Thursday, April 14, 2011

The other interesting bike...

... that came in last Saturday was this old Dunelt three speed. Back in the day these were known as "English Racers", despite the fact that they were built purely for utility. As I understand it, they became known as "racers" when the first showed up in numbers here after WWII, when the predominant US bike was the balloon tired "paperboy specials" made by companies such as Schwinn and Columbia and others. Compared to those heavy cruisers, the Raleighs and similar three speeds seemed downright exotic and racy.

What sets this one apart is the condition, which is remarkable for a bike built in 1960 (you can date an old English three speed from a stamp on the rear hub). The paint is in excellent condition, and is a color I've not seen on a three speed before. Black was the most common color of these bikes, which were mostly used in the UK for getting to and from work. It's one of the interesting facts related to these bikes that the factory workers who built them generally rode them to the factory, since cars in post-war England were pretty dear. Of particular interest to me (Tim) is that it's made by Dunelt, a relatively unknown British company that was the maker of my very first bike, which looked much like this one, but had a single speed, coaster brake hub instead of the three speed. Lots of good memories of that bike, even if it looked rather stodgy alongside my friends' Sting-Rays and Choppers.

For lots of good and interesting info on old English three speeds check out these pages at the late Sheldon Brown's site:

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