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  1. #1
    Senior Member jstewse's Avatar
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    My Daily (beater content, sort of)

    So I've been commuting on this for a while now, and I'm finally getting around to sharing. As many of you know a college campus is a relatively dangerous place to leave a bicycle, and as such, it's common place to ride beaters around. I happen to have a 4-6 mile commute each way(depending on routes), and I often like to take the detours, long routes, spontaneous rides and I don't want a beater! So my idea was to find a nice lightweight steel bike in good structural condition but with a less than appealing exterior, hang some nice components on it, and lock it up with confidence. The results, I think, are great. On campus it blends in, and even looks like a lesser bike, than the abundance of Schwinns and heavy Japanese boomer bikes.

    The frame came to me by way of RobE30 through a trade, and most of the components I had laying around. In fact, everything was pretty much laying around or pulled of other projects.



    The frame is a '78 Raleigh Competition GS, Araya red label 700c wheels, Sugino AT triple (currently not using the small chainring), Superbe Pro FD and long cage RD, a perfectly unattractive Brooks pro, Nitto noodles with leftover bar tape, etc.











    It rides great, and I just love the patina. The rust is only on the surface, something must have happened to the paint at some point, but the results suit my needs perfectly. The only thing it really leaves me wanting is fatter tires.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    I like it. I'd love to find a 24.5" model. I did some work on my friend's '78 23.5" model last summer. It was such a light, spry bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by jstewse View Post
    The only thing it really leaves me wanting is fatter tires.
    Aren't Competitions good 650B conversion candidates?
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  3. #3
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    Nice! As you said, it's pretty much perfect for what you want it for. I myself have been thinking more and more lately about finding a lighter "dime a dozen" Japanese bike made of decent tubing and just spray painting it and hanging some nicer, but cosmetically challenged parts on it. Thanks for the inspiration. I know most of us around here would still spot that as a sweet ride from a mile away, but most people out to just snag your bike probably won't. Well done.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jstewse View Post
    So I've been commuting on this for a while now, and I'm finally getting around to sharing. As many of you know a college campus is a relatively dangerous place to leave a bicycle, and as such, it's common place to ride beaters around. I happen to have a 4-6 mile commute each way(depending on routes), and I often like to take the detours, long routes, spontaneous rides and I don't want a beater! So my idea was to find a nice lightweight steel bike in good structural condition but with a less than appealing exterior, hang some nice components on it, and lock it up with confidence. The results, I think, are great. On campus it blends in...
    that bike's too good to be labeled a "beater". if you scratched off the reynolds sticker, replaced the brooks with a torn avocet, and ripped off the nice red labels on the araya a-20's, THEN maybe... otherwise, i'd steal it.
    Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 06-22-11 at 11:36 AM. Reason: spelling again!

  5. #5
    Senior Member jstewse's Avatar
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    I say beater hesitantly, and it's relatively speaking of course.

    Colonel, I have another one in the next size up, I think the catalog calls it a 25 1/2" though. PM me if you're interested.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Jstewse, I figured yours is what Raleigh called "25 1/2"". Apparently there were only three sizes of the Comp that year where the Professional was available in five sizes.
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  7. #7
    Large Member realestvin7's Avatar
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    I'm sick of you 531 Raleigh guys having these cool frames laying around or acquiring them so effortlessly. Lol.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    that bike's too good to be labeled a "beater". if you scratched off the reynolds sticker, replaced the brooks with a torn avocet, and ripped off the nice red labels on the araya a-20's, THEN maybe... otherwise, i'd steal it.
    Thats what I thought.

    On the other hand if you ride your beater, say monday to friday and then only take your nice bike out at the weekend, your riding the beater bike more often so it should be a good bike.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris_in_Miami's Avatar
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    I was wondering what became of that frame... It looks like some of the junk on the paint came off, and it looks nice the way you set it up. Great job!

    As found:


  10. #10
    Senior Member DavidW56's Avatar
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    I gotta admire the self-control of those who ride nice bikes that are "cosmetically challenged" and resist the urge to clean them up. I've read plenty of instructions on "uglifying" one's bike as a theft deterrent, and I have to say that while I tried it, I didn't like it. I have to shine the rust off even the lowliest Sears Free Spirit before I'm happy. And I can't imagine riding a bike with fruit label stickers all over it.
    Schwinn - World's Finest Bicycles.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    that bike's too good to be labeled a "beater". if you scratched off the reynolds sticker, replaced the brooks with a torn avocet, and ripped off the nice red labels on the araya a-20's, THEN maybe... otherwise, i'd steal it.
    i'd steal it too.

  12. #12
    Senior Member vonfilm's Avatar
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    I wish I had a beater like this.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Barchettaman's Avatar
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    You know, I love the immaculate restoration jobs that are posted on here, but in may ways I prefer the 'stealth beaters' with nice components, cosmetically challenged, and that get used every day.....

