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Thread: Quality?

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    Quality?

    I was looking at some Raleighs, but had thought they went the way of Schwinn (bankrupt and bought out just for the name).

    How is the quality of Raleigh bicycles? Are they equals of Trek or Specialized. Are they Bike Shop quality or department store grade?

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    Older and newer Raleighs can be very nice bicycles... there is a middle period when their quality really suffered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWinVA View Post
    I was looking at some Raleighs, but had thought they went the way of Schwinn (bankrupt and bought out just for the name).

    How is the quality of Raleigh bicycles? Are they equals of Trek or Specialized. Are they Bike Shop quality or department store grade?
    Most price point bikes today are closer in quality and frame design than many would realize.

    If the Raleigh fits your budget better than other comparable brands then by all means consider it. It doesn't have the 'snob appeal' of the other bikes, but everything is made in Taiwan or China anyway.

    Bikes Direct takes the price point issue to the nth degree.

    I think the best value for bikes is always in the used market (craigslist and such). Instead of getting something at a particular price point new, you can get something epic with considerably better components, and a better frame on the used market.

    Obviously if you don't live in cycling friendly city this isn't the case.

    I wouldn't buy a Raleigh, but I wouldn't buy any new bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    but everything is made in Taiwan or China anyway.
    I'm surprised that a cyclist from Wisconsin would say that.

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    Buy a Jamis. They have great quality and competitive prices and offer a lot of long lasting steel (cro-mo) framed bikes. Raleigh, Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, etc. Aluminum-nums and Carbon plastic-crap are short lived disposable bikes. Buy steel or titanium for the best value! By the way, nobody can touch Schwinn's warranty department, if you have an issue, they're on it. (and they own Cannondale, GT, and Moongoose..)

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    the new steel raleighs are pretty nice, IMO. i owned a rush hour, nicely tig welded steel butted tubing single speed. one of the guys has a one way, same idea with canti brakes. i think they're a good deal for the money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by longpatterned View Post
    ....Buy steel or titanium for the best value! By the way, nobody can touch Schwinn's warranty department, if you have an issue, they're on it. (and they own Cannondale, GT, and Moongoose..)
    Gotta agree. Steel is still the best value for the price, but, if money is no object, titanium is my dream material.
    As far as manufacturers go, they come and go. Scwhinn made durable (though heavy) bikes for many decades. But then they got caught in the Asian invasion. Lots of companies did. Trying to match the price of foreign labor has killed many companies, unless they outsource,
    Occasionally though, a new upstart company comes along with go old fashioned quality and American ideals. Airborne titanium comes to mind. But, they too folded (or got bought out) after a few years.
    I'd have to say the best place to find a quality bicycle is used - then rebuild it yourself. You'd be surprised how many wonderful bikes get tossed out in the trash. But, eventually that supply will dry up too. Better step on it!

    P.S. By the way, Schwinn is Chinese-owned now.

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    Hey,

    I happen to know something about this one......

    Some 8 months ago, when thinking of taking on Bicycles for our software project, I did a look around and found that Richard Schwinn, grandson of German founder, was here in Wisconsin (He's at Waterford Precision Frames- not sure what the business arrangement is, I think he runs it).

    Anyway - I had to ask him for a little more detail on the actual key events than is available at wikipedia this is some of what he told me - in my words - Schwinn attempted to work with a PRC company closely to raise quality and all related - and the end result was that that company - at some point "turned" on them and became a large rather popular brand these days as a heads on competitor. ( In fact, that company is a Giant in the industry.)

    So trying to work with PRC corporations back then (if not still) was fraught with danger - and I don't think to this day that there is much for recognition of intellectual property rights.


    Michael

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    Got a question for you!

    I'm visiting the Jamis site and looking at their really great catalog (pdf) and I'm seeing picture after picture with something I have never seen before - there is a "cable" running up from under the seat to the handlebar. Is this some sort of sensor
    cable for load or what not? For the forks maybe??

    This picture has it online:
    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...dakarxam2.html

    Any idea?

    Just wondering - I like to pay attention to new stuff. Great pictures.


    Michael

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    That goes to a remote control for the seat post. Lets you lower the seat for rough descents and raise it for climbing all without stopping.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MChristenson View Post
    I happen to know something about this one......
    Fascinating.

