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  1. #1
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    '73 Raleigh International 650b convesion

    I've had this bike for 3 years. I originally built it up as a 700c triple with upright bars, sort of an English Gentleman's bike, modernized.



    Yes, it had beausage. I got lots of compliments for her. I used it as a commuter bike last summer, rode a few 60 mile+ rides as well over the past few years. But with 700c + fenders, I'm limited to 33-35mm wide tires, she doesn't handle well on downhills, and the toe clip overlap is bad for city riding. I just wasn't riding her much - the commute miles were replaced by a better behaving bike, the longer rides on my JP Weigle'ized Raleigh Competition. I'd like to have a fully dynamo driven lighting setup for some 200k, possibly longer brevets I hope to ride next year. It would be nice if the wiring were internal.

    So here's the plan: rerake the forks to make it low-trail, braze on cantilevers and all the other new bits, and repaint, then build up some reasonably light wheels with a dyno front hub, and use some of the vintage parts that have been accumulating in my bins. Finally, make a custom front rack with low-rider attachments for rando riding and credit card touring. The chrome is in pretty good shape, I'll save as much as I can - I think about all of it with judicious use of heat during the brazing portion.

    The past year or so I've been accumulating and making tools to enable this to happen, along with practicing my skills on a couple of other bike projects.

    The first thing to do is measure all the important frame specs. I did this on my modified Competition as well - I love the way it rides, the International is the same size, so I'd like to emulate the geometry as much as possible. I used a Harbor Freight digital angle gauge, zeroed on my flat work bench, both bikes had same sized wheels and tires front and rear for the angle measurements. Here's a link to the data on the two bikes. I'm also using this to log the parts that go on both bikes. Note that the International's top tube is 2 cm longer-the seat tube and head tube angles are more relaxed on the International, and the chain stays are a bit longer. Note that I've already mounted 650b x 42mm Hetres to check for clearance, and it looks ok.

    Tonight I pulled the fork, measured everything several times, said a prayer to the bike gods, and reraked it to my target trail (to match my Competition). There's no turning back now!

    I'll post pictures as progress is made.

  2. #2
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    Does the raking process damage the chrome? Or brazing on the cantilever studs?

    How high is your bottom bracket? I've heard some people say the International is a poor choice for conversion to 650b because of the low bottom bracket, but the bb on mine is pretty high. That makes me wonder if the International has any consistency at all as far as frame geometry goes. I wonder what was going on in Worksop in the 70s.

    Anyway, good luck to you in your venture. I will be watching this project with interest.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jpaschall's Avatar
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    I think you're hooked on the mods! Really cool looking through your albums and all the things you're able to do with your bikes. Can't wait to see how this one turns out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justin10054 View Post
    How high is your bottom bracket? I've heard some people say the International is a poor choice for conversion to 650b because of the low bottom bracket, but the bb on mine is pretty high. That makes me wonder if the International has any consistency at all as far as frame geometry goes. I wonder what was going on in Worksop in the 70s.
    Yeah, that's been my experience on the early 70s Internationals that I've tried fitting with 650B wheels--BB was just too low. Then again, I've never actually tried with the '71 that's in my fleet.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Cool looking project. I'd be concerned about the BB height as well; heel strike is a drag. I understand the appeal of 650b wheels; I like fat supple tires for long distance riding. I have a 1993 bridgestone xo-2 which was designed around 26 inch wheels and drop bars. It is a great do everything bike with lots of room for fenders with 26 x 1.5 tires.

    I really like the pictures of your shop. Mine is a mess. I like the ipod player; I need to upgrade my music system!

  6. #6
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin10054 View Post
    Does the raking process damage the chrome? Or brazing on the cantilever studs?

    How high is your bottom bracket? I've heard some people say the International is a poor choice for conversion to 650b because of the low bottom bracket, but the bb on mine is pretty high. That makes me wonder if the International has any consistency at all as far as frame geometry goes. I wonder what was going on in Worksop in the 70s.

    Anyway, good luck to you in your venture. I will be watching this project with interest.
    I'm going by the experience of Peter Weigle's "upcycle" projects on similar bikes, no chrome damage reported, which is my experience. If the chrome is well bonded to the underlying steel, it will "stretch" with it. I was willing to sacrifice the chrome if need be, but it's looking good, no worse for the strain. Anywhere I braze on bits, I make sure and remove all the chrome using 80 grit sandpaper. If you do research online, adhesion on chrome may (or may not) be an issue, and heating chrome to brazing temperatures may (or may not) create that nasty hexavalent chrome that is "bad". I err on the conservative side here, and wear a proper mask as well as eyewear during these operations, along with good ventilation. On the other hand, that third eye that's growing in the back of my head will come in handy for 360 degree vision when I'm riding...

