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Thread: Raleigh Sprite

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    Raleigh Sprite

    Anyone have an opinion on the 1975 Raleigh Sprite "touring" model? Quality? Thanks in advance.

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    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Yes, I had a Sprite 10 in coffee brown back in 1971. A very good, well made bike. While it'll never get the big bucks, it's VERY worth while as a rider, and if you've got one that can be put back on the road without going into major bucks, definitely do so. It was the same frame as the Record and Gran Prix (minus the chrome fork tips) - probably the best cheap frame available at the time.

    Syke
    Deranged Few M/C

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    Super Course fan redneckwes's Avatar
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    Well this is just strange,
    I bought one at the flea market today, In cofee brown no less. I debated it for an hour, after I bought a blue Schwinn Continential from the same dealer. He gave me a good deal on the Raleigh because I kept coming back and drooling over it!

    I have two questions of my own, are decals available? and did it come with drop bars or North Roads?

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    Lots of info from Sheldon Brown, including the many Sprite variations: http://retroraleighs.com/sprite.html. Drop bars early on, upright bars later. I have an early Sprite frame that is made for 26" wheels, but by 1975 it was a 27" steel wheel/steel frame machine with upright bars. The 1976 catalogue describes it as "lightweight but sturdy." Perhaps compared to a Schwinn Continental it might have been light, but it sure was sturdy.

    Neal

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    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    One thing about the Sprite: If you intend to ride it daily, replace (but do not discard) the Huret Alvit rear derailer with a better piece - Shimano, Suntour, or, if possible, Campagnolo.

    The Alvit, under 60% of circumstances, will cause chain-skating problems when shifting - usually when you need it most. Almost got T-boned when crossing a busy intersection when riding upon a Schwinn Continental equipped with Alvit.

    My own Carmine Red '74 Sprite exhibited even worse chain skating then the Continental. I attempted to solve the problem while retaining the original derailer, by using early '80s Shimano UG chain. It solved the problem reasonably on the Sprite, but the UG chain would not mesh correctly with the lower cog, causing chain skip.

    Lose-lose, either way. Best to replace the RD and be done with it. I haven't tried it, but the use of a 6-speed compact freewheel (spaced to fit the same width as a 5-speed) just might do the trick with the original chain. I would try this, but my only 6-speed compact, an Atom, went to USAZorro.

    -Kurt

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    Raliegh Sprite

    I have one. I use it all the time. Last weekend I took it on a 30 mile tow path ride. I bought for ten bucks at a yard sale cleaned the chain, filled the (original) tires with air & have been riding about once a week ever since. Its a comfortable reliable ride with a great big brooks saddle. If you are looking for a three speed cruiser you cant really go wrong. mine is dark green.

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    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redcaymatt
    I have one. I use it all the time. Last weekend I took it on a 30 mile tow path ride. I bought for ten bucks at a yard sale cleaned the chain, filled the (original) tires with air & have been riding about once a week ever since. Its a comfortable reliable ride with a great big brooks saddle. If you are looking for a three speed cruiser you cant really go wrong. mine is dark green.
    You either have a Sports or a 1977 3-speed edition of the Sprite - the majority of the '70s Sprites (MkIII variant) were either 5 or 10 speed machines.

    -Kurt

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    Thanks for the responses!

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    raliegh sprite

    I missed the date on the original post. mine is from 69' 3 speed sturmey archer. Sorry about that.

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    Super Course fan redneckwes's Avatar
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    Mine's a 10 speed. Still no luck finding the S/N, it does have NHXXXXXXX on the back of the seat tube, but that doesn't fit with any of the online references I have found.

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    Reading Kurt's post about his Sprite brings back three very vivid memories:

    1. Complete, total, and absolute agreement about that Huret Allvit - replace it before riding, clean it up and save it, and should you ever sell the bike, turn it over to the new owners. Absolutely the worst derailleur ever made. Only place it was ever good was in a right side crash. Your leg may be bloodied, but the derailleur was just fine (well, as good as new, which isn't saying much).

    2. The flat bars were standard at that time - and were extremely comfortable. At the time I owned it, I was still only owning one bike at a time, so for me, the Sprite was a wonderful compromise: Daily commuter to work at the bike shop daily (10 miles each way, totally uphill going in the morning), and still good enough for a 25-35 mile every Sunday with the PIBC. It was replaced by a Gitane Super Corsa AND a Raleigh Sports, at which point I no longer tried to make do with one bike for the week.

    3. Does anyone have a 1971 Raleigh catalog with the picture of the bike? At least I think it was '71, maybe '72 or even '73. Very stunning photograph with a model who was definitely in the young Bianca Jagger school of looks - very smokey and exotic. Definitely one of my favorite catalog photos after the Lambert and Crescent girls. Understood that she won some kind of modeling award for that pic, and Raleigh couldn't afford her for the following year's catalog - or that's what my boss told me at the time.

    Syke
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    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker
    Reading Kurt's post about his Sprite brings back three very vivid memories:

    1. Complete, total, and absolute agreement about that Huret Allvit - replace it before riding, clean it up and save it, and should you ever sell the bike, turn it over to the new owners. Absolutely the worst derailleur ever made. Only place it was ever good was in a right side crash. Your leg may be bloodied, but the derailleur was just fine (well, as good as new, which isn't saying much).

    2. The flat bars were standard at that time - and were extremely comfortable. At the time I owned it, I was still only owning one bike at a time, so for me, the Sprite was a wonderful compromise: Daily commuter to work at the bike shop daily (10 miles each way, totally uphill going in the morning), and still good enough for a 25-35 mile every Sunday with the PIBC. It was replaced by a Gitane Super Corsa AND a Raleigh Sports, at which point I no longer tried to make do with one bike for the week.

