg more.  By comparison, modern good bikes such as 2019, step-through Pashley Cycles with brazed jointing (lugged and braised) not welded frame weighs 20Kg.
        • The bikes made after the end of World War Two (September 1945) would have been made the best that was possible with available stock.  Sturmey-Archer briefly stopped making hubs from 1943. That might explain the paint not lasting so long but even so, all these bikes were made to last and they do last.  Also, explain why the four-speed hubs have a reputation for not working properly.

        Pictured left;  The tyre pump with the bike is a Bluemels motorbike pump fitted with an adapter for a bicycle valve.  One of the holding clips on the bike was loose and fell off.  The pump has rusted the rubber valve/piston is hard and does not work so not has stood over the years as well as the bike and one of the tyres.  I have painted some parts with Hammerite ant-rust treatment.  It has a fold-out foot stand.  

        I have also replaced the rubber seal/valve with a car brake cylinder rubber seal successfully.  The connecting tube is also patched at one end using some cloth and cotton thread binding.  The pump catches my hand and is uncomfortable but it does not work with a modern Presta valve tube.   The pump is therefore not usable on the bike.

        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 (I believe they make Schwalbe may be the most difficult to fit) and you need 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 length of the spokes, I learned this when I punctured the inner tube instead.  The rubber on the 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.

        597mm is the tyre bead diameter so if you measure a rim's circumference where the bead of the tyre sits and divide by pi (3.14) you will get this number.

        So what does 650A, E? mean? It is a tyre size code, 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 carrying 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 is unlikely to have those on the shelf for an old bike.

        Warning I have looked at a newer bike tube, tyres and this arithmetic does not work out for those.  For a mountain bike, the tyre diameter says 660mm is important but different widths 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, important to bed the tyre in by partially inflating the tyre and bouncing and turn the wheel on the ground (to bed the tyre in).  Check the tyre pressure each time before you go out on the bike for the first few times the tyre will keep needing more air until the tyre is fully bedded. 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 a tight fit (bike shops are likely to get in and sell you 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. 

        Warning;  Modern tyres vary in tightness and Schwalbe, more so than other tyres, but all tyres are more fragile as well so it is best to use plastic leavers.  I wrecked one new Schwalbe tyre using metal leavers.  Metal leavers cut into the thin plastic/rubber down to the wire re-enforcement in the bead of the tyre but metal leavers do no harm to old tyres.  

        Keep going around and around the wheel a little at a time.  Also, get the right tube, on my bike, is for a 26" x 1 1/4" has a larger diameter than the tube, a youngster in a bike shop will tell you is correct.  With the correct tube with quite a lot of air in it will not tend to keep popping out so much as you go around levering or using your hand to put the tyre on.

        Raleigh made in china tyres were easier to fit on another bike by comparison. 26" x 1 5/8" in that case.  Two leavers are enough the plastic ones I have, were from a bike shop and take a lot of strain. They can stack in any number (pairs obviously).  Old bike tool kits came with three leavers and two multiple size spanners which included a C spanner for the crank.

        Spokes - I had been putting off dealing with a wobble in the front wheel for the past 50 years but I have done it now (2019).  The front spokes are a mixture of the original Raleigh Bright Steel (which are brilliant) thicker greyish steel  spokes I fitted 45 years ago and set to the same tension as the neighbouring spokes;
        1. Firstly even up the spoke tensions they all played different tunes when plucked but I am advised that squeezing adjacent spokes is a better way - I think either way is fine.  Start from the valve so that one revolution can be determined.
        2. Tighten any loose spokes and slacken any that are unduly tight. 
        3. Making a small adjustment of 1/4 turn a spoke per wheel revolution and start from the valve.  The loosest spokes first. keep going around bring up the loosest spokes.  That is making small adjustments at a time.
        4. I was expecting the wheel to go eccentric at this stage and this had always worried me dealing with two parameters and I had considered a strategy before I started but the issue did not arise.
        5. Watch the wheel rotate next to a brake shoe and stop it when the gap closes.
        6. Loosen two spokes on one side and tighten one the other side a quarter of a turn. 
        7. Watch the gap on the other side do the same adjustment and keep doing the same swapping sides back and forth.
        8. I found the wheel is not eccentric but the remaining wobble is smaller.
        9. Repeat the spoke tension adjustment - but I am told this is not usually done.
        10. Check the wobble but in any case, you will be close enough and when the bike is ridden I did not see any wobble in the rim or the tyre. 
        Lastly, I am advised correcting the wobble (un-trueness) is the most important not the spoke tension.  Ensure that none of the spokes is too tight or they will break.  Since adjusting the front wheel spokes 5 or 6 more spokes have broken, none of the original spokes remains and I expect front wheel spokes will continue to break (April 2021).  The front-wheel has 32 1.5mm spokes and the rear wheel has 40 2mm spokes that are all original and the heads are ground to stop the spoke protruding originally.

        Lacing the spokes; On my bike are laced so that the spoke comes out 90' from the hole so therefore the spoke is slightly longer than the rim radius the diameter hub makes little difference. Therefore you may be able to replace the hub type and re-use the spokes that you could not do if the wheel is laced at a lesser angle (45') to the hole. 90' is the strongest strategy for the twisting force on the wheel.

