Monday, July 16, 2012

Restored Vintage Raleigh Cameo Loop Frame

Tim sends along pictures and a very detailed description of a beautifully restored Raleigh. This one is worth viewing in the highest resolution you can, they have done a lovely job.
Clementine- our vintage Raleigh Cameo We discovered Clementine on craigslist and couldn't resist the lovely lines of this bike. She's a Raleigh Cameo ladies loop frame from the 1980s. While quite unusual in the US, the Cameo was a popular ladies bike in England. The Cameo shares the same graceful styling of the vintage Raleigh DL-1 step-through frame but adds a few modern conveniences- more reliable caliper brakes for wet weather riding, a smaller and more responsive frame, and significantly less weight, making hills climbing in Colorado much easier. Unfortunately, by the time Raleigh was selling the Cameo the production quality had deteriorated. The paint finish was typically poor, the chromed wheels and other pieces were prone to cracking and chipping, and the components were inferior to the earlier Raleigh Superbe and Sports models. Clementine suffered from all these maladies. A good cleaning and polishing served to expose all her faults, but we were charmed by her possibilities. Chipped paint and flaking chrome couldn't disguise her elegant frame geometry. And the smaller 26" frame size was a better fit for my wife than her DL-1 Tourist loop frame bike. So the decision was made to help Clementine achieve her full potential. I'm not usually a fan of "upgrading" vintage bicycles but, in this case, there was little of value to preserve. We started by removing the Chinese-made components and accessories. The decals were mostly missing, so nothing to preserve there. We decided to have the frame stripped and powder-coated a deep glossy black as a nod to her DL-1 heritage. These bikes were most common in white or a sort of maroon/plum color, but I think the sculptural shape would look great in any color. The style is very similar to the Pashley Poppy with its round chain guard and step-through frame. While Clementine was at the paint shop, we began selecting vintage Raleigh components to replace the original low-end equipment. The goal was to create the bike we thought should have been built, similar to Walter, our '67 Raleigh Sports Deluxe (submitted in January, 2011). Almost all the parts are vintage Raleigh Superbe or Sports components ca. 1968- Raleigh brakes with vintage ribbed cables, correct vintage round rear reflector, a really lovely '68 SA hub with the metal hinged port lid, Raleigh Sports chromed wheels, vintage Raleigh handlebar and stem with light bracket, and a slightly later set of vintage Raleigh pedals in like-new condition. We also substituted a vintage Raleigh 46t crankset for the original 48t crankset and changed the sprocket from the original 18t to 24t, all to make it easier to ride in hilly terrain. We considered adding a dynohub and light set to complete the look but, in the interest of keeping the weight down, we installed a new retro-style light instead. The saddle is a vintage black Brooks B72 that would have been standard on a Rudge or Raleigh Sports model. New grips, reproduction frame pump, chrome bell and Pletscher-style rack completed the look. At the end of this process, we have a bike with all the charm and grace of the Raleigh Tourist loop frame style but is lighter, quicker, more reliable and a better fit for the rider. Although it's not a pure restoration, we think she looks just right!
More pictures of Clementine can be see at:


Lee Smith said...

So beautiful! I love a "loop" frame!

Doug Pilgrim said...

Great Job. Does anyone know a source for the Head Light?

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