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Old 09-29-11, 06:10 PM   #1
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The Lenton Lives!!!

After six months (plus) of on-again/off-again work, I finally got the Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix finished!

Before:



After:







Gave it an 11 mile debugging run this afternoon and, happily, everything works. Of course there the occasional noise from the mudguard scraping the tyre. Which I can't duplicate on the stand. The mudguards are in rather close, so I'll get an occasional momentary rub when I hit a bump in the road.

It's definitely relaxed geometry (by today's standards). Seems to be comfortable, but I'll know more about that during the coming weekend, once I get 50-100 miles on the bike.

One thing's for sure, it's no climber. Chainwheel is 46-48, freewheel is 14-16-18-20. Which means I'm running 62-92 gear inches. And have yet to get past the 46-16 combination.

Yes, the wheels are wrong. I got the bike from Poguemahone minus wheels so in the interim I've come up with a rear wheel that is period correct (Sturmy-Archer hub on German steel rim), and a front wheel that is totally wrong (Normandy hub on Mavic alloy rim) just to get the bike on the road. Hopefully I'll at least come up with a matching front wheel, if not the catalog correct pair sometime in the future.

The derailleurs are fascinating, and were my biggest challenge since I've never worked on something this early previously (back in my days at the shop, I saw one Schwinn Continental with a rod front derailleur, never saw a Cyclo Benelux Mk. 7 before, except in pictures).



Much to my pleasure, the rear works a lot better than I expected it to. Admittedly though, this is a touring, not a racing, derailleur. You make your shifts gently and deliberately with a bit of foresight. And having it work in reverse from modern convention makes a lot of sense. Need the lowest gear possible? Just shove the lever forward, all the way. Done. I found that setting up the side to side travel is rather critical, starting with whether or not you use a spacer on the freewheel. The derailleur's travel is that limited. There's no way you'll ever get it to work with a fifth cog.



The front, I'm still attempting to figure out. It works fine on the bench (you don't hesitate when changing freewheels, or you'll get the chain stuck between the two rows of teeth - guess how I know?) but I'm going to need a few days getting comfortable with the frame to become efficient with it. With a two tooth difference in the chainwheels, though, I'm definitely not going to be shifting as often as on a more modern (say, 70's) bike.

As to vintage: For the moment, I'm guessing it's a '61. The serial number is high in the range for the 58-62 model years, and so far every Lenton GP I've run across that's claiming to be a '58 is gold in color. If anyone has any input on dating the machine, I'd be very interested in hearing your ideas

OK, my skills are feeling sharp. Now, it's time to start studying and looking for my next project . . . . . . . . . something pre-WWI.
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Last edited by sykerocker; 09-29-11 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Model year thoughts
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Old 09-29-11, 06:15 PM   #2
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Congratulations, that looks fantastic! Looking at the first picture, I can't believe how much better you got the original decals to look. That last picture is 100% perfect, really wonderful.
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Old 09-29-11, 06:48 PM   #3
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I'm stunned by the decals as well. Great job with the restoration!
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Old 09-29-11, 06:59 PM   #4
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Gorgeous bike Sykerocker!

Those Lentons are just the epitome of British C&V - and you dressed yours so well.
-I would recommend one small compromise to period correctness though, and suggest you look for a rear rim to match the front, rather than the other way around.

PS- What is that black thing perched o top of the bars, just to the left of the stem?
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Old 09-29-11, 07:07 PM   #5
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Gorgeous bike Sykerocker!

Those Lentons are just the epitome of British C&V - and you dressed yours so well.
-I would recommend one small compromise to period correctness though, and suggest you look for a rear rim to match the front, rather than the other way around.

PS- What is that black thing perched o top of the bars, just to the left of the stem?
I'd originally considered going alloy rims front and rear, then in reading the specs discovered that the Lenton came with steel rims. Thus my current choice.