    Some 8 months ago, when thinking of taking on Bicycles for our software project, I did a look around and found that Richard Schwinn, grandson of German founder...
    Great-grandson. Ignaz Schwinn was a German-immigrant and American citizen who accepted awards from the American government for producing war material during the early 1940s.

    in my words - Schwinn attempted to work with a PRC company closely to raise quality and all related - and the end result was that that company - at some point "turned" on them and became a large rather popular brand these days as a heads on competitor. ( In fact, that company is a Giant in the industry.)
    Interesting spin. For a complete recount of the third and fourth generation Schwinns' many ignorant, amateurish business blunders, including basically giving the business away to Tony Lo's Gaint company, read "No Hands".

    BTW, not trying to get into any geo-political, UN style debate, but Giant is a Taiwanese company.

    Best,
    tcs
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MChristenson View Post
    Anyway - I had to ask him for a little more detail on the actual key events than is available at wikipedia this is some of what he told me - in my words - Schwinn attempted to work with a PRC company closely to raise quality and all related - and the end result was that that company - at some point "turned" on them and became a large rather popular brand these days as a heads on competitor. ( In fact, that company is a Giant in the industry.)

    So trying to work with PRC corporations back then (if not still) was fraught with danger - and I don't think to this day that there is much for recognition of intellectual property rights.


    Michael
    As tsc posted, that's an interesting, and self-serving, spin on this.

    From what I read, Schwinn wanted to reduce costs by outsourcing their frame manufacture to Taiwan and worked with what eventually became Giant bicycles.

    As soon as Giant was set up to work with them, Schwinn decided it would be even cheaper to go to mainland China manufacture and abandoned their deal with Giant. Giant, now having the manufacturing capability, went into business under their own name and has become one of the biggest players in the industry. So, Schwinn actually "turned on" Giant but was the big loser in the deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemeister View Post
    Gotta agree. Steel is still the best value for the price, but, if money is no object, titanium is my dream material.
    As far as manufacturers go, they come and go. Scwhinn made durable (though heavy) bikes for many decades. But then they got caught in the Asian invasion. Lots of companies did. Trying to match the price of foreign labor has killed many companies, unless they outsource,
    Occasionally though, a new upstart company comes along with go old fashioned quality and American ideals. Airborne titanium comes to mind. But, they too folded (or got bought out) after a few years.
    I'd have to say the best place to find a quality bicycle is used - then rebuild it yourself. You'd be surprised how many wonderful bikes get tossed out in the trash. But, eventually that supply will dry up too. Better step on it!

    P.S. By the way, Schwinn is Chinese-owned now.
    P.S. Schwinn is French Canadian owned. Dorel Industries is a Quebec Canadian company. It's the same company that bought a company called Cosco back in the early 90s. They own GT, Cannondale, Sugoi, Schwinn, etc.

    http://www.dorel.com/product.htm#leisure
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    Raleigh is easily on par with any of the other manufacturers.

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    Seems to me from a number of articles in the cycling press that the vast majority of lower price-point bikes are built in exactly the same way..... The frame is built to specifications by one of several Chinese or Taiwanese manufacturing plants, and the appropriate bits are bolted on.

    According to the articles I recall, these manufacturing firms are very high-tech and will turn out frames and components with a very high degree of accuracy for whatever market they are filling.

    The entire market is not dissimilar to the auto manufacturing business, where "American" brands like Chevrolet may be manufactured in Canada or have major components manufactured in other countries, and the GM corporation itself heavily invested in a number of "foreign" marques.

    The best a buyer can do is to look for the best "spec" (components) to be had for his money, and then to see what kind of support he's going to get not only from the manufacturer but the dealer/shop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by longpatterned View Post
    Raleigh, Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, etc. Aluminum-nums and Carbon plastic-crap are short lived disposable bikes.
    Can we please quit repeating this crap?

