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Know about the Hercules?
#1
Hi there! I picked up this bike at an estate sale and I was wondering if anyone knows anything about it? Also, what should I do with it? My plan was to buy a vintage bike to restore but I’ve never heard of this one. If this is a special bike, I’m afraid I might mess it up.


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#2
(09-17-2020, 11:04 PM)TheNextGen Wrote:  Hi there! I picked up this bike at an estate sale and I was wondering if anyone knows anything about it? Also, what should I do with it? My plan was to buy a vintage bike to restore but I’ve never heard of this one. If this is a special bike, I’m afraid I might mess it up.

Hi "Gen",

I have an earlier ('54/'55) model, but it is an internal hub 3 speed and utilizes roller/rod brakes vice calipers. If you can post clear photos of front and rear derailleurs we might be able to get you into a range of years. There is probably a serial number on it, but I don't know if there is a database to look up its significance. These were mass produced, mine is valued at $300-$400 max, that bike is not something you can really "mess-up"; maybe worth up to $300 in really good condition; but that's a guess, it's a market thing. It's a cool bike to restore, but depending on how extreme you go, you'll more than likely spend over the value of the bike, especially if doing the paint, decals, chrome, etc. I have records of the headbadge being used for a wide range of years (50s, 60s, 70s). The decals should be available, if you didn't have the headbadge it's another $10-$20. Does it say "Made in England" on it?

   
   
   
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#3
(09-20-2020, 04:00 PM)Jesper Wrote:  
(09-17-2020, 11:04 PM)TheNextGen Wrote:  Hi there! I picked up this bike at an estate sale and I was wondering if anyone knows anything about it? Also, what should I do with it? My plan was to buy a vintage bike to restore but I’ve never heard of this one. If this is a special bike, I’m afraid I might mess it up.

Hi "Gen",

I have an earlier ('54/'55) model, but it is an internal hub 3 speed and utilizes roller/rod brakes vice calipers. If you can post clear photos of front and rear derailleurs we might be able to get you into a range of years. There is probably a serial number on it, but I don't know if there is a database to look up its significance. These were mass produced, mine is valued at $300-$400 max, that bike is not something you can really "mess-up"; maybe worth up to $300 in really good condition; but that's a guess, it's a market thing. It's a cool bike to restore, but depending on how extreme you go, you'll more than likely spend over the value of the bike, especially if doing the paint, decals, chrome, etc. I have records of the headbadge being used for a wide range of years (50s, 60s, 70s). The decals should be available, if you didn't have the headbadge it's another $10-$20. Does it say "Made in England" on it?


Thanks for the info that’s exactly what I was looking for. And that’s a mighty fine bike you have there! I just love these older bikes.

A year range would be amazing. I’ve got the pics below but I’m not sure what you’re looking for. I haven’t had a chance to really look at it yet so I don’t know about the serial number or if it says made in England. And where might I find these decals?


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#4
Nice chainrings! Odd, but it seems that the small ring is nearly the same size as the large one.
"We do not run out of time; Time runs out of us"
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#5
(09-20-2020, 10:14 PM)TheNextGen Wrote:  Thanks for the info that’s exactly what I was looking for. And that’s a mighty fine bike you have there! I just love these older bikes.
A year range would be amazing. I’ve got the pics below but I’m not sure what you’re looking for. I haven’t had a chance to really look at it yet so I don’t know about the serial number or if it says made in England. And where might I find these decals?

I would have to check as to where the serial number might be located; you more than likely have a TI/Raleigh made bike (TI: Tube Investments bought Raleigh Cycles in 1960, Hercules was already a part of TI as it was bought out in 1946; previously TI was Hercules' and Raleigh's independent tube supplier), it may be on the upper seat tube/seat cluster lug, on the bottom bracket shell, or on the rear dropout/wheel mount. Usually the "Made In England" is on the top tube (men's). Your rear derailleur appears to be a Sun Tour "V" (2900 model) from the early 70's introduced right around 1969/1970, appears in a 1970 catalog; I cannot make out the front derailleur markings/model due to low light/exposure of the photo (retake photo with flash or outdoors in brighter light). Since it seems to have a 1970 registration sticker, then I would assume that it is at least a 1970 or earlier, which makes me think that the rear derailleur may have been replaced since I don't believe that Sun Tour RD was made that early on (mid '60s), or even originally fitted to that bike. Since you have Huret stem shifters (I believe it's an "Allvit" series model, '60s-70's) it would make sense that the bike might have had a Huret RD originally (probably an "Allvit" model), especially for a 60's/early 70's European bike which would generally have European/British parts on it. The Sun Tour "V" derailleur is an upgrade; I would rebuild it (unless you're wanting to do a full restoration with original parts) since they are great derailleurs for the era and are not cheap to replace with a decent used one ($50-$75, $25 on a good day for a buyer). You may be able to help with the identification by checking to see if there are any unique stampings on the frame and/or parts (logos, symbols, etc.); if any there are any Raleigh logos (common on "non-Raleigh" badged bikes built in the '60s and later) than it's 1960 or later. The Sun Tour RD may have a date code on it, so take a close look at it for any odd letter/number stamps (date code will only help ID bike/year if it is an original part). In general the Raleigh bikes made by TI/Raleigh were a little better as far as features/options, but other TI/Raleigh bikes badged with other brands (i.e. Hercules) were built with the same quality on the manufacturing side; Hercules and other TI owned brands (Robin Hood, Triumph, Royal Scot, Norman, Phillips, et al.) were essentially using the same frames as their counterpart Raleigh model, and probably sold for less money at the time. I believe the Hercules division of Raleigh was ended by the early to mid '00s, but the Hercules name was continued on in India/middle east region for some time (maybe still being used?), I don't know who owns the company (or if there actually is one); but you can still get some newer Hercules badged parts if needed. I found a new saddle and tool bag for my bike with the Hercules badge on it for a very reasonable price. If your model had alloy brake calipers it would be one of the higher end Hercules/Raleigh frames and probably has butted tubing, but you have steel calipers so it is probably a lower end model in general with straight gauge tubing (just a guess!). It would be a good project, but I would be more inclined to refurbish or do a partial restoration keeping the original patina/aesthetics. If you plan on doing a lot of riding on it, I would put alloy brake calipers and alloy rims on it; you will have improved performance and safety, as well as saving quite a bit of weight. I ride a 1970 Raleigh 3 speeder with all original components, but when I need to put it into "race mode", I replace the pedals and saddle (for speed and comfort only, no safety benefit). Without knowing how much you purchased the bike for, it would probably take a about $100 give or take (depends on functional condition) to refurbish mechanically; but a full restoration is $400 plus (may be worth it if you plan on keeping it for many years), but there are better candidates given the fact that it will not enhance your bike's value enough compared to money spent to get it to that "like new" condition. Also, being your first (?) rebuild/restore, you are likely to spend a little more than someone (me!) who has been doing this work for awhile. The internet certainly makes it easier to find stuff, but it doesn't always save you $ unless you know where to go and have a few contacts/network to utilize for parts and services (those things you can't do yourself); or you get lucky.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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