I promised a more in-depth profile of my newest bicycle, AKA Edgar “The Raven” Poe.
I have taken to cruising Craig’s List looking for interesting bikes. With this one, I struck gold. The photo above was the one featured in the ad. You can see why I was smitten, can’t you? Look at the light bathing his subtle black beauty and glinting off his rims! Not just a chintzy little cell phone shot, the guy who listed this bike genuinely loves bikes and you can tell with the photo.
Edgar is a 60s-era Sears Austrian-made 3-speed. According to my research, the bike was produced by Puch. Puch was known more for the scooters, motorcycle and mopeds that they produced after World War II than their bicycles.
Edgar has all the earmarks of an English roadster with the disposition of an Eastern European prince. Jet-black paint accented with gold pinstriping on the fenders and backgammon-like graphics on the seat post make him deep and a bit mysterious. The chain guard, 3-speed internal hub, lightly dinged fenders with cotton tail and dignified upright riding position make him English-at-heart.
The frame is lugged and weighs a ton so I suspect its a steel frame and not cromoly. The lugs aren’t beautifully sculpted but simple and totally utilitarian. Only the lug at the seat cluster has a little cut-out which I find charming– just a little flourish.
The internal 3-speed hub is labeled Sears and “made in Austria” with the number 65 which I assume is the date of production. Everything I’ve read online suggests that the hub is a clone of Sturmey-Archer and parts are interchangeable which is excellent news. The shifter is basically stripped so it doesn’t stay in gear and makes it difficult to shift. I ordered a SA shifter and I hope it will work.
It has the original 26×1-3/8 tires which will be swapped out soon with new cream Delta Cruisers.
The pedals are the grippiest flat pedals I’ve ever had. I have never loved pedals before but I love these!
The brake pads and cables with housing are being replaced ASAP. I am waiting for new white cable housing to arrive in the post. My first batch of coveted Kool Stop salmon pads are also hurdling across the country to me too. I may have to replace the brake levers as one is very loose and wiggly but they are so perfect looking I’m hoping that new cables and pads will make the brake snappy enough that I won’t notice the wiggly brake lever.
For the time being, I am going to keep the cream hand grips until I figure out what will make a decent replacement. And I ordered a Pletscher-style mousetrap rear rack which should be installed this weekend.
My dream is to add a bottle dynamo, lights, a wicker basket and a Brooks saddle to it at some point but it will have to wait as finances are kind of tight at the moment.
I bought the bike for a whoppin’ $50. So far, I’ve calculated the following expenses:
- Schwalbe Delta Cruisers $52
- New tubes $15
- Kool Stop salmon Continental brake pads $20
- Pletscher style rear rack $16
- White cable housing $6
- SA shifter $12
- Cables $20
So, that’s about $140 invested into it. That makes my total investment $190 for a vintage 60s 3-speed masterpiece. I think Velouria of Lovely Bicycle is right that a vintage bike is often the cheapest way to afford a great, classic, lovely city bike.