A few years back I became disgrunted with the short service life of derrailieur transmissions when forced to cope with wet weather commuting. I began to hanker for a simple vintage 3 speed town bike for my commuting.
I played about with a scrapper bike to see what was feasible, it was a steep learning curve but I soon found out what worked and didn't.
The classic Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub gear is a brilliant device for utilitarian transport, their lifetime is measured in decades and once set up are almost maintenance free. The gear wheel can wear to the point where it is totally hooked, yet still work acceptably. The only maintenance required is a drop or two of oil down the port.
However I soon found out that both chromed steel and stainless rims are hopeless in wet conditions, to the point of being lethal in London traffic.
I found this curious bike on eBay for just over £20 and at the time was interested in the stainless steel rims that were fitted to it.
The name on the headbadge is Staco, I was told the former owner had brought it back from Switzerland.
Having collected it and been out for a quick sortie, I already felt that it was much too curious to break up. The styling is similar to the classic "Swiss Army Bike" (no jokes about tin openers please).
It had huge motorcycle sized mudguards, "North Road" chrome handle bars, and a retro bullet shaped headlamp powered by a fork mounted dynamo. There was even a combination tail lamp/number plate holder.
The stainless rims fitted were 650b, an odd size used on French touring bikes although ironically coming back into fashion for some mountain bikes.
Sadly, on closer inspection the rear rim was cracked and the elegant stainless finish dangerous in rainy weather.
More to follow...
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