That black thing is my cyclometer. Mandatory equipment on every bike I'm riding from the moment it first leaves the shop. I'm one of those insane, pedantic, mileage junkies. Cyclometers and Excel are my friends. And, as of today, I've got 4380.48 miles in for the year. Unfortunately, I'm probably not going to meet last year's 5800+, as knocking out three more 500 mile months is kinda slim given temperatures, darkness, and caring for my wife. The madness extends to the point that the Lenton will put down the minimum 210 miles before the end of the year. Or else.
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Old 09-29-11, 07:15 PM   #6
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Nice work there man, I have that same chainring combo on a Carlton Corsair. Pretty useless. It's all about making the shift without losing "much" speed. Any British pre WW1 will be hubgear or fixed. Pretty easy to ride those compared to jockey sticks. Dunlop special lightweights (rims) are what you need. 'like everyone else.
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Old 09-29-11, 07:17 PM   #7
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Syke -You're purist enough to run a stippled steel rim on the rear and then you mount a COMPUTER on the front?!
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Old 09-29-11, 07:33 PM   #8
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Yes, the wheels are wrong. I got the bike from Poguemahone minus wheels so in the interim I've come up with a rear wheel that is period correct (Sturmy-Archer hub on German steel rim), and a front wheel that is totally wrong (Normandy hub on Mavic alloy rim) just to get the bike on the road. Hopefully I'll at least come up with a matching front wheel, if not the catalog correct pair sometime in the future.
What would a "correct" front hub be? Not a steel Resilon, perchance?
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Old 09-29-11, 07:36 PM   #9
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Syke -You're purist enough to run a stippled steel rim on the rear and then you mount a COMPUTER on the front?!
i totally get it. i feel the same way about miles and knowing what i'm putting on my bike and on my body for the year. I wish I did the same thing. i only have computers on 2 bikes and they're both 80's bikes so I feel like I can get away with it. Maybe I need a small gps unit I can put in my pocket instead to track miles. Problem with that is I'd be forgetting it on half my rides.

Oh anyway, beautiful bike and beautiful job with it!
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Old 09-29-11, 08:20 PM   #10
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Beautiful bike. I especially like the heron chainwheel and fork mounted lamp bracket.
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Old 09-29-11, 08:42 PM   #11
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Fantastic !!
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Old 09-29-11, 09:14 PM   #12
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What would a "correct" front hub be? Not a steel Resilon, perchance?
What specs I've been working from (from sheldonbrown.com) specifies Racelight hubs and an unnamed 27x1-1/4" steel rim. All prior Lentons used Endrick rims, including the Marque III No. 6 single speed of 1958. That bike was rather close in specs to the Grand Prix, other than having a choice of a SA 3-speed, 4-speed freewheel and Benelux derailleur, or a single speed flip-flop hub (at least that's how I translate "Fixed and Free, large flange rear hub"). So, until I find out better, I'm guessing that we're talking a combination of Racelight and Endrick, front and rear.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:18 PM   #13
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Syke -You're purist enough to run a stippled steel rim on the rear and then you mount a COMPUTER on the front?!
If I could find a few working of the old "pin - click" cyclometers, I'd have them on my vintage restorations. I'm also only lately getting over using modern cork tape in favor of two layers of cloth. The cork is a lot more comfortable for me, but I'm trying for as complete accuracy as possible.

Right now, I've got one of the early Sachs-Huret belt drive mechanical jobs, trying to figure out how to take it apart without destroying it, so I can refurbish it and install it on one of my 80's bikes.

By the way, now that the bike is done, this weekend will be spent working on a couple of pairs of Goodwill-found corduroys, turning them into proper English plus-fours. Since I'm an old re-enactor, one does not go out dressed improperly for the kit they are riding.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:23 PM   #14
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-holiday76, Zaphod Beeblebrox turned me onto an excellent iphone app called Cyclemeter. It does everything you would want and more. The problem is the GPS sucks the battery dry. I'm working on building an external battery pack. I suppose that makes the whole thing cumbersome, but it's cheap if you already have an iphone. The app costs about $4, and I get frequent free updates.

sykerocker, you're a better man than I am, keeping this bike period correct.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:24 PM   #15
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English steel is just so elegant and you did a very nice job on that machine. VERY nice.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:29 PM   #16
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Late note before calling it a night - doing some referring to Sheldon Brown for the last entry, I discovered something I'd missed in the past: For 1961, the Lenton went to a cable operated front derailleur. Which means, we're now talking '58-60 - and the serial number is still on the high end.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:34 PM   #17
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-holiday76, Zaphod Beeblebrox turned me onto an excellent iphone app called Cyclemeter. It does everything you would want and more. The problem is the GPS sucks the battery dry. I'm working on building an external battery pack. I suppose that makes the whole thing cumbersome, but it's cheap if you already have an iphone. The app costs about $4, and I get frequent free updates.

sykerocker, you're a better man than I am, keeping this bike period correct.
Tom, I spent 1985-1999 making my living as a 17th-18th century re-enactor and sutler. Twenty years prior to that, I lived in the antique car hobby (back when street rods weren't allowed on the same field with a properly restored antique car). There's no way I can allow myself to fudge correctness anymore. If I've got the documentation as to how it should be, that's how I build it.

