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  1. #1
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    Raleigh Record: the ultimate beater bike

    Found it in a dumpster. Steel everything. The Araya rims are perfect and true, I jump curbs with them.

    I can't bear to weigh this bike, it doesn't matter. She was built in Nottingham, C. 1975-1977. I ride this bike every single day, it never fails. You can probably pick one up for 50.00. Every post I've seen gives it a "hey this is a fun bike". I've never heard anything negative about it, except it's weight.

    Thoughts? comments? LOL's? Bashes?

  2. #2
    Seρor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Weight, and ability to come to a safe stop when it's wet.

    Personally, I think the Grand Prix is a step up and could still qualify as a beater, but it's hard to dispute what you've said.
    Last edited by USAZorro; 06-25-08 at 09:00 PM.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  3. #3
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    I don't ride when it's wet so what do I know. Ain't much point in getting a lighter bike when the rider is so heavy. I should work on that.
    I have spoken.

  4. #4
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    My wifey's Record, I like it a bunch (so does she):


  5. #5
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    I got mine, S/N NH4255707, for $3.00 from our neighbors' yard sale. Their son had picked it up off the curb a couple of years earlier, and it had lived outside. I think the S/N indicates it's a '74 model. I rejuvenated the Brooks B17 Special saddle (well, at least I softened it and flattened the curls), repacked the hubs, put a new cone in the rear hub, and rode up and down the street with my daughters. Before long I was having as much fun riding as I did when I was a kid. I soon found a set of Araya alloy wheels with skinny, lightweight Miyata tires, and the old bike perked up considerably. When the Huret FD self-destructed, I put on an Ultegra FD and a 105 RD. I replaced the old suicide brake levers with Tektro 200s, replaced the Huret stem shifters with old Suntour barcons, put on new SS cables all around, and replaced the tattered cloth bar tape with the cushy, modern stuff. Now I have a bike that, though still heavy and rusty, is a decent ride and is fun to wrench on. The bike's geometry seems similar to a Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen, which helps me justify all the time and money I've spent. My next upgrade will be a triple crank (and long cage RD) to replace the original cottered cranks. Of course that means dealing with the 26tpi BB threading, but I have a Shimano UN-72 ready to go in as soon as I get the Phil Wood "Super Corsa" rings.

    Damn - I just realized how much I've learned about bikes in the last two years. Chalk it all up to a $3.00 '74 Raleigh Record.

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  6. #6
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    I had a Record back when these were current bikes. Heavy as heck, for sure, and the steel rims are very dangerous when wet. The virtue these "all steel bikes" had was that nothing ever wore out - not like today. And you not only could but were expected to lubricate everything with just an oil can. They were almost an English Bobby's or mailman's bike in 10-speed racer garb, so they were extremely tough bikes. Back when people didn't read so much and didn't expect perfection in terms of weight, rolling resistance and all that stuff, these were ideal bikes for urban riding (except for the rims).

    Careful though. Frame could be rusted in key spots by now.

  7. #7
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    Wow

    I hear ya on the steel wheels, yes they are dangerous as hell in the rain. You just have to adapt and ride real mellow. I wish they could make some sort of coating spray you could apply. I bet sandblasting the rims would help, as that makes 'em rougher.

    I love the ladies Record with the wicker basket.

    I don't think I have major rust issues, the bike wasn't that rusted, it was really oily,grungy (a good thing in terms of rust protection) But I overhauled the BB recently, and there were 25 oily oak seeds in there, those spinny helicopter things, along with other organic matter. The bike must have been outside for a couple weeks with no seat tube, and they got down the tube...

    The top tube has a small dent and it's slightly bent. Original paint.

    How do I figure out the year from the serial number? I'm guessing it's 1975-1977.

    I put alloy bars on it, wider, beefier, huge improvement.

    Still has the ancient Huret Allvit RD , which has issues reaching the big ring, I sort of don't care. I love the pedals, I think these are Lyotards, they're all steel. Bash them in doorways, wail them into curbs.

    I wonder what the stock weight is also.

