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Old 10-26-09, 07:32 PM   #1
southpawboston 
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The Raleigh Sports' twin sister!

at first glance, this bike looks a lot like a raleigh sports (or superbe), ladies' frame. at least, that's what i thought. in fact, i thought that it must be a raleigh "clone" or a raleigh-produced bike that was branded as something else for export. upon closer examination, it's an altogether different beast, and a really nice alternative to a sports/superbe:



it's my wife's 1973 union savoy. union is a very old dutch brand, that dates back to the early 1900s in holland. (not to be confused with royce-union, the japanese brand, although there is some strange connection that i haven't figured out). the union brand is still sold today in holland, although they stopped producing them in the netherlands in the 90s and switched to asia like most everyone else. the savoy was holland's version of the venerable raleigh sports. in fact, when paired up against a sports, the similarities are striking and the frames appear nearly identical. they both have sturmey-archer 3-speed hubs, northroad bars, and rim brakes on 26x1-3/8" wheels, all on a step-through frame with parallel downtube/top tube pairs. up close, more differences become apparent. it's slightly taller than a sports with a 22" seat tube length, and it has track dropouts. cranks and bottom bracket are stronglight, brakes are altenburger (precursor to weinmann). in fact, the only connection to raleigh/sturmey archer is the 3-speed hub itself.

it also has a few accessories that are typical for dutch city bikes old and new alike: rear skirt guards, rear wheel "cafe" lock, front and rear dynamo lights with wiring running inside the frame and a braze-on bottle dynamo mount, full vinyl chaincase and a matching heavy-duty rear rack. (about the crate: while i prefer bags, my wife prefers a crate. she likes being able to go to the store and throw a shopping bag in there and forget about it...no hassling with flaps and buckles. more on the crate later).





lighting setup (i like seeing structures found in nature incorporated in objects-- can you tell what i'm recreating by the shape of my wiring?):



lugwork and paint quality are actually quite nicer than standard raleigh sports fare. headtube lugs are detailed in gold from the factory, but it's faded and needs redoing:






cafe lock:



rear taillamp and original dealer sticker:






parked next to my DL1:


so back to the crate. i think it detracts from the lines of the bike, and makes it clunky and even a bit demeaning. but my wife really prefers it. but she also has a personal attachment to it: it was part of a set of crates my wife's dad made for her to hold her vinyl LPs when she went to college!!! so the crate itself has a piece of history connecting it to my wife. (being that the crate is 22 years old, i guess it is vintage in its own right...i guess it can stay .

my wife is not a cyclohoarder like myself. over the past few years, she's had the opportunity to call two DL1 ladies' roadsters and a raleigh sports her own... after collecting them all, then finding this one, she felt that cleaning out space in the basement was more important than having a bike stable (where are her priorities??!!), and the union won out. it's smoother riding than a sports, albeit slightly heavier (there was never any evolutionary pressure on the dutch to produce lightweight bikes outside of the racing market, given that their country is so flat!). but it's smaller and lighter than a DL1, and this was critical in her decision since she (and i) have to carry our bikes up 13 steps to our porch...
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Last edited by southpawboston; 10-26-09 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 10-26-09, 07:47 PM   #2
David Newton
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A lot of quality in that bike, thanks for showing it.
What's all the bunk about the wiring?
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Old 10-26-09, 08:15 PM   #3
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That is much more stylish than a typical Raleigh. I love the rear tail light, fantastic!
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Old 10-26-09, 09:32 PM   #4
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Nice little design touches. I would love to add little bits of style like the rear tail light to my bikes, or design a set.

That is a very harmonious sort of bike. Your wife has good taste.

CK
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Old 10-26-09, 10:48 PM   #5
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Very nice. That's some stem length. Sure, the crate is clunky, but if her daddy made it, it stays.
Wiring or your brake/shifter cables?
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Old 10-26-09, 11:07 PM   #6
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Very nice. That's some stem length. Sure, the crate is clunky, but if her daddy made it, it stays.
Wiring or your brake/shifter cables?
look at the electrical wiring, down by the dynamo. your screen name comes very close to the answer, freakishly so.

yeah, the dutch like the "sit up and beg" seating position, so high stems it is...
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Old 10-27-09, 03:31 AM   #7
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That is much more stylish than a typical Raleigh. I love the rear tail light, fantastic!
Interestingly enough that was an off the shelf light that was used on several different brands of bikes from that era.

