Wednesday, November 5, 2014

1958 Raleigh Sports restoration

Jay sent in his 1958 Raleigh Sports back in January.  It looks like he's been busy since then, as the attached update proves:

You probably remember that I've already made a submission to your old three speed gallery before and I've got updates.  It's up to you if you want to post about my bike again.  

So ever since the first post, my 1958 Raleigh Sports has undergone the following changes: 

- Kool Stop salmon brake pads shortly after the old post
- All three gear ratios started working shortly after 
- Steel Wald basket salvaged from a junk bike, secured to my rack with hose clamps
- LED dynohub bulb from Nicelite (Reflectalite) with voltage regulator since original incandescent bulb blew out from going too fast
- Complete cosmetic restoration in the summer.  

So, about the restoration, I first disassembled the bike as far as I could.  The pedals were rusted together and I didn't have the tools to do the hub and crank so those were left untouched.  I removed rust from chrome pieces with WD-40 and a penny, as well as vinegar-soaking for smaller parts.  All painted parts were stripped, primed, painted, and clear coated.  The fender ends were rusted thin and crunched up by the previous owner so I trimmed about 1 cm off each one.  I then drilled holes in to add small rubber flaps (which themselves had to be trimmed), more to protect the fender ends than to block mud.  The bike actually runs much better than it used to after just taking it apart and putting it back together.  Many parts are protected by WD-40 corrosion inhibitor spray.  I've already had my first accident on it since restoration but thankfully, nothing happened to the new paint job and needless to say, nothing actually happened to the bike.  I'll continue to ride this daily at school through sun, rain, and snow like it was made to do, which is why I took time to repaint the bike and protect the metal in the first place.  If I was going to baby it, I would have left it original.  

-There's a ton more info here on my blog if interested

Looking great, and it's good to hear that the bike is being actively ridden.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Some 3 speeds

Sean sent along several bikes from the fleet.

I have something ive never seen before  till I got this one. Ive never really seen a brown Raleigh superbe  from 70's always green. This one was in bad condition when I got it. missing many parts and lots of rust. It was listed as free to a good home where it would  be reborn. I missed it. person who got it was someone I knew lol so yeah I got it and after  alot of work. here it is. Sadly it has a green superbe rack. Im having a hard time finding brown.

This is another neat one I came across. Ive never actualy seen one in person. Ive seen more RSW then these. a none folding Raleigh twenty with dyno 3 speed and 20x1 3/8 wheels. also needed alot of work its  all cleaned and greased. just waiting on rear rim and deciding on headlamp and a piece of a rack.

This is  just a 1960's CCM I got its a lovely looking ride waiting for a new home, I liked the CCM Imperials.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

1969 Raleigh Sports

Jon submitted this way back.

Over dinner this last Holiday during a family visit in Palm Springs, my wife's brother asked me what I had been up to, hobby-wise. When I described my developing interest in old Brit 3-speeds, he mentioned that his 12-year-old son, Martin, had been given a 3-speed bike by an older neighbor who had had it since college, but that he couldn't ride it because the gears didn't work. Since we were visiting there the week between Christmas and New Year's, I suggested that they drop it by and I would have a look at it. The next morning the bike was parked out front, faded, dried out and indeed weathered from exposure to the California sun and heat. It was a 26" DL-22 Raleigh Gent's Sports; according to the Sturmey archer hub date, a 1969. It had a 1970 Berkley campus license plate. The shift cable was hanging loose, it had a huge, faded beach cruiser seat, dried out '90's-style ergonomic grips on 'townie' bars in a clamp-style BMX stem, and no fenders. The original Raleigh block-style pedals were completely "roached". So I disassembled it wheels-off, degreased everything, gave it a good wash, polished out the frame, fork and chrome as best as I could, and gave it a good lube. The local bike shop fabbed a new cable for the 3-speed. To get a more sporting attitude, I replaced the pedals with BMX-style pedals, added diamond-pattern rubber grips and replaced the old cruiser saddle with a diamond-tufted BMX saddle. Since the fenders were gone, I also removed the chain guard, again to get a little racier look. We saw their family again New Year's Eve and when I gave him his bike back, he was very pleased with the redo. When I got back home, I sent him a chrome frame pump to go on his braze-on pegs, and reminded him to save the chain guard and keep the Berkley plate on because they are original to the bike. So I spent a relaxing vacation bringing another Raleigh 3-speed back to life, and Martin now has a set of wheels to cruise with his pals, which he does regularly; I'm told that he is careful to store his bike inside when he's not on it, all of which I have found very gratifying.

Monday, January 20, 2014

1958 Raleigh Sports

Jay has a nice old bike with an interesting story to go with it.

I've got a bike you might consider putting on your blog.  
I'm relatively new to the world of bikes (I've been a hardcore car guy since age 4) and I have been doing research and stumbled into your old three-speed gallery.  Now, I've been biking as a method of transportation and recreation for as long as I have been into cars but it never developed into a true hobby until now.  Back at home in the Metro Detroit area, I ride an entry level Mongoose mountain bike that was pretty good to my standards, except for a not-quite-spot-on transmission and plastic ring parts that hold the brake springs that warranted constant adjustment and dis-assembly a couple years ago.  Those problems stopped occurring which probably means I did something right at one point, haha.  I was a total speed demon on this bike, hitting 30 mph many times and also having to replace the rear tire last year.  I just started my second semester of college at the University of Michigan and since I couldn't bring my car here, I found a need for some form of transportation besides the buses that did not rely on other peoples' schedules.  Enough about my background - onto my three-speed.  