        The arithmetic for calculating spoke length is simple Pythagoras break down to right angle triangle(s) sum of the square of the longest side equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides. These calculators can do it for you;

        My local bicycle shops had a stock of exactly the right spoke it did not need cutting down - I offered the broken spoke and the shop matched it. The only difference is that the thread is slightly different so it is necessary to take the wheel off and replace the new nut and spoke (4/2020).

        The rear (which has the newer 1950 FW hub) wheel's spokes are all thicker grey steel some have a little surface rust and some needed a little tensioning.  The wheel runs very true despite the extra weight the wheel carries but the back wheel does not get the shocks and hits that the front wheel gets.  A rider normally transfers their weight to the pedals thereby transferring the shock to their bent legs away from the riders body and the bike.  Evidently, this has made a lot of difference.

         Anti-rust treatment - I have been recommended two products;
        •  ACF-50 (which leaves the metal white) and Hammerite (which turns the rust black).
          • Hammerite works well.
          • Autosol has been recommended to me by a motorbiker, for chrome but I have not tried it.  The correct one for chrome is Autosol M1.
          • Just leave it and let the oil comes out of the hubs carry on protecting other parts. Has worked well but stains your fingers and clothes. 
          • 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 decoration 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 restore function, I am advised.  Simply dismantling cleaning and reassembling.  Soaking in white spirit or paraffin is unlikely to work.
            • Old oil paintings and probably a dirty painted bike decoration 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, saddlebag and pedal 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 available but not at an excessive price but you needed a recommendation.
            • There are two particularly good shoe repairers in Tunbridge Wells;  Guest's in Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells will take on more difficult work and work that might not turn out well.  He has done a very nice job hand stitching the saddle which looked inaccessible to stitch and the repairer said was difficult.  
              • The comfortable Raleigh saddle fitted from new probably weighs 1.2Kg. A cheap but good modern saddle with memory foam can be comfortable, lighter and I have used one of those whilst having the old saddle-stitched and repaired.
              Picture right above and below left;  The LENTON sports decoration has a flat top with 45' corners and a gold outline and probably is a transfer but could be stencilled?   The letters are italic capital 3D polychromic 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 painted red with black 3D shadow or outline.

              Political perspective

              The decoration 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 decoration has William Morris style swirls and curves.  The later decoration is a plain italic capital letter.  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 its 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 pedal the 7 miles to where she worked fruit picking.  

              There is an association between the twice 1948 Olympic Silver Medal winner Reg Harris OBE and Raleigh in the 1950s as well as Claude Butler in cycle making for competition (probably before 1939?)  In the late 1950s, a premium Reg Harris sports bicycle would cost about twice as much as Raleigh's top of the range standard bike and be a little heavier.   Reg Harris bike parts are not interchangeable with Raleigh parts thread sizes differ, for example, I understand.  In any case, Reg Harris cycle company found it difficult to get supplies of the parts it needed and I understand this is partly why the company ceased trading [ref discussion with a collector of old bikes in Maidstone 2018].  This would be £50 that might be £3,000 in 2012 prices. £10 bike would be £600 in 2012.  The cost of cycling has stayed the same at the lower end plus the introduction of very cheap bikes that have a reputation for a short life.  At the top end bikes have become more expensive but in any case, are not made to last 100 years and be guaranteed for the lifetime of the owner or to be particularly low friction in general.   There was also a Reg Harris Lenton but I don't know if it was used much in completion but Reg did train on one fitted with the FM (four-speed medium ratio hub gear).  Reg was employed by Raleigh at this time.   (Prices are roughly based on mean women and men's pay 1952 and 2012)

              There was a period at the beginning of World War 2 when the war seemed to be over-there or nothing happening the period was called the Phony War but the corner turned after the 8 months and the first attacks by Germany in Europe after Britain had announced it was going to war with Germany.  The mood began to change so we are in it together with 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 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 happening in Britain.  The warnings King George V made after WW1 were ignored then but was heeded after WW2.

              The picture above left;  I think Raleigh captured the mood of the time right with "Lenton sports" bike decoration.  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 was making munitions but was still also making 5,400 bikes a week that is; 280,000 a year until 1943 when Sturmey-Archer stopped making gear hubs and customers were advised to have their hubs repaired instead compared to 400,000 and 1.1 million bikes a year in 1939 and 1951 respectively.

              In reality, Winston Churchill may have given the people the NHS just the same as the Labour Government did.  There were a lot of Conservative Doctors opposed to the NHS though so it is unlikely that a Conservative government would have brought in the NHS.  It was an easier job for the Labour Government with mass popular support that it had to make those changes at that time.

              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 the 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 the best efficiency and comfort.
              Set the saddle height so that at the furthest stretch your leg is 
              almost straight.  Apply pressure from the ball of your toes on 
              the pedal.  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 doing so makes peddling 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 the 12th-14th century.  Raleigh and Sturmey-Archer were 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 adjusting the saddle and handlebars move 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 pedals are good at preventing your shoes from slipping on the pedal even when it is wet, unlike rubber grip pedals.  Move the pedal upwards to be ready to move off others wise it spins till it hits your shin but you soon learn to overcome that.  Pushing your ankle into the pedal and moving the pedal upward seems to work.

              Many patents were registered by Sturmey-Archer but not implemented.  Interchangeability of replacement parts was important and this aspect was common with British manufacturing.  Raleigh was a very conservative company but 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 a Bicycle is Made (1945) Part 1 and Part II above 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 off 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.

