I miss old roadster bikes

I haven't had a roadster type bike for several years now.

I miss the low bottom bracket and comfy riding position. I'm a 23" in old bike, but only 17" in modern bike. I like 3 speed hubs too.

Is there anything available new that has similar proportions to a 1950s Raleigh? I have tried some three-speed bikes in Halfords but they all seem to feel quite modern, with a high BB and the look of an old bike. There are lots of Dutch bikes but they're too upright!

I'm seriously thinking about restoring an old one with more modern bits for better braking. 650a rims are hard to find now. 700c would make the bike quite a lot taller. Maybe 650b?
 

All uphill

Rolling along
Location
Somerset
Have you looked at Pashley's range?

Their roadster looks good, although I would personally prefer to restore a 1960's Raleigh. I did up a very well-used 1940's one up a couple of years ago and was amazed at how well it had survived 80 years of use.
 
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chris667

Guru
Have you looked at Pashley's range?

Yes, but only online.

I can't help feeling they're poor relatives of old Raleighs and they have some weird design choices. I believe they have 28" wheels and again, quite high bottom brackets!

Before I moved to hilly Derbyshire, I have had a lot of really old Raleighs and they closer to what I wanted. I would much rather spend £800 making an old one really special than spending more on one that isn't as good.
 
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chris667

Guru
Dunno but I think we tend to look at old roadster type bike through rose colourEd specs and forget about the dreadful brakes, heavy frames and uncomfortable saddles. All easily remedied if you’re doing a rebuild.

Oh, absolutely.

There would have to be a programme of sympathetic upgrades. I would need lower gears here for certain.

I quite like the idea of one of those Schlumpf drives. I was looking at their website, you can give a 3 speed hub almost the same range as an MTB triple!
 
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chris667

Guru
Is the BB height to allow relaxed feet-on-the-ground at traffic lights?

Partly, but it also makes the bar/stem relationship better and keeps your centre of gravity lower.

Modern bikes all seem to have very high bottom brackets. My understanding is it was mostly done for litigation reasons (people clipping their pedals as they rode round corners). But it's all part of the move towards bikes being performance-oriented as opposed to transport-oriented.

Often we seem obsessed with the weight of bikes rather than how good they are to use. I know the brakes on old roadsters are dreadful (actually put some Kool-stop Continentals on and things improve a lot!) but they are very comfortable and practical machines to actually use. You don't need special clothes and the maintenance is easy - a teaspoon of gear oil every now and then. For many people, the getting to work bike was more or less perfected in about 1930.
 

Ian H

Ancient randonneur
I could have bought one of these for £50, boxed, new, in Sri Lanka, back in 2000.
slbike.jpg
 
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