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Old 03-14-10, 12:46 AM   #1
3DCityGal
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1976 Raleigh Tourist...brakes: what to do?

I hope this is the right forum to post this:

I just don't know...is there any way to make a 1976 Raleigh Tourist with rod brakes to stop in the rain? I've considered disk brakes, drum brakes, etc. How can I make this bike stop with a rod-brake system? Rubber on steel just doesn't work. And I've looked for a rubber/leather brake pad that fits my bike.... If you say, "buy a new bike," just stop...stop right now. I've had this bike since I was 8. She's not going anywhere. I'm going to ride her till she quits.

That said. I have considered (especially with tax refund) getting a bike (I work at costco, so it's probably a schwinn with fenders and a rack and such) so I can remove the derailleur and add a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed to it.

The reason I want to keep the Raleigh: a) IT'S HUGE!!!!! My feet don't get tangled in the front wheel when I ride. This thing is at least 6'-4" long with lots of play in the leg-room. I'm a 5'-10" woman with size 11 feet. I ride on the balls of my feet; as learned when riding horses. When I've ridden sister's bike, feet rub the front wheel on turns. DON'T LIKE THIS AT ALL b) My uncle bought it in my birth year. c) I inhereted the bike when I was waaaaaay too small for her. Not sure if I was the one it was intended for, but sister and cousins had no interest when she came out of storage at the grandparents' house. d) I've had a lot of time to learn about what she is, how she was made and how she works. e) The Titanic (my name for her, she will sink; it's a mathematical certaincy) soars when I open her up (I just can't stop her - like an 18-wheeler or a train, it takes time).

The reason for dissing the Raleigh: a) takes lots of time and excellent driving with lots of awareness to come to a safe stop. Meaning, no emergencies allowed. b) can't get rims/tires/tubes/brakes without lots of research. c) you need those things to ride a bike to work everyday.

I've thought of stripping everything to make the bike I need, but she won't be the bike I want. My dream is to keep the aesthetics while making her road-safe. Can I do disks or drums while keeping the rod-brake-system? Can I do it on a budget? I'd like to keep my 28-1/2" tires (I pre-purchased replacement parts). Does this exclude me from any modification that can be made? I don't want to weld things or change the frame (shocking as it is - broken wrists, ass and all).

Can it be done? I wish I knew more about bikes, I just know every centimeter of the Raleigh (yeah, I'm in Chicago, but she was made in England - need the metric system for her. Or just a really reliable adjustable wrench, LOL!).

Please! Please...please... I implore the gods of the Alt Bike Culture to help me figure this out.

Susan
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Old 04-11-10, 12:27 PM   #2
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welcome to bike forums. Sounds like a great ride. I would say get a diffrent bicycle and save the Raleigh for special occasions. I'm from chicago also and CL there is alittle overpriced but there are places to get good deals if you look around, you might be able to find an older crusier equiped with a sturmer archer hub in your price range, something less rare that you could ride everyday.

I would also recommend moving this thread to classic and vintage, the are very helpful over there, post some picture if you can too that will get all those cranky bike nerds in a tither.
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Old 04-14-10, 12:38 AM   #3
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thanks!

It's an awesome bike. I love her. I put this thread on the Classic and Vintage forum but have gotten few replies. unless I haven't been paying attention. It's kind of a mixed bag at this point.

Have been riding to work and adjusting the brakes regularly (stupid nuts and rods not being equally tight, my fault, my fault). I carry an adjustable wrench wherever I ride. It's my version of a multi-tool. But seriously, it's been great. I've spoken to bike dudes here and there who have no concept of rod brakes. They all give me high compliments. Frankly, I wouldn't know how to adjust cables except to think it's the same thing.

I've even downgraded my lock from the Faghettaboutit + Faghettaboutit cable to simply the U-lock part. It's too hard to steal things from this bike - unless you came equipped with an adjustable wrench. Plus, there's a bit of peer pressure from the other bikes at work. I just don't want to lose my seat (the original brooks saddle that came with the thing...so comfortable). However, after 33 years, it's probably fused to the frame anyway.

Anyhooo..... The only reason I don't really want a cruiser brake is a selfish one. I'll take it, but won't be happy with it. I like to spin backwards at stoplights, coming down from speed, etc. It gives my legs a shake-out. I'll do it if necessary. I think the drum-brakes are best. Especially considering my "normal" gear skips from time-to-time. That smaks of a tired transmission - not to mention I have to wriggle the cable to get her into that gear to begin with.

