Stepping up from single speed and 2 speed drives to 3 speed gearboxes with clutches was a major achievement for the British motorcycle industry in the 1920s. A few manufacturers had achieved this in the late 1910s with their own designs but the majority of machines in the 20s were fitted with Sturmey Archer, Burman, or Albion gearboxes. We have already listed information on some of the Sturmey gearboxes so now it is Albions turn.
Some people have found the internal happenings of the gearbox mind boggling and either shy away from rebuilding them, get somebody else to do the job, or attempt it themselves not knowing what they are doing, resulting in the gearbox never going back together again (that is probably why I have ended up with boxes of gears and shafts underneath my house quietly rusting away). Hopefully the information in the attached files will enable the jolly mechanic to wipe away those tears of despair long enough to finish the job and go riding.
Rebuilders/restorers should find the following files helpful in identifying what bits they may require or have for Albion gearboxes. This also includes the gears and ratios for the Albion close ratio gear clusters used in vintage racing.
For 1928 Albion Model C1, E1, and F1 Illustrated Parts List click here.
For 1930~1950s Albion Model H Illustrated Parts List click here.
For 1930~1950s Albion Model H Gear Ratio Chart (including close ratios) click here.
For Part 2 on Albion gearboxes with information on the Albion Midget and HJ and HJR gearboxes click here.
Lubrication Older gearboxes were never good at retaining oil and this was born out in most owners handbooks where it stated that the gearbox oil was to be checked weekly and topped up as required. In modern times this is still an issue as what to put in. The answer is usually decided upon the gearboxes ability to retain any type of liquid product and if the gearbox is still relying on the original style felt seals, brass sealing shims and oil slingers then the grade would be 50/50 ratio of 50W engine oil and medium bodied grease. If the gearbox seals have been upgraded to the newer neoprene types and O rings fitted on kickstarter and gearchange shafts then modern non EP type oils are suitable. NEVER use grease only as this gets flung to the wall of the inner casing, and the gears and shafts run dry. Damage is eminent and can be very expensive to repair on rare types of gearboxes. If the gearbox will retain grease only then it needs servicing.