A 1965 Sears 3 Speed

Sears offered many bicycles over the years (all built by other manufacturers), but some of the best ones were those made by Puch/Steyr in Austria.  This 1965 model is very much like the one I rode in my youth over logging roads and along irrigation canals, picking up treasures on my way and loading them into its front basket.

While definitely a copy of the iconic Raleigh Sports bicycle, it also has its own certain charm.  The color scheme, with its black paint and cream accents (probably originally white), surprisingly classy head badge, and “windows” on the head lug make it especially appealing.

This is the bike as it came to me in its unrestored condition, except for a replacement Brooks saddle which I added for these photos.  The original saddle shipped had broken seat rails, and of course I planned to replace the saddle anyway.

This bike has a Sturmey Archer 3 speed AW hub, as opposed to the Puch/Steyr licensed copy found on other models.  You can barely see the “65” date code on the hub in the above photo.

The bike also has Weinmann brake calipers and a proper 3 piece cottered crank.  Other models often featured the cheaper and ugly Ashtabula one piece cranks.

I’ve always been puzzled by the odd “street sign” logo on the top tubes of these bikes.  Is it meant to indicate the way ahead?  The road less travelled? Or??  But, the seat tube logo is very attractive and evocative of the styles of the 1960’s.

The bike’s handlebars are equipped with Weinmann levers and are clamped with a one bolt stem that both tightens the bars and the expander on the steerer tube.

There are nice accents on the fork blades and full color matched fenders, with the rear painted white for visibility.

My biggest worry in restoring the bike is getting the hub in proper working order.  For these photos, and for initial assessment of the hub, I generously oiled it with some light weight lubricant.  Fortunately, the hub spins freely and may only need a flush to clean it, followed by some 30 weight automotive oil to keep it maintained.  The shifter did not perform properly, but these can be fiddly, and with the right cable tension can hopefully be brought back into working order.  If  I need to do a full on overhaul of the hub, I could attempt it myself (if I’m in the right frame of mind), or can send it out to Aaron’s Bicycle Repair in Seattle.  If I decide to do it myself, I’ll watch this video from RJ the Bike Guy, which will undoubtedly convince me to send it out…

I’m looking forward to enlisting this bike as my office errand machine.  It’s bound to offer a comfortable feel, and with the AW hub I should be able to get around on the minor hills in the neighborhood.  I’ll probably add a front basket or rear rack to make it more useful for lunch jaunts and local expeditions. Should be fun!

12 thoughts on “A 1965 Sears 3 Speed

  1. I would have a go at servicing the hub, AWs aren’t that bad as long as you are methodical, and first time was a good learning experience for me. Sheldon Brown has some resources and links too. The bike reminds me of my Speedwell 3-speed roadsters.

  2. Do the overhaul yourself , its not that hard if you are methodical. I would change the gearing to 22 since all these are overgeared.

  3. Nola, I bought one of these in the early seventies, ladies version. I was driving by a yard sale and it was sitting out with the items for sale. I paid $5 for it and managed to get it in the back of my 1964 VW bug . I drove to my new girlfriends( now my wife) house and gave it to her. She loved that bike and it worked flawlessly…..until it got stolen. They are great bikes and perfect for town bikes.

  4. Hello Nola. That rear fender stay attachment to the dropout allows a LOT of adjustment. Is that to take up chain slack, remove the wheel, or, maybe, replace the tire with a bigger, more comfortable, (Rene Herse?) tire and still fit the same fender?

    Also, thank you for telling me about the Leach Botanical Garden. I am chomping at the bit to travel to Portland again (in fall or winter!). Tim, in Southern California.

    • Glad you enjoyed the Leach Botanical post. Hope you get to visit it on your next trip up.
      As to the rear fender stays: I’m not sure why they have so much adjustment capability as the front stays have none, being mounted to the front axle. It’s a puzzle!

  5. You probably know this already, but simply getting the cable adjustment right sorts out 99% of SA hub problems. It s about getting the flat on the end of the adjuster rod( that screws into the hub) level with the end of the axle in , I think, 2nd gear. All should be good then

  6. I was recently gifted a 1966 Sears/Puch 3Speed. The hub/shifter is a Sachs. It had been neglected in various garages for decades. I too was concerned regarding shifting, but a clean up and hub oil lube and it’s shifting flawlessly. It still had its original Semperit whitewalls. Unsurprisingly, after the first few rides the 55 year old sidewalls burst. Unfortunately with the current supply chain issues finding whitewall 590s is a challenge:(

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