              A perspective of a Raleigh shop steward whose career spanned the merger with Tube Investments 
              in 1960 is that the company always had them and us attitude.  That view probably was held by 
               the management as well.
              There was a lot of repetitive work for workers at Raleigh but this is also true of many companies. 
              heard an anecdote of two workers in the car factory virtualising a chessboard and playing chess 
              exchanging moves at break time.

              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 counterbalanced.  But bicycle shops do sell appropriate oils.  I have the plastic filler from an old can of oil as an extension to reach into the oil ports.  But an oiler made with a plastic bottle and a ball pen inner pipe works well with thicker 10W40 engine oil, but 5W30 would be marginally better.

              In practice, bikes are not kept in regular use and oiled frequently so oil is not continually flowing through the transmission but becomes a black hard or sticky and a problem.  Bike hub gear repairs and enthusiasts, therefore, recommend using mineral oil such as a lite car gear or engine oil instead.  My concern was that engine oil has additives including some to make it hygroscopic, absorb corrosive products of combustion and work at high temperatures.  Engine oil has to get hot in order to release that water held.  Even so, mineral oil is better I am advised.

              The tube is a car automatic brake bleeder made using a bicycle tyre 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 lever 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 into places and with care should not slip.  If you have the space to work the mole wrench is very good.  The adjustable spanner at the end looks rubbish but it can work well on small nuts and bolts but it is rubbish with larger heads because 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 so 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. 

              With all types of adjustable spanners or grips always hold them near nut or bolt. If you do need to use an adjustable spanner the vintage King Dicks above right is very good because it has a long slide and consequentially the jaws do not spring apart. Probably from a P4 Rover car tool kit.

              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 motorbikes) - Apparently Raleigh does not use these sizes.
              • Whitworth.
              • British Standard Whitworth - which uses smaller spanners.
              • British Association (BA) - Some 2BA and 8BA are used on the hub-dynamo.
              • American Fine (AF)
              • Unified fine (UNF)
              • Metric (M) is the width including the thread in millimetres but there are a regular pitch and a fine pitch thread alternative.
              The two important things are oil and 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 wear oval and will pit the bearing shells if there are tight spots hence the tolerance 1/4 to 1/2 turn of slack.  If 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.
                • NOTE bearings on bikes are tightened more than this, no doubt for aesthetic reasons,  it seems the nuts can be loosened by only 1/8 turn without causing the brake pads to rub.   The bearing does not feel so wobbly compared with a correctly adjusted car wheel bearing consequently.
                • Gear Hub bearings are set with less slack 1/16th turn on the drive side and 1/8th turn on the other side.  I have read more slack elsewhere it may depend on the hub?
              • 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 from the correct advice because the bearings are oversized 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 pedal.  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 and is suitable.  Unfortunately, that foot pump, which worked very well, but broke after a year or two.  I have replaced it with a high-pressure bicycle stirrup pump.  Not all clip-on bicycle type pumps can reach a high enough pressure either some might just achieve that pressure.

              The short air pipe on most modern hand bicycle pumps will pull on the tube valve and break it off as you pump.   Old tubes made before 1970 were fine the valve is much more securely anchored.

              Hub Gears adjustment;

              Along with all the cables, leavers and selectors, the linkage entering the hub should be greased periodically.

              Old hubs - Have an indicator rod that should be checked for tightness occasionally but it should not be over tightened it has a fine pinch thread that does not need a lot of force.  Even though I have only ever tightened it with a fine pitch screw-drive one broke on my bike I had also broken a gear selector cable over-tightening it decades ago.   I have not experienced the indicator rod come loose except before the rod stretched and broke but I am told they do and then they spring out and are lost.

              Newer hubs - Do not have an indicator rod but you check the adjustment by looking at the shoulder of the toggle chain through the inspection hole.  When replacing a rear-wheel screw the toggle chain back into the hub then loosen it up to half a turn to prevent twisting the toggle chain.

              Adjustment - As you screw up the adjuster you will tend to wind up the cable. Don't worry too much about this until after you have set and locked the adjustment. Then select top gear so that the cable is slack and the spinner assembly can then be helped to unwind the wound-up cable.

              An alternative method for setting a hub gear;
              • Put gear lever into second gear. 
              • Undo the barrel adjuster on the toggle chain until the hub goes into the no gear position. Now turn the opposite way until the hub engages second gear again. 
              • At this point, turn the barrel another full circle and a half.  Lock off the barrel.
              • Put hub into first gear. Ensure the gear lever will select first without the cable is very tight. You should be able to pull a tiny amount of the toggle chain out of the axle by hand.
              • If you can't, turn the barrel back half a turn.
              The simplest method is;  Move the selector to high gear and adjust the cable to leave a little slack. 
              Do check elsewhere the correct way to set your hub. - Usually, select the 2nd gear then adjust the cable so that the end of the indicator rod or the shoulder of the toggle chain is just level with the end of the shaft looking through the inspection hole.  There is another marker on the indicator rod for "N" gear, 3 of 4 on a four-speed hub but you don't need to be concerned with this.

              Hub gear's;
              My bike has an FW (4-speed hub), pictured above left, which 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 from my bike and has a spring-loaded cap.  My bike has a 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. 

              view-1012.pdf (

              The Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub gear of 1902 succeeded later variants because of its 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 work.  I have included a number of videos below-showing variations of similar things.  Some of this was explained to me in relevant Facebook groups.

