Archive for November, 2017

Chuck-out season continues relentlessly, and up until now, the streets have been a bit bare … but here’s an odd find. A Roadmaster 3-Speed step-through, simply labelled “Three Speed”, which is borderline as to what I would normally pick up, but I just couldn’t resist the 3-speed derailleur set up.

pretty unexciting, but barely used ..

The Roadmaster appears hardly used, but has suffered the ravages of idleness in a salty environment, albeit in someone’s shed. A good candidate for spare part hub internals, etc.

I find it unusual that a cheap bike from this era has a square taper crank set ( no cotters ) and yet a backward looking three speed derailleur system.  Of course this would have cost less than a 3-speed geared hub to the maker, ( and appeared more trendy ), but why not a five speed in the 1980s, even on such a cheapie ?

shimano tourney copy ..

The rear derailleur and shifter are the DNP brand, which I hadn’t heard of before … they are Taiwanese, and still making gear systems, it seems. The R.D. is very similar to an old Shimano Tourney and the crude-looking shifter has a fine ratchet movement, rather like the nicely ratcheted Dia-Compe shifters.

ratcheted thumb shifter – note the full length cable outer

Then again, this would have been a very simple system to use in the pre-indexing days, and really, for round town use, most people wouldn’t need more than three gears – so there ! 

Also, strangely, it was running a 1/8″ chain ( single speed / track ) with a master link … so it should also last forever with reasonable care ! In a dry climate such as here, it made a kind of sense, I suppose.

three speeds only, and the obligatory pie-plate spoke protector

It would seem that the three cogs were screwed onto a wider Long Yih – ( Taiwan ) freewheel with some threads left over, and with cog spacing for the wider 1/8″ chain.

I have some better and more interesting 120/126mm spaced frames than the Roadmaster for accepting this gear train, and my curiosity has been aroused to try and make it work again.

Speaking of three speeds, I also had the very good luck to find a 1972 Sturmey Archer 36 hole AW hub.  Why so good ? Because almost all my S-A hubs are older 40 hole ones, and I have many more good 36H rims than 40H !  So I can see another planetary overhaul coming up, some time soon …

Happy Re-cycling !


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