Sunday, 7 October 2018

Lenton Sports bicycle

Changed; 01/11/2022, 28/10/2022

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 was manufactured by Raleigh at Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham, England.  I was surprised to find the brilliant chromed sprocket covered and protected by a coating of black oil residue and dirt.  Other chrome, steel and stainless steel have been speckled with surface rust or covered with oil deposits 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 bike's first 25 years.  During the period that the MK 2 Lenton sports were made (1946-1948) many changes were made the Raleigh Heron chain wheel was changed to plain straight lines and radiuses pattern, and the 1930s style swirls used in the decoration were out of fashion other than to use stock which must not be wasted was instilled in everyone during and after the war.

* The stabilisers on my first bicycle were preventing me from riding the bike properly and I feared falling off rocking from side to side from one stabiliser 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 1985 Astra that I ran for a few years also do not handle well, are heavy to pedal and tire your wrists with vibration, unlike the Lenton sport. 
The Lenton sports feels like it is pulling and encouraging me to go faster the faster I go more than any modern bike I have ridden or been told of.  The bike handling is very good, holding the road very well.  The bike smooths the bumps, variations and shorter hills faster and more easily but needs a higher speed to start going but when the bike slows I get off sooner.  The Lenton is higher geared with a 4 nicely placed and spaced speeds hub.  "Fearless" has been said to me of other bikes similarly of this age.  

I ran a moped, a small motorbike and half a dozen cars for many decades and learnt a lot about car maintenance and driving that is applicable to bicycles consequently.  I fixed the gear selector and started using my Lenton sports and then 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. 
By comparison, I am told, a modern titanium frame bike is stiff but light. 
I am also told that a 1930s Hercules sports bike is a heavy
steel bike but light and comfortable to ride.
I have also been told that a modern bike can be fast and comfortable but 
I do not know how much you would need to spend to get that sort of bike 
by comparison.

By comparison, people also prefer good modern steel bikes;
I liked the 1975 Hercules Balmoral step-thru steel frame bike that I had.  At this age, the frame might be the best but the bike would be improved with an older 4 or a 5-speed gear hub.  Easier to start off but not quite so smooth over the road bumps and vibration but smooth enough and still very light to pedal. The frame is stiff enough for you to carry any amount of weight without changing the ride much.  At this time Tube Investments (1980) was making all the tubing for every winning steel frame bicycle in competitions. 

I have been advised that I would like an expensive modern carbon fibre bike with an electrically operated dérailleur, apparently, the chain does not tend to come off.  Some longer wheelbase bikes are becoming available again such as a TREK Domane and heavy-to-lift, light-to-pedal Dutch steel bikes have never stopped being made that way.  

My modern Peugeot Course sport bike with 622x22 tires, about 26", 12Kg steel frame.   The bike is very hard on the cyclist, and can be ridden more slowly or fast more easily on smooth roads but is harder work to pedal on most roads which are rougher.  The bike does take a rack and carrying weight affects the stability of the bike similarly.  The bike was greatly improved by fitting straight handlebars and 32mm wide tires and is now equal to or lighter to pedal on most roads than the Lenton.  So I would now choose to cycle further on this bike consequently but the bike is still uncomfortable though a lot better than it was.  The bike is lighter and smaller making it good to take on off-peak trains.

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, just.  The gear cable used to have sleeving on the inner 
cable.  The front brake cable nipple has been re-soldered.   The correct end cap is 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.  Tying lights on with a secondary piece of string can help.  The low-down lamp is 
now a decoration I purchased this replacement in the 1970s but I almost never cycle at night.  The first thing my 
father added when the bike was new was the blue scotch tape, which protected the chrome handlebars.

Soon these brake adjusters would be
changed to a plainer style post-war
adjusters.  I think these are the pre-WW2
(1930s) type  but not chrome-plated
because of the war restrictions on
metals reserved for military equipment.
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, and light-to-pedal technology.  These bikes and other bikes with Sturmey-Archer gears had been winning in competitions for decades whereas no derailleur-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 2, 3 or 4 speeds at this time. 

Note that Derailleur gears were not permitted in competition until 1937 and have close or medium ratios between speeds.  Sturmey-Archer made close, medium and wide ratios between speeds and gear hubs at this time.  Wide-ratio between gears with easy gear change is suited for all types of use but particularly for everyday use is very low friction and no skill is required to handle, unlike derailleur gears.  During the 1930s Sturmey-Archer added to its range the very robust AW 3-speed hub, Dynohub, and Hub brakes.  S-A also made two-speed back-pedal gear, back-pedal brake, fixed wheel two and three-speed hubs.  A clean lubricated derailleur gear is said to be as efficient as a vintage/veteran Sturmey-Archer hub gear but derailleur gears are rarely clean.
The major issue with derailleur gear bikes is the cyclist being ready and willing to stop suddenly or quickly in high gear because of the inconvenience caused in order to start again with the bike stationary and in high gear.  To a great extent, the chain coming off on a derailleur gear is much less of an issue than it used to be that is even on a modest-priced £400 or £500 bicycle such as pictured below.


(3x7) 21 gear Raleigh Urban 2 
The bike pictured right; Is a modern bike from Raleigh, Urban 2.  The derailleur gears work well and the bike is fairly light to pedal, and 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 is not particularly comfortable.  The lower crossbar makes the bike easier for me being older to get on and off.  The aluminium alloy frame is improved by the bike having steel forks that improve the ride but suffer some cathodic corrosion in the steering stem despite measures to electrically isolate those parts.  I might pass myself on the Lenton although I hold back when the bike is going fast enough despite it feeling willing and secure on the road. I have not measured the comparative speeds but the bike has lower and higher gears than the Lenton but both bikes are fast probably as fast as each other.  The derailleur 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.  The only way that the chain may come off is if you move the bike or the pedal backwards before the gear change has been completed. 

By comparison, the frame feels dead and does not carry you over the ups and downs of the road unlike the lively vintage steel bike so you find yourself changing gear and changing down more.  Although the bike is called a hybrid and has very low gears as well as very high gears it is not a mountain or a comfortable touring bike it is fast and is stable when carrying a lot of weight.

Be careful, I am old and need to be more careful but my knee was jarred and harmed using the lowest gear and being forced to pedal fast to stay on the bike.  The harm to my knee is more severe than anything I have done on any other bike.  Generally, cycling is more gentle and helps knee injuries to repair otherwise better than many other methods.  In future, I will avoid using the lowest speeds on bikes that have them.

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, and all have fitting holes for mudguards.  So where the Lenton sports came complete with tool-bag and tools in 1946 but for saddlebags and lights, these modern bikes do not have standardised mountings for lights and need mudguards.  Neither bike can have a chain guard fitted.
Raleigh started making aluminium frame bikes in 1951.  Those bikes were still branded "All Steel" for a period of time! 

