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Do you like the old style "Clubman" Racers?(5 posts)

Do you like the old style "Clubman" Racers?Walter
Jun 12, 2002 3:09 AM
I do.

Beautiful bike. I don't know what it is about the old internal geared "club" bikes that make me nostalgic. I'm not old enough to have ridden one when they were the top of the line racing bicycles and I'm not even English. Everytime I see one on eBay or wherever I seriously consider POing the wife (again). I doubt I'll ever buy an original but if I can find a Raleigh 531 frame for sale cheap I may just recreate one someday.

A derailleur bike and really not as nice a frame but it is in wonderful shape. I remember a previous discussion about gearing. Check out those front chainwheels. I lived in Kansas for an academic year and it's flat enough to get away with that but I'd hate to ride against a headwind (something Kansas has in abundance) with that set-up. The link might not take you directly to the bike. If you're on the homepage click "used bicycles and frames" scroll to the bottom and there she is. There's another link that'll give you a slew of pictures.

Sounds/looks like a neat shop btw.
I guess not. Oh well. nmWalter
Jun 12, 2002 4:23 PM
I like the link to the shop...Djudd
Jun 12, 2002 6:46 PM
The bike looked great I wonder how much it will go for
quite the opposite....Spirito
Jun 12, 2002 6:50 PM
i like the idea but have never been privy to one - dont see many and am always looking for something of the style.

am planning on getting a raleigh 3 speed as an around town "hack" bike so as to familiarise myself with sturmey archer hubs.

always wanted a single speed with 3 gears....if you know what i it sounds like having your cake and eating it too.

so enlighten us a sure others are interested like me but know little of their niche...

Spirito, since you asked.....(longish)Walter
Jun 13, 2002 4:00 PM
Club bikes apparently were popular road racers in GB from the 1930s through the 1950s. After the 1950s derailleur bikes began to replace the traditional S-A (Sturmey Archer)geared "Clubmans." During most of this time mass start road racing was illegal in GB so the clubs would meet for time trials. As an aside the only place in the Isles where it was legal to race a motorbike was on the Isle of Man, hence the famous TT.

Anyways if you wanted to race you could convert a roadster by adding dropbars and a narrow Brooks saddle. You'd ride to the meet strip the mudguards, generators, chaincases and so forth and have at it. Afterwards retire to the pub and tell war stories.

That was how to get into the scene but if you wanted to run with the big dogs you'd need a bike like my first link goes to. Full 531, upright geometry and 27" wheels. The Dunlop steel rims on the Raleigh were considered superior to the early aluminum rims then available. If you'll notice on the Raleigh the bars are unwrapped but there are handgrips on the ends. This bike was meant to be ridden in the drops.

S-A catered to this scene by developing a number of internal geared hubs for the racers. The alloy hubbed 4 speed on the Raleigh was very desirable and btw brings real $ on eBay if you ever find one. The most desirable S-A set up was a unique 3 speed fixed gear hub. Very rare stuff here, even back in the club days. You might get $400-500 for a good one with the gear trigger. I've only seen one on eBay. Sheldon Brown has an article on how to turn a relatively common 3 spd into a fixed 2 speed but it requires some pretty funky mods.

Bikes like my second link could be considered "club" bikes as well. The mudguards and all that would come off for the TT and back on for the ride home, via a pub hopefully. However, for me and others early derailleur bikes are cool but they're not "Clubmans" in the traditional English sense.

Another way to enter the "club" scene was a 531 frame and a fixed gear, preferably a flip-flop. However the S-A racers seem to be the real representatives of this niche.

The Raleigh went for 250lb sterling. Figure about a C note to get it to the US. Someday I'll take the plunge.