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Raleigh 18s - for the kids

Gears and brakes

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Gears and brakes
The bikes are now 3-speeds, but they were originally single speeds. I knew our kids would have enjoyed coaster brakes as it would enable them to continue brake skidding, but the single speed hubs were not salvageable and hopefully it also means they won't be destroying as many tyres as they were on their 16" bicycles. The BSA 18 had a 28 hole Sturmey Archer AW hub and I took another from an old Raleigh 20, both of which we had to rebuild. The brakes are the standard Raleigh steel brakes. They are identical to the brakes on the Raleigh 20 x 1 3/8. We did however upgrade the brake pads to Kool Stop Continentals. Internally routing the brake and gear cables through the frame had me a little concerned at first, not having done this before. But it turned out to be surprisingly easy. Just start by threading the inner wire first. Once this is through, then the outer cable is easily threaded. In case you're curious or if you want to calculate gear ratios etc, the Eighteens come with a 40 tooth chain-ring (compared to a 46 tooth chain-ring on the Twenties). At the rear, the Eighteens and the Twenties both came standard with a 15 tooth sprocket. We lowered the gearing by putting an 18 tooth sprocket on one bicycle and a 17 tooth sprocket on the other bicycle. This has been the right decision and our kids still use first gear a lot and third much less frequently. Keep in mind that the 20" (406) replacements are bigger than the 18" originals, so you need at least an extra tooth on the rear sprocket to accommodate that alone, and then take into account that the gearing is still too high on vintage Raleighs.
Posted by 18.20 blues on October 3, 2017 Full Size|

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