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  1. #1
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    My 1946 Raleigh Lenton Sports (pics finally)

    Hello,
    Below is a photobucket link to 68 pics I'd like to share with you of my recently acquired 1946 Raleigh Lenton Sports. I took them before I did any cleaning up/polishing, and of course the pics don't do the bike justice - but I did the best I could to represent it fully. But first a little backround: I bought the bike last week for $250 in Boston from a man in his 90's who lives with his wife of 57 years. He spent most of life working as an engineer, working for corporations which primarily developed technology for the US military complex. To put himself through Grad school he built bicycles. He bought the Lenton in 1947 while in Grad school from the original owner, who had bought it new a year before. Once out of school, his wife told him it wasn't dignified to ride around on 'that thing' anymore... so he's kept it indoors ever since. I've never seen someone so robust at his age - he offered to drive me downtown with the bikes(I also bought a truly unused, perfect, all original, complete, 1970 Ladies Raleigh Sports for $125). Before I could even act he had popped the hatchback open and lifted the '70 Sports effortlessly and carefully placed it into the car, and after helping me get the Lenton in we were off. He also offered me three NOS Endrick rims for $50 - two are complete front wheels and one is 40 hole rear rim only - is this a good deal?
    He's retired now but builds and rebuilds old English inspired American clocks using machinery he builds himself- he wrote a book about them in the 80's.
    So needless to say - this bike has been tuned and serviced to perfection! WOW, what an amazing ride!
    Everything is original except the rear Michelin tire which was changed in 1948. Unfortunatley it's missing the saddlebag(I believe they all came with one when new). I have written descriptions under every photo. I would love to hear all comments, suggestions, questions and any feedback you can give.

    I hope you enjoy the pics, -Specter

    http://s47.photobucket.com/albums/f1...eigh%20Lenton/

    ps. The main album title on photobucket mistakenly says '1945 Raleigh Lenton Sports" which I corrected to 1946 on the individual pic titles.
    Last edited by manofsteel; 09-22-08 at 02:59 AM.

  2. #2
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    Very Very nice.

    I would put some Proofide on the saddle to preserve it. I like the fluted cranks and condition of the bike.

    I think that the price for the three NOS endrick rims is good and you should buy them post haste.
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    Peter Kohler writes on Retro Raleighs-the Raleigh Lentons : "Resurrected in Raleigh's post-war range, announced in March 1946, and now assigned no. 25, the Lenton Sports' frame (still 21" and with a 71 angle) was now constructed of Reynolds 531 tubing with a newly designed fork and new colour: Polychromatic Olive. Although Cycling magazine praised it as being "a sound machine at a moderate price," it was withdrawn in spring 1947 and superceded by the Clubman in 1948."

    I'm not sure I would call mine polychromatic olive green(or maybe?), but it sounds to me like it was the first to use 531 tubing.

    Specter

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    Great find! It's really interesting to see how similar the details of the bike are to my 1949 Raleigh Clubman, including the lugs, finish, and most of the components. Here's a pic of my '49 before I took possession:



    Neal

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    Hey Neal - Thanks - I'm very happy with it - and it rides like the wind, very stable and feels brand new. How funny... same chromatic green and 'deco-like' transfer designs. Is the saddle bag on your '49 original? The Lentons and Clubmans sure had big saddlebags for bikes that were built for speed. I can't figure out the marketing behind temporarily discontinuing the Lenton in '47/48 but then making a very similar 'new generation' Clubman.

    -Specter
    Last edited by manofsteel; 09-22-08 at 06:53 AM. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    rhm
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    Wow. What a find.

    The phone number for the Bicycle Center looks American to me; 6-0342. Perhaps the first two letters of the word PHone are to be dialed as numbers, i.e. 742-0342, or the shop was in a smaller town where the exchange had only the one digit. With a little luck you can probably find the store in an old phone directory.

    I think the oil port on the hub is missing a metal cap, basically a disc with a protruding tab that bent around and into the slot in the back.

    But wow, what a find.

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    Thanks rhm -

    It's the way centre is spelled that led me to believe it was a British shop.. but your theory is far more interesting and worth looking into for sure.

    If there was a cap on the oil port, then it's somehow been sealed with the current plug. I think you're right though, because there wouldn't be much of purpose for such an extended cylindrical opening. Yes, I just checked it personally and there is a tiny slit on the port where the cap hinge fit.

