Now I have to step in.............
As (un)Official guardian of the breed I have to take issue here - you guys seem to be getting your 40 spokes 4 crossed here
If we are going to talk about them in such terms, can we come to an understanding of just what a typical British "Club" bike was / is ?
The typical British club machine was not ;
- converted from an old heavyweight Raleigh / Huffy etc. shopper or roadster or so-called by the big manufacturers "Touring" bike or "Lightweight". This was all spin and sales pitch to hide the truth of what they really were.
- Generally 3 speed wide ratio geared. That's for roadsters and shopper bikes.
- Heavy - 45lb ? someone was conned if that's what a Lenton weighs
Generically they were ;
- Built pre & post WWII and well into the 60's - Of Reynolds 531 or K.R.O.M.O. in some cases - Using 4-speed S-A's or Cyclo 4's & 8's amongst other configurations - Dual purpose work / cycle club machines - not out and out race bikes - Equipped with anything from basic to top-flight components depending on wether you bought one from a big manufacturer or a small volume builder and what you specified. - Comparitively Light (25lb for one equipped S-A Flying Scot I have) - Costing £15 at the entry level and £30 at the top end in the early 50's
To me a handbuilt by a small builder club machine is the pinnacle of the mainly touring club era in Britain in the 1950's - The best example I have naturally is a Flying Scot. It was to me a pinnacle but only of one time span within the whole CR remit.
Oh and to those out there who question if they can ever be lively - get out there and ride on one - a good one, not a rebuilt 3-speed Huffy with drop bars. They'll never be on a par with a 'light-in-weigh' derailleur equipped machine but they are not dull by any manner.
Bob Reid Stonehaven Scotland
From Chris's own comment about Raleigh Lenton's it's been reduced in stature by comparing them with conversion of heavyweight Huffy's and 3-speed AW hubs - Hardly fair that guys.
Here are a few "IMHO" notes on comments that have been made in connection
with the traditional Britsh Lightweight club bike over the past couple of
> I never rode a high-performance hub gear bicycle. I remember converting
> my father's Hercules 3 speed with down bars and moving the trigger switch
> by the handle bar plug for a sort of end shifter.
Suffice to say you can't make a silk purse...... 3-speeds and a heavyweight
> Assuming a decent lightweight frame and aluminum rims, can a 3 speed
> Sturmey Archer feel or even be a fast bicycle?
I doubt it - try changing that to a 4-speed medium or any close ratio hub
and you'll be surprised.
> The Clubman bicycle Chris spoke of has reasonably lightweight parts (many are
> steel but weigh similar to alloy) and the frame is mostly (all?) Reynolds 531
> and should be quite a lively bike.
Yes, quite true when applied to a Lenton which was a mass produced
lightweight but not generically to the breed - You paid circa £15 for a
Lenton in 51' - For the handbuilt far-lighter-weight more aluminium
components Flying Scot £25-30 you got what you paid for.
> I also had a Lenton Sport with drop bars, a 3 speed AW hub, Simplex
> plunger derailleur and 3 cogs on the back. Everything on the bike was
> steel except for the Brooks saddle and Chinese 26x1 1/4 gumwalls. The
> thing must have weighed 45 lbs despite the 531 frame tubing. I never
> could warm up to that bike; very sluggish, but the drivetrain really
> worked well.
Now that really is the limit - how can you compare all of this to a true lightweight Club bike ? If you had a Lenton Sports weighing in a 45lb someone sold you a pup - they repainted a Raleigh All-Steel roadster I'd say.