              All hub gears are based on the original 3 speedepicyclic 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 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 epicyclic 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 pinions and the planet idler gears are a large and small gear.  There is a single outer ring gear that meshes with one set of planet idler gears (I have never taken a hub apart)
              • Normal gear - No power is not transferred through the gears.
              • Low Gear & High Gear - use the same smaller sun pinion.
              • Bottom – The smaller sun wheel pinions are de-clutched from the shaft and then the other larger sun pinion 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.

              Three-speed epicyclic gear operation explained

              There is space for movement to preventing side-thrust on the gear assembly bearings so their no-load carrying through the meshing the gears but for turning forces. 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. 

              The 5-speed hub uses, I understand from the web, mostly the same parts but there is a separate cable to select which sun pinion to de-clutch and to clutch to the shaft.  The selector is called supper-low/super-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 the repair was simply the replacement of the whole assembly.  Also, a stronger spring and better sun pinions fitting locking clip but primarily were different having two epicyclic 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 epicyclic gear sets on the S5/2]. 

              S5/2 hub explained is very similar to the FW hub  
                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 overrun.

              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 cannot 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.

              5-speed hub 1921 Henry Sturmey slightly wider ratios than the model launched in the 1960s.  The 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 the 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 Tony Hadland.

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

              Anecdotally I am told that two leaver type 5 speed hubs are reliable and cable does not need adjusting often.  I spoke to three people on Facebook in 2019 and May 2020 who have bikes from the 1960s. This is not a very significant sample though.  This is the S5/2. 

              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 cheap modern bike with a 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 uniformly tensioned so evidently, the bike has had very little use but even so, has some damaged parts and no brakes  (I was a boy once and did more harm than good sometimes in maintaining my bike).  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 so is different to a road bike.  An old long-wheelbase road, touring or sportbike will fly past the mountain bike easily on the flat.  In my case I get off and push on may hill on either bike that I would have pedalled up when I was 20.  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 the bike was made 100 years ago.  The sports or touring bikes like the Lenton sports, by comparison, have a long wheelbase and understeer so you stand to get across a bad patch in the road without falling off better but not steer around it.  You can see the curve of the forks forward on the Lenton sports to provide a lot of under-steer and the long-wheelbase 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 steel.  The bikes and most things are bought with no expectation of long reliable life and that maintaining the bike would not be viable anyway.  The shock absorbers are probably an important part of the design used in minimisation of the risk of frame fracturing.

              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.  I add grease to the ends of the cables as well.  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 can cut your fingers.

              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 to change gear by keeping the bike and pedals moving but under the 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 comes out this will come clean after a while.   With regular cleaning and oiling, the oil will not mark or stain anything.  You lose both ways if don't lubricate because the chain will not flex and may jam with both small sprockets selected as you would leave the bike when not in use.

              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 maintenance 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.  The stand is still useful for any bike and particular a bike with drop handlebars.

              Comparison with an expensive modern bike

              I asked this of some people on Facebook who knew the Lenton or bikes of that age and expensive modern bikes.   I have never had the opportunity to try a modern expensive bike for myself.

              I am told they are much lighter weight at 7Kg than a folding bike
              , half the weight of the Lenton and 1/3rd the weight of popular modern bikes such as a new Pashley.
              • Better comfort over long rides with carbon fibre, tubeless tyres bike than old steel frame bikes.
              • Another opinion is each has its place.  The steel frame bikes have an "alive" feel.  This comparison is often said particularly about Reynolds high tensile steel frame bikes.  That is they have a flexible springiness.
              The other big thing I like with the Lenton because of its long wheel-base is that I feel a bump or pothole and take it in my arms and then have time to raise my bum and take it in my legs and not the bike.  Even so, most of the original front wheel spokes have been replaced.

              Also, the bike is noticeable not knocked back by bumps and pot-holes but flies over them.  The long curve springy forks do a great deal for the bike.  It is rather a nice feeling in that bike that modern bike just doesn't have - as far as I know?

              • A Trek Domane has a longer wheelbase, longer fork offset and lower BB height as well as a technology that lets the seat tube free float to a degree, all of these are designed to build in the same comfort that you are describing on the Lenton.  Not all carbon fibre bikes are the same, in the same way, that not all steel bikes are the same.  Depending on what you are looking for in the bike, you'll find something that offers the same features.
              These first-hand experiences are the first have been told to me.  A few bike shops have said an old bike can't be matched and a long-wheelbase is only now coming back.
              • Another said; Interesting question.  I can’t go that far back but I have a 1984 Gitane and 2019 Colnago.  Both top-end bikes of their day.  For me, the big improvements would be weight drop.  Makes accelerating so much easier.  Gear ratio spread. Sub compacts with 12-speed cassette. Largest a 29 on Colnago.  Makes hills a doddle.  I think my largest on the Gitane is 26.  Biggest difference for me is the brakes.  Descending with disk brakes makes me feel invincible!  And they are so good in the wet.
              I think what stands out in what you say is better breaking in the wet.  I am a short distance road/town bicycler and hub gears offer so many advantages particularly that I can concentrate on the road and other users rather than be concerned with the gears or if the chain will fall off.
              • I am advised that with; electronic shifters.  You can really abuse them without throwing the chain. 
              I can understand being stuck with a flat tyre but a flat battery on a bicycle. It is the ease of changing gear whether stationary or moving that I found 4 widely spaced gears on my bike very nice.  I also have a modern three-speed and that is a bit more notchy but easy still and I am advised that is because there is an internal alignment issue the could be fixed.
              I was prompted to ask partly because on another forum on E-Cars I suggested if you were going to abandon your car don't be charmed to get an e-car.  Get a nice old pre-1961 bike with the lower friction all thin oil-lubricated transmission.
              • In reply I am advised; when my low battery light comes on it will last for at least another 100 miles. I’d have to be pretty dumb to run out of juice.
              The comparison;  The Lenton Sport top of the range Raleigh £19/14- (about £850 measuring inflation to £1,500 estimating working-class man's pay, now) bicycle and a modern carbon fibre frame £5,000 bike.

