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  1. #1
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    Raleigh Grand Prix question

    I would love some advice/opinions on a Vintage Raleigh Grand Prix I picked up in the Spring. I am not 100% sure of the vintage but I am guessing it's early 70's. It was restored by a local bike shop with new wheels/tires and tuned up ans cost me $200. I swapped out the original handlebars, as I found them too narrow and also replaced the brake levers and stem. Since then I have been using it for my daily commute, which is about 14 miles and so far I am pretty happy with it. It's pretty fast, but can be a little jarring on the potholed Boston streets!

    Here's my dilemma - the frame is a pretty chipped and I was thinking of getting it sand/bead blasted and powder coated to avoid rust, and I was also thinking about getting new wheels. However, this may run into hundreds of dollars and I am not sure if the frame is worth spending that kind of cash on, or if I would be better off putting the money towards a newer bike. The Frame is lugged steel, but I think I've heard that this was an entry level bike at the time.

    Any thoughts from people who've owned both vintage and newer bikes? Do you think that entry level vintage bikes are worth spending extra cash on, or should I just put the money towards something like a San Jose or t1000?

  2. #2
    Lanterne Rouge cb400bill's Avatar
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    Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

    Viscount Aerospace Pro Trek 770 Cannondale Synapse

  3. #3
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    Ah it looks just like the bottom blue and black one, the 1977 model.

  4. #4
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Check with nlerner. He's in Cambridge, and knows someone who powdercoats for about $50.00 there.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  5. #5
    Buh'wah?! Amani576's Avatar
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    I own a 74' Grand Prix. I love the bike. Hate that just about everything is steel though. Don't be discouraged that it's a lower-end bike (The Raleigh Record was the low end), they're nice bikes. Keep in mind most bike mods are expensive, just like car mods. But, if you like the frame, and it fits nicely, keep it. And unless you plan to sell it someday and hope to recoup your expenses, there's nothing wrong with spending some cash on making your bike last a long time. I'm planning on putting aluminum rims and as soon as I can find the bottom bracket, alloy cranks on it to lighten it up.
    Don't worry too much about what some people around here are saying. It's your bike. Do with as you please, just make sure you ride it, I certainly don't ride mine nearly enough, sadly.
    -Gene-

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info, at $50 this might be worth doing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amani576 View Post
    I own a 74' Grand Prix. I love the bike. Hate that just about everything is steel though. Don't be discouraged that it's a lower-end bike (The Raleigh Record was the low end), they're nice bikes. Keep in mind most bike mods are expensive, just like car mods. But, if you like the frame, and it fits nicely, keep it. And unless you plan to sell it someday and hope to recoup your expenses, there's nothing wrong with spending some cash on making your bike last a long time. I'm planning on putting aluminum rims and as soon as I can find the bottom bracket, alloy cranks on it to lighten it up.
    Don't worry too much about what some people around here are saying. It's your bike. Do with as you please, just make sure you ride it, I certainly don't ride mine nearly enough, sadly.
    -Gene-
    Thanks for the advice. Mine currently has aluminum rims and is pretty light. I might go with switching out the bottom bracket and crank if I decide to get a decent and cheap powder coating.

  8. #8
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    Raleigh restoration - what to watch for

    I posted a few weeks ago. I have a '73 Grand Prix that I have had for 25 years. I got it used. But had the same model as a teenager and sold it in college only to buy the exact same model a few years later. I am older now and decided to upgrade the gearing by installing a 7 "Megarange" freewheel and a compact triple crankset on the front as well as new derailleurs fore and aft to make it up hills. I spent a lot of time on the Sheldon Brown site and will tell you my difficulties so you can avoid them. The problem I had is I needed to get a new bottom bracket to take the triple. Here is what I did so you can do it differently and save some money:

    1. Figured out that since the serial number is Nottingham and the original cranks were lugged, it was probably Raleigh 26 tpi threading which means that you can't just install a new cartridge.
    2. Tried to find a spindle that would take the triple only to find they are virtually impossible to find (series 7 or 5 square taper)
    3. Ordered a Shimano UN 72 cartridge which is no longer sold from someone on ebay. It is unique in that the cups remove (with some difficulty) and can be used in the Raleigh BB w/ Phil Wood rings from Harris Cyclery. Alternatively, for $150 you can get a Phil Wood BB which my budget wouldn't allow.
    4. Installed the Phil Wood rings myself and probably, inadvertently, installed them backwards which basically meant I tapped new threads w/ the rings (I hope not but they were hard as hell to put on).
    5. Got it all working but now, for whatever reason, the pedals are too wide apart and it hurts my knee
    6. Trying now to rectify the problem by having my trusty bike shop tap new threads (hopefully I didn't ruin the chances of that by installing the Wood rings)
    7. And, assuming they can, installing a shorter Shimano cartridge. I have my fingers crossed.

