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Pre-Motorized Bicycle Information. Before you mount that engine to your bicycle frame, you'll want to know if the bike is ready for the engine! Ask our experts here for advice on what will perform well.

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Old 05-30-2016, 10:09 PM
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Agreen Agreen is offline
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Default Help identify this possible Raleigh knockoff

I picked up a bike today at a Goodwill. I saw the Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub, made sure it worked, and then checked the tag. $25 for the whole bike isn't bad! I had to stop and pick up a crescent wrench from the neighboring Harbor Freight, but I was able to get it in the trunk with minor disassembling.

Once I got it home, I started trying to figure out what kind of bike it is. The head badge says "AMERICAN", and the chain guard says "sports three". So I searched and searched until I ran across a google image of what looks to be it. The Raleigh Sports Three. So I start getting excited and think to myself that I may have scored a Raleigh for $25! But the more I look at it, the less I'm convinced. I'll see what you guys think.



Looks legit, but nothing ever says Raleigh. I got to wondering if back when this bike was being sold that British was considered junk? I mean, I am in the heart of ignorance over here. So could the store trying to sell it give up and put some cheesy american crap all over it to sell?

But look at the "welds"!! Eew!



And this is the only stamp I could find. Sheldon Brown's website says it could be on the bb, seat tube, or dropout. That was their "Raleigh specific" section.



Some "american Hardware" sticker by the seat post:



On the forks: A, for 'murica.

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Old 05-30-2016, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Help identify this possible Raleigh knockoff

Head badge:



And the Sturmey Archer hub. The stamping "AW" and 73. From what I gather, that means it's the year that hub was built. So maybe it's a '73? I haven't looked in to "AW" yet.



So what do you think? Re-badged real deal Raleigh? Or is it a fake American knockoff? Everything from the fenders, frame, wheels, all looks right. It even has the 26x1-3/8" tires.
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: Help identify this possible Raleigh knockoff

My original plan was to take the hub, replace the rear wheel with a single speed, and sell the bike at cost. Essentially, I'd have a Sturmey Archer 3 speed for free. Finding out that it could be a vintage Raleigh may change things.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Help identify this possible Raleigh knockoff

Built by Columbia in the 70's and re-branded for American Hardware stores.

Columbia made bikes for many department stores, as well as their own "sports three."

Not much value. Typical low end bike.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Help identify this possible Raleigh knockoff

Sounds like I'm doing plan A then. The hub was something I really wanted, but SA hubs cost a little more than I wanted to pay. I could easily get 4x the price I paid for it (even after swapping the rear wheel) because I'm 15 miles from Charleston and there are tons of hipsters down there who all love "vintage" but mostly don't know anything about, well, anything.

Thanks for the information. I couldn't figure it out from web searches. It sure looks like a cheap ripoff of that Raleigh. Even the "sports three" name is a rip off!
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