In the summer of 2012, I was at summer camp and saw an abandoned old bike with a headlight on it caught my attention.  I thought it was really cool but never thought twice about it - that is, until this past semester in 2013.  I wanted a bike here but didn't want to bring and ruin my "nicer" mountain bike.  I also just needed something fun to work on because I left all my Hot wheels customization supplies at home.  There were two abandoned bikes at the architecture school building - a wide-wheeled cruiser and the skinny-wheeled cruiser I had seen the year before.  That was the extent of my knowledge back then.  I thought I could just throw some tires on an abandoned bike and just use it for school without caring much about it.  Long story short, I went with the skinny-wheeled bike and did a bunch research on it.  I found out it was a Raleigh Sports ladies' bike made in either '58 or '59.  Having always been obsessed with classic and vintage vehicles, I called my mom and said "please bring the angle grinder, I need this bike." This started a possible lifelong hobby and from then on, I knew this wouldn't be a "throw around" bike.  

I estimated I could probably get the bike roadworthy with my own from my experience working on the bike at home, which ended up being true.  The tires were stuck to the ground and the brake and gear cables were seized so I thought I'd have to replace them all.  It turned out that after I attacked the thing with WD40, everything freed up and all I had to do was to replace the tires.  The original Dynohub still worked, too! Well, I sorta lied.  The bike is actually stuck in 2nd gear which I'm still trying to find a way to fix but otherwise, it's a great bike. It's got a little bit of surface rust but is structurally very solid.  I threw on new tires, rim strips, and inner tubes and ride it almost daily with a can of WD-40 and a monkey wrench on me, even in this Michigan winter.  It rides super smooth.  I replaced the brake pads during winter break because the old ones gave almost no braking power.  I sent it to a bike shop up the street so the owner could drill two holes in the rear dropout and mount a rack.  I sure do turn heads around campus with the big, yellow, incandescent headlight.  Just today, I was socializing with the bike shop owner and he gave me a piece of steel wool so I could take the rust off my rear hub and read the date on it - lo and behold, it has 58 and possible 11 for November stamped on it! I also used the steel wool to polish up the handlebars, headlamp, neck tube, and brake levers which had a lot of surface rust and tarnish.  They're super shiny now.  This is a functional work in progress and I plan to do more restoration work during summer break.  I will still use it as a daily driver because I like the upright riding position there's something special about operating a vintage piece of machinery that has a thousand times more soul than something new.  And hey, if this bike lasted 55 years (and maybe 20 of them abandoned outside,) it'll outlast me under my care.  It's funny, my first classic vehicle/daily driver project is not a big, 'Merican '65 Ford F250 as I envisioned - it's a British bike.

Some pictures are attached and thanks for reading the long "long story short" story!  

Have a good day,


P.S. Do you know anywhere I could get reproduction decals for a '51-60 Raleigh Sports? I might have to give it a full new paint job after removing rust. 

Still locked up on the post, before my taking
 before tire change
 after tire change
 after new rack and cross-campus bike ride yesterday
 front brightwork after steel wool
 the rear hub after cleaning, couldn't get a good picture of the "58"
a before/after pic of the chrome

1974 Raleigh Sports

Krissy wrote months ago about her Raleigh Sports find.  Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Love your blog, and I'm proud to say that after a year of trolling (jk!), I can finally add my own 1974 Raleigh Sports.

Vintage bicycles seem to be the new 'thing' in Southern California. They run for a couple hundred on Craigslist, ridable or not (Raleigh's and Schwinn's especially) and after seeing a few of these on the Pacific Coast Highway bike lanes, I knew I had to get my hands on one.

My search started on Craigslist with a guy who appeared to have found this poor little green Raleigh sitting in a storage locker for a few years. The tires had quite literally exploded (probably two decades prior, and no one bothered to change them out), the original grips were crumbling off, the original seat and pump were gone, and it was covered in layers and layers and layers of grime. These were only the things I was able to notice first-hand. So I talked the guy down to $100, he sprayed the frame down in WD-40 (GOOD LORD WHY!?!?!?) and I was on my merry way.

After taking it home and giving it a closer inspection, the bike was unsurprisingly an absolute mess. The seat post had rusted in, the head tube was grinding, the front hub was grinding (only to find out later that the bearings were simply, well, gone. WHERE DID THEY GO!?), the left pedal was bent (still is actually, it doesn't bother me too much) and that grime, THAT GRIME! No amount of elbow grease could get that stuff off. My main concern from the beginning was the Sturmey Archer hub, but luckily for me it was perfectly fine, if not a little temperamental.

So after a complete overhaul and parts replacement (the usual cables, tubes, break pads, etc), seat (lightly used Brooks B.68, a lucky find at my local Schwinn shop), gum wall tires, grips (made of wood by Vise, thought it was a cool look and matched the tires pretty well) and a bottle of Simple Green Motorsports (if only I knew about this stuff sooner, FREAKIN' MAGIC! Cleans EVERYTHING!) I had a new bike. I couldn't believe how rich that green was on my little Sports once it cleaned up, and because of this I have simply named her 'Green'.

You can view the set of original photos, along with Krissy's commentary, here.