              Another comparison on Facebook was that the 1930s bicycle the other recently acquired is lighter to peddle than his superbike.  All around a nicer bike to ride.

              Similar bike (to my Lenton sports); My 1959 (Elswick) Hopper is the bike that rides most like you describe your Lenton. It just goes and glides.  I sit in it, not on it.   I found that also when I made a direct back to back test of my 83 Superbe and a similar age and spec Gazelle sports roadster.  It turned out the Gazelle was noticeably longer.  Let’s not underestimate the effect of the fork, too.

              A few other comments on Facebook; A good frame will always be a good frame but a good modern bike will outperform an old frame.  

              Some other comments say the old bike is better and in any case, all bikes before the 1970 or the later 1970s are much lighter to peddle because of their long wheelbase and the steel frame particularly if it is high tensile strength steel.  Also, bikes made before the 1970s still had the oil port for thin oil on the wheel hubs.  Although the bottom bracket was greased after 1961.

              This Astra bike has a British made 3-speed AW Sturmey-Archer hub dated 1985 and probably was imported from Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia.  The bike is a little heavier and has a lot stiffer frame than the much older Lenton but is made of a lightweight Soviet high tensile strength steel.  The gears change easily but not as easy as the Lenton although they have improved with lubrication.  It is all serviceable and I have re-greased the front hub and crank but there is access for water into the handlebar stem and that is seized and can not be adjusted to be raised or lowered.  The bike is labelled Burton-on-Humber, England and the dealer was located in Canterbury.  I purchased the bike locally for £5- in 2019.
              I am also advised that Elswick certainly imported from the Soviet bloc in the '70s and possibly '80s.  Their own 'chopper' style bike, the Elswick Bronco, was imported from Pannonia of Hungary then part assembled and badged at Barton on Humber.  The recalled history is different though Elswick also, for a while in the mid-'80s, has a wholly-owned subsidiary company which was a sales outlet called Astra Cycles in Scunthorpe.
              Braking in the rain is virtually not possible on the newer Astra but works in light rain on the Lenton but in heavy rain works in an eventually sort of way on the Lenton by comparison.  I have been recommended Fibrax Raincheater brake blocks with leather inserts and these do work in the rain.  But the more expensive option is to have alloy wheels.  The Astra wheel rims are chrome plated with scoring that looks as if it carries water under the brake pads,  which seems to keep the leather part of Fibrax brake pads wet and so operate in the rain.  The bike also requires a new chain because although there is no apparent wear in the sprockets the chain has stretched by 1%.

              Although the bike is a little less comfortable to sit on, that is not a problem.  It has shorter pedal arms which are closer to the ground and it is a little more work to peddle and keep moving on the flat.  The frame is stiffer and it does not have that "alive" feel but getting on and off is so easy by comparison.   

              The bike does not have the willingness and help you go fast character of the Lenton but a slower look around and enjoy the sun and the scenery character.  I like this bike a lot in dry weather.

              1975 Hercules Balmoral (Tube Investments) has not got a water trap in The handlebar height adjustment and the adjustment works fine.  By comparison with the Astra and the Bazanti bikes are not designed to wear out, become obsolete, always feel nice or be less than fit for purpose

              By comparison, this 1975 Hercules Balmoral step-thru bike seems the same, bearings, gear hub, the frame is a little too small for me but it is noticeably the bike is less work to pedal and I am advised that Raleigh (Tube Investments) bikes are lighter work to pedal.  But like the mountain bike, this bike handles at low speed and small space well and it has a short wheelbase.  The bike has a comfortable sprung saddle like the Lenton, a good springy frame that gives the bike a smooth and easy ride.


              Until sometime in the 1960's all Raleigh bikes and probably all bicycles were made as sports bikes but with variants of heavy steel or lightweight Reynolds 531 steel (developed in Birmingham in 1935) or later Alloy (aluminium),  saddles, panniers, racks, baskets, chain guards, mudguards, drop or straight handlebars.   They were not made unnecessarily heavy to achieve strength and robustness although basic bikes are heavy but unlike the Indian motorbike which is very heavy with a big low power engine.  By the way, the name Indian was chosen with respect to the first nation people of America.  British engineering tends to be what works and is different from US engineering which tends to be expedient heavy design with lots of parts.  German or Swiss engineering tends to be very correct.

              So the extra feature of a bicycle is lightweight, light to pedal and very robust combination unique to bicycles and the UK lead the world in this technology for 90 years.  During this time many Sturmey-Archer parts are interchangeable with other makers parts around the world due to cross-licensing and conservationism 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 epicyclic gear assemblies and the drive path was through a number of meshing gears. The non-slip feature was 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 sportbikes. 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 became Guaranteed forever;  
              Offered since 1902 were not transferable and lasted for the lifetime 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 its 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 the cause was due to normal ware-and-tare.  It did not apply to bicycles leased or rented out.
              I don't know how well Raleigh compared with other manufacturers Guarantees but I have heard an anecdote that a postman's bike was repaired all his working life (1910-1960, 75 miles a day, I believe? Facebook 2020) and Raleigh always supplied parts no charge.

