The Odd Blog

And when our cubs grow / We'll show you what war is good for

The plot thickens…

Posted by That Other Mike on 03/08/2008

… at least in regards to the bike.

The Sturmey-Archer hub didn’t need to be replaced after all; the bloke managed to get the sprocket replaced without needing to completely replace the hub, which is something of a relief, because they’re complicated buggers. Sturmey-Archer Gear HubHe also fixed up the cotter pins, fiddled the Bowden cables a little and fitted new tyres. All in all, he did a good job, and I would highly recommend Behind Bars for the quality of their customer service.

With my usual obsessiveness, I’ve recently started reading up on Sturmey-Archer and Raleigh, a lot of it coming from the late Sheldon Brown, whom I’ve only just discovered, but who seemed to be a bike nut and general all-round expert.

One of the useful pieces of information I culled from Sheldon is to do with dating Sturmey-Archer hubs. They all used to have a two digit stamp on the hub itself, next to the product code. Most hubs were the AW, which is pictured above. The dates, as I said, were stamped as two digit numbers, from 1940 onwards. The hubs began to be dated, though, in the 1930s, and only had a single digit; so a hub marked with a 6, for example, is from 1936. The digit marked on my bike is 8, meaning that the hub at least is 70 years old.

Having found this out, I looked more closely at the frame, thinking that I might be able to identify the model. But it didn’t match up with the Raleigh frames available at the time, so I thought that it might be a later model. Still no luck there, as it didn’t match up with them. I then asked my grandfather, who told me it was a foreign make.

So, in the end, what I have is an all-steel frame of indeterminate foreign manufacture of indeterminate date, with a 1930s SA gear hub. Mysteriousness abounds! If I can get some pictures taken of it, I’d love to know if anyone can identify it.


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