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  1. #1
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    Which 70's Ralleighs are the best for project?

    Hi all,

    New to the forum but longtime fan of vintage bikes. (Last one was a zebrakinkio with suntour comps and brooks seat ... recently stolen ) For my next project I've decided to look for a 70's ralleigh road bike for rebuilding/customizing, but the more I learn the more I have questions:

    What is better, the Grand Prix or the Grand Sport?

    I hear that the Reynolds 531 is a good frame to look for ... any Raleigh models of this age come with such a frame?

    Any other advice? I think the older Raleighs with the Nottingham badge are neat-looking, but when did they stop making them there and how much better are the asian variants?

    I'm less concerned about components, as I'll likley swap out for newer stuff.

    Thanks in advance,
    Last edited by ChillGrean; 09-15-06 at 01:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Glutton for Punishment
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    The short answer is the Gran Sport is better than the Grand Prix; it's frame is constructed with higher quality tubing, and it was equipped with alloy wheels and crankset, making it several pounds lighter than the GP (this was mitigated a bit when the GP switched to alloy cranks in 1976). That being said, I have a '68 GP that I've retrofitted with alloy wheels and an alloy crank. That got the weight to within a couple pounds of a GS, and in my opinion it rides just as well. Couple this with the fact that you can find old GPs all day long for little money, and you've got a great starter bike.

    In the '70s, Raleigh road bikes were built with 531 from the Super Course on up.

  3. #3
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    If you're going to do right by either kind of frame, you really must learn to spell the brand name right: one L.

  4. #4
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Oh, don't be so anall.

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    Just about all of the 1970s Raleigh catalogs can be found at http://retroraleighs.com/. The hierarchy of 531-built frames was usually Super Course --> Gran Sport --> Competitition --> International --> Professional. Super Course was straight gauge 531 in the main triangle only and high-tensile steel in the rest while the others were 531 throughout.

    Neal

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    One thing worth noting if you are shopping for a '70s Nottingham Raleigh that you want to modernize is that you may well have proprietary Raleigh threading in the headset and bottom bracket, and you may have to do some dropout modification to fit modern wheels.

    A Worksop Raleigh is a better option, in my opinion. Certainly better than an Asian Raleigh.
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    Thanks for all the replies everyone (and sorry about the spelling ... I posted late at night just before I went to sleep ). Two more questions:

    How hard is it to find components that match the older threading?

    Also, Is it true that 700 won't fit? What is required to make it work?

    Thanks again for all the help.
    Last edited by ChillGrean; 09-15-06 at 10:46 AM.

  8. #8
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    If you get a frame built in Worksop (see Sheldon Brown's page on determining the age of Raleighs), you won't have an issue with proprietary threading. Through the 70's, all the models made with 531 were made for 700c. The Grand Prix and Record (and the others without 531 tubing) had 27" wheels. Some, could be converted without a great deal of trouble, but it's easier to not have to bother with that.

    Good luck finding something nice. There are plenty out there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChillGrean
    How hard is it to find components that match the older threading?
    As far as I know, it's impossible to find a modern headset with 26 tpi threads. You could use a non-Nottingham fork, of course. Or you could find an old Raleigh headset on eBay. (You say you want modern components, though.)

    As far as bottom brackets go, Phil still supplies them with Raleigh threading. Or you can use Phil rings with a Shimano UN72.

    That said, the Nottingham Raleighs are renowned for their robustness, so a headset and bottom bracket will rarely need replacing.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    Through the 70's, all the models made with 531 were made for 700c. The Grand Prix and Record (and the others without 531 tubing) had 27" wheels.
    What about the Supercourse?

    Thanks again for all the help everyone.

  11. #11
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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  12. #12
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChillGrean
    What about the Supercourse?

    Thanks again for all the help everyone.
    Has 531 tubing. My '78 has 700c. The '74 catalog also says 700c. I'm relatively certain they were 700c all through the 70's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    Has 531 tubing. My '78 has 700c. The '74 catalog also says 700c. I'm relatively certain they were 700c all through the 70's.
    Early 70s Super Courses did come with 27" wheels--at least 1970-73, I believe. My '71 did (though I'm running 700c on it now), and a '73 I had did. I just looked at the pdf of the '74 catalog, and it doesn't say the tire/rim size, which leads me to believe it's 700c as it does specify 27" for models below the Super Course. Fwiw, I also have 27" wheels on my '71 Competition.

    Neal

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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    Through the 70's, all the models made with 531 were made for 700c. The Grand Prix and Record (and the others without 531 tubing) had 27" wheels.
    My Gran Sport, probably a 73, has 27" wheels.
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  15. #15
    Junior Member 7-11_TI-Raleigh's Avatar
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    Good Raleighs to have

    The Super Course had 531 plain gauge 3 main tubes (Manganese Mollybdenum), forks and stays were Raleigh 20-30 High Carbon Steel.

    The Gran Sport had 531 Butted 3 main tubes, the forks and stays I believe were the same as the Super Course.

    The Competition (and models above it) were thoroughbreds, 531 throughout (Butted Tubes, Forks & Stays).
    The International, The Pro & Team Pro.

    And then there is 753!!!

    Well, that's another story.
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  16. #16
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    The Super Course was 27" until 1976, 700C clincher from 1977 on.

    Super Course TT (1973-only, if I'm not mistaken) was for 700C - it came stock with tubulars.

    1983-1986 Raleigh USA Supercourse model is a whole different story, but for the record, it's 700C clincher too.

    -Kurt

  17. #17
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mswantak
    Oh, don't be so anall.

    Okay. Thanks for the llaugh.

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