Classic & Vintage - Rebuild 1973 Raleigh Gran Sport
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06-30-07, 09:49 AM
I'm thinking about rebuilding my Gran Sport with indexed shifters and lighter wheels, etc. My local bike shop says to forget it and buy a new bike (last year I bought a Cannondale Synapse carbon 2 from them--they don't seem to understand 34 years of attachment). I've been searching this forum for specifics on whether, say, a Shimano groupset would fit this frame and I did call Performance Bike who told me I need to take it to a frame shop so the 10speed gear set will fit (the bike shop says to just shove it in and I have looked at Sheldon Brown's site about cold setting the frame).
In addition, I have Campy hubs that I may keep if they are in good condition, however I'd still like to put on lighter wheels and spokes--does this make sense? Money's not the major issue--it's more of an emotional journey, with the end result, hopefully being a nice upgraded ridable bicycle.
I'd appreciate any input, or direction to relevant posts that have already dealt with this issue.
06-30-07, 10:30 AM
We need pictures. The Gran Sport should be 531 tubing, chrome tipped forks and stays, and a Brooks saddle. I say go for it.
I have, what I believe is a 73 Gran Sport that's evolved. I've been trying to rebuild mine with Suntour accushift but cannot find a good downtube clamp. I'm having a set of freewheel Normandy high flange hubs (like orginals) built up with 700c Sun M13II rims. I'm using elkskin leather bar wrap (veloorange). I'm keeping the Suntour VGTLuxe RD and Spirit FD.
07-01-07, 06:51 PM
Here's the "Great White Shark"
07-01-07, 07:52 PM
If the frame fits you, there's no real reason not to be able to upgrade, and given the double-butted Reynolds 531 frameset, you have good bones to work with. You can widen the rear triangle or have a willing bike shop do it. Were the original wheels 27"? Does it have a derailleur hanger brazed on?
07-01-07, 08:04 PM
Here's the "Great White Shark"
Try uploading the picture to
and posting a thumbnail or direct link. I'd like to see a detailed picture - and compare to my Gran Sport :D
07-02-07, 05:34 PM
Here's another try for pictures. The wheels have been and are 27" and the rear derailleur hanger does not appear to be brazed on. Has anyone besides me experienced instability because of the 531 front forks?
You can do it, most will tell you it's not cost effective but you already know that. Emotional attachment counts.
Get ahold of some 700C wheels and see if your brakes have enough reach. If not add new long reach brakes to your part list. You'll also have to drill out your front fork. The S. Brown site has directions and I can testify that it's pretty easy.
Other than wheels and brake fit the rest of the stuff bolts on. Time and money answers most questions.
07-02-07, 06:24 PM
Has anyone besides me experienced instability because of the 531 front forks?
Nothing about the fork is inherently unstable, so I'd guess that your fork is tweaked a bit. A good bike shop should be able to check its alignment and potentially straighten it.
07-02-07, 07:22 PM
A good bike shop should be able to...
And on that note, I would also suggest finding a competent bike shop. The folks you've been visiting sound as if they are of the far too common 'could care less' bike shop crowd.
07-08-07, 10:03 PM
I bought a 21" version of the Raleigh Gran Sport in 1974 -- the very same white with robin's egg blue accents -- which I took around New England and even New York City until 1988, when I shamed into getting a Trek 400. I'd love to love that bike, but as a mechanic at the old "Bicycle Exchange" in Cambridge (where I bought the bike) said, it's a "Turkey". The front end is just too steep. I wouldn't say the fork/front end is unstable -- indeed ever with 30 lbs on the back that 531 Fork really shone charging down Berkshire hills -- it's just too stiff and unforgiving! And your foot clearance with the wheel is minimal. The bike has a touring geometry rear end and a racing geometry front end! It was designed as club racing/touring bike -- I guess the front end was there to allow you to dart around your friends during your tour? But the result is a bike that is too jaring to be a good tourer (keeping the front tire at 60 lbs max helps) but not light and quick enough to be racer.
So suit yourself -- but of my collection of cast off "oldies": Raleighs and Treks, a Shogun and Schwinn WorldSport, my old Gran Sport remains the turkey. No matter what components you use -- and know what it came with was generally excellent for the age and price point -- you still won't get the classic ride of Super Course or the agility of a newer design (1980s) Chromoly sport frame.
07-08-07, 10:18 PM
You may want to think twice before you chuck the wheels. The original Gran Sport came with a common upscale wheel of the day: Weinmann narrow section rims with High Flange Normandy hubs and double-butted spokes. If your bike had the wheels replaced with Araya's or some common alloy wheel with straight spokes, then you may want to move up. But the original double-butted spokes added some needed flex to the frame set-up. You might want to spec. DB spokes for your new wheels. And if your Brakes cannot accomodate the 700 wheels (it was close before I swapped the Center-pull Weinmann 650's for 750's), you can still find 27" rims/wheels which can be set up with 1 1/8" Pasela or Conti 1000 tires. When I want to ride my old Gran Sport, I usually put on the old 27" DB spoke wheels as the 700 straight gauge spoke ones don't really add anything.
07-08-07, 10:30 PM
"In addition, I have Campy hubs that I may keep if they are in good condition, however I'd still like to put on lighter wheels and spokes"
I have used Torelli "Master" rims with some of my hubs. They ride well, look good on a vintage bike & are available in silver or black.
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