    3. Does anyone have a 1971 Raleigh catalog with the picture of the bike? At least I think it was '71, maybe '72 or even '73. Very stunning photograph with a model who was definitely in the young Bianca Jagger school of looks - very smokey and exotic. Definitely one of my favorite catalog photos after the Lambert and Crescent girls. Understood that she won some kind of modeling award for that pic, and Raleigh couldn't afford her for the following year's catalog - or that's what my boss told me at the time.

    Syke
    Deranged Few M/C
    Had a good laugh there, reading your comments on the Alvit. Very true.

    You did mean North Roads when you stated flat-bars, right? I always equate "flat bars" with those one-piece-tubing MTB bars of today.

    I've seen the '73 catalouge, but have yet to get my hands on a complete scan of the '71 or '72. I think Neal Lerner might have one of these, in which case, my laziness in getting my scans of the '78 catalogue are what have held up my scanning and posting of Neal's '71 catalogue on The Headbadge.

    Take care,

    -Kurt

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    I have a Canadian 1973 catalog, and the photo scene accompanying the Sprite is a gal with one hand on the seat of her lady's white Sprite and the other holding the reigns of a white horse. She's wearing a striped short fur jacket of some sort and has long blond hair. There's also a guy in the picture, one hand on his black Sprite and the other smoothing back the mane of the horse. Wonder what Dr. Freud would say about all of that.

    Neal

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    I scanned the page.

    Neal
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner
    I scanned the page.

    Neal
    I wouldn't know whether to call those Sprite MkIIIs or MkIIs. They certainly look like the earlier 1970 design. Probably MkII. MkIIIs lost the chainguard and gained the box fenders.

    -Kurt

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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner
    I have a Canadian 1973 catalog, and the photo scene accompanying the Sprite is a gal with one hand on the seat of her lady's white Sprite and the other holding the reigns of a white horse. She's wearing a striped short fur jacket of some sort and has long blond hair. There's also a guy in the picture, one hand on his black Sprite and the other smoothing back the mane of the horse. Wonder what Dr. Freud would say about all of that.

    Neal
    Nope, that ain't it. The picture in question has a men's coffee colored Sprite 10, and the model, no background or anything like that. Trying to remember more, I could swear she was dressed in what later became the fashion flop of 1974 - the maxi skirt. Definitely clothed for a stroll around London's Knightsbridge, not ready for riding by any means.

    Syke
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker
    Nope, that ain't it. The picture in question has a men's coffee colored Sprite 10, and the model, no background or anything like that. Trying to remember more, I could swear she was dressed in what later became the fashion flop of 1974 - the maxi skirt. Definitely clothed for a stroll around London's Knightsbridge, not ready for riding by any means.

    Syke
    Deranged Few M/C
    '73, '74, '75, '76 would have been the bikes on all-white backdrops, with small photos at the top right, if I'm not mistaken. The U.S. '72 catalouge has offset photos with a white section taking up the remainder, with text about the bicycle shown. Perhaps this is the catalogue (I only have the drop-bar machines from Sheldon's PDF)?

    -Kurt

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    P.S.: This was the only thing approaching a Sprite that was shown in the RetroRaleighs PDF for '72. Anyone know if the white machine is, in fact, a Sprite MkIII prototype, or a different model altogether?

    -Kurt
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner
    I have a Canadian 1973 catalog, and the photo scene accompanying the Sprite is a gal with one hand on the seat of her lady's white Sprite and the other holding the reigns of a white horse. She's wearing a striped short fur jacket of some sort and has long blond hair. There's also a guy in the picture, one hand on his black Sprite and the other smoothing back the mane of the horse. Wonder what Dr. Freud would say about all of that.

    Neal
    I wonder what Mr Ed would say.

    ...sorry, I couldn't help myself.

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    Here's the Sprite pic from the 1975 Raleigh catalogue. Is that your gal, Syke?

    Neal
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner
    Here's the Sprite pic from the 1975 Raleigh catalogue. Is that your gal, Syke?

    Neal
    Neal...did you HAVE to post that picture I not only had that car, I think I had the pants too but not the girl

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    It looks like one of those fill-in-the-caption exercises, given the gesture she's making to someone out of the shot: "Hey, Biff, save me from this guy with the plaid pants and the Raleigh 3-speed!"

    Neal

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    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888
    P.S.: This was the only thing approaching a Sprite that was shown in the RetroRaleighs PDF for '72. Anyone know if the white machine is, in fact, a Sprite MkIII prototype, or a different model altogether?

    -Kurt
    The white and orange bike is the lady's Record for that year. They came with flat bars, not drops. We sold a few of them out of the shop, most were converted to drops and Brooks saddles at the customer's request - we'd put the exact same equipment on as the men's model for no extra charge.

    Syke
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    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner
    Here's the Sprite pic from the 1975 Raleigh catalogue. Is that your gal, Syke?

    Neal
    Afraid not - by 75, I was only working occasionally at the shop, having gone on to being a steelworker. Grad school was too expensive for what I was being paid by Merle. However, whenever I got laid off, I'd be back at the shop, pulling money under the table on top of my unemployment. I don't remember the 75 catalogs at all, probably because my primary attention wasn't there anymore.

    Syke
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    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888
    ^
    +1. Pity women don't look like that anymore.

    Heck, I don't mind those pants either. Get me a matching jacket and tan vest!

    -Kurt
    Pity women don't act like that anymore, either. Little matter of political correctness and STD's nowdays.

    Syke
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