We need more info, like the model names. Raleigh had 4 different Tri-Lite models in 1988 and Gitane had even more steel models. Don't assume the Tri-Lite is a slam dunk. I'd take a boom era Gitane Super Corsa over a Tri-Lite Pre any day.
I don't know what model the Gitane is. I'm looking to pick up one of these tonight after work- but only have time to look at one. Asking price is $225 for the Raleigh, and $240 for the Gitane.
I need advice, as I have no idea what direction to go in with this.
I'll be using it mostly for commuting (~75 miles a week) and for an 8 hour ride over the weekend right off the bat.
Thing to find out with the Gitane to get an idea of it's quality, is the tubing. Many older Gitanes use the plain/straight guage Vitus tubing while the later ones from the 80's like the "Criterium" used the double butted and thinner guage Vitus 980 tubing that was much lighter but quite flexy as all 980 frames are, if you are OK with that, but many, including me, are fans of the very plush ride that Vitus 980 tubing provides. The later 80's mid to top model Gitanes also had cool features like the internal/concealed top tube brake cable routing, plus steep, responsive geometry. Now if it turns out to have Columbus tubing, then it's an 80's top of the line steel racer or factory issued frame for professionals, so grab it if it is one, because if this one is indeed selling for $240, it's a monster of a bargain!.......but I really suspect it's a Vitus tubed frame of decent quality at that price.