    As you and others have noted, there is a lot of variation even within the same year/frame size on Internationals. My chain stays, for example, are longer than usual, based on emails and posts I've had with others.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    Cool looking project. I'd be concerned about the BB height as well; heel strike is a drag. I understand the appeal of 650b wheels; I like fat supple tires for long distance riding. I have a 1993 bridgestone xo-2 which was designed around 26 inch wheels and drop bars. It is a great do everything bike with lots of room for fenders with 26 x 1.5 tires.

    I really like the pictures of your shop. Mine is a mess. I like the ipod player; I need to upgrade my music system!
    Thanks! I was lucky - the iPod player was my wife's from several years ago, she wasn't using it, so... Trust me that my shop is usually a mess as well. I only take pictures after it's been (temporarily) cleaned up. And I hear you about 650b wheels. It's what most of my bikes should have been built up as in the first place, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
    I think you're hooked on the mods! Really cool looking through your albums and all the things you're able to do with your bikes. Can't wait to see how this one turns out.
    I have a disease. I'm an engineer. I can't leave well enough alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    Yeah, that's been my experience on the early 70s Internationals that I've tried fitting with 650B wheels--BB was just too low. Then again, I've never actually tried with the '71 that's in my fleet.
    I didn't measure the BB height directly, but if you check the link to my bike specs document, I did measure the BB drop on both my JP Weigle'ized Competition and this International for comparison. Bottom bracket height is meaningless unless you have experience riding the bike, IMO - riding styles are so different. I have several thousands of miles on the 650b Comp., pedal strike hasn't been an issue. I measured the BB drop on the Competition to be 7 cm, the International is only 5.5, so the BB will be 1.5cm higher. All else being equal (tires, mainly), I'm even better off.

    At any rate, I would recommend that anyone willing to start this kind of project first measure everything on the bike, figure out what your target trail should be, test fit some 650b wheels with the tires you want to use before jumping into the deep end. I'd also find a bike that fits you with 650b wheels and as close to the geometry you're looking for so you have an idea what works for you. I have the luxury of having such a bike.

  7. #7
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Update pics: fork rerake

    It takes a lot of special tools to do this. You need a fork reraker, a way to check center on the dropouts, and a way to check and straighten the dropouts.

    Note: this is not the International fork, forgot to take a picture, but you get the idea. For more on my fork reraker, go here.


    After reraking on my DIY fork jig (details on same link as reraker, above)


    Target rake met


    Check those dropouts for aligment:


    Blue flame time!

    All pics of this bike

  8. #8
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gugie View Post
    snip . . .

    Thanks! I was lucky - the iPod player was my wife's from several years ago, she wasn't using it, so... Trust me that my shop is usually a mess as well. I only take pictures after it's been (temporarily) cleaned up. And I hear you about 650b wheels. It's what most of my bikes should have been built up as in the first place, IMO.


    snip . . .
    I'm a big fan of Sangean radios. The WR 11 looks vintage and sounds great: WR-11 : FM / AM Analog<br>Wooden Cabinet Receiver

    That's what I've been using but I may get upgraditis (N + 1 time) and start looking for a radio with internet capabilities.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jpaschall's Avatar
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    Have you taken a frame building class, or is this all engineer inginuity/trial and error?

  10. #10
    I love the rolling hills. ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gugie View Post
    I have a disease. I'm an engineer. I can't leave well enough alone.
    Boy do I know that feeling.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

    Random parts for sale!

  11. #11
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
    Have you taken a frame building class, or is this all engineer inginuity/trial and error?
    No class, just bought a book, asked for advice from a local framebuilder I know. I don't think I'd try a frame without a class, there's just way too much to know to expect to have any kind of decent result. I started out by just adding cable guides and worked my way up. You can learn a lot on how to prep a frame, clean it immaculately, what kind of flux and wire to use, etc., but the only way to learn how to braze is to do it, and practice. My first try, more than half of my cable guides fell of when i tapped them with a hammer.

    I'm sure you can learn faster by taking a class, I just don't have time for one. At some point I do want to take the UBI course here in Portland, but it'll eat 2 weeks of vacation to do it. Maybe when the kids are a bit older...

    I am a mechanical engineer by training, and grew up on a farm 15 miles from town. When something broke, my dad taught me how to fix it. I'm always perturbed when I can't
    Last edited by gugie; 11-25-15 at 03:27 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gugie View Post
    Update pics: fork rerake

    It takes a lot of special tools to do this. You need a fork reraker, a way to check center on the dropouts, and a way to check and straighten the dropouts.

    Note: this is not the International fork, forgot to take a picture, but you get the idea. For more on my fork reraker, go here.


    After reraking on my DIY fork jig (details on same link as reraker, above)


    Target rake met


    Check those dropouts for aligment:


    Blue flame time!

    All pics of this bike
    WOW!

    and to think i thought i was in the catbird seat with my park fork alignment tool and nicky arregui tip alignment set...

    thanks very much for sharing this project and these tools gugie!

    btw - are there any new developments with the parts search for your older Rochet? really enjoy that bike.

