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  1. #1
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    Another newbie building a Raleigh Grand Prix. Lots of newbie questions...

    Hi all. Picked up a Raleigh Grand Prix on CR. It needs pretty much everything (will elaborate below) and I have many questions, but they all basically boil down to this: 1) How can I do this as cheaply as possible? and 2) How can I do this correctly? And before we go further, yes, I have searched, but am at the point where I need a better idea of what to search for.

    Here's what I can tell needs replacing, along with my specific qs:

    Wheels -- steel ones are bent. Amazon has some aluminum rims for about $30 each. Am I going to find any for less? The brick and mortar shops here in Ann Arbor seem to want double that. I figure I'll get a new freewheel as well while I'm at it.

    Brake levers: One of them is snapped, believe it or not. Want to get the Weinmann levers. Again, where might be cheapest, aside from eBay? Are there any good knockoffs I could try?

    Derailluers: This is my biggest decision, it seems. The old Simplex ones are broken (front and rear). They also look cheap and plasticky. My dad's Grand Prix is of similar vintage but has really beautiful Huret running gear. Should I look for that? Is Suntour better? Or should I just screw it and get a modern new derailluer.

    Chain: Old one looks, well, old. Worth trying to clean and oil or should I just relace it? Any way to tell if it's stretched with the bike disassembled?

    I'd like to keep this all under $200. Then maybe I'd shell out a little more dough for a professional tune. That possible for what I'm trying to do? Thanks for any advice. I have some work ahead of me but think it should be worthwhile when I hit the road on a long summer afternoon.

  2. #2
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    You are looking to be upside down value wise on this bike. It's really cheaper to find a used one in good shape, equipped how you want.

    As far as the cheapest way to upgrade/rebuild a bike? Find a donor bike, and borrow the parts you need. I have rehabbed over 100 bikes in the last two years. I have never bought a single new wheel, even though I have replaced many of them. I either pick up used wheels, or I go the donor bike route. Your bike came with 27 inch wheels, which many people are dumping.

  3. #3
    Biking Viking. goatalope's Avatar
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    Holy crap. Did your bike get run over by a truck? Thats a lot of broken stuff.

    Wheels --> $30 is cheap. Make sure you get the right size. Bike might have had 27" wheels... 700c wheels, which are a bit smaller, are more common today. Even new wheels needed mildly trued. Bike shop might/should do that with wheel purchase. Amazon will not do that.

    Brake levers --> You can get Cane Creeks or Shimano R400s for like $30 online (plus shipping). I'd just get new ones. If you want old ones, are there any bicycle coops in Ann Arbor? Ask around...or google.

    Derailleurs --> Again, I'd probably just get a newer model. Shimano Altus rear is like $25. If you don't mind old and heavy, try a coop or find some dude thats into bikes. I know I have like 5 crappy old, but working, derailleurs in my parts bin that I'd sell for reallllly cheap.

    Chain --> probably crappy. You can measure 12 links or something like that and it should match up. Google "measure chain bike" or soemthing like that.
    Tuesdays I work on my hair helmet.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    You are looking to be upside down value wise on this bike. It's really cheaper to find a used one in good shape, equipped how you want.

    As far as the cheapest way to upgrade/rebuild a bike? Find a donor bike, and borrow the parts you need. I have rehabbed over 100 bikes in the last two years. I have never bought a single new wheel, even though I have replaced many of them. I either pick up used wheels, or I go the donor bike route. Your bike came with 27 inch wheels, which many people are dumping.
    +1 Absolutely correct. This bike sounds like a money pit. You would be better off getting a used bike that works. And you can find some used old entry level bikes for that price.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input. Donor bike seems like a good idea. I made the mistake buying this bike for sentimental reasons (looks exactly like m dad's Gazelle-made Grand Prix) and only realized when I got home how toasted everything was. Perhaps another old bike that I can strip components off of is a way to recoup some of that cash...

  6. #6
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    REI has wheels for $30 each, truing included, so I think I'm going that way.

    For running gear, REI lists the cheapest Shimanos at about $65 for the whole kitten kaboodle (front and rear derailluers, freewheel, and shiny new downtube shifters). That's about the same as I'd pay for used Suntour stuff on eBay. Am I safe in inferring that even the cheapest new stuff is better than the original vintage? Will this badly affect the value of the finished project?

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