I have a 1966 Columbia Commuter II that uses the same one.

Aaron
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Old 10-27-09, 07:45 AM   #8
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Interestingly enough that was an off the shelf light that was used on several different brands of bikes from that era.

I have a 1966 Columbia Commuter II that uses the same one.

Aaron
yep, you are correct. the lighting components are mostly off-the-shelf parts made by spanninga, a dutch company that was (and still is?) the major supplier of lighting parts to dutch and german bike mfrs. they still make bicycle lighting today and places like peter white cycles and velo orange carry some of their products. correct me if i'm wrong, but the columbia commuter II was built in the netherlands, right?
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Old 10-27-09, 10:04 AM   #9
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The lugs and the tail-light really make this bike. I think crates look good with a straight step-through frame. If it were mine, I would have painted it (the crate, not the bike) some colour like copper or rich brown to keep with the warm luxe tones of the bordeaux frame colour. But since her father made the box, she probably wants to keep it as is.

Spanniga lights are still sold in the NL. I will be receiving a very nice tail-light soon that is a modern version of their classic model. One of these.

I cannot believe your wife sold her DL-1s.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:29 AM   #10
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The lugs and the tail-light really make this bike. I think crates look good with a straight step-through frame. If it were mine, I would have painted it (the crate, not the bike) some colour like copper or rich brown to keep with the warm luxe tones of the bordeaux frame colour. But since her father made the box, she probably wants to keep it as is.
she may or may not be open to painting it or staining it another color, i haven't asked. her father made her a set of three. each was stained a different color (red, blue, green). the green one found its way onto the union. the stains were fairly dilute, so i'm wondering if it will be possible to apply a darker stain of different color and still retain some visible grain. i think having the grain visible would be nice... what do you think?

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Spanniga lights are still sold in the NL. I will be receiving a very nice tail-light soon that is a modern version of their classic model. One of these.
peter white sells spanninga lights as well.

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I cannot believe your wife sold her DL-1s.
one was a 1973, identical to your 1972 except with the standard US-spec hockey stick chain guard. the other was a 1960-something with full chaincase and dynamo lighting, but lots of rust. oh well, they were hers, not mine. her sports was just like yours.
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Old 10-27-09, 12:06 PM   #11
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look at the electrical wiring, down by the dynamo. your screen name comes very close to the answer, freakishly so.

yeah, the dutch like the "sit up and beg" seating position, so high stems it is...
Ah, the double helix.

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The lugs and the tail-light really make this bike. I think crates look good with a straight step-through frame. If it were mine, I would have painted it (the crate, not the bike) some colour like copper or rich brown to keep with the warm luxe tones of the bordeaux frame colour. But since her father made the box, she probably wants to keep it as is.
I was thinking that, too, but stain is hard to work with. Nice to see the subjunctive used correctly, though.
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Old 10-27-09, 12:27 PM   #12
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Ah, the double helix.
yes!
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Old 10-27-09, 01:35 PM   #13
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...
the stains were fairly dilute, so i'm wondering if it will be possible to apply a darker stain of different color and still retain some visible grain. i think having the grain visible would be nice... what do you think?
When I prime wood for painting (I often use wood instead of canvas), it takes like a gazillion coats of primer for the grain not to show through. And primer is much thicker and more opaque than wood stain. So yes, should be visible if you stain it again.

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peter white sells spanninga lights as well.
Ah, but the one I am getting has that special white part that will make it look streamlined with the white end of the fender. Could not find those in the US. Not certain yet what bicycle I will install it on (maybe paint the end of my Pashley's fender white and install it there?), but I will be hoarding the light just in case anyway : )
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Old 10-27-09, 05:08 PM   #14
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yep, you are correct. the lighting components are mostly off-the-shelf parts made by spanninga, a dutch company that was (and still is?) the major supplier of lighting parts to dutch and german bike mfrs. they still make bicycle lighting today and places like peter white cycles and velo orange carry some of their products. correct me if i'm wrong, but the columbia commuter II was built in the netherlands, right?
The Columbia Commuter II was built built in Weesp, Holland It was built by the Magneet company, whom I believe got rolled up into Batavus around 1974 or so. I have seen a couple of Magneet road bikes over the years and they were always of good quality.

Aaron
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