The hope and enthusiasm at the end of the war, the new Lenton bicycle led to the start of a range of four-speed gear hubs, 6-volt Dynohubs and variable-speed Dynohubs for sports and regular day-to-day bikes;

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 and an FW is not so widely spaced so is more nearly ideal than an AW hub on a vintage steel frame bike.  If you required lower or higher gearing you changed the rear sprocket or fit a double sprocket, whereas many modern bikes are fitted with internal gears or derailleur gears which usually cover a wider range and many speeds 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 (which are the same hubs with newer and older code) 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 model FW 4-speed wide 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]. 

Comparison of hub gear ratios;  The row "most 5-speeds" is what an FW would be if modified to a 5-speed hub or S5 in 1966. 

Comparing the speeds without knowing the real ratios is difficult here they are in meters per peddle stroke;
            Lenton sports  Universal    Peugeot Course
Small sprocket  18t  18t               14/34   Bottom (1) is a higher gear than [1] on the Universal and I get off the bike earlier.
Big Sprocket   45t         39t              42/52    Low (2) feels like an easier low than the speed [2] on the Universal.  Normal (3)
Ratio           2.5         2.17       1.24/3.71   pedal slowly and easily you won't wobble which makes cycling harder work, it is 
Wheel dia.         26"         26"            2.11m    restful or you can go very fast.  The frame is now helping  you more, You can't start in
Wheel circ.        2.07m  2.07m          2.23m    this gear or in H.  Normal is the best gear feeling the lightest.  High (4) is a very fast
Speed B             1.74m                       1.31m   gear.  The bike because of the frame seems to pull you along much more the faster you 
Speed L           2.048m  1.685m [1]  3.17m   go but 25 MPH is fast enough and you work hard at this speed.  A faster ride than [3] on 
Speed N           2.592m 2.246m [2]  1.62m   a regular bike consequently you can get further up some hills changing down a gear as
Speed H            3.292m 2.988m [3]  3.93m   required.  I don't think a 5th gear would be useful on the Lenton's excellent bike frame 
Super high (5th) 3.888m (modification required)  but the better gear change operation, expected, would be useful.  A 5th super high gear would noticeably be less efficient at speed.  The derailleur's small chain wheels' lowest and highest speeds, then the large chain wheels' lowest and highest speeds.

KEY: m - Metres per pedal stroke.   t - Number of teeth.  The crank arms in all cases are 70mm.
The wheel diameter and circumference are approximate and the bikes are different.  

Britain was known for engineering which was second to none, but the British textiles and film industries were also the best.  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 the 1914-18 war 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.  Raleigh Sturmey-Archer had to make their own gear-hub parts because they could not buy in the quality they required before 1910.  That is engineering had less precise parts, materials, and tools and there was less standardisation.  I suspect a lot of Victorian steam train 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, and paper bags for other use and took a shopping bag with them when going shopping until the 1980s.

Austin 7 1931
Was made under licence or copied (maybe) in many parts of the world.  The first small family car in the USA made by Fahrazeugfabrik Eisnach became Automobilwerk Eisenach, Germany and branded Dixi in the USA.  The car was converted to metric and soon after became the first car made by BMW when it purchased that company.  Even so, such a car was only for the practical well-off people but Raleigh sold nearly twice as many bicycles a year in 1939 than all the Austin 7's ever made.  The Baby Austin car was a revolution in affordability of British family cars because it had a small petrol-only engine less than a quarter the size of a model-T car's engine.  Dynamo, electric starting and electric lights were now common on cars and the Super Seven also included a regulator but on other models, you set a switch that inserted a resistor in series with the dynamo field winding for summer or winter use.  The battery was checked with a battery hydrometer alternatively charging is about correct with very few bubbles formed in the battery after a drive and the acid level rarely falling.  There were many more things to adjust as the brake cables before 1935 weekly and everything was oiled every 250 miles and greased every 500 miles, wheel bearings depending on the manufacturer; 1,000 to 10,000 miles or Austin monthly.  The Austin Seven was replaced by the Mini (briefly named Austin 7) in 1959 when cars were becoming more affordable for many more people but bicycles and public transport remained more widely used.  The first motorway opened in England in 1958 but fuel was still expensive.  The cheapest cars were made by Ford and Austin when their prices dropped to £100 in about 1935 briefly (£5,000 in 2021*) and a Morris 8 cost £120.  In 1935 petrol cost 7.5p a gallon (1/6d which is 1:15 hours manual workers pay).

Until 1979 contact breaker points would
need to have the high point (spike) filed
down then the gap was set every 3,000
miles.  Servicing became once a year
from 1980 and greased bearings run 
until they dry and wear out in 10 years
or are greased and so last longer.
The Mini car and quality bikes made by Raleigh were owned by ordinary people as well as the very rich.  Both were people's cars and bikes although in their times neither was affordable to everyone.  First-world nations prided themselves in having everything well made in their country for their people.  The Austin 7 cars were well known in sport and the Mini cars were exceptional in rallying.

A good basic Raleigh bicycle cost less than £5 and a good basic Hercules bicycle would cost less.  BMW Isetta and Messerschmitt Heinkel were about the most economical cars to run in the 1950s and 1960s the two German cars achieved nearly 100MPG.  Some of the small late Victorian cars such as De-Dion of France and others in the UK also had small engines of 600cc,  low tuned (no valve overlap), very low speed and comparably very good MPG but were quite dangerous to start.  The first steam road vehicle was demonstrated in 1801 steam coaches started to run services from ~1830 and electric cars were developed, lead-acid batteries were developed in the 1850s the steam car was ready to go in 90 seconds by 1890.  In the 1850s cars became popular but still required a considerable amount of maintenance and would not be family cars for a long time yet, whereas bicycles were practical everyday transport by 1900.  Electric and steamer automobiles held the land speed records but soon shared the records with petrol cars. 

Raleigh made motorbikes from 1899 Raleigh made three-wheeler cars from 1903 to 1908 and from 1929 to 1934.  The Raleigh Safety 7, launched in 1933 cost 100 gunnies but was finally discounted to 90 gunnies (£98/10/- with tax).  Raleigh Sturmey-Archer ceased making cars, motorbikes and motorbike gearboxes by this time, their car designer left to start the Reliant car company taking the Raleigh tooling and spare car parts, used a J.A.P. engine followed by the Austin 7 side-valve engine.  Reliant purchased the Austin 7 engine tooling to continue to make a variant of that side-valve engine until 1962.  Raleigh made or distributed some petrol engine power bicycles and mopeds up until 1970.
Raleigh has often made powered two and three-wheel vehicles.