  8. #8
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    It's been almost 30 years since I got my first multi-gear bike, a yellow Record with black panels. I rode it extensively around the Wash DC area and also Munich, Germany. Elsewhere on BF I have recounted a number of anecdotes about it, including my first (and so far, last) collision with a moving car (easily avoided, has I only known: steel rims + rain = no brakes), and its bike's ultimate demise (frame failure).

    So I have a great fondness for Records.

    Nonetheless, having tried a lot of different bikes over the years, I'm now of the opinion that the Raleigh Sports, not the Record, is the ultimate beater bike. Can't beat the three-speed hub and fenders. Brakes still suck.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    A few years ago, I was given a "His & Hers" pair by a co-worker. She had inherited them from an elderly relative & had no interest in bicycles. I was excited when she described them as "top of the line Raleighs" & followed her home after work with visions of a Raleigh Professional or International dancing in my head. They were matching yellow bikes. Heavy, high-tension steel frames, cheap plastic saddles & bags, steel wheels, cranks, derailleurs, brakes etc. On top of all that, they were equipped with solid rubber, "flat proof" tires. They were heavier than a Schwinn Varsity and far below anything in my fleet, so I just politely thanked her & promised to find them a good home. I took them home & rode each a few times just to experience the novelty of flat proof tires. Their ride was worse than dead, more Zombie like & the brakes barely worked on dry wheels. A few days later I dropped them off at the Goodwill store. Don
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  10. #10
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    I still have my '77 Record Limited and it's my still favorite bike. I realize it's a beater, but all my bikes are beaters. My truck's a beater. Heck, I'm a flute player and all my flutes are beaters. I have to take exception to calling it heavier than a varsity, though. I still have my owner's book somewhere, and I'm pretty sure the weight is specified as 31 lbs., though I'm not sure what size frame that is for. You can always take the kickstand off and maybe get it to 30 lbs. I have replaced the wheels over the years with budget LBS alloy rim wheels. They definitely stop better than the old chromed wheels did.

  11. #11
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    My beater is a Raleigh Record from 1987. I found it at a yard sale for $10 and at first, I thought I ovepaid. It had been stored outdoors for a year or so when I got it and it was a mess. I cleaned it up, put on a beater Brooks vinyl seat, changed the chain, added new tires and took it for a spin. That late 80s chromoly frame with alloy rims really rides nice. It's been my beater, mail fetch, night rider ever since.
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  12. #12
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    My first adult bike was a 1971 Raleigh Record. I rode that everywhere for 6 years, until the poor shifting convinced me to look for another bike. I test rode a 1977 Motobecane, fell in love and bought it, and sold my Record to a friend for $20. I never looked back...until now.

    Wouldn't make one my beater, though. A fixie, maybe, but not my beater. That job goes to another Raleigh-- my Canadian-made Raleigh Portage.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    "I have to take exception to calling it heavier than a varsity, though. I still have my owner's book somewhere, and I'm pretty sure the weight is specified as 31 lbs., though I'm not sure what size frame that is for. You can always take the kickstand off and maybe get it to 30 lbs"

    Remember, the pair I had came with large(32mm or 38mm), solid rubber tires which adds several pounds to an already heavy bike and they had steel, cottered cranks. I think yours is a later model with the 3 piece alloy crankset & that lowers the weight a bit.
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  14. #14
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    Currently on the "Numbskull" thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by purevl View Post
    Lew is one of the good guys. Admittedly his prices always run to the high side, but I've watched him work and you couldn't pay any mechanic anywhere to do it for less. The amount of time and attention he spends rebuilding his bikes is ridiculous. He's retired and I think he does it more for distraction than anything else, he's not generating much profit. There's other much better numbskull fodder on memphis craigslist; he's just a harmless old man with a hobby.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    The bike itself is in beautiful condition. Gorgeous condition, I'd say. Lew might be a nice guy. I don't know him and wouldn't say otherwise. And he certainly does gorgeous work. He has a great hobby.

    But...