    Bottom line is that I have spent far more, in bits and pieces, than logic would dictate. The upside is it has been very satisfying emotionally and I got my hands dirty with bike repair again since teaching myself the basics in the early seventies. Now I am looking wistfully at old bikes on Craigslist wondering how I can sell my wife on getting another bike to fix up. I have two already '97 GT Aggressor MTB from Craig's list and the Grand Prix. Not sure what to tell her about a 3rd or 4th.

    So, if the mood takes you, paint your bike. The Grand Prix may not be a Motobecane, but it is a bit of history.

  9. #9
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    I had a Grand Prix made in 1973. My biking friend had one made in about 1970. His was made in England (Carlton?). Mine was made in Belgium, as the Raleigh workers were on strike. It was a decent bike (this means a good bike). We used our Grand Prix's for everything from racing, touring and even cycle camping with bags.

    This was the first bike that actually fit me. It had a relatively soft ride. I went through the upgrading process and when I was done it really was a good bike. I installed :

    Brooks B-17 saddle,
    Campagnolo seat post (25.0 mm diameter post plus a shim to fit the frame),
    Sugino Mighty Comp crank set (this really made a big difference but I'm not really sure why)
    Light weight aluminum rims and light weight, low profile clincher tires (I reused the hubs),

    Of these, the wheels/tires were the most important upgrade. The seat post saddle meant it was comfortable to ride. The crank repalced those horrible cottered, steel cranks.

    You could do these upgrades at relatively low cost if you buy used parts on ebay. Look for Shimano and Sugino instead of Campagnolo and you will get what you need at very low cost.

    This lasted me about 2-3 years until I bought "Bob".
    Last edited by Mike Mills; 10-20-08 at 08:07 PM.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the advice. Especially on the Shimano UN 72 cartridge and Sugino crankset.

  11. #11
    Senior Member oldroads's Avatar
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    Sand out the individual nicks, chips and scratches and touch them up with nail polish.
    You can buy a bag of assorted colors and find a pretty close match.
    Then you don't have to tear everything off the frame for painting.
    Vinny - Menotomy Vintage Bicycles - OldRoads.com
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    Check with nlerner. He's in Cambridge, and knows someone who powdercoats for about $50.00 there.
    A clarification: My powder coater is in Plymouth, MA, and now charges $85 for bead blast and a single color, I believe, but best to check for current rates. His website is http://lbcustomfab.com.

    Neal

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    A clarification: My powder coater is in Plymouth, MA, and now charges $85 for bead blast and a single color, I believe, but best to check for current rates. His website is http://lbcustomfab.com.

    Neal
    Thanks for the heads up, that' still seems fairly cheap - do you know if that includes Labour?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldroads View Post
    Sand out the individual nicks, chips and scratches and touch them up with nail polish.
    You can buy a bag of assorted colors and find a pretty close match.
    Then you don't have to tear everything off the frame for painting.
    That's also an option I might consider. When you refer to a bag of assorted colors, what kind of paint are we talking about here? Sorry I have no idea about bike restoration.

  15. #15
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    Nail polish is nothing more than lacquer. It is a good paint with a built-in applicator in a appropriate package appropriate for small touch ups.

  16. #16
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    You may also consider rattle can if you opt for touchups if you can find a close color match. I did that with an old lugged frame and it turned put pretty good. I cut small circles in posterboard and used those handheld between the can and frame to act as a moveable mask and carefully sprayed and feathered the paint at and around the nicks and peels. Worked great with a minimal amount masking.

    This after careful spot sanding of course. I think I used Duplicolor.

  17. #17
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    Just a quick update in case you are still considering updating your Grand Prix. I posted earlier about upgrading the gearing on my Grand Prix. I also decided to fix up the paint job as much as possible, and as cheaply as possible. In my case, since I ride in the DC metro area, where a lot of bikes get ripped off, I deliberately wanted mine to look old and ratty, which made the paint job easy, so it would be less desireable to steal. I achieved my objective and it doesn't look worth the effort to steal. As to the bottom bracket, my bike shop was able to tap and replace the bottom bracket with a cheap shimano 113 model, which included tapping to 26 tpi for $40.

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