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Newbie question(26 posts)

Newbie questionSgtKarj
Nov 20, 2003 2:03 PM
Hello, I'm a newbie to the retro/vintage bike world after a friend gave me a near-mint black Raleigh Competition last week. I found it to be a beautiful machine that hasn't turned a wheel since...1977. It has literally sat in a corner of his storage closet and the tires are literally pancakes. I'll post some pics in a day or so to show the bike & it's condition, which is very good.
Please pardon my ignorance - I have no experience with a machine of this type and caliber and I was only seven years old when he retired it.
The tires, as I'm told are "sew ups" and use a glue system to stay on the shallow concave rims.
Now I'm interested in maintaining the bike in as close to original condition as possible, so are there sites/resources out there that manufacture the parts for this machine? It needs pads, cable housing, tires and probably a general going-over including servicing the bb, derrs, and headset, etc. I do not intend to race or ride it hard - just as a cream puff to tool around town with the kids on.
Any help is very much appreciated.
Impossible to restore--I'll haul it away for 10 bucksCory
Nov 20, 2003 3:49 PM
No, you're OK. Parts are readily available, and it should be fun to get it running again.
A good cleaning, lube and bearing repack should do most of what you need. Any bike shop can provide new bearings (they're about $3/100 in bulk), and most still carry cable housing on rolls, so you buy a few feet and cut it to fit. Normal cables will work.
The work is pretty straightforward--no index shifting to fiddle with, for instance--but if you need help, bike-repair books by Lennard Zinn or the Bicycling Magazine Manual will tell you everything.
Personally, I think sew-up tires are way more trouble than they're worth, and I'd be tempted to replace the wheels with "clincher" rims (the standard, tube kind you're probably familiary with). But a lot of people will disagree, and if you decide to stay with the originals, tires and glue are widely available. You'll have to learn how to fix flats and glue on tires, but again, it's commonly done.
Nice find, by the way.
Nov 20, 2003 4:33 PM
1.) Sew-up tyres (sorry, you'll just have to imagine the Brit accent) are for enthusiasts only. They are a pain in the arse, and the sooner you've replaced them with 700c clinchers, the better for everyone all around. Hint: clinchers, properly inflated, will not "roll off" the rim at the turn at the bottom of a fast downhill because you didn't know what you were doing with the glue...I could go on for another page about this, but I'll stop.

2.) Even if it was never ridden, by this time the grease in the bearings (none on this bike were sealed) may have dried out. Don't 'learn' how to service bearings on this bicycle. There are a lot of little wirebrushing the exposed threads on a hub axle off before unscrewing the locknuts and cones (otherwise grit can damage said threads). You can learn to do this from books (that's plural...books) but do it on a lesser bike first. If you decide not to do this yourself, have a shop familiar with older bikes do the work. That doesn't disqualify a shop that sells the latest and greatest (priced) bikes.....kind of hard to read, but if the owner or mechanic's face 'falls' when you roll the Raleigh in, consider taking it somewhere else. Assuming no rust on the frame, that bike likely has lots of years/miles left to go. Good luck with your excellent find.
After some consideration....SgtKarj
Nov 20, 2003 7:08 PM
Thank you very much for the much-needed guidance.
Based on reading some archived posts here, I think that I should take the bike down to Cyclart in Vista (approx an hour or so south of me), and consult with them.
From the sound of it, I think a set of clinchers will do nicely, and will probably open up my tire choices as well as saving my hide.
Is it blasphemous to try to keep the same hubs/spokes and simply have new rims laced to the existing? Maybe I should just look into a vintage or even recent wheelset?
Additionally, the bike has a perfect Brooks leather saddle which I anticipate is going to torment my backside. Are there cool lightly padded vintage or vintage looking saddles that would do me right?
Thanks again for the time and consideration. I'll try to post some pics tomorrow.
You have a good start...rwbadley
Nov 20, 2003 8:29 PM
That is a neat bike that is worth a bit of investment.

You could have the wheels rebuilt, but you may be better served to look for a nice wheelset on e-bay. Keep the stock wheels for a later day. All kinds of vintage wheels pop up. Make sure the rims are hook bead types, (they should be, but you never know)

I would look for another saddle to ride, but you may also look into the care of that old Brooks and bring it back to life.

During the winter you may be able to easier find a shop with the time to do a bearing repack on the complete bike.

Have fun and enjoy the ride
No, no--Keep that Brooks saddle!Cory
Nov 21, 2003 9:40 AM
The break-in period of Brooks saddles has been greatly exaggerated, IMO. I have them on three bikes, plus a spare Pro in the garage, and while they're better with a few miles on them, none has been uncomfortable right out of the box. Set-up is important, though--a millimeter or two of tilt up or down can make a difference. Start with it level, then make tiny moves until it feels right. Mine feel best with the nose just slightly lower than the rear, but I have a friend who sets his just the opposite, with the nose up a hair.
I'd coat it with Proofide, too--that's Brooks' proprietary leather goop, about six bucks for a lifetime supply. If you can't find it locally, you can order from Rivendell or Harris Cyclery, among other places.
Warning, warning ...Humma Hah
Nov 24, 2003 6:15 AM
CyclArt is a great place, but they might talk you not only into keeping the glue-ons, they may talk you into wooden rims. They're world-class at refinishing bikes, and can help with restoration, but they're not really a bike shop. Your bike doesn't so much need restoration as a little light wrenching.