* The calculation came from a number of web calculators such as the Bank of England these calculators are showing much lower figures than they did when the website was written presumably some years ago. £6,200 versus £5,000 in 2021?  This price is probably a good indication of affordability for a middle-class family.  Working out another way;  Manual worker (man) wage in 1935 £0.06/hr. for a 50-hour week £3.00/Week, £156 a year versus £22,500 a year now £14,400 = £100 * £22,500 / £156   This seems to be a more accurate figure?  If I took the mean manual wage for men and women and also the hourly rate then the value of the car would be higher by at least two times (£30,000 in 2022)?

Anecdote, It used to be said by Raleigh representatives that; A Raleigh bike will last 100 years.
Anecdote, By comparison during the 1950s a 1930s Ford Anglia cost 200 guineas (nearly the same, adjusting prices, cost as when the car was new), which may have cost a little more than £100 new in 1935 (about £5,000 in 2021).  At the same time, A Rolls Royce might be for sale for £190 and be difficult to sell because it was so expensive to run.  Markets sold cars, it is said, with soapy water in the sump so they did not smoke and some wooden pistons and the trader was gone when you turned back to face him - not sure about that other than Buyer Beware is the point.

By comparison, people living in the lush forests and jungles of the world would work 4 hours a week if any work at all could be discerned.  Missionaries liked this and many do not return to Europe but "Went native"  (BBC Radio 4 From Eden to Ethiopia ~1988).

Older vintage or veteran bikes will outlast if maintained, a maintained car by very many more miles and years.  A bike could be in reasonable order after 100 years, I have seen a 1909, Raleigh bike, which although badly corroded in places, had most of the enamel and the gold lines on it were 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 - in the 1970' new cars were 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, and 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 sleeving 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 and had been well-engineered so that just one part would not last too long so that the watch would not be compromised until after the warranty period had ended but probably before the sale of goods act guarantee had expired.  My patch was to fit and to keep replacing a rubber sleeving onto the winder or to wind the watch with a rubber band stretched across your fingers.  Timex is an American company that has operated in Scotland since 1946 and also manufactures for other companies.

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 faults (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.  Ford cars with few exceptions were almost faultless but with cheap fault free short life highly life-tested parts at this time.  At this time Japanese electronic products had a justified reputation for being fit for purpose, very long-lasting and faultless when new.  Meanwhile, ITT, GE, Ferranti, Plessey and Mullard were making the traditional British brands or parts for them many of those have always made high-quality, reliable parts cheaply.  New British-made front-loading washing machines with programs and timers were delivered with faults that caused them to break,  This remained an issue and people got used to machines that did not last or they bought a foreign make.  Or were fooled by Japanese-sounding British makes.

Japanese Canon AE1 best camera of 1976 and a particularly good camera for a few decades following.  Particularly nice to use and is in working order.  The camera does not have any aspherical lens elements unlike some cameras made 5 years later.  British cameras are still made but in the main, they were very good but had probably stopped being made in volume 100 years ago.

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 that bought shares and sold them profited well whether they kept them or sold them straight away called stagging, but overall jobs were lost, and useful employment and purpose for a lot of people were big losses. 

The 1970s marked a time when life had become easier, with full employment and virtually no homeless (in reality there were a lot of homeless but in bigger cities).  Mortgages, pensions, and financial services were trusted by 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 before a useful time, the novelty wore off or they become obsolete quickly 
and were discarded.  There was little place for repairing shoes and 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 TVs 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 engines 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 and then be discarded, so many British manufacturers tried to follow the trend but cut costs instead, and 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, bike makers did not need to design in obsolescence or to wear out many bikes are and have always been bought but then ridden just once. 

Note; * Cars life was 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 multi-grade 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 get the engine running at optimum temperature quickly thereby improving efficiency and reducing cold engine wear.  Petrol octane increased then lead was eventually dropped from its production.  Efficiency traded for speed and reduction in some pollutants makes an internal combustion engine a very bad compromise, less bad than they were.  Engine temperatures are reduced to reduce emissions but make the engine-less efficient but at speed, they still produce a lot of poisonous ozone and nitrous oxide.  The gearbox attempts to match engine power to road and driving requirements but electric transmission used in trains and shipping is more efficient.  Trains are long and with modest rail, gradients improve efficiency a lot more though.  So a gearbox requires driving skills that make driving a for fun than function.  Helical-cut gears improve efficiency and make the gears run quieter and synchromesh makes gear changing easier.  Evidently, car engines were never intended to have a such short life as they did prior to 1950.  American cars tended to be gas guzzlers by comparison because the USA has a more exploitative hold over oil suppliers, which is a bad thing but has become true here in the UK although the phrase Chelsea tractor is used against some of them.  Small British-made cars became much more comfortable after 1980 just like many small European cars already were.
Yashicamat Camera - Vivitar flash -
Strativ Tripod
Picture left - Yashicamat (the 1950's) Japanese Camera 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 a modern 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, which regulated 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, and Triumph motorbike Cooperative.  To protect against monopolies from unfair pricing was addressed by the creation of the British Sugar Corporation, Giro-Bank (not that sugar prices should be regulated which surely conflicts with public health).  Rolls Royce aero engine part of that business became state-owned (1971-1987) and the RB211 jet engine development was one of the most efficient in its time.  High-value investment and return supported by National Enterprise Board {significantly Ferranti and its Uncommitted Logic Array (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 were reducing towards 35 hours in some cases with up to 30 days annual holiday.

Pon Holdings a Dutch multinational and Giant in Taiwan are the largest maker of bicycles in 2022;
Preview of Ethical Consumer, Issue 197, July/August 2022 (bicycles and transportation - views in Firefox)

Political change what had been fixed was sold off, cheap dumped goods were now a good thing instead and financial services became a major business of the UK;
The current era since 1980 was discussed and planned for in the 1970s 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 was happening when the phrase was coined by US President Dwight D Eisenhower.  Therefore the creation of money and excessive consumption of very cheap, below UK costs and what is or amounts to the exploration of labour, environment and other things.  For a long time, imported things undermined and thereby displaced a lot of manufacturing in the UK, intentionally.  Cheap so-called dumped, below cost, that had been bad foreign-made things became a good thing and wanted instead, and banks created money to buy those things also undermined traditional building society savings.  In addition, cheap imports have become poor quality and or very good quality but short-design life things, the seeming short-term gain has become a loss, and many companies still resisted designing and making those things in the UK.  MI5 and the establishment apparently plotted against Prime Minister Harold Wilson causing him to resign in 1976 but the Labour Government continued to be well-led under Jim Callaghan but cultural changes started happening many more people were secure and comfortable leading up to change in 1979 using the media and the democratic process.  The eras of "White Heat of Technology" and the post-war political consensus symbolically started in 1940 with the end of the period called the Phoney War and Winston Churchill's "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." had ended and we would not all be in it (society) together in the future.  A decade later Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher was removed by her party from office, the 1980s had been a mistake and the plot against the earlier 1975 Government was eventually told.  Much later in 2006, the BBC documentary was created on the MI5 plot.