  13. #13
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juvela View Post
    WOW!

    and to think i thought i was in the catbird seat with my park fork alignment tool and nicky arregui tip alignment set...

    thanks very much for sharing this project and these tools gugie!

    btw - are there any new developments with the parts search for your older Rochet? really enjoy that bike.
    Hey, if you've got a 1" steerer fork aligner, you're in rare company!

    As far as the Rochet goes, I've been too busy to attack that one. I think I have everything to assemble it, that'll be a winter project.

  14. #14
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    UPDATE WITH PICS

    Saturday I reraked the forks. Sunday the torch came out for the cantilevers

    Rear cantilevers are always easy for me. Seat stays don't vary much in diameter, the standard rear offsets usually work with minimal rework.



    Front cantilevers are more work, since fork crown widths vary greatly. Lots of filing required to make these work.

    Here's a test fit of some canti's I had.


    I should note that the wheel was initially significantly off center. I checked the dish, it was perfect, reraking the fork must have induced the off-center. Not to worry, my Park Persuader (FFS-2) made quick work of cold setting it back to where it belonged.

    Just to be clear, I went through a lot of elbow grease to get it to this point. Frame work is hard work.


  15. #15
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    This is impressive work. No problems with the cantilever posts being too close together? I know that's a problem with a lot of older bikes that were built with cantilevers. I'm a bit surprised that is not an issue for your raleigh international that wasn't exactly designed around cantilevers.

  16. #16
    is just a real cool dude Henry III's Avatar
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    Is there a write up on the the raking and fork fixture? I really like to make the extrusion fork fixture.

  17. #17
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    This is impressive work. No problems with the cantilever posts being too close together? I know that's a problem with a lot of older bikes that were built with cantilevers. I'm a bit surprised that is not an issue for your raleigh international that wasn't exactly designed around cantilevers.
    Very observant. All modern cantilevers are designed around 80mm spacing. That was easy enough for the rear cantilevers, but the forks are, as you surmised, not optimized for cantilevers. Luckily, I have an example from the master, Peter Weigle, in my stable. I measured the inside spacing, the spacing between the cantilevers, and double checked everything. My Weigle'd Competition spacing was right about 70mm. The spacing between the spring bosses on my Competition is right around 44mm, just enough to squeeze the front wheel with 42mm Hetres on it. The rear wheels been on and off many a time with no issues. The brakes adjusted with no issues. I knew if I could get the same spacing, I was confident that there would be, that's right, no issues.

    If I were to make a front fork, I'd use wide fork crowns. Using a vintage bike, you have to make some compromises, but I've never felt my Competition had any issues with braking. Measured, the fork crowns are about 2mm wider on the Comp.

    I did a lot of research and measurements before taking this on. I don't think all vintage early 70's Internationals can be readily converted to low trail, cantilever brakes, and 42mm wide 650b tires. But rather than just take conventional wisdom as gospel, I decided to listen to Admiral Grace Hopper.

    Not designed around cantilevers? Time to redesign!

  18. #18
    Senior Member lord_athlon's Avatar
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    This is exactly what I want to do with my Grand Sports.
    71 Raleigh Grand Sports, 74 Fuji "The Finest", 74 Schwinn Voyageur II, 79 Raleigh Clubman.

  19. #19
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry III View Post
    Is there a write up on the the raking and fork fixture? I really like to make the extrusion fork fixture.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/115397...57652558911154

  20. #20
    is just a real cool dude Henry III's Avatar
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    I looked through your photos but was wondering what stuff can be bought and what stuff had to be fab'd.

  21. #21
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry III View Post
    I looked through your photos but was wondering what stuff can be bought and what stuff had to be fab'd.
    All the tools can be fabbed, except the torch, unless you have access to a machine shop!

    DIY fork reraker, or buy one for $425 from Nova Cycles
    DIY dropout alignment tools, or buy Park tools for $90
    DIY Rake measurement

    The Park fork alignment tool is handy, but you could just use a well dished front wheel, trial and error.

  22. #22
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_athlon View Post
    This is exactly what I want to do with my Grand Sports.
    The one with the white and swimming pool blue paint job? I love those!

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    Did you use some kind of tool or fixture to locate and align the cantilever studs? I'm curious about how you get them in the right place and pointing in the right direction.

  24. #24
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    Fascinating thread!

  25. #25
    Senior Member gugie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin10054 View Post
    Did you use some kind of tool or fixture to locate and align the cantilever studs? I'm curious about how you get them in the right place and pointing in the right direction.
    Many ways to do this, from the Sheldon Brown DIY method to the Anvil Notorious B. B. G.

    I have ambitions to turn this from a hobby into a post-retirement quasi-business keep me out of my wife's hair thing to do. So I went B.B.G.

    For those interested in trying it, the DIY method can work just fine. It may take you a few hours of checking and adjusting and mitering and rinsing and repeating, but you can get it pretty close-and with cantilevers, close can be close enough. If you want to do centerpull posts, you'll need better accuracy than the DIY method, IMO.

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