              By 1907 the policy changed and the non-transferable part was dropped and the Guarantee was "forever" but between 1951 and 1957 the Guarantee was reduced to just one year. (Facebook August 2020).  Raleigh merged with Tube investments in 1960.

              Sturmey-Archer hubs sold separately had a 50-year Guarantee in 1951.

              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.

              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 a make-do return to good quality control in manufacturing again.  This story can be re-told for so many companies from the 1970s.  Hubs were not made for very high endurance anymore 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 the wine.  Presumably, the transmission is normally enclosed in order to keep the grit and dirt out so thereby staying a low friction transmission in order to make the maker's claim meaningful?

              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 having only been 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 than modern chains have.  One shaft drive of about 1900 has rollers for gear teeth the same as ceramic drive above.

              The Sturmey-Archer story mentions the Deal Drive (automatic gear Victorian invention) more efficient (pg. 173).  I don't know what this was.  Some inventions don't retain the natural foot circling cycle motion that gives a rider a feel for what they are doing - these have an infinitely variable transmission which might also cloud your decision about when to adjust and by how much to change the gearing?

              It is likely but I don't know that the biggest contributor to friction in either this bike or an old bike transmission is the tyre friction.  Tyre friction is generally minimised by pumping the tyres to high pressure and using slim tyres which both old bikes and modern racing bikes have in common.
              Picture Right; The bike is cleaner now (summer 2019) and some of the colour and the decoration can be seen.  The remaining brite-steel spokes are brilliant.  I have put the pump back on the bike

              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-pedal 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 pedalling 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 were 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 an old fashioned series lighting circuit open lamp, fails all lights will go out but with a modern parallel lamp connection one lamp fails the other lamp will receive too much current.  The ratings vary depending on the age of the bike. Blog Bicycle hub-dynamo maintenance - Includes suggestions and making a magnet keeper and re-magnetising a dynamo.
              • Various lighting parts and battery units are to be used with the hub dynamo or Dyno-Gear-hub.
              • Fixed wheel and back-pedal brake.
              • An internal combustion engine was briefly badged Sturmey-Archer.

              Each batch of Lenton bicycles made are different the brake cables on my 1946 Lenton are more elegant with the knurled adjuster and knurled lock nut and easier to use than the later one also pictured above.  I do not know the age of the last two but it has an oiler to oil the cable you turn the spring clip to expose the oil hole.  The second picture is the barrel nipple that has been resoldered a second time.  


              The Sturmey-Archer Story, Tony Hadland, ISBN; O 9507431 2 7

              History timeline
              • 1889 - a wealthy lawyer called Frank Bowden bought a controlling interest in a small Nottingham bicycle company called Woodhead, Angois & Ellis, renaming it the Raleigh Cycling Company.
                • There is a little variation in history.
              • 1896 - 30,000 bikes made this year.
              • 1914 - Over 50-60,000 bikes made that year.  My Grandfather had a three-speed before WW1.  Raleigh was the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world.
              • 1939 - 400,000 bikes made a year.
              • World War Two - 280,000 bike made a year.
              • 1951 - 1.1 million bikes made a year.
              • 1960 - Raleigh merges with Tube Investments.
              • 1950s and 60s - After World War two, many people from all over the British Empire plus Polish and others who had fought in that war married and remained in the UK.  Until WW2 most British people had not seen a black person but among the many US armed forces were blacks who also remained.  Raleigh operated a policy of not employing black people at the instigation of the unions (I understand).  The company reversed that policy and became a leading employer of black people;
              • 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.

              • 2000 - Sturmey-Archer - Government minister David Blunkett discusses rescue plan.  Ultimately Sturmey-Archer is purchased by a private company and the machinery sent to Taiwan.
              • 2012 - Raleigh company leaves the UK.

              Dating your bike if it is Raleigh or another brand made by Raleigh; Is best to ask on some of the Facebook groups.  This all helps;
              You need the date from the gear hub, eg; 1 50 is January 1950.
              Picture of the gear selector trigger.
              The frame number under the saddle.
              The frame number under the bottom bracket.

              I quote from a Facebook member;

              There are tables circulating and on the internet, they have gaps some are wrong.  There are multiple frame numbers for certain years, they are omitted in favour of the one which best "fits" into a sequence. A typical case of trying to make the evidence fit the theory.

              In reality, from 1937 onward, there were many patterns in use, all unrecorded.
              Kurt Kaminer is the most comprehensive effort to document them online, but he makes no attempt to delve into the War years black hole simply due to not having anything to contribute.  Similarly, there is no attempt to explain the intricacies of the many unrecorded 1950s/60s patterns for the same reason.  As an American, his access to surviving bikes was limited.  But nevertheless, it covers most and hasn't been updated for years so he did well. Sheldon Brown didn't know anything about frame numbers, and used information available online, as did Tony Hadland.  It's a very specialised area! Indeed, both he and Kurt made one big mistake, where they misinterpreted the month code in the 1973 onward standardised pattern. This is today the best known and understood one of all, so it shows best how little info they had at the time.

