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Old 04-23-12, 09:51 AM   #1
dinzdale
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Raleigh Grand Prix

Hello,
this is my first post on these forums and I don't really have a whole lot to say, but I had a few questions.


2012-04-22 13.08.15 by thebrainofdane, on Flickr

I just bought a bike over the weekend at a garage sale for what I thought was cheap (25.00 USD), and it looked to be in good shape. It is a Raleigh Grand Prix from the '70s (I think). Some googling brought up a 1977 catalog that matches this bike pretty well for decals. Can anyone tell me where I can find a serial number or marking to tell me more about it?

I plan to make it a project bike that I can fix up and use on my daily commute to the train station (about a 2 mile ride on pavement). If anyone could point me to a beginner's guide to bike restoration, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm a fairly hands-on person, so I'm excited about making this thing ride-worthy.

As it is, there is no noticeable rust on the frame, spokes, etc. The cables have taken on a dull brown color, which makes me nervous to ride it at speed for fear of losing braking. My father-in-law is sending me a couple of seats to try out, so I don't need to go out and buy a new one just yet.

I'm looking forward to riding this thing. Any help or tips would be appreciated!

Last edited by dinzdale; 04-23-12 at 10:20 AM. Reason: Add BB Coded pic
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Old 04-23-12, 10:19 AM   #2
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For $25, you did just fine. It's not a high end bike but should be a good rider. I'd recommend new brake and shifter cables, and probably a new chain and maybe a freewheel. The bearings and grease in the hubs, bottom bracket and headset should probably be renewed. If you don't know how to do this stuff, there's no time like the present to learn! I didn't know how to do any of this a couple years ago.

Edit: Oh, Randy's site is a good place to get some pointers: http://www.mytenspeeds.com/

Google Sheldon Brown's site for a lot more info, and the Park Tools site also has great how-to guides.
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Old 04-23-12, 12:05 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply!

I'll have to post more pictures soon. I just wanted to get a quick opinion on whether or not it's a worthy cause. Thank you so much for the links. It looks like I have a lot of reading and tinkering to do, but this bike gives me a good starting point. The wheels spin freely with no wobble, the chain is free of rust, and the tires still hold air. As soon as I get a seat, I'll go for a short test ride and let you know what happens.
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Old 04-23-12, 01:19 PM   #4
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Not a bad bike. Make sure you at least get some fresh grease and oil on the bearings. Those bikes had steel rims, so make sure your brake pads are good if you think you might get caught riding on wet streets. The '77 Grand Prix came with Raleigh rebranded Suntour components, including Power Shifters. IMHO, that's pretty good. It also has a cotterless alloy crankset, which is easier to service than the older cottered steel crank sets. Check out online merchants for deals on parts and supplies. The tires are 27" x 1 1/4", which are pretty easy to locate. If they need replacing you can get them for as low as $7 each. Brake pads about $3 a pair, black plastic bar tape and plugs can run $2, cables about $1 each, tubes about $2.50 each, and a saddle $10+/-. Seat posts...make sure you get the right diameter...run about $5. You can also pull stuff off another garage sale bike ... referred to here on B.F. as a "donor". Good luck with it!
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Old 04-23-12, 02:47 PM   #5
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Your local library may have some good bike mechanic books you can read and perhaps have on hand when you get around to fixin stuff.
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Old 04-23-12, 03:27 PM   #6
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Nice bike. That is an unusual color. You should be able to sell it for about $120 to $150. The Raleigh Gran Prix was a solid mid-range bike in it's day. They sold for several hundred dollars even back in the 1970's.

The Gran Prix was a European import and was in a class considerably above the old gas-pipe domestic machines of the 1960's 1970's and very early 1980's.

Does yours have the original metal-and-plastic Simplex derailure? Those are troublesome. Keep it for the collectorability of the bike, but if you plan to ride the bike, that would be one of the first upgrades for you to consider.
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Old 04-23-12, 08:09 PM   #7
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Good buy at $25. For repair help, check out sheldonbrown.com and the Park Tool Repair Blog for answers to just about any question you may have.

If you still get stuck and can't find the answer there, post specific questions in the Bicycle Mechanics section.
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Old 04-24-12, 12:06 PM   #8
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Wow! Thank you for all the replies! If I have time tonight, I'll take some more detailed pictures and post them in the C&V forum for anyone interested. I have been overloaded with information from these forums and all of the links you suggested.

Now, it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work
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Old 04-24-12, 01:12 PM   #9
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You did great. Only recommendation from previous post I would not agree with, save your money, don't jump into replacing the freewheel. The chain, cables (only if cables are rusty) brake pads, and tires probaly need replacing. I would also grease the wheel hubs and the bottom bracket. That's an ideal bike for your purpose, not too valuable, but fun to ride.
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Old 04-25-12, 10:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roccobike View Post
You did great. Only recommendation from previous post I would not agree with, save your money, don't jump into replacing the freewheel. The chain, cables (only if cables are rusty) brake pads, and tires probaly need replacing. I would also grease the wheel hubs and the bottom bracket. That's an ideal bike for your purpose, not too valuable, but fun to ride.
I appreciate the tempered advice. The cables are definitely rusty and they seem loose if that's possible. I intend to replace the brake pads and cables first. The tires don't seem cracked or worn much, but I'm no expert on that.

As far as greasing the hubs, I've seen some posts (sheldon brown, etc.) where greasing the hubs requires taking the whole assembly apart, degreasing everything, replacing the bearings and then reassembling. Is that what you had in mind?
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Old 04-25-12, 10:45 AM   #11
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More Pictures!

(If the moderator wants to move this, it might become more of a C&V/Mechanic thread)

I finally got out and took a closer look at the bike and snapped a few pictures on my phone.

The Serial Number:

2012-04-24 19.29.28 by thebrainofdane, on Flickr

The brake levers are Dia-Compe, which I don't think are original... opinions?

2012-04-24 19.32.09 by thebrainofdane, on Flickr

The brakes say Raleigh Weimann

2012-04-24 17.41.04 by thebrainofdane, on Flickr

The shifters are indeed Suntour Power Shifters

2012-04-24 17.41.53 by thebrainofdane, on Flickr

The rear Derailleur feels... gummy when using the shifters, but that could also be the sad state of the cables. If anyone has any suggestions for whether to keep and restore, or replace this, I'm open to options.

2012-04-24 17.40.49 by thebrainofdane, on Flickr

The front Derailleur looks to be in bad shape, too. Will a fresh cleaning/greasing make it usable?

2012-04-24 17.41.23 by thebrainofdane, on Flickr

I'm sorry if that's an overload, but this might allow you guys to give me more specific advice.
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Old 04-25-12, 11:53 AM   #12
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Almost all shifting and braking problems are cable related. Replace the cables and housing and then see where you're at. Brakes/derailers should work just fine unless frozen solid with rust. For cables, see: http://sheldonbrown.com/cables.html

New brake pads are a good idea. Tires look fine, I don't replace them unless they're falling apart (although many are deathly afraid of old tires and replace them just because they are old.)

Regreasing the bearings is definitely a good idea, but it does involve disassembling and cleaning and regreasing everything.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:11 PM   #13
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Thanks, FastJake. I'll start with cables and a wash-down with soap and water and then see where I'm at.

Thank you everyone for being patient with me. I'm starting from square one, and your helpfulness is greatly appreciated. I'll continue to lurk on the forums until I've filled my brain with as much information as I can handle.
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