more little things...

Continuing on from my last post I've got a few more old goodies for my Raleigh Superbe.  First up is a Lucas mileometer, this is a mechanical odometer which were popular before electronic bike computers came into prominence in the 80's.  It's effectively just a ticker which counts revolutions of your wheel and keeps track of your mileage, it makes a slight ticking sound as the pin hits the star on the unit attached to the front wheel axle.

I did a little bit of research before I bid on this, there are several different types made for different wheel sizes, this is marked on the underside of the unit on the flat.  Mine is marked M26 which is for a 26 x 1-3/8 wheel which is correct for the Superbe.  The unit reads out in miles and 1/10ths of a mile in red, I'm not sure of the accuracy but it's probably not too far off.  The unit itself is completely sealed and not serviceable, I tried using an electric drill to zero the thing but ran out of patience, I would have been sitting there for hours!  The side of the unit is stamped "Joseph Lucas Ltd Birmingham - King of the road" nice to keep the Raleigh all English.  When riding along the striker hits the star wheel and makes a ticking sound, I've covered the little pin with some black heatshrink to make it a little bit more quiet.

The other little doodad I got was an alloy seatpost, now like I proved in my previous post about weight it makes not that much difference for a typical commuter.  However one of the cotter pins was coming loose and I needed to service them; a steel seatpost is perfect for propping up the crank to whack cotter pins on. I figure as well though, if I can save weight without losing any function, why not?  The original seatpost is 25.4mm as with most old Raleighs and is marked Sturmey Archer.  The new one was just a cheap £5 one I got from eBay, luckily it is fluted and pretty nice looking, it's marked Made in England 24.58mm.  Even with the slightly larger marked size, it fit in perfectly.  Just for fun I weighed them both, 132g vs 74g which means a weight saving of a paltry 64g, pretty negligible but at least now I can whack out cotter pins to my heart's content.

That's all the upgrades for now, however I have just won an auction on a Sturmey Archer 3spd drum brake hub and have bought some 26 x 1-3/8 alloy rims from eBay.  I just have to make an order for a front drum/dynamo hub and I'll be ready for a fully drum braked, enclosed drivetrain all weather bike ready for the winter onslaught, hopefully it'll snow this year so I can at least partly assure myself that the money I waste on bikes is worth something.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Wow! Drum brakes, alloy rims and all that. I'm jealous. Alloy rims do make quite the difference, especially if it's a Raleigh with rim brakes. I had my front wheel rebuilt with alloy rim and a dynamo hub. Still need to rebuild the rear.

    Cool odometer! I bought a Centurion Le Mans 1970's era ten-speed a few years back which I converted to a single speed. It came with the fork-end odometer, but it never worked. Love to find one for a 650A wheel!

    And I forget if I asked you this before, but did you want a copy of my Cycle Touring Primer? Email me to let me know. urbanadventureleague ( at ) gmail ( dot ) com

  2. I'm definitely looking forward to the drum brakes especially, going downhill even in the dry with rod brakes is a bit sketchy, more so than calipers on steel rims. Even though I don't really care about weight the alloy rims should drop off a few grams for no loss in function or durability. There are a few of the mileometers here in the UK on eBay every now and then.

  3. I'm enjoying the "ride from afar" of your Superbe. I have a couple of DL-1's which I love, and I'm always interested in seeing what others are doing to their Raleighs. I think Raleigh accessories are probably easier to find on the island than they are here in the colonies. As a point of interest, I'd be interested in the current weight of your Superbe. My DL-1 (with rack) weighs in at 43 lbs. I keep hoping someone will make new alloy wheels to fit it someday. I'd like to keep the rod brakes, but shed some of the weight.

  4. Yes, definitely easier to find old stuff, particularly on eBay there is always loads of old English stuff. I weighed the Superbe as it appears in the pictures, it's around 18/19kg or so. I probably guess with the new wheels it might drop off a few hundred more grams. What wheel size is your DL-1? Are they 28" wheels (ISO 635)? Because I think you can get alloy rims in that size if you look hard enough...

    Stay tuned, the rims have arrived and I am just waiting for the hubs to arrive in the mail!

  5. Drum braked are great, I have some. I am jealous of the odometer.

  6. Whoa! Sexy spam eight years later! Then again, it was inevitable that smut would find a blog with "smut" in the title! ;-)