All I know is I love her. I turn side-to-side while riding, take notes of bumps I shouldn't hit again, get a nice workout (as compared to sister with her derailleur and lots of gears) can take 40 or 20 minutes to get to work (depending on my enthusiasm) and generally enjoy riding her. She's my beast....the Titanic....my 45 lbs of pure British steel! I love her.

Susan
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Old 04-14-10, 09:59 AM   #4
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You got it right. Rubber and steel don't work well in the rain. Try some aluminum rims.
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Old 04-14-10, 08:36 PM   #5
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Problem with this forum is you have to endure seeing what "WE" do to bicycles.
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Old 04-15-10, 09:12 AM   #6
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Problem with this forum is you have to endure seeing what "WE" do to bicycles.
That looks nice, I like the matching headlight that you have on it. Any special hidden modifications?
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Old 04-15-10, 07:59 PM   #7
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Any special hidden modifications?

I did lots of modifications to this Raleigh Tourister.It has alum rims in the original british tire size 28X1&1/2",modern V brakes.A 5 speed derailer that I modified to fit correctly with the roadster rear facing drop-outs.A dino hub in 36hole--they sold them that way for export to Canada.An antique 'T' cup light.Kustom paint by me.Still heavy buy fast for a roadster and stopps on a dime.
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Old 04-19-10, 10:56 PM   #8
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Some time ago, we were discussing using drum brakes and somehow hooking up the rod actuators to the drum brakes. I don't remember if anything came of it.
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Old 04-20-10, 01:10 AM   #9
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Any special hidden modifications?

I did lots of modifications to this Raleigh Tourister.It has alum rims in the original british tire size 28X1&1/2",modern V brakes.A 5 speed derailer that I modified to fit correctly with the roadster rear facing drop-outs.A dino hub in 36hole--they sold them that way for export to Canada.An antique 'T' cup light.Kustom paint by me.Still heavy buy fast for a roadster and stopps on a dime.
Very cool, I didn't notice most of those modifications before you pointed them out.
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Old 04-20-10, 05:54 AM   #10
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Susan, the only thing I can think of would be to change the front hub to a drum brake hub. They cost somewhere around fifty bucks, and you'll probably need new spokes as well-- another twenty to fifty bucks depending on what you get. You can do the work yourself, though it is the kind of job that intimidates a lot of people who haven't done that sort of thing before. A shop will probably charge you at least fifty bucks... so you're looking at spending something like $150 minimum. The drum brake has an arm that attaches to a strap that goes around the left fork blade; and it has a second arm that normally attaches to a cable. You or your mechanic will have to figure out how to attach that to the rod brake levers. I have no doubt it can be done, and I have a strong suspicion it can be done very elegantly, but sitting here at my desk it's too abstract to give you the details.

If your existing hub is a dyno-hub, you can replace it with a dynamo drum brake hub; it has a built in generator and drum brake. Even if you don't have a dyno-hub, I'd consider the dynamo-drum because you can add lights and ride at night... perfect for this kind of bike.
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Old 04-22-10, 05:09 PM   #11
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I'd recommend both.
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Old 05-31-10, 06:49 PM   #12
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Fibrax makes a brake pad specifically for steel rims and wet weather, the Raincheater. Bikesmith Design has them in stock I believe but I am not sure whether there is a version for rod brakes available.

Give Mark Stonich a call at Bikesmith to find out what he has, or can obtain. BTW he is also a source for Sturmey Archer hub parts and service.

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Old 05-31-10, 06:56 PM   #13
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You got it right. Rubber and steel don't work well in the rain. Try some aluminum rims.
Do you know of a source for aluminum "westwood?" rims? Rod brakes I have seen require a special profile rim with the brake surface on the inner rim face, beside the spokes, rather than the sides.

I have seen a Dutch bike with rod actuated drum brakes, both front and back. IMO it would be expensive to have the linkages made to do so with the Raleigh though it might well be possible to do so.
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Old 06-28-10, 08:52 PM   #14
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Your hub might stop skipping if you adjust the shifter cable as described here;
http://sheldonbrown.com/retroraleighs/grand-prix.html
Alloy westwood rims are available here but they aren't cheap;
http://www.theoldbicycleshowroom.co....d-rim-51-p.asp
Cable operated drum brakes are available but kinda hard to find.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:06 AM   #15
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Susan--you may have solved this by now, but if not I'm pretty sure that Velouria at lovelybicycle (blog--you can google it) has fitted an additional brake to her DL-1.
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