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    I have personal experience with four Raleigh's in the extended family fleet. A mountain bike, a road bike and two hybrids. They're all of the 20006 to 2008 vintage. No quality problems at all. I would not hesitate to buy another Raleigh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Raleigh is easily on par with any of the other manufacturers.
    Chipcom is right on this one.
    Since 2004 my wife rode a step-through frame Trek Navigator 100. Once it had about 6,000 miles on it I figured it was time for a spare. So I bought her a step-through frame Raleigh Detour 3.0. Both ran about $300 out of the local LBS. The Raleigh is a few pounds lighter than the Trek Navigator. If we are going to do dirt trails she likes the wider tires of the Trek. On asphalt or packed "stone dust" trails she likes the lighter Raleigh since it is a bit easier on hills.

    Neither of these bikes has shown any real flaws in design or in parts quality. The Trek came with Sram while the Raleigh came with Shimano. Cleaning and lubrication keeps them both in use with no problems. In 6,000 miles of use the Trek took one chain and one cassette which is better than some folks get out of these parts.

    Usually differences in price simply reflect differences in the running gear parts used. I just pulled the Kenda tires off the Detour and replaced them with a pair of Continental Touring Plus tires. Compared to the Kenda's, lower rolling resistance but a good difference in price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteknight View Post
    Chipcom is right on this one.
    Where was I supposed to send payment to again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Where was I supposed to send payment to again?
    Chipcom,

    Given the low price we pay for a lot of bikes we usually get a bargain it how well they hold up.

    I purchased the Navigators in July of 2004 to replace two Walmart bikes we rode first. Both performed without problems.
    Then I bought a Trek Multitrack. Within a few weeks I had two spokes break in the back wheel. Fixed under warranty by the LBS I bought it from. Turns out a Korean steel mill shipped a batch of off-grade stainless that went into these spokes and the problem was not confined to the wheels used on the Multitrack. The same brand and grade of wheels used on both of the Navigators.

    Then when I bought the wife the Raleigh Detour I put Tuffy liners in the tires. A few weeks later I had to fix a flat on the rear wheel. Turned out to be a flaw in the Kenda tube. So I took the front tire off and took a close look at that tube. Same flaw. Where the schrader valve base was bonded to the tube there were sections where the rubber was paper thin. So Kenda had shipped a bad batch of tubes. Chances are that not all went just to Raleigh. I also looked at the Kenda rubber strip over the spoke heads. These were splitting apart around the spoke heads in less that a year of use. A bad batch of rubber. So my only problems with the Raleigh centered on some bad rubber used to make the Kenda parts.

    When it comes to rubber compounds with long life the Chinese sometimes don't hit it. Some years back the rubber companies had to get away from rubber stabilizers that had been in use for a long time. Getting the rubber stabilized with the newer stabilizers is not always that easy. You will sometimes see bike tires made in China begin to "weather crack" after only a year of service.

    It would be silly to say that the Treks are better bikes, compared to the Raleigh, over something like this Kenda rubber supplier problem. But no doubt there are some who would then state that the Raleigh is inferior.

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteknight View Post
    Chipcom,

    Given the low price we pay for a lot of bikes we usually get a bargain it how well they hold up.

    I purchased the Navigators in July of 2004 to replace two Walmart bikes we rode first. Both performed without problems.
    Then I bought a Trek Multitrack. Within a few weeks I had two spokes break in the back wheel. Fixed under warranty by the LBS I bought it from. Turns out a Korean steel mill shipped a batch of off-grade stainless that went into these spokes and the problem was not confined to the wheels used on the Multitrack. The same brand and grade of wheels used on both of the Navigators.

    Then when I bought the wife the Raleigh Detour I put Tuffy liners in the tires. A few weeks later I had to fix a flat on the rear wheel. Turned out to be a flaw in the Kenda tube. So I took the front tire off and took a close look at that tube. Same flaw. Where the schrader valve base was bonded to the tube there were sections where the rubber was paper thin. So Kenda had shipped a bad batch of tubes. Chances are that not all went just to Raleigh. I also looked at the Kenda rubber strip over the spoke heads. These were splitting apart around the spoke heads in less that a year of use. A bad batch of rubber. So my only problems with the Raleigh centered on some bad rubber used to make the Kenda parts.

    When it comes to rubber compounds with long life the Chinese sometimes don't hit it. Some years back the rubber companies had to get away from rubber stabilizers that had been in use for a long time. Getting the rubber stabilized with the newer stabilizers is not always that easy. You will sometimes see bike tires made in China begin to "weather crack" after only a year of service.