    One, there's no way that this hi-ten bike weighs 24 pounds. My first bike was a Raleigh Record, and my guess is it weighed around 30 pounds or so (the weight info is not readily available on Retro Raleighs). I replaced it with a Motobecane Grand Touring, which was noticeably lighter. My GT is double-butted chromoly in the main triangle, and weighs 25 pounds. Even if Lew replaced ALL of the steel components with alloy, there's NO WAY that his straight-guage hi-ten Raleigh weighs less than my double-butted cromoly Moto. No way on Earth....My Moto has all alloy components too, you know.

    Two, no matter what he's done to that Raleigh, no matter how gorgeous it is, no matter how thoroughly he disassembled it and lovingly cleaned and restored the frame, no matter how many cheap components he's replaced with high-quality components, it's still a Raleigh Record. A very beautiful Raleigh Record, but a Raleigh Record nonetheless. It is simply not worth $460. That's the reason people here always advise newbies not to put more money in upgrades into a bike than the bike is worth. It will never be more than a Raleigh Record, no matter what he's done to it. At most, I'd say a Record that is in better-than-new condition is worth about $200, maybe $250. But twice that? No way.

    I wish Lew well, but I still think this ad is whack.

  15. #15
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    Ollo -- you're right -- mine came with alloy cranks, and handlebar and stem, for that matter. Just thought it was about the same year as the OP's bike. I've never seen solid rubber tires fo an adult bike.

  16. #16
    Senior Member spiker's Avatar
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    Bought my 25-inch, "school bus yellow" (as the dealer discribed it) Record on Jan.2,1971. Wright leather saddle, Altenberg brakes, Huret Allvit was switched to a simplex as soon as I got home, & with a Sun Tour after I broke the 2nd Simplex. Did my first century on it. Had my only car encouner on it. Superceded by my Lotus Odyssey in 1981which is my daily ride to this day. The Record sits in the basement on a trainer & I "ride" thru the winter on it. Sitting still like that doesn't much matter how much it weighs. I picked up a Raleigh Reliantlast fall as my rain & snow commuter. Its the Record built in tiawan w/ cotterless crank. I put that on the scale at work & it weighed 34+ lbs. This is the 231/2 frame.

  17. #17
    Senior Member GernBlanston's Avatar
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    Mine was a Raleigh Super Record, ca. 1980 when I was twelve. I got my start cycling on it. It was completely bomb-proof, but as others have said, the steel wheels were problematic in wet weather especially.

    When I graduated to a real racing bike, I hung up the Raleigh for about a year, then (through my LBS) sent it to Keith Bontrager for some cantilever braze-ons. With a Sugino triple, I rode it as a cyclocross/mtb. Eventually the wheels collapsed and I replaced them with a sweet set of phil wood hub/wolber super champion rims.

    I loved that bike, but it was a pain too. It was indestructible, but so heavy that in my racing days, I felt that riding it too much robbed me of explosive snap, made me feel like a locomotive. And the BB and steer tube were threaded with a mysterious, proprietary thread pitch, neither French, English, nor Italian. After all the hard on- and off-road miles (probably at least 20k miles over the 10 years I had the bike) in rain, sand, dirt and mud, the BB cups and spindle were badly pitted and, to the extent of my resources and knowhow, irreplacable. The headset wasn't as bad, as I could replace the fork crown race and both press-in head tube races, but the resultant mis-matched headset was less than perfect.

    If not for that bizarre threading, I'd probably still have the bike. I crashed it hundreds of times and barely managed to scratch the red metal flake paint. It was comfortable and very stable, with its leaden mass, relaxed fork and long wheelbase. It would make a perfect winter bike now that I'm living in New England.

    Now I'm missing it again. Next stop, eBay.

    GB
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  18. #18
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    I am seriously enjoying this thread. I have been doing some minor tuning work to this bike, mostly when I just feel like it. Next is the rear wheel bearings.

    I am comforted by the fact that others have posted that the Sachs Huret Allvit derailleur is quite possibly the worst derallieur ever produced. I am curious, what's a good upgrade for this, I'm thinking a Suntour VGT?

