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  1. #1
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Upgrading a Raleigh 20 Folder

    I know this sort of thing gets discussed a lot on the Folder forum, but I wanted to ask you guys too. I need a folder, to allow me to use the train more. I always cycle to the station, but if I could cycle at the other end too, I'd use the train even more. Raleigh 20's are cheap here, and even if I could afford something modern, I'd probably want something a bit more C&V anyway.

    So, I've got my eye on the bike below which, though it looks way cool with it's whitewalls, would need some upgrading. Really, I'd like to be able to ride fairly fast for up to 10 miles through London. New rims are a given, but do any of you know what the narrowest available 20" rims are? I'd build with the existing hubs, since I want the 3 speed, and the front wheel is a wierd spacing. Next is the cranks. It's a Raleigh thread BB, but Sheldon says you can reuse the cups with some cotterless BB spindles. Does anyone know which, and how easy this is in practise?

    I'd also be wanting to run fairly high pressure tyres, and to fabricate drop bolts, so that I could use dual pivot brakes. I'm guessing, however, that the drop bolt might give me fender problems. Again, any thoughts? I'd like to end up with something that still has a cool vintage look, but is everyday useable.


  2. #2
    hunter, gatherer coelcanth's Avatar
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    i don't think that's a raleigh 20..
    maybe it's one of those raleigh rsw folders ?
    i think those are not so suitable for upgrading

  3. #3
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    A buddy of mine turned his Raleigh 20 into a commuter fixie. I believe it wasn't hard for him to find the 20" BMX wheels, but weird spacing and threading made it all quite the challenge. The thing he had to pay a fortune for was a new alloy seatpost.

    Neal

  4. #4
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    What makes you think it's not a Raleigh 20? The RSW 16 has 16" wheels, and this has 20. To me, it looks exactly like an R20. This is apparently a Universal, but weren't they a Raleigh brand?

  5. #5
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy


    Got a drive side photo?

  6. #6
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Heh - no.

  7. #7
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Tisk, tisk, tisk.

  8. #8
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Well, I don't own it! That's an eBay pic. It was an example really, the general message is, I'm going to be upgrading an old folder, possibly this one.

  9. #9
    hunter, gatherer coelcanth's Avatar
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    well...
    i don't know anything about universal..
    but the wheelbase looks really short..
    it looks like the down tube intersects almost at the bottom bracket, not further up on the seat tube like on the 20's..
    looks like this one lacks the dt hinge-to-bb support..
    also, the hinge does not look like the heavy duty 20 hinge

    i dunno... take a look at this pic of lots of 20's from someone elses website and you can decide:



    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy
    What makes you think it's not a Raleigh 20? The RSW 16 has 16" wheels, and this has 20. To me, it looks exactly like an R20. This is apparently a Universal, but weren't they a Raleigh brand?
    Last edited by coelcanth; 01-31-07 at 12:44 PM.

  10. #10
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    Check out a recumbent shop, or hunt the bentrider online boards for peopleselling. a lot of bents use really high end 20s. When I was commuting on my revive I upgraded to some 1.5 inch kevlar things that made for a sweet ride.

    Also check the bike friday owner's group, you'll find used stuff for sale there and could get familiar with names. I'm just zoning out on the names right now, myself.

    Are raleigh 20s so cheap there? I found *one* in davis, in used but okay (rideable, but dinged up non original paint) condition here--- for $150!

  11. #11
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christof H
    Are raleigh 20s so cheap there? I found *one* in davis, in used but okay (rideable, but dinged up non original paint) condition here--- for $150!
    Don't complain about the price, at the Westminster, MD swap meet last February, a guy had a 70's Raleigh 20 in real nice shape for sale . . . . . . . for $400.00! I'm pretty certain he took it back home with him. Pity, for $150.00, I'd have grabbed it, just to bring the memories back.

    As I remember them, the Raleigh 20 is a real good heavy duty commuter bike, but it's definitely NOT something you build up to go fast. The frame is very strong and heavy, and while mine was wonderful for getting to and from work every day - 10 miles each way, uphill on the morning commute, it never struck me as something you put light, thin tyres on. Somewhere along the line, I got to ride a Moulton back then, and that REALLY convinced me that the 20 is a comfortable middleweight. Period.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  12. #12
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    I missed on last week on eBay (my connection went down, I asked my mother to bid on it, she arrived 5 mins late at the PC!), which went for 23, and that was an absolute definite real 20. I'm starting to think that Coelcanth is right about this not being - it's not the wheelbase, I think that's just the foreshortening effects of perspective, but it looks as though the main tube bends just after the hinge, and the 20's all look to have dead straight main tubes.

    I'm not thinking of building this up to go fast, simply to go fastER. They weigh around 36 pounds as standard, and if I'm going to be rolling even 5-6 miles at a time, the combination of that and low pressure tyres is not good for me. I don't want super duper skinny, like 20mm or anything, just not big 40 PSI balloons. I also want alloy rims because, you know, I want the brakes to work and everything. I guess I've seen a lot of pics of hotrod 20's, and I whilst I don't want to go as far as some people have, a midpoint would be good. Shed a few pounds, reduce the rolling resistance, make the brakes work, but keep the rack, and the fenders etc. I've got a couple of Moultons (non folders, and in tatty shape), and if the 20 is lots better than them, I think it'll make me happy.

  13. #13
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    You'll do fine with whatever the LBS has for 90psi 20 inch commuter tires, then. They won't be 1.1s, but they'll be like 1.5 or 1.75 or something- and with a semislick tread and 9psi, they'll ride like crazy. any decent alloy bmx rims should do, too.

  14. #14
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    If what you mean is 90 psi, they'll do nicely!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    There's pleanty of information in the Folder Forum. I got interested in folders and read every single post in that Forum. I ended up deciding that what I want would cost far more than I'm willing to pay and gave up the idea.

  16. #16
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    I read a fair bit in there, including all I could find on Raleigh 20's, but I figured people here might have a different perspective. We do on everything else. I reckon all I want is to relace the hubs into different rims (cheap enough), exchange cranks/BB (cheap if you're resourceful - I'll find someone with the necessary taps), extend the seatpost (several handy ideas) and possible do something different with bars/stem. It's all stuff I can do on the cheap, and I'll get a cooler bike than one of the aluminium things, for less money, plus I can do the spending as and when I can afford it, but start right away riding the standard machine.

    What might be more tricky is affording the Ortlieb bag that I think I'll need. The whole purpose of this thing is to let me get from train stations to client sites, which means looking presentable and carrying what I need. Since panniers and my big feet on a 20 are never going to work together, I think I need one of these:


  17. #17
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I really like the idea of folding bikes, I love looking at pics of them, etc. Problem is, there's absolutely no reason I need one over a conventional bike. I almost wish there was a train I could ride or something so I could justify getting one-

  18. #18
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    When it was just London, I bought a bike ( REALLY cheap) to single speed, so that I could lock it up at Waterloo, and just take it when I needed it. With my new job, however, I need to be able to ride in all sorts of towns, so I need something that can come on the train with me. The fact that I can pick up a 20 with a rack for 20 to start off with helps, too. I wouldn't be buying a new folder, even for 100, despite that the 20 might cost me that by the time I'm done upgrading it.

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