    -Specter
    Last edited by manofsteel; 09-22-08 at 07:35 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteel View Post
    Is the saddle bag on your '49 original? The Lentons and Clubmans sure had big saddlebags for bikes that were built for speed.
    -Specter
    Specter, that's a Karrimor saddle bag, probably from the 70s and similar in size to the Carradice Long Flap, I believe. It came with the bike as well as a Karrimor "uplift" carrier, which allows me to move it from bike to bike. I use it all of the time as I can fit my laptop, lock, rain jacket, and a bunch more stuff inside.

    Neal

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    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteel View Post
    ...It's the way centre is spelled that led me to believe it was a British shop....
    Oh, good point, I hadn't noticed that. Well, what do I know. -R

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    Oh, good point, I hadn't noticed that. Well, what do I know. -R
    well, obviously more than me! I just read the print under the phone number on the same decal and it reads:
    Bicycles-Sales-Repairs
    1129 Chapel Street
    New Haven, Connecticut

    Good call!

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    Beautiful bike. Two things to note-

    The paint on my 50 clubman is very thin. Be REALLY careful if you try to polish it so you don't lose the color and the underlayment starts showing thru. I don't think you will ever find a bike of this vintage with paint so well preserved. What a find!

    Also, I wonder if the two oil port covers weren't reversed? My '45 sports has the flip top in back and a round knurled cap on the BB. I'd be VERY cautious about catching my pants leg on the flip top and ripping off the lid. I know I catch mine all the time on the plug on mine.

  12. #12
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteel View Post
    well, obviously more than me! I just read the print under the phone number on the same decal and it reads:
    Bicycles-Sales-Repairs
    1129 Chapel Street
    New Haven, Connecticut

    Good call!
    That is really cool!

    There was an old bicycle shop at or very near that location in the late 80's. Not sure which side of the street, but between York and Park streets, at any rate. If my internet search is correct, it's moved across the street now, but still has (almost) the same phone number:

    Bicycle Center
    1144 Chapel St
    New Haven, CT
    06511-4805
    203-624-0342

    This is what I found.
    Last edited by rhm; 09-22-08 at 09:30 AM. Reason: I said it was the same phone number, silly me.

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    Very cool indeed! It is essentially the same phone number - WOW... good work... do you think maybe they have a stash of some 70 year old NOS Lentons still in their boxes, forgotten in their basement?

  14. #14
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    The man who sold me the Lenton placed the ad in one of those printed 'Want Ads' magazines which I found in a convenient store in the Boston Suburbs. He doesn't own a computer and has never even used the internet, so he's not aware of the internet market, auctions, etc. I don't know anything about the monetary value of a bike this rare in this condition, but can't help but wonder what it might potentially be worth. Is the $250 I paid the high end price? I have a feeling I got lucky because nobody really looks in those printed classifieds for bikes anymore.(The ad was placed for over 6 months and I was the only serious caller - plus he advertised a 1970 NOS Raleigh Sports for $125!! On craigslist or ebay forget it.) I've never seen Lentons on ebay, even hard to find them anywhere online, so I have nothing comparable. I guess, out of curiousity, I'm looking for an Antique Road Show kind of estimate(as bad as that sounds)or what similar bikes at higher end auctions estimate/bring. Anyone dare to answer?

    That said, I'm extremely happy with the bike for what I paid - happy riding it and learning more about it - I'd just like a well rounded perspective on the value.

    Specter
    Last edited by manofsteel; 09-22-08 at 10:52 AM.

  15. #15
    Upright bars SirMike1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteel View Post
    well, obviously more than me! I just read the print under the phone number on the same decal and it reads:
    Bicycles-Sales-Repairs
    1129 Chapel Street
    New Haven, Connecticut

    Good call!

    Sounds to me like a bike owned by a Yale student/grad student originally. In the late 1940s Raleigh Lentons would be quite rare compared to the usual American-made heavyweights of that era. An exotic adult bicycle of higher expense than a regular American ballooner in New Haven sounds like a Yale case to me. It would make sense too if the guy you bought it from was a Grad Student-- did he go to Yale? He may have bought it from another student there.