    It would be silly to say that the Treks are better bikes, compared to the Raleigh, over something like this Kenda rubber supplier problem. But no doubt there are some who would then state that the Raleigh is inferior.

    dude, I meant payment for saying that I was right, nobody calls me right for free around here.

    We have 3 Raleighs in the stable - a One-Way, where my only complaint were the wheels...DC-19s are not made for 240lb clydes...a Superbe Roadster (the latest version of an old classic) and the wife has a Cadent.

    We used to have 7 Raleighs, but we gave two (RT 1 and RT 24) to our girl and her SO so they can ride with our grandaughter on her barbie bike They had some old MTBs that I fixed up for them, but since the training wheels came off the barbie bike, they could no longer keep up with her on them. I gave my Mohave winter bike to my brother so he could ride with his kids and tow the youngest in a trailer and we got our boy a Cadent road bike.
    Last edited by chipcom; 10-23-09 at 02:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    Can we please quit repeating this crap?
    Look at his user name, I see little hope.
    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    I'm surprised that a cyclist from Wisconsin would say that.
    Maybe that's because most of Trek's bikes aren't made in the USA? At some point the Lemonds switched from "Hand Built in USA" to "Made in the USA" or something like that. About that same time their other stuff started changing to things along the line of "assembled in the USA". Just like everyone else their lower end stuff (and I suspect some of their composite stuff other than top end frames/forks) is made off shore in places that to be quite frank are better at mass producing a product for a given price point than their on shore equivalent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    dude, I meant payment for saying that I was right, nobody calls me right for free around here. .
    I caught it. Just figured to let it pass.

    As to being called right.
    If a wife goes on vacation for a week, leaving the man totally alone, is he still wrong when he speaks?

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    As soon as Giant was set up to work with them....
    You are right, until now I have only heard only one side and wasn't in the industry, when I think about it a lot of folks must have followed every twist and turn of those events very carefully. The above partial sentence could take a chapter or two of a carefully researched book to explain from both sides.

    I'm absolutely put the book "no hands" (Great title!) on my list of books to read.

    For a little more detail on who owns (owned) the Schwinn name now I found this 2004 WP article I'll clip in parts of this article:

    Titled: A Rough Ride for Schwinn Bicycle
    As the World Economy Shifted, So Did the Fortunes of an American Classic

    By Griff Witte
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, December 3, 2004; Page A01


    The Schwinn Bicycle Co. went bankrupt in 1993 and sold off the brand. But at its peak two decades earlier, the Schwinn family oversaw a labor force of 2,000, the majority of whom never made it past high school. Several thousand more U.S. workers benefited from jobs at Schwinn dealerships, or in the steel and rubber factories that supplied parts.

    About 75 miles away, in Madison, Pacific Cycle manages the Schwinn brand from a sleek office with just 80 workers. Pacific, part of a Canadian conglomerate, has a couple of hundred employees in California warehouses, taking in the bikes imported from the seven Chinese factories where most Schwinns are produced.

    From California, the bikes fan out to mass merchants such as Wal-Mart. Once there, cashiers making less than $10 an hour ring up the latest Sting Ray at prices much cheaper than the original. Pacific sells more than a quarter of all bikes purchased in the United States, with just about 350 U.S. employees.

  25. #25
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by une_vitesse View Post
    the new steel raleighs are pretty nice,
    Absolutely! I ride a 2003 Professional, which was made to honor the great Professionals of the 70s and 80s when Raleighs were well represented in the pro peleton. It uses Columbus Nivachrom asymmetrical tubing with a carbon fork. (Made on Taiwan, which has historically had the best metal bike foundries.) IMO, this frame is one of the best-kept secrets of recent times.

    More recently, Raleigh's upper-end models are carbon. I've heard nothing bad about them. I pay no attention to their aluminum stuff since I won't own aluminum.

    Raleigh is easily on par with any of the other manufacturers.
    In my experience that's a fair statement.

    But I'd also say that you should spend more effort worrying about the characteristics and fit of the specific model than about the manufacturer. If you can get what you need from a Raleigh or a Trek or a Waterford, buy it. Ignore the name on the tube.

    Then ride it.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

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