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  1. #1
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    quick DL-1 question from a bike noob

    Hi! I just need a little advice. I have been scouring Craigslist looking for a vintage Raleigh DL-1 (ladies), and finally saw one today. It is a 1980 (newer than all the ones I've seen around the internet) and they are asking $450. Is this a good deal? I haven't had a bike in a long time and have never bought anything off CL, so I don't really know what to look / watch out for. I just want to be sure I'm not being a complete sucker.

    Any advice would be great. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Wood David Newton's Avatar
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    Saw one, complete, (could still be there) in Austin CL for $150.
    http://davidnewtonguitars.squarespace.com/

  3. #3
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    For that year and price it would have to be in really, really, really good if not "like new" condition. Pic(s) would be helpfull. PG.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Yeah, I saw the Austin one too when I was looking to get some idea of prices. Unfortunately I'm in MA or I'd go look at it! $450 seemed high to me, but it also seems like these bikes don't come up often (and I'm pretty sure it had been posted for $500 before). They say it's in "clean guideline condition", but I had to email to ask for pictures because they didn't post any.

    Also, I don't know if it being a 1980 is a good or bad thing, seeing as older objects have more wear but are sometimes better quality.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Coreyk's Avatar
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    Are you in the Boston area? Good DL-1s seem to grow on trees out that way. Some members here have even started a roadster group based in Somerville, I think.

    With a bike of that era, inspect it carefully. The quality of the frame can be very good, or mediocre; quality control became an issue at Raleigh by the '70s. The fittings (like fender stays and so forth) will be cheaper-made than their 1950s equivalents, but if they're not beat up, you're still okay. As with any used bike, good headset, hub, and bottom bracket condition are key.

    That said, I have a 1980 model DL-1 and it is a well-made bicycle that is quite solid.
    Cudak88 has a beautiful 1979 export-model Rudge DL-1 that he is very proud of, and justly so.
    Our own Velouria and her husband ride good solid 70s DL-1s, too. Good 1970s-80s Raleigh Roadsters *are* out there.

    Do you know how to check those things out? Do you have a friend you can take to help you inspect it? A tech at the bike shop who will look it over with you, even for a small fee?

    As for value, what features does it have that might make it worth extra $?
    Does it have a dyno-hub and working lights? A proper rack? Brooks leather saddle in good shape? A full chaincase?
    The chaincase alone would bump up the desirability and therefore the price, as those were rare in the US at any time after WW II.

    It seems to me that on the coasts, these bikes have very high hipster appeal, and so cost more. I am just south of the San Francisco Bay Area, and have seen three decent to good DL-1s go for over $300 in local Craigslist listings in the last year. Now asking prices are routinely over $400 when they come up.
    Under $200 would be a steal out here. $450 might be okay if it's in great shape and needs nothing. If it's from a shop and has been gone over and maintaned, so much the better.


    Keep us posted and good luck. These are among the most fun bicycles I've ever ridden. A "Birotate Chariot", I've heard them called.

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much, Corey! That is really useful information.

    The guy won't even send me a picture, nevermind give me any more details, so I'm just going to pass on that one. (If you're going to be unhelpful, I'm not going to drive to the other side of the state to overpay you for your bike!) But I am pretty close to Boston, so it sounds like I'm in the right place to wait for another one to come up, which is great to hear. I don't really know how to check out all the things that you mentioned, but I have been doing a lot of reading on here and on Sheldon Brown's site, so hopefully I can pick some of this up.

    I really am just in love with this bike (as apparently many others are), so I'll try to be patient in waiting for the right one. Thanks again!

  7. #7
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    That's what I paid for mine, but it was in show-room new condition.
    Funny story though: I saw a guy at a local flea market several years back, who was talking to the "bike" guy. He had a showroom nice DL-1 unfortunately in the smaller size, but really nice. We kinda circled around and sure enough the "bike" guy had bought it. I asked him how much he'd paid, and he said $50. I asked him what he intended to do with it, and he said "sell it". I asked how much and he says $100, so I bought it anyway 'cause it really was in great shape. Exactly one week later I see an ad on-line from a woman who wants to buy a really nice Raleigh DL-1 and she'll pay $450! So I sell it to her and make a little money on the deal. Exactly ONE week later, I see a "for sale" ad from a guy on-line who has a showroom perfect Raleigh Tourist for $450! It's an hour drive from my house but I go, and buy it. Really REALLY perfect shape. But, really the bike cost me $100 if you see my way of looking at it.
    I think $450 for a bike that is destined to be a rare collectible one day isn't too bad, if it's in great shape.

