This is Sparta

This is Sparta

I’m welcoming a new bicycle to my stable! Well, new to me:

1982 Sparta Windsor step-through with 3 speeds and drum brakes, as purchased from my friend Karen.
1982 Sparta Windsor step-through with 3 speeds and drum brakes, as purchased from my friend Karen.

Karen brought this 1982 Sparta Windsor omafiets to Edmonton with her when she moved from Vancouver – but its place as her daily ride has been supplanted by her Linus, thanks to its lighter weight and ability to attach a trailer for her toddler. I’m well past the toddler stage now, so I jumped at the chance to ride with drum brakes after all the rainy weather we have had this summer.

Sturmey-Archer AB hub with drum brake stamped 82 6
Sturmey-Archer AB hub with drum brake stamped 82 6
Sparta-branded bell
Sparta-branded bell
Headbadge, with a zip tie that has been holding the cables so long it has rubbed off part of the design.
Headbadge, with a zip tie that has been holding the cables so long it has rubbed off part of the design.
Front fork decals and chromed trim.
Front fork decals and chromed trim. The 26 is for the tyre size: 26 x 1 3/8.

It came to me with a Sturmey-Archer AB 3-speed drum brake hub with a 82/6 date stamp, front drum-brake hub with 5/82 date stamp, 80s-style plastic Sturmey-Archer trigger shifter, a full chain case, a chromed Steco front pannier rack with a spring-clamp, a rear rack with a wire basket, a Royal vinyl mattress saddle, a frame lock, Pletscher kickstand, and front and rear lights wired to a plastic bottle generator (currently not working). The paint is a bit scratched up from years of use but it still polishes up nicely. From these photos on Flikr it would appear that originally it would have also had plastic skirtguards (jasbeschermers), bungee straps (snelbinders) for the rear rack, and a chromed bottle generator instead of the plastic dynamo now on it.

Rear fender decals and aluminum badge.
Rear fender decals and aluminum badge.
Downtube decals. The frame lock is stamped "STENMAN PAT.PEND." on one side, and "MADE IN HOLLAND 582" on the other.
Downtube decals. The frame lock is stamped “STENMAN PAT.PEND.” on one side, and “MADE IN HOLLAND 582” on the other.
Decals on the remaining tubes, plus a label from Richmond BC warning would-be thieves that the bike has been engraved. Oh, the innocence of the eighties, thinking that would be a deterrent.
Decals on the remaining tubes, plus a label from Richmond BC warning would-be thieves that the bike has been engraved. Oh, the innocence of the eighties, thinking that would be a deterrent.
The chain case has more pretty decals and a black plastic port for servicing the chain.
The chain case has more pretty decals and a black plastic port for servicing the chain.

I’ve already made a couple of changes: I swapped out the vinyl saddle for my Brooks B67S, and once I had adjusted the saddle to my height, the wire basket no longer fit properly, so I swapped it out for the antique egg crate I’ve been using on the DL-1 (which, in turn, looks handsome with the black wire basket installed). I’ve also installed a mirror to the handlebar (it’s Evo’s clamp-on Canadarm mirror), and removed the water bottle holder. Now to replace the bottle generator and find some bungee straps and skirt guards!

After swapping out the saddle and rear basket.
After swapping out the saddle and rear basket.

How does the ride differ from my Raleigh-built 3-speed roadsters? Well, the posture is a smidgen more upright, because the handlebar stem is longer. The seat position is similar, and the shifting is, of course, identical (although the plastic shifter feels a little different). The braking is reassuringly responsive. There is currently a small pedal rub against the chain case that will need looking at (probably the axle got a smidgen off-centre the last time the bottom bracket was repacked – maybe that has to do with the non-cottered cranks?).

P.S. – For those keeping track, this has precipitated another bicycle switcheroo. Fiona is buying the DL-1 (Eliza) back from me, since the Sparta is taking its’ place. I also will no longer need Trudy (the ’72 Phillips 3-speed), so I am trading it to Nicki and getting Mary Poppins (the ’66 Phillips single-speed loop frame) back from her. Winnie (the ’51 CCM-built loop frame) is also looking for a new home.

6 thoughts on “This is Sparta

  1. That is a delightful bike! I hope you enjoy riding it. Down here in Seattle thee speeds would be impossible, but I bet it’s a treat where you live.

    1. Haha, my coblogger Jen has said the same thing about my old bike obsession! =) Vintage 3-speeds are perfect for my area, although I must admit that I still get off and walk on the biggest hills because the steel frame is so heavy. Not having to walk on certain hills is one of my getting-in-better-shape goals!

    1. Hi Jim, sorry for taking awhile to reply, I never got a notification! “Winnie”, a 1951 single-speed CCM-built Garry loop frame, is still in need of some love (the coaster hub is borked), and is (I think) still looking for a new home, unless wundermechanic and fellow vintage-raving-bike-fiend Keith has found one for her. Let me check with him and get back to you. Are you in Edmonton? If you’d like to see her she has her own category in the dropdown menu to the right.

  2. This Sparta bike has a particular frame construction. In stead of using many frame tubes, 1 tube was bent for faster frame building. This construction gave problems on some bikes built. Check this bike for cracks in the frame near the bracket. If they are not there, you probably have a right one. All the other components on the bike look to me nice and well maintained.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up! Everything looks fine to my untrained eye (no cracking in the paint), but I’ll get one of my friends who volunteer as mechanics at the local bike kitchen to take a look to confirm that everything is okay.

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