On the other hand, they do serve as HQ for the Vintage Bicycle Association, who hold rides for vintage bikes every month or so, and publish a newsletter every once in a great while. Plenty of good folks to know in that organization.'

Keep the Brooks. Your butt will learn to like it. Give it a month or two to adapt to your anatomy ... leather saddles are almost living things. Once broken in, you'll probably keep that saddle for life, and it will keep getting better.
Warning, warning ...SgtKarj
Nov 24, 2003 11:01 AM
Thanks for the heads-up about CyclArt. I'm only looking to respect the machine, but I do not intend to stay on sew-ups after talking with a few buddies who have experience with them. No wooden rims either. Hopefully I can source a good set of lightweight clinchers in the same hub width and either move the cassette/lockring from one to the other or...?
I'll keep the Brooks after what the guys here have said about them. Since I don't have tires currently, I haven't had a chance to park my backside on the saddle, but I'm sure I can get used to it. It has quite a few miles on it already and may be softer than it looks (hopefully).
The only real catch to replacing a rim ...Humma Hah
Nov 24, 2003 11:52 AM
... is the number and length of the spokes. There are a number of great bike shops in San Diego County, including a couple of first-rate wheelsmiths. Any of them can match the length of spokes to your combination of hub and your choice of rims ... if they don't have what you want on-hand, they can custom-cut and thread you a set.

There are also some spoke-length calculators on the web ... I think Sheldon Brown has one. Might not help a lot for a really old bike, as they probably don't list your exact hub.

Once you have the spokes that fit, building a wheel is a piece of cake. Buy a jig and do it yourself, or hire a local wheelsmith for about $50 a wheel.
The only real catch to replacing a rim ...SgtKarj
Nov 24, 2003 12:51 PM
Any good wheelsmith recommendations for this project in the Orange County area? I'm in Irvine and I'm not about to take this bike to a local chain store.
I still intend to have CyclArt do a once-over on the frame and a few components that deserve attention, the closer to home, the better for the wheels.
The only time I was in Irvine ...Humma Hah
Nov 24, 2003 3:02 PM
... was when I came up from SD for the Amtrack Century a few years ago. I don't know any of the shops up that way, except, from the size of the Orange County Wheelmen's Association, there must be quite a few.

I'm back on the East Coast now, so WAY out of touch.

BTW, I'd ride that Raliegh in the Amtrack in a heartbeat, if I didn't think it has far too many gears! At least the vintage is to my liking.
re: Some pics from this morningSgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:23 PM
As you can see, cosmetically, some areas of the bike need a little attention, others are in wonderful condition.
re: Some pics from this morning rev1SgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:24 PM
re: Some pics from this morning rev2SgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:25 PM
re: Some pics from this morning rev3SgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:25 PM
re: Some pics from this morning rev4SgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:26 PM
re: Some pics from this morning rev5SgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:27 PM
re: Some pics from this morning rev6SgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:27 PM
re: Some pics from this morning rev7SgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:28 PM
re: Some pics from this morning rev8SgtKarj
Nov 22, 2003 12:29 PM
That's not just a Brooks ...Humma Hah
Nov 24, 2003 8:11 AM
... Those copper rivets suggest it's one of their high-end models like maybe a Champion.
No, just olderAlexx
Nov 28, 2003 12:56 PM
Back in those days, all B17's came with brass rivets. The steel rivets didn't come along until the late 70's. It's still got SMALL rivets, so it's just a B17 (besides, I can read where it's embossed into the leather).

FWIW, that saddle could get you $75-80 almost any day on e-bay, and that old Huret Jubilee is worth about $150. Actually, if the condition of everything internally is good and original, you might see $500 for the whole bike. It's a nice ride, if not exactly up-to-date....
re: Some pics from this morninghnmalone
Nov 22, 2003 3:03 PM
Unless my eyes deceive me, that's a first generation Huret Jubilee rear derailleur. Supposedly, the lightest ever made, and a popular collector's item. I've seen lightly used ones go for $85 - $150 on eBay.

A nice little piece of buried treasure, there.
Call me paranoidwooglin
Nov 23, 2003 4:20 PM
I had a Competition GS of roughly that vintage, and it looked very different than what you've got. The lugs are different and, more importantly, there were no cable guides brazed on the top tube of mine. See the link below. Also visit the web site.

cory "Before 'n after" 9/11/03 11:53am

Not saying that's not a Competition, just that I don't think its a 77. (And having written all this I see that you don't say its a 77 either. Oh well, I'll hit submit anyhow...)
You're not paranoid...SgtKarj
Nov 23, 2003 5:30 PM
You are correct in your estimation that it isn't a '77. While I do not know exactly what year it is, I should have taken and posted a picture of the City of Newport Beach bicycyle license that is in pristine condition on the underside of the bb shell. It says "City of NB blah blah...Expires 1974".
re: Newbie questionbrewboy
Nov 24, 2003 7:17 AM
I have the same bike. Yes, the Huret rear Derailleur is a high demand item for collectors. Rivendell did a article on it in thier Rivendell Reader. I believe the bike is a 1972 or 73. Great find. Looks like it would just need a overhaul. The surface rust on the chrome can be taken care of with WD40 and steel wool-works great. Save that Brooks! Long distance cyclists(and me) swear my them. It's a myth that they are uncomfortable.