              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;

              The bike's transmission is all lubricated with 20 SAE oil but 3-in-one brand turns out to be a very bad choice in the hub long term but okay everywhere else putting a protective coating on the paint and chrome.  The drawing in the link further down this page below shows another type of oil port on the crankcase 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 with a special oil can.  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 Polychromic green paint has mostly fallen off which is typical of the 1946 MK II Lenton Sports bike.  The enamel undercoat is exposed with some light rust on most of the biker.

              The original mudguards were cream in colour, brittle cellulite.  These replacement Bluemels Lightweight mudguards 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 those 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 epicyclic 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 Giovanni Fontana, is credited with building the first human-powered four-wheel land vehicle 

              Some bicycles began to manufacture in the 18th century, these were wooden and had no pedals.  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.

              Sometime in the 1950s, 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.  That was instead of named gears using the letters (B, L, N, H).  Before 1937 the selector was placed on the cross-bar but there was an optional handlebar selector offered this was the original type and was different,  with a leaver that rotates in a barrel with notches.

              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 their death.  One of those was Erasmus Darwin's Hydrogen and oxygen pumped to an expansion chamber rocket motor, which had no application until the 20th century.  The 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% versus 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 in addition to commercial research.  All funding 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.  The front brake cable broke 40 years ago and I re-soldered it but not that well so I have replaced the cable in 2019.

              N normal gear - This is fast but easy on the flat.  Unfortunately, the hub clicks slowly in this gear so I did not use to use this gear but the symptom has changed since then.  My Father told me the clicking was unfortunate because N gear was the best gear.

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

              Britain is credited with the first automobile in 1800-1810 but there seem to be others in the USA and one Paris using the first Internal Combustion Engine although steam or electric was used generally.  Many types of the bicycle were developed.  1896 The flash-boiler was patented this meant steam cars could go from turn-on after 90 seconds then move silently and in a 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;
              The first practical epicyclic gear hub was made by Scott and Phillot in 1878. At this time there were very many bike inventions patented but an American machinist Johnson made the first commercially successful epicyclic gear hub in 1895.  Depending on what you read between 500 and 1,000 patients 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 were re-invented for thousands of years capability and the wealthy all came together to implement them.

              William Reilly invented much more robust and cost-effective epicyclic hub gears some years after leaving the Hub and Two-speed gear Co, which later became owned by BSA.  Reilly asked his fellow engineer James Archer to patent it in his name instead.  William 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 manufacture 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 Hadland (dedicated to William Reilly the unaccredited inventor of the modern bike epicyclic gears hub).

              The bicycle chain was invented in 1880.  These earliest chains were less robust until the type with a shaft slid inside a tube were developed.  At first, each link pivoted on the two thin metal link points on each side {references to follow}.  Modern chains also include a roller, and chains for dérailleur gears have more sideways movement.

              Dérailleur gears were developed in 1905 but there was some form of dérailleur gear in 1899.  This type of gear provides close speed ratio's but Sturmey-Archer did not provide until the 1930s when there was an interest in close speeds ratios.  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 and even lower maintenance option (because they now don't need frequent oiling).
              Sturmey-Archer used to make parts for hybrid hub and dérailleur gears.  The hub gear can be 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 onto 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 at 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 pedal 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 engines 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 from silent cycling, electric or a steam car.  Meanwhile in France car manufacturers had not been stalled by the horse lobby as it had been in Britain and small 500cc, £600 cars. These cars were petrol, also steam and electric were being made.

                  Bikes were really developing fast with the lightest weight hub gears, frame and the lightest pedal 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 license but with ball races in the planet gears that hardly reduced the now very low friction anymore.  Helical gears to reduce friction and gear wine did not seem to exist at all in British made 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 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 balanced position.  After some months of very light use, the wheel only needs to be moved half a spoke width.

                  Pictured right is 1950 Lenton sports and is mostly original;

                  I am advised by Rob Lucky (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 an FM as the upgrade was often. I attached the as found even had the front Raleigh hub knock offs. Whatever you can do to promote these bikes is great."

                  British manufacturers were exporting as much as possible after World War Two, it was vital for the country to pay off the vast war debt.  Chrome and I guess, therefore,  Gold and Reynolds 531 lightweight steel could be used again although the bikes were still "utility" and the tyres were war grade tyres. For example, the price of a loaf of bread was still regulated until the early 1960s and I was very young.  All the bright parts did not have to be painted black for the black-out now the war had ended.

                  The paint on this Canadian bike has much better paint quality than the paint on my bike. The paint on my bike has mostly fallen off.  It is also reasonable to assume that the painting process with a new stock of tubing and many other things in short supply would continually improve on this new model of the Lenton bicycle.

                  Rob also tells me the chain guard that was added on was the 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 slightly.

                  Left the 1950 Lenton sports bike after restoration note Lenton Sports decoration 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.  The main decoration on the tube from the crank to the saddle is very similar but different, I think, lettering size has been corrected and the outline is not gold.