    Nice job. Buy a good lock.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jstewse's Avatar
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    Chris, I'm guessing you found the bike originally, any details? What happened to the Gran Sport stuff?

    Thanks for the compliments folks, I'm really enjoying this bike. My other one is an '82 Trek in fantastic shape, mostly original etc. needless to say I don't like to leave it hanging around, in the rain, etc. so the Competition suits my needs perfectly.

    I've been thinking of a 650b conversion, but this model has tighter geometry steeper angles than the earlier Competitions which I know have been converted frequently, a la Peter Weigle. Any one have experience converting one of these. Paging N.Lerner...

  15. #15
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    It is a Competition GS that I converted to 650B, and I really like the way it handled. The relatively steep front end was somehow softened a bit by the fatter tires. I rode it for a while and ended up selling the frameset back to the local friend who sold it to me. I figured I had rented it for a couple of years:



    Neal

  16. #16
    no one cares -holiday76's Avatar
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    i sold a scrappy 25" competition frame to someone on here a few months or maybe a year ago. Was that you? I'm trying to remember who it was as I'd love to see how it ended up..
    Mmmm, bicycles.

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  17. #17
    Senior Member jstewse's Avatar
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    N.Lerner, thanks for the picture. The steep front end is what was making me think this isn't the best candidate but I might give it a shot, especially if you recall the handling being good. I just need to build a set of 650b wheels so I can try them out on some different frames.

    Holiday, that was me and that taller frame is still hanging on the wall unfortunately. This one came to me shortly after I got yours and it fits me a bit better. Maybe I ought to convert the 25" one to 650b.. still don't have a fork though.

  18. #18
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    Is the point of a 650b conversion just to have a little squishier, softer riding tires for commuting, etc?

  19. #19
    no one cares -holiday76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jstewse View Post
    still don't have a fork though.
    i might have a chrome fork, it's a tange, but I'm not sure if the steerer tube is long enough. I have a feeling it isnt but if you want to measure your head tube I'll check.
    Mmmm, bicycles.

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  20. #20
    Senior Member The MAX's Avatar
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    Whenever I ride my bike to a high risk area, I usually tie a plastic grocery bag around my Brooks like a hobo rain cover. Makes the bike look cheap even if the frame and components are great!

    (Please note, I use these as ACTUAL rain covers as well )
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Chris_in_Miami's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jstewse View Post
    Chris, I'm guessing you found the bike originally, any details? What happened to the Gran Sport stuff?
    I found it on craigslist in an ad with a terrible photo, and described as a "Caption GS." I was a bit disappointed that the previous owner had removed the front derailleur and inner chain ring, but I bought it for the incomplete GS group and sold the frame to Rob.

    I got a good deal, but it might not have been one of my wiser buys - I'm having a heck of a time finding the bolts & spacers for the small chain ring. The group is going on my Super Course.

  22. #22
    Wherever I may roam....
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    I'm glad to see the frame is being used! Sometimes I wished I would've kept it and followed Neils example and done a 650b conversion but I had too many frames and it need to live with you. The fenders have made their way to NJ and the other bits are either on bikes in my fleet or in a box in the basement.... I forget.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by The MAX View Post
    Whenever I ride my bike to a high risk area, I usually tie a plastic grocery bag around my Brooks like a hobo rain cover. Makes the bike look cheap even if the frame and components are great!

    (Please note, I use these as ACTUAL rain covers as well )
    i like the irony of that.

    a cheap disposable plastic grocery bag (and it weights next to nothing!) easily destroyed by a small child, serving as an effective and economical anti-theft device capable of thwarting the most determined malicious and maloderous bicycle thief.

    genius, sheer genius...

    i usually just have my girlfriend sit on the bike when i go into the store. and as you say, "Makes the bike look cheap even if the frame and components are great!"

  24. #24
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    I really like it exactly the way it is.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    I have a old Trek 420 like that. well worn but rides like a dream. Bought it for $39 to flip. Guy had just bought a new bike. His buddy the bike mechanic built him the bike. He probably back handed him when he found out what he sold it for. LOL

    The more I rode it the less I wanted to sell it.

    It had been nicely upgrade with early 90's 105 7 Speed hubs laced to Polished CR18 rims, Shimano Aero levers. I swapped out the Acera Derailleurs for a set of LX and they a set of 7 speed bar ends on it. Paint is a mess, looks like it did a few thousand miles on a bike rack on the back of a car with the peddles of the other bikes rubbing on the frame and the wheels need a polish. Super Heroes on carbon look down on it till I lunch them on a hill LOL.

    I use this bike when I ride in Town or need to leave a bike unattended. I think I would cry if it got stolen. I have become quite attached to the thing.
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