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  1. #1
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    Raleigh Sprite and Sport

    Hello, I'm not entirely new to the forums, I've been lurking for months here and I've learned a great deal about bikes through here. So I'm asking for your help on a few questions.

    I've read a lot about the Raleigh Sprite and Sport models on here and read about them too on Sheldon Brown's site. I really love the Raleigh women's bikes because of the parallel tube aesthetic (explanation: I'm mathy). From what I've gleaned from here and other sites is that Sprite is the more high quality model and Sport is the cheaper store version. What exactly does that mean? Did they use different quality of steel? Is the way it was built different?

    Also, another reason why I would want a Sprite over a Sport is because the Sprite has a 27 inch wheel whereas the Sport has a 26 inch. A 27 inch would allow me to do a conversion to 700c, whereas a 26 inch would not. But then I found this: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Bicycle-Repair-1824/26.htm

    And my focus was this: 622 mm (700C) wheels with skinny tires will usually fit in frames/forks made for 559 mm (26" decimal) wheels.

    I've been looking for a Sprite and guess what, so is everybody else! I've lost Sprites on CL many times to better bidders. I have found a Sport for the right price and I'm hoping I'm right on two things:

    1) There isn't that much difference between the Sport and Sprite in quality
    2) I can convert the 26 3/8" wheel to a 700c or possibly a 27 inch

    I'm asking for anybody's advice on these two points, clarify me on the Sport vs Sprite and is it possible to convert from 26 3/8 to a bigger wheel.

    Joh

  2. #2
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    The high-end version of the Sports was called the Superbe. They came with 590mm wheels. It is possible to convert them to 700C wheels but due to the difficulty compensating for the taller rim, its best to replace the rim brakes with drum brakes. If you want to keep the fenders, the largest tires that will mount on a 700C is a 32c tire.

  3. #3
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    Hmm, I'm hoping to use caliper brakes like sheldon brown suggested though. The brakes are easier to deal with it, it's the frame I'm mostly worried about. Is the Sports frame not as "good" (good as in durability) as the Superbe or Sprite?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitewashasian View Post
    From what I've gleaned from here and other sites is that Sprite is the more high quality model and Sport is the cheaper store version. What exactly does that mean? Did they use different quality of steel? Is the way it was built different?
    Definitely not true--pretty much the same grade steel for both. And for a few model years, the Sprite took 26 x 1 3/8" wheels. I have a '66 Sprite 5-speed, which is essentially a Sports with a 5-speed rear hub. Everything else is exactly the same as the mid-60s Sports I've had.

    Quote Originally Posted by whitewashasian View Post
    Also, another reason why I would want a Sprite over a Sport is because the Sprite has a 27 inch wheel whereas the Sport has a 26 inch. A 27 inch would allow me to do a conversion to 700c, whereas a 26 inch would not. But then I found this: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Bicycle-Repair-1824/26.htm

    And my focus was this: 622 mm (700C) wheels with skinny tires will usually fit in frames/forks made for 559 mm (26" decimal) wheels.
    The smaller wheel size on the Sports is a 590mm wheel, not a 559mm wheel (which is what mountain bikes typically come with). I have seen Sports models retrofitted w/ 700c wheels, but the best of those conversions usually included a new fork. You're better off finding a Sprite 27 and converting to 700c; you'll need an additional 4mm of brake reach, and you'll also need a rear hub that can handle a 5-speed freewheel and has 120mm dropout spacing. Or you're looking at respacing the rear triangle of the Sprite and other mods that might not be worth it.

    Neal

  5. #5
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    Ah, yes-I overlooked the 559 and only saw 26 inch.

  6. #6
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    You don't need a new fork, it can be spread. The Sports line had a high tensile steel frame but it rides much livelier with alloy wheels so that's the best performance upgrade in terms of mile for the buck you can get with those Raleighs.

  7. #7
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    I can spread it!? Wouldn't it go back to it's original shape since it's steel? Also, since it's going from a fatter wheel to a skinnier one, why would I need to spread it?
    Last edited by whitewashasian; 02-27-09 at 08:40 PM.

  8. #8
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    Modern hubs take up more space. The old standard was 126mm the modern one is 135mm. In practice, with a steel frame, its non-issue.

  9. #9
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    How much would it cost?

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    The spread on a rear triangle of a Sports would be 115mm for a Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub. So going to 126 for a six-speed hub or 130 for more gears would be pushing it.

    Neal

  11. #11
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    Your LBS can tell you what an upgrade would cost. The late Sheldon Brown in 2000 built up my Raleigh Superbe for me for $800 and that included new wheels, Shimano Nexus 7 speed hub, tires, drum brakes, rim dynamo, light, rear rack and Brooks saddle. Of course if I had known back then 650B would come into its own I would have probably gone for it instead of the hybrid size then in vogue.
    Last edited by NormanF; 02-27-09 at 09:21 PM.

  12. #12
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    Hmm. I'm adding this question to the thread then, in your opinion would it be better for me to wait and hope a Sprite comes by or to modify a Sport?

  13. #13
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    No its not pushing it - I have a Shimano Nexus 7 hub speed installed on my Superbe and it seems to be as good as the original Sturmey Archer 3 speed that it replaced.

  14. #14
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    You can either go derailleur with the Sprite or single speed/fixed gear or internal gear hub with the Sport. Its a matter of personal preference.

  15. #15
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    Definitely want to go single speed possibly 3 speed with the Sport. I'll be living in Davis, and see no real need to put on any more speeds than necessary.

    Wow, have definitely learned a lot more about bikes in the past few hours.

  16. #16
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    I think that's cool. Its definitely adaptable as a beater/utility bike. The standard Brooks B-66 suits the Sports. The B-72 with the loops don't as much as the springs.

  17. #17
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    I think the whole bike weighs, what, about what 25-35 lbs? While I plan to use it as utility bike (getting here and there) I also hope it's light enough for speedy trips and whatnot.

  18. #18
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    How hard is it to put a derrailler on a Sport? I've got some 26" wheels with 5 speed freewheels and I was kind of thinking of doing a conversion.
    I have spoken.

  19. #19
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    *shrug*

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/retroral...76-sports.html

    looking on it, i'd say....hard? again, i'm pretty green but whenever i saw a bike with derailleurs, it looked like it had an eyelet or hole something for it be bolted to.

  20. #20
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    The Sports will never be a road bicycle so if you're thinking of going fast... don't. Its more of a distance bike and with alloy wheels it will be quite nimble. Road bikes are meant for speed and the Sports is meant to help you and any goods you might be carrying go where you want to go.

  21. #21
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    I'm not going for racing, but I really would prefer something zippy, faster than this intro hybrid bike I got when I was a teen.

    I liked the Sprite because 70's models were modified Records (a racing bike) with commuter goodness sprinkled ontop. Plus, they still had that woman's frame aesthetic I love so much.

    To be quite honest, I'm not entirely sure what makes the touring bikes and racing bikes so different other than fenders, racks, bigger wheels, more speeds and different handlebars. The geometry seems the same, except most racing bikes have switched to the mixte version instead of the original drop tube version for women or they just stick with diamond frame.

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