Having said this some good things such as realising again that the Soviet Union was not a threat but a competing, by a different system, ally.  That most countries owned or subsidised the overproduction of cars.  Nuclear weapons are the biggest danger.  These things changed but were not corrected.  But more controversy the single European act was signed and we were now part of the European Union but some British Members of the European Parliament worked against the EU from the inside sadly.  
The bike is now cleaner but not all four speeds work at this stage, the gear hub is clean and 
set up, the original front brake cable has not been repaired yet and the pedal cap replaced.

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/- is the listed price) but under £20 with the extras (would be £1,200 in 2022*).  Evidently, my father had to wait until after leaving school in 1945 for the war to end and for his bike to be delivered.  There are two numbers on the frame which confirm the date of early 1946, my father was conscripted that June and returned 18 months later.

* The calculation came from a number of web calculators these calculators are showing much lower figures than they did two or three years ago. £860 versus £580 in 2021?  In this case, workers needed bikes so workers' pay is a more relevant figure than using a web calculator that uses CPI or RPI.  Working out another way;  Manual worker (man) wage in 1950 was £380 a year versus £22,500 a year now £1,150 = £20 * £22,500 / £380  (bike price in 1950 needs to be checked?) This seems to be a more accurate figure?   Taking the mean manual wage man and woman then the value of the bike would be higher.  If the figure for the number of hours needed to work in order to buy a bike as well then the price of a good bike becomes more like £2,000-£3,000 and a good basic bike £1,000-£1,500. 

Bottom bracket No. 453967 Z (under the bottom bracket ),
Frame number; 289193 P (below the saddle)
I am advised that the bike was made, 53,000 frames perhaps made 1 to 6 months before May 1946.  So this bike could be an MK1 or an MK2 Lenton sports but, what I believe is the new modern post-war MK2 Lenton sports transfer decoration.

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 given by a Facebook friend, thanks. 

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 the 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. 
I have seen a well-used Humber bike with the same frame as the Lenton but many parts were replaced with parts from different bikes.  Unfortunately, water had got into the tubing and rusted out making a hole.  The frame would not be safe to use consequently.

 A good steel frame bike is fantastic.  Some people speculate that the art of making a good steel frame bicycle has been lost.

Picture right above;  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 bottom bracket to the steering column, the words ALL STEEL are painted red with a black 3D shadow or outline.

Comparison with other bikes;

1985 Astra
1975 Hercules Balmoral

For me, the minimum speed to balance is 3MPH rather than the 2.5MPH I need on a modern bike but the bike feels great at low speeds as well.  But on a mountain bike, not a hybrid bike, I can almost raise both feet simultaneously to the pedals and start peddling.  When I put a rack on the Lenton and add some weight that changes the tuning of the frame adversely and the minimum speed-to-ride stability increases.  I am 3 times the weight I was when I first started riding the bike and height is set to the maximum rather than the minimum and the ride, holding the drop handlebars or sitting up holding the top of the handlebars feels the same.  The road-holding is very good and you will notice that if you go over metal covers, manholes and cats-eyes in the rain.

I am advised that the last of the Lenton models the Super Lenton (1952-1960) was the best and fastest.  The bike has some alterations to the frame and lugs. 

Peugeot - Course sports bike - And with wider tires, handlebars changed and rack added.
Bike picture above - A Peugeot Course sports bike made in about 2000 with 22x622 tires, weighs just 12Kg, Mangalloy steel.  The front of the bike is shorter, and stiffer and the crossbar is higher.   The bike over-steers a little and is wobbly but is easy to ride, it goes anywhere easily on hard ground but is very harsh and I feel all the road vibration, so I do not go far on this bike consequently.  I have changed the tires to increased width of 32x700c on the same wheel to make the bike more comfortable, but the rear tire then has to be let down to fit it.  The bike can be ridden down to ~2mph means I can move in high gear but slowly and therefore the derailleur is not so inconvenient.  This bike also takes a rack which similarly makes the frame a little less stable at low speeds when carrying weight but is okay.  It took me a few weeks to feel stable on the bike and to use the gear change more comfortably and I have found that I can change a number of speeds at a time with the lever operation.  The wait of half a wheel revolution for the speed to change is inconvenient.

The aluminium straight handlebars make the steering more stable, so the bike does not feel so wobble and it is much more comfortable to ride including the seating but the saddle is uncomfortable.  The gear change is now even more difficult and with I wobbled the width of a road lane changing the left (front) derailleur my first time.  Even so, this has the best gear change for a derailleur gear bike I particularly like that I can sweep across a number of speeds with the rear derailleur.  I chose to mostly use the low-speed chain wheel unless I am certain to not need to change to the lower speeds or stop soon.  The bike is now becoming a very nice light, light to pedal, and carry on to an off-peak train, bike.

The bike is very hard on the cyclist, and can be ridden more slowly or fast more easily on smooth roads but is harder work to pedal on rougher roads.  The bike does take a rack and carrying weight affects the stability of the bike similarly.  Although the bike handles well but is not in the same league of the road holding as the Lenton.
The Universal's (Universal cycles Ltd) bike gear cable path is mostly
unsheathed running over a nylon slide under the bottom bracket.  The
gear change is very smooth on this bike consequently.
By comparison, another very good steel frame 1970s Raleigh bike, A Step-thru Hercules, but not Reynold 531 is an ordinary daily use bike that is not heavy and carries lots of weight on the rack making no difference to the bike's handling.  This is just as light and comfortable to ride but is even further improved as it is a little more stable at lower speeds including walking speed.  But does not have the lively feel and the feeling of momentum and willingness that feels like it flies when you touch the pedals. 
Another step-thru steel bike an Astra made in 1985 with Soviet-era high-tensile steel was very poor it was too stiff.  The road-holding is also poor consequently to its stiffness.  My 1997 Universal was a cheap heavy British-made bike that has a better fame and is lighter to pedal, comfortable with a different saddle fitted but still much less as good as the Raleigh/Tube Investments 1970s Hercules.  But that Universal has much of the gear cable unsheathed a nylon slide rather than a pulley wheel, that the Lenton sports have, no doubt is why gear change is the best of the three bikes with AW hub gear bikes I have used.

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 manufacturer's 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.  This bike changed over the years weighing 14Kg in 1939.

Similarly, many manufacturers supplied different dealers with a broader or a narrow range of parts, accessories and bikes - 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.  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".