                  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 drawback with modern bikes is how heavy they are too pedal since all light oil transmission was replaced by greased bearings.  This happened;
                  • The crank in 1961(USA Facebook) and the front hub after 1960 (this part of the Raleigh history and Tube Investments merger with Raleigh in 1960 is not well documented).
                  • At some point, the viscosity of the oil 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 outdoor general use is what is recommended by the bike makers but is not recommended by people who use and maintained a lot of old bikes. 
                  • 3-in-one oil is a good oil but it should not be used in a gear hub.   After 20 or 30 years it will have coated things like black paint and stop the hub gear selection from working properly.  The tin used to have a picture of a bicycle on it in the 1960s and it is okay for anything else protecting chains, house and shed hinges coating what is used on black.  The black residue from using 3-in-one oil up until 50 years ago was all over the bike and seems to need a chisel and a wire brush to remove it but it protected the steel and the paint underneath.
                  • By comparison, modern engine or gearbox oils have micro-beads that helps the oils adhere to the surfaces and I guess you do not need to or probably should not oil the bike so often consequently.  10W40 engine oil is a thin oil but it is thicker than bicycle oil but I am advised is okay.   Hair clipper oil is probably the most suitable but I have not used this oil but any of the bicycle oils should be suitable.
                  • The Sturmey-Archer gear hubs stopped being fitting with oil ports from 1991/2 (Facebook).  Modern bikes with grease used in the transmission are consequently hard to pedal.
                  Pictured Right below;  Cotter pins are made of mild steel and bend easily the threads are easily ruined.  The only way to remove or fit them is with a press tool.  I ruined the thread on the cotter pin in my teens decades ago but that happens easily anyway if you don't use a press tool to remove and fit them.  See if you can use one from a bike shop.  Alternatively use a vice, a piece of tubing to increase the leverage and a ring spanner or socket to press the cotter pin enough to move it easily but don't use too much force, such as an extra leaver, refitting a pin.  There is a right way and a wrong way to push the pin in and the right way is less likely to catch your trouser turn-ups, I understand.  
                  Useful video

                  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.

                  Reg Harris OBE Cyclist trains on a Lenton sports bicycle with a FM hub;

                  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;

                  Bike catalogue pages;

                  Lenton sports Ladies sports bike first introduced in 1940, Model 44. Then the MKII in 1946 bike but the first with Reynolds 531 Steel frame bikes were introduced in 1936 as aircraft steel frame I understand, but before that molybdenum steel was used on sports bikes weighing a little more at 15.5Kg.

                  1943 We are making no more gear hubs until the end of the war

                  Three and four-speed hubs 1947. 
                  Review of copied AW hubs 1940s-1960s;

                  About some of the comments I have made in the text;
                  • S-A Sprinter S7, 1997-2000 has a single ring gear, single epicyclic 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 1980s 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 are mostly interchangeable 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.  I say most but not all Sturmey-Archer gear selectors can be used with all Sturmey-Archer hubs.
                  The bike decoration;
                  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.

                  • MK 1 up to 1939 --- Feature of the bike frame was a gold line stencilled on some of the tube sections.
                  • Right; MK II, 1946-1947  --- Looks like a serrated arrowhead with a gold stencil outline on mustard yellow with deep blue shadow, green text.  I think it is a stylised Olympian runner's torch.  This decoration is also on some Lenton MK III made prior to the 1948 London Olympics.
                    • The 1948 London Olympics had been postponed from 1939 due to war.
                  • There are a number of other decorations in around 1949 Lenton Clubman (the successor to the Lenton Sports) and the 1950's Reg Harris Lenton is an Olympic torch with a red flame. There is a very similar decoration to the one pictured right used on the later Lenton sports but without the gold outline.

                   LENTON SPORTS

                  • Above;  MK III from 1950 --- Clean plain italic text.  But there were many more different decorations.
                  Road Safety;

                  The picture above; The reflective jacket on the left and the reflective bike clips are from the early 1970s. The helmet and reflective jacket on the right were bought in 2018.
                  • The Highway Code advises cyclist to stop at the left-hand side before turn left-right or going straight on.  But you need to judge the traffic and the situation.  A junction near me had the drain hole fitted the wrong way so that a narrow width tyre wheel could jam between the grating.  What was particularly bad in the case was that cars were parked so the problem could not be seen in advance.
                  • Learn to get on and move off with your left or right sides and feet.  A step-thru bike is easier to get on and off but they are a bit heavier which does not matter.  A full-size bike will ride the potholes better but the vibration on a regular bike is harsher, road holding poorer than with a sportbike.  So don't be shy if you are a bloke about riding one.  
                  • High visibility is important.  Wearing a silly hat is okay if it gets you noticed but helmets do encourage you to go faster because they give a false sense of safety.  Helmets are not required for the cyclist but they do change the type of injury you might get in a fall or crash.
                  • The low down kerb light on old bikes is very useful if you have to cycle in the dark.
                  • Wearing a cloth cap - offers no physical protection but the cyclist will have a slow careful gentle pace outlook in mind.  Anyway, he could not cycle fast the hat would blow off.
                  Some lorries carry a label FIR - I understand this is for cities like London and it is a cyclist awareness programme in which the driver gets to ride a bike in order to appreciate cycling. 

                  It is notable that people seem much more tolerant and courteous of cyclist.  Cycle lanes, cycling on the pavement and on-road is mostly done with a lot of care on all sides.  

                  Having a liking for well-made machines do not get many new machines sold but it does create interesting and useful work for the 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.

                  I have been rubbing the Lenton Sports down with linseed oil and doing that has improved all surfaces, enhanced the decoration 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 curb 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).  It has been suggested to me that the tread on a bicycle is not important because the tyre is round in section so naturally pushes water away compared with a motorbike or car tyre is flat and reinforced by a steel band so tends to trap water if there were little tyre tread.

                  In nature Gaia works where 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 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 and photographed from a different
                  angle so the polychromic green frame colour and gold outline stylised Olympic torch can be seen.

                  Bicycle dynamo blog page

                  Pandemic cycling and bicycle selection Blog page