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02-22-09, 09:23 AM
Just bought a nice Raleigh and don't know the model. Have narrowed it down to an '89, based on the serial number (WA9000825). The first number indicates the year it was made, either '79 or '89. Since the rear derailleur wasn't made until '87 and the cables from the brake levers are hidden in the handle bar tape, it' safe to say it's not an '87. There's a label that says Reynolds 531 Competition. Raleigh made a Competition bike in some years but a bike mechanic told me that could also refer to the grade of steel or something. So, it is a Competition model? It has similar paint job to the '90s versions of Team Pro but those had different steel (555?). I'll post some more photos in case that helps. While it does say "Raleigh USA" on it the front emblem still refers to Raleigh Nottingham England. My friends here say they think Raleigh was made in England in '89 but owned by U.S. company at the time.
02-22-09, 10:48 AM
"Competition" indeed refers to the tubing - the middle-of-the-road Reynolds racing variant of 531. Circa '89, Raleigh (including Raleigh USA) was owned by Derby International, a Luxembourg-based company. The serial number seems to indicate it was likely built in Nottingham, after the famous Worksop facility was closed down, but continuing the Worksop serial number system. It looks like a good quality frame, but I'm not familiar with the model designations in use at that time (though someone else here probably is). BTW, the 555 tubing is actually labeled as "Raleigh" tubing rather than Reynolds, as with your bike. The "Raleigh" tubing types are almost certainly redecaled Japanese tubing, though "555 rsl" is very likely Reynolds 531. There were some custom frames built for Raleigh USA with "555rsl," but I don't know if those framsets were labeled as "Team" models or not. Genuine "Raleigh Team" frames were always, AFAIK, constructed of Reynolds 531 or 753.