January 1950 stainless steel FW variable gear hub
The FW four-wide variant hub stainless-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 reliable.  I would say the gearing and the gear spacing have 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 as pictured)

The bike's 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 which distinguishes the two types but the second number is not on my gear selector.  The gear selector is also a 1950 type no doubt changed with the gear hub and rear wheel perhaps without all the earlier changes incorporated? There were many revisions of the selector but in the typically British way, many parts were common to different types of hub gears.
Green brake pads leave green dust
coating on parts nearby
Pictured right; I have pushed the gear selector cable through so that you can see an extra square washer on the cable. This added washer 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 it. 

With a hub variable gear, the rider can switch (change) gear easily with the bike stationary or moving here are four methods;
  • Move the pedals backwards whilst moving the selector.  This works well with an AW 3-speed hub or any Sturmey-Archer hub.
  • Move the pedals in a forward direction but apply minimal pressure on the pedals whilst moving the selector lever.  This only works with vintage/veteran Sturmey-Archer hubs or hubs that are particularly well set up.  This is Sturmey-Archer's traditional recommended method.
  • Whilst the bike is rolling and your feet are on the pedals stop pedalling then move the lever.   There is enough movement in your feet for the hub to change gear but this method won't work with your feet off the pedals. 
  • Move the gear lever up one or many speeds when you like the gear change will occur when you take your pressure off the pedal a feature that prevents gear change when putting pedalling effort through the transmission.  On the Lenton which has a weak trigger spring, changing up one speed is best done with the lever held between two fingers. 
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.  The gears are delightfully easy to use and respond better to smart but sensitive use. 

Gear cable adjuster - cable soldered to prevent 
the strands from fraying was then cut to length.
The four-speed wide (FW) hub on the Lenton Sports is fiddly to set up and is hard to pull the lever to the Bottom gear.  Another common complaint is 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.  A quarter of a turn of the adjustment to tighten makes N speed slip but a quarter a turn the other way makes B speed slip, a total of 1/2 turn whereas and AW hub there are 1.5 turns between slip and secure setting.  The FW hub is as it was said of it when it was new very nicely placed and spaced four-speed hub and it is worth spending a lot of time getting it to work that way. 

It is said that after Sturmey-Archer was sold in 2000 and the tooling exported to Taiwan the quality of the hubs improved again but some things were wrong.  For example, the cable could not be adjusted to select all gears on an S5 hub, I have been told.  I guess some of the knowledge (knack) could not all be conveyed when the tooling was exported?

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 optical work made by a professional with equipment and test instruments all made by the company.  The culture of excellence went through the company from 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 or selectively disengaging the free-wheel pawls.  One of the dog clutches is chipped (the bike used to click in Normal [3 of 4] probably from new).
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. 
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 gear selection had been fine in 1970 but deteriorated and the cable broke in the 1970s over the pulley under the saddle which I replaced.  The gear selection was then much poorer and I only had three of the four speeds 1, 2 and 4 or 2, 3 and 4.  The hub was cleaned and the compensator spring and the pawl springs were replaced but this did not resolve the problem.  I then shorted the sheathed cable length to the maximum of 18" and ground the cut end of the sheath cable flat as pictured, with a carborundum stone.  Lastly, I added the tape pictured to minimise the change in length in the cable when steering.  I also do not carry any weight in the right-hand pannier because that weight will knock speed N out of gear. 
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.  My father said it is a shame it clicked because it is the best gear.

"Tommy's mileage increased from 156
 to over 200 miles a day... a step-up of
33 1/3% increase with a four-speed
  The hub did 75,000 miles in 11
months never did the hub falter,
something like 10 years wear the poster
 goes on to say.  
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 speeds with just one extra set of meshing gears carrying just a small percentage of the power. The FW is different to the 1912 four-speed hub patent gained in cross-license agreements with Fichtel & Sachs, Germany. The Universal Torpedo four-speed hub 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 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).

Poster from 1939 left; 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 four and five-speed hubs not developed at that time.  I think these particular four-speed hubs have more friction and was told they are more "laggy" [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.   The FM gear hub was transferred and the bike switched to a Raleigh RRA (would have been earlier heavier at 14Kg version) for most of the distance after the original bike sponsor (Ley TG Special) pulled out, that bike had been reliable but the sponsor sited cost of maintenance was too high, Tommy Godwin continued to ride 100,000 miles in 500 days in 1939/40 some of the early parts of the record on an AW hub gear.  Although the exact record has not been broken in 2017 a cyclist beat the time but used a number of bicycles on a track and no doubt much better clothing which had been a problem for Tommy who used creams but eventually switched to using silk underwear for example.  He also cycled on ordinary roads and during wartime blackouts with dimmed lights.  The FM hub had completed 75,000 miles without faltering and after 1939 the war stopped being over there somewhere but was becoming here and much more important.  Tommy completed the record and joined the RAF after a period for his legs to recover.  Whether the same gear hub did the whole 100,000 miles does not seem to be recorded but that winter was hard work cycling in the snow, ice, blackout with dimmed lights, falling off and continuing and his average daily mileage dropped.

Old British patents used to be granted for a long time;- Used to be granted for much longer periods, 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 cars' and worked on the Merlin Engine for Rolls Royce then went on to do the same for Austin engines which were 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 Raleigh Sturmey-Archer's philosophy of conservatism in making small changes taking cyclists with them rather than leading.  Many say Raleigh was over-conservative and missed some opportunities such as choosing not to build the Molton bicycle for that company but the RSW16 developed subsequently, both bikes were much improved with modern tires I understand*.  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 was 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 are popular now and made by other companies. 

Apparently many small wheel lightweight bikes are floppy and difficult to cycle not suitable for learning to ride on but are good for taking on a train.  The Bickerton is the first and is a classic very lightweight bike but is like this I believe!  The Lenton is also not suitable to learn to ride on although it is delightful to ride when you have learnt to balance well.
* The Raleigh Shopper was heavy to lift and pedal but easy to ride and the RSW16 and Molton may be the same?  But I read that the Molton Mini weighed only 12Kg.

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

German website archive of bicycles or Fichtel & Sachs hubs;

19XX - Fichtel & Sachs Universal-Torpedo (  - Brochure of some features such as ball bearings in the idler gears was a selling point rather than beneficial.  BSA made the S-A earlier X series 3-speed hub built under licence had a similar feature - The 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 ball bearing 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 in plain grey and our manager would have given one or other of us the job depending on which he wanted.

Strewi Fahrradwerke – Über historische Fahrräder (  - more documents and history (I can't read it because it is in German).

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.

