Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
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It will be a challenge getting it fixed up, but go for it.
I remember seeing some stainless steel Westwood pattern wheels on Ebay a few days ago, no idea of the quality or anything.
There are a number of India-made bicycles and perhaps the Chinese Flying Pigeon bicycles that use that style of wheel as well, and if you do some research, you may be able to run down a set fairly cheap. I have no idea as to quality. I have an India-made bicycle, and the rims on it seem to be sturdy enough, however, they weren't perfectly round where the rim was spliced (welded). So it was kind of a challenge pulling it into true while building up the wheels. In wheelbuilding, you expect the finished wheel to be perfectly true and spoke tension to be perfectly uniform, and if you start with a rim out of true, one of those isn't going to happen. Also, I haven't dealt with the genuine Raleigh wheels, so I don't know they compare. I believe Yellow Jersey was one store selling the India versions.
You do on occasion see Raleigh handlebars, rod brake parts, etc. on Ebay. (Hint: search for "rod brake bicycle" without the quotes, and click the option to include the text of the ad as well as title). Some of the parts are in England, and while it may be prohibitive to ship an entire bike over here, it may be worthwhile to pick up select smaller parts like brakes, etc.
On the actual value of just a frame like that, I would tend to think pretty minimal, due to the amount of work required to hunt up the other parts. An original bicycle in pretty decent shape is around $300-$400 for a men's frame. If you put one together with a mishmash of parts, I don't know what that does to the value.
Speaking of men's frame, sometimes you'll see women's frame bikes go fairly cheap, and it may be worthwhile to buy one just for the wheels, handlebar, etc., assuming they're interchangeable.
On the frame size, I think they made a 22" and a 24" or 25". Keep in mind that back in the old days, you'd see people riding bikes that by our standards have frames just entirely too big- to such a point that they may not have been able to straddle the frame when stopped. Consider that their forefathers rode highwheel bikes, and that makes more sense.
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."