  8. #8
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    I picked up a really shiny ladies DL-1 in Wareham when I lived there for $100. Then I moved to Maine and sold it there for $200.
    It didn't have the leather saddle (add at least $50) or the full chaincase (add at least 50) or any other options (Dynohub light system, $50, stock saddle bag $25, etc). The hockey stick chainguard thatit did have had a fashionable little triangle that hung down and caught my pant cuff every third stroke (no difference in value but I prefer the straight chainguards)(they discontinued that chainguard quickly).
    The wheels on mine weren't very true and that really affected the brakes. the rims had a barely noticable dip where the weld was, you couldn't fix it by tuning it. Good rims are a big plus on these things.
    I have spoken.

  9. #9
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    ^ Funny, I was in Wareham not half an hour ago!

    Sounds like both of you got pretty lucky, at least as far as price goes. That showroom-perfect "smaller" one is my dream! The one I saw on CL I think actually may have been too big for me anyway; I'm only 5'4", so I need a little one (20"?).

    Anyone have any tips for finding one, other than stalking Craigslist?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Coreyk's Avatar
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    E-bay isn't bad yet. More loop frame DL-1s show up there than diamond frame models. I've seen some real collectibles go on the Bay. Apply the usual caveats about buyers, sellers, condition, shipping and so forth.
    If you don't absolutely need a Raleigh-branded model, look for Rudge, Sunbeam, Humber, pre-1960 Phillips, pre-1960 Hercules, Armstrong, BSA, Triumph, Elswick, Glider (Raleigh Canada), Gazelle, and the like. Some of them are astonishingly good bikes, even 50-60 years on.

    Also check the classifieds here, on the Menotomy Vintage Bicycles site www.oldroads.com (both the shop "for sale" list and the reader list, and read the English Roadster section)
    and put the word out at shops and on boards such as this one. Sometimes the universe provides.

    Oh, and check out Velouria's blog - http://www.lovelybike.blogspot.com She's local to you and knows much about loop-frame DL-1s. Read her take on the riding differences between her Pashley Princess and her DL-1s.

    Sorry that the seller is wasting your time.

    Corey K

  11. #11
    old and fixed... clubman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babygreens View Post
    The one I saw on CL I think actually may have been too big for me anyway; I'm only 5'4", so I need a little one (20"?).

    ?
    You defintitely want a smaller frame. I would buy a small Sports model if I were you. Much better rider and the fit will be better.

  12. #12
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    This is the $50/$100 DL-1
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
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    Sorry $450/$100

  14. #14
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    Thanks, all!

    Corey, that blog was where I first saw the DL-1! And I'll be headed up to Cambridge soon to check out that store in person.

  15. #15
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    Next time you're in Wareham, there's a cranky old guy who sits on his porch all summer long and sells junk bicycles. I posted his info here once but I can't find it now. He's got about a half an acre of bikes piled 2 high. Most of it is junk but there's a few gems in the pile. I'll try to dig his info out later tonight.
    That's where I got my DL-1
    I have spoken.

  16. #16
    Senior Member spiker's Avatar
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    I've noticed the DL-1's (3-spd) around Boston in good shape go for about $400. Got my single speed DL-1 for half that, full chaincase, got it in Somerville.

    The machanic at the bike shop in Buzzards Bay (next town over from Wareham) is hooking me up with cotters for an old French bike I have.

  17. #17
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    One thing to check out on a DL-1 is the brakes. With rod brakes, radial true is crucial. If it is out there will be a lot of pulsing going on (the brake shoes contact the inner surface of the rim, not the side). That said.... passing on the Chicago bike was a good move. I tripped across this one for $30 a year and a half ago.

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    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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