English Roadster, Educate Me Please


Senior Retro Guru
Thanks. I did read about the recommended minimum gearing, good to know it easy to go lower if need be though. It would be used for light offroad, cycle paths/routes, tame bridleways but 1 1/2” tyres should be fine for that. Back then they must have been used for everything. By the looks of them they’re all pretty slack, even the RA, compared to anything remotely modern. Knowing that most things on the post-war bikes are fairly compatible with quite modern is a plus, easier to find bits.

Mark Manley

Old School Hero
I run very low gearing on my SA 3 speed hubs to get up the hills here in East Devon without a problem, 24T SRAM rear sprocket and 36 or 38T on the front with 26" or 27" wheels although I am only 10 stone so not a lot of load from the rider.
If you fancy an RRA but want to keep cost down keep an eye out for a post war Raleigh Clubman, almost RRA spec including nicely sculptured lugs and mudguard mounts further up the forks and rear stays but much cheaper with many components from the Lenton.


Senior Retro Guru
Afraid this needs a bit of history. The 28 inch wheel and 24 inch frame bike with angles around 67 was originally built for the rough roads of the Edwardian period, and would have all solid ends brazed in, but the seat stays oddly were bolted on. The cranked stays were to provide clearance for 1 3/4 inch tyres and imperfect wheels. By the 20s the solid ends were replaced by just pressing the ends of the tubes (called trapped ends). the rear stays on these were incredibly weak.

This rather stupid design was maintained but diminishing in the 1930s. By the late 30s these were relegated to the end of the catalogues, back with the juneviles and carrier bikes. They were built with 12 inch bracket height and far too large for many users.
The method of mounting was to stand on the left of the bike, place left foot on the pedal and push off with the other foot and lift the right leg over the saddle when going fast enough.

This was obviously not suitable for the increasing traffic conditions and regulations by the late 30s. So bikes were made with fully brazed stays and steeper angles, 10 to 10.5 inch bracket height, 26 inch wheels and the riders could put a foot down instead of dismounting.

Rod brakes were often the choice of commuters. The average bike had absolutely no maintenance and rod brakes would still just about function, where cable brakes actually needed a little oil on the cable ends about every 6 months.

Post war 28 inch wheel bike were exported in large quantities but were very rarely sold on the home UK market.



Senior Retro Guru
Thank you for the the info you two! Thinking about terrain etc a clubman style might be a better bet. Reading up on the Rudge Pathfinder at the moment and also trying to work out if the Lenton Sports was basically the same or different beast, the article I'm reading is a bit unclear.

The Record Ace is on another level but looks like they'll be far too expensive especially as it might turn out that I hate vintage.

Edit: seems as though the sports and pathfinder are basically the same.
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Senior Retro Guru
Yeah I sort of decided that's what they were trying to say without actually saying it. Which one did have the nicer lug work, can't tell from the catalog illustrations? Lenton with cutaway lugs?


Senior Retro Guru
Thanks for clarifying about the wheel sizes Keith. I was never fully sure where 28” fitted in.