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Old 09-14-06, 04:06 AM   #1
alwayssummer
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How to ID Dales and Raleighs?

I have been looking for an older bike to buy because I just can't affor to drop $1500 (or much more considering my tastes) on a new road bike. I figure with an older bike I should be able to get good performance at a much smaller price. In my search I've come across a lot of information for identifying some bikes, like Treks (thanks to vintage-trek.com), but very little for identifying others like 80s and 90s Raleighs and Cannondales. I find a lot of these bikes on the market and was wondering if anyone can provide some resources to ID these things. Thanks a lot.
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Old 09-14-06, 04:03 PM   #2
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I'm sure someone else knows more, and there's probably a resource, but here's what I recall.

The first road frames were all pretty much the same and came in some fairly garish colors. The bottom frame was a pinkish purple, also there was a Miami Vice pink euphamized as "coral" some really vibrant greens... etc.

These frames all had a nominal wheelbase of around 39" for a 23" frame, and had eyelets on the rear dropout (none on the fork). The R300 or 400 had Diacompe aero levers and Suntour Cyclone derailleurs with a 14-24 6 speed freewheel.

The eyelet disappeared for either one or two years in 1987-1988 or just 1988. In mid-late 88 they introduced the "criterium geometry" with a cantilevered rear dropout. After that I lost interest and didn't pay attention anymore, although I think the 2.0 frame might have appeared around 1990.

It was impossible to find a non-biopace bicycle in 1988-1990.
Similarly, indexing became non-optional around 1986. (I know, I know: "wah").

The first "Black Lightning" I saw was in the either the fall of '86 or spring of '87. It was gorgeous, but I recall thinking it a little pricey for the component level. Suntour Superbe, but not Superbe pro? I dunno for sure. I'm thinking they ran around $650 that year, while an R-400 (or whatever the bottom level was) came in around $400-450.

I especially liked the first gen road bike because you could put a rack on it for long, fast rides in indeterminate weather. Losing the eyelets... makes for a pretty toy, but much less of a bike, IMO.

I sold my 88 frame with a mix of Campy components and two sets of wheels in '02 for around 290. It was a great bike, but I don't really miss it. Well, except to look at, and that's just goofy.
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Old 09-15-06, 10:25 AM   #3
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Thanks Moo. I think you're talking about Dales b/c I know more about Raleighs and I am not at all familiar with the models you're talking about... I'm learning!
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Old 09-15-06, 03:09 PM   #4
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When I got my Cannonball in '86, I was told that the serial number reflected the following;

1st 2 numbers: Frame size, inches for Mtn bikes & CM for road bikes
Next 6 numbers: date frame was made
Last 3 numbers: Frame number that day

Hence the serial # 2003268105 translated to
20" frame made March 26th of 1986, 105th frame that day

I don't know how long they used that system, but that was what I was told when I bought it.
Still have it, too! (SM 700 26" front, 24" rear) and in 6 months it'll be DRINKING AGE!
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Old 09-15-06, 07:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwayssummer
Thanks Moo. I think you're talking about Dales b/c I know more about Raleighs and I am not at all familiar with the models you're talking about... I'm learning!
Yeah, sorry. My post was about C'dale road bikes.
I *think* they started offering MTB's in 85 or maybe 86. I had an interesting hardtail/hybrid looking one that I used as a commuter off and on until this summer that I bought new in 88. Very different geometry than most of what they offered. Suntour indexed 15 speed with thumb shifters. Bike was built in Nov of 87, I think.

Don't know that much about '80s Raleighs, other than most of them Stateside weren't made in the UK.
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Old 09-15-06, 07:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooo
The first road frames were all pretty much the same and came in some fairly garish colors. The bottom frame was a pinkish purple, also there was a Miami Vice pink euphamized as "coral" some really vibrant greens... etc.

The R300 or 400 had Diacompe aero levers and Suntour Cyclone derailleurs...

It was impossible to find a non-biopace bicycle in...
For a moment there, I thought you were talking about the '83-86 Raleigh USA line - the color choice and Biopace comments were spot on for Raleigh in '86. The '86 Grand Prix featured metallic light green/purple, Super Course featured purple/black, and lord only knows what the Competition featured.

Take care,

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Old 09-16-06, 06:22 PM   #7
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cudak, i've seen from your posts elsewhere around here that you own a couple of early 80s competitions. i have come across one and am seriously considering the purchase. can you tell me whay you think it would be worth. i think it's a 1984. appears to be in pretty nice condition.
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Old 09-16-06, 07:36 PM   #8
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Is a Brit Raleigh better than a Raleigh USA. The Competition I found was a Raleigh USA. I was a little confused when I found out there are two catalogs to look at...
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Old 09-16-06, 08:54 PM   #9
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cudak, i've seen from your posts elsewhere around here that you own a couple of early 80s competitions. i have come across one and am seriously considering the purchase. can you tell me whay you think it would be worth. i think it's a 1984. appears to be in pretty nice condition.

Is a Brit Raleigh better than a Raleigh USA. The Competition I found was a Raleigh USA. I was a little confused when I found out there are two catalogs to look at...
Only own one, an '84. An '84 will be white/chrome. I paid $40 for mine, but I'd say $100 would be quite a reasonable price for one. $150 on the high "ebay" price side.

Nottingham Raleighs have more snob appeal, particularly the Carlton-made models from the Competition up. Both the English machines and the Tawanese-made Raleigh USA machines are fine machines, although the English machines tend to be quite sloppy around the lugwork, while the Raleigh USA machines are particularly well done, for a mass-produced machine. English machines are painted, the R-USAs, powdercoated.

All depends on whether you want the traditional, refined '70s look (Nottingham), or the sharp, cutting-edge '80s appearance (Raleigh USA).

P.S.: If you like stiff frames, the Raleigh USA machine would be ideal. The Nottingham machines are a bit more flexible.

Take care,

-Kurt
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Old 09-16-06, 09:54 PM   #10
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thanks. i guess i'll be waiting for a better price...

i need to find a better place to look for used bikes than ebay... and learn some patience. anyway, thanks for clueing me in. i'm still new to old bikes.
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