    I have come to the conclusion also that Weinmann centerpulls don't suck if you adjust them coherently. I never put in serious effort into these in my youth, I think if you were born after 1960, you were pretty much issued these along with your "Frampton Comes Alive" album.

    Luckily, that stupid steel rear brake centering bracket on mine that attaches to the seatpost bolt doesn't shift and cause too much trouble. I wonder if anyone designed a clamp-on aftermarket rig that attaches to the stays, similar to the braze-on rigs?

  19. #19
    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    A Suntour VGT would be a logical upgrade--they shift very well, in my experience. Personally, I've never heard anything bad about Weinmann centerpulls. They work fine.
    My Record was green, a 1970 model, I think. Cost me $79. What I really wanted was a Schwinn Varsity, but the Raleigh was what they had at the local Firestone store. Don't remember what happened to it--I think I sold it to someone at school a year or two later.
    JV

  20. #20
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    My first bike (not counting my spiderman bike). Got ripped off when I stopped locking it up at H.S. silly me. Moved on to a Gitane.
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  21. #21
    Junior Member Jarnett's Avatar
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    My first real bike was a Raleigh Record, I got in 1977 it was orange and white. I sold it when I got married and regretted it every since. I found one on ebay a couple of months ago and had to have it. I admit I over paid for the for the bike, but sometimes you can't put a price on child hood memory's. My new bike is the same color, and rides just like I remember heavy, bad shifting and weak brakes. Some times you can go back home!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarnett View Post
    My first real bike was a Raleigh Record, I got in 1977 it was orange and white. I sold it when I got married and regretted it every since. I found one on ebay a couple of months ago and had to have it. I admit I over paid for the for the bike, but sometimes you can't put a price on child hood memory's. My new bike is the same color, and rides just like I remember heavy, bad shifting and weak brakes. Some times you can go back home!
    LOL that rocks!

    Yeah my first bike was an Atala, the damn thing is sitting in my buddy's garage.

  23. #23
    Senior Member spiker's Avatar
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    Well I bought another Record today at a yard sail couple a blocks over for $10, 25" er, blue & white, vinyl broooks seat & suntour bits, steel rims, gonna replace the Reliant I wrote about above as my winter hack. Rode it after work,what a tank! I did centuries on one of these things, loaded it up & went camping. But it fits. Those 27x1 1/4 looked massive. Bought it off first owner who commuted into Hartford, Conn back in the 70's on it

  24. #24
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    It's so funny if you look back on this thread how some guys have gone back to this bike in their midlife crises. I wish I had one of these in 1979 instead of my "total- tank", a Kabuki Bridgestone Samurai or something like that. That bike did go many miles and did get me through college. The ride was okay, but nowhere near this...

    The frame on that bike weighed more than my 1988 Trek 930 Mountain bike. To this day I am mystified how this was even possible.

    I found mine laying next to a dumpster. Amazingly, the rims were not rusted to hell, actually the whole bike was fairly rust free, but it was grunged so bad it took four days to clean it up. I don't think it really had a lot of miles on it. In fact, I don't think a lot of these base- bikes really do. People ride them for two years and then they sit out in the shed rusting away.

    For me, after logging many miles on a higher end aluminum Trek and suffering serious road shock, riding this thing was like jumping in a '69 Chevelle after racing in a Corvette. It was like coming home again.

    Funny, I live outside Hartford, and found that it's a piece of cake to commute to. I ride this Record through the pot-holed "war zones" and it just doesn't quit. If I see another one at a yard sale for 10.00 you can bet I'll dive on it for parts/backup. I just got a Motobecane Nomade for that price but it's like "uh,
    bleh".

    Another thing I notice about Notty Ralieghs is they clean up real quickly. Is this possibly because British steel so completely rules?????

  25. #25
    Senior Member spiker's Avatar
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    The daughter of the gentleman (he's 72) was discribing his ride into Hartford just as you have, a war zone. This one was ridden, the grime on it is roadgrime. Good thing as its probably kept it from rusting after it was retired. Tons of scrapes. I was amazed how well it rode, rims true no rust, shifted, brakes properly set up. I didn't even have to adjust the seat.

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