    It's an excellent find.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirMike1983 View Post
    Sounds to me like a bike owned by a Yale student/grad student originally. In the late 1940s Raleigh Lentons would be quite rare compared to the usual American-made heavyweights of that era. An exotic adult bicycle of higher expense than a regular American ballooner in New Haven sounds like a Yale case to me. It would make sense too if the guy you bought it from was a Grad Student-- did he go to Yale? He may have bought it from another student there.

    It's an excellent find.
    I believe he went to Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science - I can imagine how exotic this bike may have been - possibly their introduction to a 531 model - I bet you're right about him buying it from a fellow student.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sciencemonster View Post
    Beautiful bike. Two things to note-

    The paint on my 50 clubman is very thin. Be REALLY careful if you try to polish it so you don't lose the color and the underlayment starts showing thru. I don't think you will ever find a bike of this vintage with paint so well preserved. What a find!

    Also, I wonder if the two oil port covers weren't reversed? My '45 sports has the flip top in back and a round knurled cap on the BB. I'd be VERY cautious about catching my pants leg on the flip top and ripping off the lid. I know I catch mine all the time on the plug on mine.
    Hi Mark - interesting point about the oil port covers being switched.. do you have pics/a link of your '45 sports somewhere?
    Oh, nevermind, I found your 'machines' page - The paint on your Rudge is incredible, as is your sense of humour(I'm glad you ride safe and wear your baseball cap!)
    Last edited by manofsteel; 09-22-08 at 11:24 AM. Reason: update

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    I'd like to do a 'show us your Lenton' thread too. Can regular members post that sort of thing or is that for the moderators to initiate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteel View Post
    Hi Mark - interesting point about the oil port covers being switched.. do you have pics/a link of your '45 sports somewhere?
    Oh, nevermind, I found your 'machines' page - The paint on your Rudge is incredible, as is your sense of humour(I'm glad you ride safe and wear your baseball cap!)
    Thx. I've also got a Clubman that has a ball bearing type cap on the BB. They musta used just anything that fit for a grease fitting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sciencemonster View Post
    Thx. I've also got a Clubman that has a ball bearing type cap on the BB. They musta used just anything that fit for a grease fitting.
    especially these bike made immediately following the war - whatever pre-war/war surplus they had sitting around... which is what makes them/their production even more valuable and interesting to me.

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    speaking of which - no one's dared to respond to my above entry #14

  22. #22
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    Beautiful machine , the more of these I see and the more I read the farther I get from my Schwinn roots !
    nice ride
    Tim

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kramersschwinn View Post
    Beautiful machine , the more of these I see and the more I read the farther I get from my Schwinn roots !
    nice ride
    Tim
    Thank you. I was just admiring your green machine.. the Raleigh Superbe Sports Tourist, '54 I think. Nice job cleaning that up.. and welcome to the wonderful world of THE RALEIGH
    Last edited by manofsteel; 09-22-08 at 07:47 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteel View Post
    speaking of which - no one's dared to respond to my above entry #14
    I paid $200 for the clubman on my Machines page. It had no fenders, incorrect brakes and levers, no lights, bag, bottle cage, and an AW rather than the AG I replaced it with. One rim was replaced. I paid $200 for the '45 Rudge, also.

    I think you got a steal. Finding one of these is so hard that it's impossible to put a price on it. I wouldn't sell mine for $400, but I doubt anyone would pay that for it. I would have paid 300-400 if I didn't have one already. On the plus side it's a Lenton, but on the neg side it's not got a lot of fancy bits. Standard Sports brakes, no Hiduminium parts, no AM or AC hub, no wing nuts. Consider a ~70s Competition easily goes for $250, and your bike is from the 40s... Once you find someone who has to have one, you're in like Flynn. But once again, I think the smaller names go for the real big bucks. Raleighs were mass produced, even back then.

    You're right, it's an absolute gas to ride these bikes. So light and responsive - coming from a world of Sports, mind you.
    Last edited by sciencemonster; 09-22-08 at 07:02 PM.

  25. #25
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    Heeey - it's got wing nuts - they hold the fenders to the seat stays.. but I think you meant as lock nuts on the rear hub?

    Thanks for your insight on the value. Is there any info on how many bikes were produced for each model for any given year?

    I'm used to riding late '60s early '70s Sports and Superbes. But the Lenton! It has so much steel, and so steady and quick - it's like riding a rock with wings or something... a steel horse.


    -Specter
    Last edited by manofsteel; 09-22-08 at 07:27 PM.

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