Every now and then I get to see some cool stuff at Yellow Bike. Today a gentleman brought in this vintage Raleigh. Mostly original equipment and in very good shape. Somebody had loved this bike before he got it. Some small bits of rust here and there, which is astounding because the bike had a Honolulu bike registration sticker from 1976. Hawaii is notoriously hard on bicycles (salt air, humidity, rain). The bike came with a nice light set run by hub dynamo. It even had a fork lock and he had the key for it.
His Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub had stopped working and he was looking to either rebuild it or find a new wheel. I talked him through the process of disconnecting the shift cable and removing the wheel. While he was doing that I sifted through our wheel collection. I found a 26 1 3/8 wheel with a working hub. I described how to install the shift cable and we tested. Worked ok, just needed a little lube.
We negotiated a price for the wheel and I told him we would be glad to take his old wheel. He said that he wanted to keep and come back to learn how to overhaul/fix it. My kind of user. I got called away to help another user and when I came back we started to wrestle with swapping his tire. After consulting with Sheldon Brown I discovered (or rediscovered all over again) the fact that not all 26 1 3/8 wheels are the same. There are two bead diameters: 590 and 597. His “old” wheel and tire were 590, the “new” wheel I found him was 597. Oops. And we didn’t have any 597 tires in stock. Oops.
He bought the wheel anyway and I gave him some recommendations for local shops that could probably order the proper tire much faster than we can. He seemed ok with that and said he would come back to learn how to work on the hub and other stuff on this awesome bike.
So cool to see an older classic like this still in operation.