The Lenton sports soon after I took it out of the shed, fixed the gear selector and started cleaning but you can see reddish rust on the frame.
Since about 1990 the bike had lost most of its brilliant metallic green colour and had an orange layer of rust - the wheels move freely.  I am advised and observed that the transmission friction on these old bikes is less than on modern bikes.  The wheel movement including the gear hub and transmission was fine and very free but I fed everything with a lot of oil.  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 has much less movement and it will move back.  The bike has probably only been used under 50,000 miles in all weather and my father had a cycling cape.  Mum told me that dad used the bike a lot.  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 loose 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 galvanised steel and some have a slight amount of surface rust, consistent with the hub/wheel and gear selector being replaced in 1950.  The Bright Steel spokes were not mentioned on the MK2 Lenton catalogue page.
A worn sprocket can be seen to have hooked teeth
The chain length is stretched to 12 1/8" which 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 dérailleur with a wide hub forming hybrid gears.
  • 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 tires, 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 of 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 dérailleur 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.  +++++ 
    • Another bike had done 500,000 miles when the AW (I think) hub was inspected it looked like it had been made that morning inside. 
    • A very heavy person using a bike up steep hills and 7 miles a day may find a modern mountain bike the best but they wear out a bike every 5 years.
    • 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.
    • Modern oils are better and a few drops of thin oil such as barbers clipper oil a week is good advice.  I use a thin engine oil which is thicker, is fine and can be done a little less often consequently.  Traditionally advice differs, and I believe, is one teaspoon first use then 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of oil every 100 miles but of 20 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?  Bikes used to be coated in oil and dirt but ran well being fed with a lot of oil to keep the dirt out of the bearings.

    ------------------------------ Riding a bicycle again or adult learn to ride a bicycle -----------------------------

    It was very nice experiencing that same delight with the Lenton sports bike in the early summer of 2018 when I took it out of the shed and found the bike running smoothly but with more surface rust and much less of the original colour, and paint left.  The same delight with the bike I felt when I started riding the bike as a boy in about 1970.  I had not used the bike because I could not find a replacement gear selector for it but eventually thought of a fix that worked using a clothes peg spring. 

    Blue track rider, A-frame, Special DS, Bazani,
    "18 gear", 26"
    Bikes like this are given away worn out
    though not old. Don't change gears, the chain may come off,
    fixed the brakes and a tire puncture. The bike is not fast or
    comfortable but is easy to learn to balance and so ride. 

    The spring between the saddle and the pedals shortens the
    optimum distance so particularly makes the bike hard to work
    to pedal.  But modern bikes like the Raleigh Urban 2 and
    the step-thru bikes further up this page, are suitable to learn
    on and carry on using.  

    Riding a bike again; I have been walking 7KM on 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 on 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. A good old hub-geared bike will feel like it is helping you as if the bike were pulling you along a bit.
    Learning to ride a bicycle If you have not ridden a bike before, that surprised me because most children could when I was young, but a regular bike or to even just to start with a mountain bike is easy to balance.  To make riding easier start by setting the saddle low so that you can sit on and walk the bike instead of using the pedals.  Later you should set the saddle height higher using what I believe is similar to the 1980s method;  That is with the arch of your foot on the peddle your leg should be almost straight. 


    The war-grade tires wore out quickly so my father fitted tandem war-grade tires they did not wear out but perished a little, fairly quickly but then remained 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 tire.  I was using the other war-grade tandem tire last year (2018) but have replaced it.

    The wheel rims are stamped Dunlop 26" x 1 1/4" the front tire 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 seen poorer chrome finish on 1960's cars.

    Steel had brazed joins and the joins were made of single pieces of forged metal for comparative; strength and lightness.  

    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 caused one brake pad to keep wearing out for a while but the corrosion is not enough to have weakened the wheel.  Otherwise, the bike's polychromic green paint has mostly fallen off.  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 could be a shield or most likely a serrated javelin head pointed to the ground in a distinctly modern style rather than the pre-WW2 swirling designs in the decoration.  The decoration is on the post-WW2 Lenton's up until the 1948 London Olympics after that other decorations are added and a range of bike colours with the introduction of the MK3 Lenton including the Reg Harris Olympic Torch decoration.
    • The paint is called Polychromatic Green in the next model; MK III, Lenton Clubman. The 1946-47 MKII Lenton Sports.  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 first Lenton was in 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 on catalogue pages.  The frame on its own is very light and can be lifted with two fingers.  Lightweight Molednum and manganese steel frames were made and labelled on those bikes before that time but the brand does not seem to be mentioned
        • Sports bikes had a label certifying Maganese, Moldendum or high tensile strength steel or later Reynolds 531 steel.  This gold label can not be read now but probably such a label gold label at the top of the tube section between the bottom bracket and the saddle.  It could be the dealer in Sevenoaks' label?  
          • Other MK2 Lenton sports bikes do have the Reynolds 531 Steel label but there are other differences between each bike made.  The differences are not in any way seem compromised by post-war shortages and the make-do policy of the time but everything is just perfect for the job required.
        • The British molybdenum, manganese, medium carbon (contains iron is magnetic and will rust) 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 weigh 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 in 1943. These bikes were made to last and they do last.  The four-speed (FW) hubs have a justified reputation for not working properly but they are very nice when they do.
        Bluemels bicycle or
        motorbike pump
        Pictured left;  The tire pump with the bike is a Bluemels motorbike pump fitted with an adaptor 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 tires.  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, works with Dunlop valve tubes but it does not work with modern Presta valve tubes.   The pump is therefore not usable on the bike now.

        The rear tire was a replacement in about 1968 and has 26" x 1 1/4", 597mm_32mm even this dimension tire 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 tires are tight (I believe they make Schwalbe may be the most difficult to fit) and you need strong plastic leavers to get the tires 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 tire looks better than the old war-grade tire looked decades ago.

        Tire 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 tire diameter agrees.

        597mm is the tire bead diameter so if you measure a rim's circumference where the bead of the tire sits and divide by pi (3.143) you will get this number.

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

        The tire'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, tire 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 and tires and this arithmetic does not work out for those.  The tire diameter says 660mm is important for a mountain bike, 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 tire in by partially inflating the tire and bouncing and turning the wheel on the ground (to bed the tire in).  Check the tire pressure each time before you go out on the bike for the first few times the tire will keep needing more air until the tire 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 tire is a tight fit (bike shops are likely to get in and sell you the wrong size tubes and tires and may tell you what they have got in for you will be suitable but it probably won't be suitable) so fit the tire 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 tires vary in tightness and Schwalbe, more so than other tires, but all tires are more fragile as well so it is best to use plastic leavers.  I wrecked one new Schwalbe tire using metal leavers.  Metal leavers cut into the thin plastic/rubber down to the wire re-enforcement in the bead of the tire but metal leavers do no harm to old tires.  

        Bounce the tire on the ground whilst rotating it and pump
        it a little and bounce again then pump up fully to bed the
        tire in evenly.  For some very loose-fitting tires, you need 
        to look around the edge to see that the moulded line on
        the tire is evenly just above the rim.
        Keep going around and around the wheel a little at a time.  Also, getting the right tube, on my bike, is for a 26" x 1 1/4" that has a larger diameter than the tube, which a youngster in a bike shop might tell you is correct.  The correct tube with quite a lot of air in it but no pressure will not tend to keep popping out or getting trapped so much as you go around levering or using your hand to put the tire on.

        Raleigh made in china tires 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 bottom bracket.
        More Bike Maintenance See 2/3rds down this blog page link.

        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 would have been Raleigh Bright Steel (which is brilliant and all have been replaced a few times undoubtedly).  The rear spokes are original thicker galvanised 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.  I felt the spoke tension by squeezing two spokes together on a few new bikes in a bike shop.

        2. Tighten any loose spokes to just firm then slacken any spokes 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.  You can use a piece of wood held pressed against the frame or brake part to help gauge the closest distance.

        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.  It is important though because some spoke were still very loose.

        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 tire. 

        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 about 10 more spokes have broken, but none of the original spokes remains and I do not expect the front wheel spokes will continue to break frequently as they had done for at least 6 months until a year ago (June 2022).  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 from protruding originally.

        Lacing the spokes; The bike is 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' say) 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 is the spoke length 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).  Technically the spokes are the same thread but the new spokes and nuts are made to closer tolerance and anyway the old spokes and nuts seem to have worn so they bind on the new spokes.

        The rear (which has the newer 1950 FW hub) wheel's spokes are all thicker grey galvanised 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 rider's body and the bike.  Evidently, this has made a lot of difference.


        Much of the serrated shield and gold outline
        decoration has been worn.  But the stainless
        steel hubs and other parts are almost like new. 
        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.  This leaves the metal black.
          • 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 and 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. 
            •  I have not used these methods.
          • 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 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 that 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? 
            • Vinegar (acetic acid) diluted is said to work better and I have found it works in all cases and works very well in some cases.
          • Acetone (such as nail varnish remover) is environmentally bad and will strip paint if not used and cleaned quickly but is also the most effective way of removing the sticky oil that acculturates on 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.  Ultrasonic cleaner probably is best in this case.
            • 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.
            • Scrapping with wooden lolly sticks is very effective as well and is safer than using a metal screwdriver. 
          • 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 the new probably weighs 1.2Kg. A cheap but good modern saddle with memory foam can be comfortable and lighter and I have used one of those whilst having the old saddle stitched and repaired.

            Political and artistic perspectives

            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.  Later many more decoration styles and frame colours were added for different variants.  The bike was made at the beginning of the period 1945 to 1979, called "The post-war (political) consensus".

            The price of the Lenton Sports £19/14- was more than 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.  

            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 were heeded after WW2. 

            At the height of the war in 1943, greater restrictions
            were imposed.  Gear hubs stopped being made and 
            metals like chrome were reserved for military use.
            The 1945 Labour manifesto captured the mood of the people.  Raleigh had been making munitions but was still also making 280,000 bikes a year.  In 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 it had to make those changes at that time.

            During the 5 years, or so after WW2 materials for parts became short supply so other good materials were substituted.  Galvanised steel rear and stainless steel front spokes changed to stainless steel front and back wheels on some bikes made during this period.

            The Lenton sports MK II was made for just two years 1946 and 1947 although the Lenton sports bikes were made for two 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 methods remained bad.  Rationing ended in 1954, in 1956 bread price control and the subsidy was lifted and in 1960 military conscription in the UK ended.  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 with the middle of your foot on the pedal 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. 

            I will do more cleaning making 
            the badge and pedals look better.

            Lenton the name of the bike might be connected to Lenton Priory, Nottingham which 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 1930s Nottingham head office

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

            The metal grip 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 in 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, these
            could be pre-world-war-two bikes being made.  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 and 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 a "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 visualising 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.  

            oil dispenser 
            uses Biro 
            ink tube.
            In practice, bikes are not kept in regular use and oiled frequently so oil is not continually flowing through the transmission but becomes 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 tire valve.  The bike tire 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.

            Some adjustable spanners are good many spring open and slip and a mole wrench is good.   The metric spanners fit many nuts and bolt heads but not all and there appears to be no correct spanner for some nuts and bolts. 

            With all types of adjustable spanners or grips always hold them near the nut or bolt. If you do need to use an adjustable spanner the vintage King Dicks (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 to 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 bottom bracket 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 bottom bracket back together finger tight, check the bottom bracket turns and check the tightness again. 
            • Loosen the ball cap 1/4 to 1/8 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 1/8 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 with 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 bottom bracket 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 is 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 bottom bracket 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 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 with an indicator rod - 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 an AW 3-speed hub gear;
            • Put the 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 the hub into first gear.  Ensure the gear lever will select first without the cable being 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 detect a little slack in Low (1), then turn the barrel back half a turn.
            The simplest method when you gain the knack is;  Move the selector to high gear and adjust the cable to just slack. 

            FW Hub indicator rod (broken). See the N speed indicator mark on the left and the low-speed indicator is the end of the indicator rod.  The shoulder of the toggle chain (on the right) level with the end of the hole also tells you when the low gear is set.  Although people warn that the indicator rod can come loose I have not experienced that but it is best to check that it is not loose do not tighten it too much but to just grip.

            Do check elsewhere for the correct way to set up 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.  On an FW hub, the leaver is tight in Bottom gear but not very very tight but you find the setting by adjusting until all speeds work by starting with using the indicator rod marks.

            How Sturmey-Archer variable hub gears work;
            From the Sturmey-Archer Story on the S5, five-speed hub - this S5 is very similar to the FW 4-speed hub. 
            Notice that the Bottom gears name has changed to Super Low along with the new speed brought out Super High.

            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 later model also needs one of the sun pinions changed and some work carried out on it.  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 bottom bracket has a sprung ball.  The cable setting gauge can be seen through the left-hand nut in this picture.

            The Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub gear of 1902 succeeded later variants because of its efficiency and robustness.  A combination of designs by William 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 gears.  That fraction of power is the percentage increase or decrease in speed of the selected gear.

            FW Hub – has two sun pinions and the planet idler gears are pairs of large and small gears.  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.  Their clutch mechanism is based on ball bearings that are pushed out of holes in the fixed shaft by the movement of the operating cable.

            Three-speed epicyclic gear operation explained

            There is space for movement to prevent side thrust on the gear assembly bearings so there is no-load carrying through the meshing of the gears but for the 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 in the lever's other position is the usual medium called wide 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]. 

            The 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 disengage 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's 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 engages 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 carry 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 type and other detail.

            5-speed hub 1921 Henry Sturmey slightly wider ratios than the model launched in 1966?  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 in 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 the cable does not need adjusting often.  I spoke to three people on Facebook in 2019 and May 2020 who have bikes from the 1960s with those hubs. This is not a very significant sample though.  This is the S5/2. 


             The Indian motorbike was named in honour first nation people of the United States - The rear suspension makes the mountain bike less controllable I am advised.  The Wall-of-Death motorbike show runs these 1920s and 1930s "Indian" solid frame bikes for the same reason so that it is manageable. The Indian has a low centre of gravity the Wall-of-death has 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.

            Mountain bike - 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 with the bike since doing that maintenance.  The chain and sprockets are made of comparatively much thinner metal so they are sharp and cut my fingers.

            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, turning any other bike upside down to work on it works fine.  The stand is still useful for any bike and particularly a bike with drop handlebars.


            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 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.


            I mentioned hubs and bottom brackets changed from thin oil or grease to lubricated with grease.  The S7 - 7 gear hub was introduced in 1973 with the no-slip between gears feature.  This hub 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 on 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.  1973, S7 cable rotated a shaft operating cams rather than pulling a rod but the later seven-speed has low and high, super-low and super-high, and ultra-low and ultra-high gears by the selection of one of three sun pinions.

            The advantage of having no slip-between speeds is obvious but the advantage of having a no-gear selected position if the cable is not set is that it makes the adjustment clear and unambiguous.


            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 wear-and-tare or damage.  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 that 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 turning 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 it clean so thereby staying a low friction transmission in order to make the maker's claim meaningful?  Lloyd's cross roller gear is as above but is single speed was patented in 1897, this was an expensive option offered by some bicycle makers including The Quadrant Cycle Co and some 1920s Rover bicycles.

            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 stationery.

            single-speed shaft drive bicycle such as the Columbia 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. 

            There are many types of continuously variable transmission some of them require the cyclist to continue pedalling other gear changes can be carried out with the bike stationary or moving.  The drive does not look to be as smooth as it could be or novel but the principle is clear in the video.  Here is another but unfortunately it needs a battery Bicycle transmission (

            My choice probably would remain a vintage 4-speed hub gear if the issues were resolved is very good but a 5-speed two-cable hub also has those issues resolved. 

            32mm wide tires pumped to high pressure are good sports, road and dry bike track tires.  40mm wide is a little better on grass and road.  Tire friction is generally minimised by pumping the ties to high pressure but using slim tires is generally inconvenient and limiting.


            Picture Right; The bike is cleaner now (summer 2019) and some of the colour and decoration can be seen.  The brite-steel spokes are brilliant old but not original.  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 of 2W used in the lamps.  If pedalling at a reasonable pace puts 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 poles, 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 were 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 is 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 - I cut the wire and made sure all the strands were used the second time - the end of each strand was turned over like a wilted daisy pushed into the barrel nipple to trap it before soldering on a gas hob using long nose pliers electrical solder and active flux.  



            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 the history.
            • 1896 - 30,000 bikes were made this year.
            • 1914 - Over 50-60,000 bikes were 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 bikes were made a year.
            • 1951 - 1.1 million bikes made a year.
            • 1960 - Raleigh merges with Tube Investments.
            • The 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 were 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 was 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 is under the saddle.
            The frame number is 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 year's 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% for both gear types. over a gear ratio range of +33 -25%
            Tony Hadland blog supplement to the book.

            The bike's transmission is all lubricated with 20 SAE oil but the 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 bottom bracket 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 bottom bracket 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 bike.

            The original mudguards were cream in colour, made of cellulite and were brittle.  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, and novelty such as Hero's (steam) engine no doubt would not have had practical use and were not developed.  The Chinese South-Pointing Chariot is 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.

            The crossbar quadrant gear selector remained available for a long time.  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).  The earliest type of selector was the barrel type with a lever that rotates in a barrel with notches fitted to the handlebars.

            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 India received fair rule of law in exchange for profit returned to the UK but the rulers became corrupt.  A large class of wealthy British men, clergymen and sometimes women 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 Centuries 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 electricity is much more efficient and 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 is in addition to commercial or more often military research.  All funding was 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 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 1801 but there seem to be others in the USA and one in Paris using the first Internal Combustion Engine although steam or electricity was used generally.  Many types of bicycles were developed.  1896 The flash-boiler was patented this meant steam cars could go from turn-on after 90 seconds and then move silently and in a gentle way but the very fast steam cars such as 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 variable 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 patents and cross-licensing were 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 and 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 manufacturers 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 was 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 a close speed ratio but Sturmey-Archer did not provide it until the 1930s when there was an interest in close speed 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 are expensive and now have become even lower maintenance options (because they now don't need frequent oiling).
            Sturmey-Archer used to make parts for hybrid hubs 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, being 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 wheels moved easily after 25+ years unused in the shed and they moved back to their balanced position. 

                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, and 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 tires were war grade tires.  For example, the price of a loaf of bread was still regulated until the early 1960s when 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 is in better condition than the paint on my bike.  The paint on my bike has mostly fallen off

                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 bottom bracket to the steering tubing is different my bike is ALL STEEL in red 3D.  The main decoration on the tube from the bottom bracket to the saddle is very similar but different, I think, the 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 can be to pedal in order to make adult bikes easy to learn to ride.  Using 
                greased bearings instead of light oil transmission has added very little friction.  This happened;
                • The bottom bracket 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 correctly.  Oil is often discussed in social media but bear in mind that oil for outdoor general use is what is recommended by 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 help 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 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 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 an 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 was 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. Give 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 and 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 were to be held in London in 1948 and the Festival of Britain in 1951.  The lovely 1946 Lenton Sports bike with its modern golden serrated shield.

                • Up to 1945 --- Feature of the bike frame was a gold line stencilled on some of the tube sections.  Decorations were more curls and swirls influenced by William Morris.
                • Right; MK II, 1946-1947  --- Looks like a serrated shield with a gold stencil outline on mustard yellow with deep blue shadow and green text.  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;

                In 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 cyclists to stop at the left-hand side before turning 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 tire wheel could jam between the grating.  What was particularly bad in this 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, and road holding is 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, if he could not cycle fast the hat would not 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 cyclists.  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 does 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 and 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 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 tire is new but worryingly it has much less tread than the old war-grade tandem tire I was using last year (2018).  It has been suggested to me that the tread on a bicycle is not important because the tire is round in section so naturally pushes water away compared with a motorbike or car tire is flat and reinforced by a steel band so tends to trap water if there were little tire 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 been 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's lessons from space exploration, and mythology, speak 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 was 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