That app sounds interesting. However, my priority right now is to find an app that'll make a cell phone (I don't care which format) act like a Palm Zire. Which I'm still addicted to.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:53 PM   #18
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Don't get me started on Palm. I gave up my Palm very reluctantly. They made wonderful machines, way ahead of their time. But those people ruined their own company. Time to say goodbye.

I'm not generally a purist. The only bike I keep original is my old Engish 3-speed, and that takes no effort.

I figure there's no crime in replacing wear items with modern stuff. And then I slide down the slippery slope and half or most of my bike becomes modern. But hey, I like it that way.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:01 PM   #19
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Beautiful bicycle !

The front rod shifter is not that hard to use... it is much like reaching down for a water bottle and if it is like the Simplex on my '57 Peugeot it needs a light touch but then self trims. My Peugeot also runs a 4 speed block and a tighter double and is a joy to ride.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:08 PM   #20
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Love love love it. I use that front shifter on mine and just jam it back and forth (I'd like to say "with a flourish" but not really possible in that position!) I'm running a modern-er geartrain with a ramped 48-34 up front so it's probably a much easier shift than the 48-46.
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Old 09-30-11, 09:00 AM   #21
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Looks great!

The correct hubs are, as already mentioned, BHC Racelite. They are large flange aluminum hubs that look very much like the Normandies of the same period. 32H front, 40H rear, with lovely domed nuts. The correct rims are Dunlop Special Lightweight 27". They are hard to find.

What brakes do you have on there?
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Old 09-30-11, 09:20 AM   #22
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Looks great!

The correct hubs are, as already mentioned, BHC Racelite. They are large flange aluminum hubs that look very much like the Normandies of the same period. 32H front, 40H rear, with lovely domed nuts. The correct rims are Dunlop Special Lightweight 27". They are hard to find.

What brakes do you have on there?
Any aluminium Dunlop rims will be hard to acquire... 27's might be easier to find than EA1's and have only seen one set of these in the wild on my friend's BSA. My 55 Lenton has stainless EA1 rims which are also very hard to come by as they were a premium offering and the plainer chromed versions are much easier to find.

If period correctness is not that important Normandy hubs and decent alloy 27 inch rims are easy enough to find and despite their lower end status those Normandy hubs sure deliver some great service.

Would think that close half step and gear set up will provide for some pretty enjoyable riding once one gets used to the "suicide" shifter which will set this bike apart from most others.
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Old 09-30-11, 09:34 AM   #23
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Right, any Dunlop rims at all will be tricky. Special Lightweights are chromed steel, and not hooked; nice rims, but not even I would pretend they have any advantage; I mention them only because they are the correct original rim for this bike.

I would go for Campy Nuovo Tipo large flange hubs before Normandy, unless you can find the old Normandy hubs with eight round (rather than six kidney shaped) windows in the flange.

The freewheel on my Lenton Grand Prix was pretty worn out, so I used a 14-28 five speed freewheel. As Syke mentioned, there's no way to use all five cogs, so I set it so it wouldn't go into the 14. I found the 16-28 range much more useful than the 14-20 range. They Cyclo derailleur is not supposed to work with a 28T cog, but I had no trouble with that.
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Old 09-30-11, 08:01 PM   #24
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Right, any Dunlop rims at all will be tricky. Special Lightweights are chromed steel, and not hooked; nice rims, but not even I would pretend they have any advantage; I mention them only because they are the correct original rim for this bike.

I would go for Campy Nuovo Tipo large flange hubs before Normandy, unless you can find the old Normandy hubs with eight round (rather than six kidney shaped) windows in the flange.

The freewheel on my Lenton Grand Prix was pretty worn out, so I used a 14-28 five speed freewheel. As Syke mentioned, there's no way to use all five cogs, so I set it so it wouldn't go into the 14. I found the 16-28 range much more useful than the 14-20 range. They Cyclo derailleur is not supposed to work with a 28T cog, but I had no trouble with that.
Actually, the bike came with the 40 spoke, 8 round hole Normandy on the rear with an alloy rim. Pulled the wheel apart, cleaned up the components and put them on the shelf for the moment. I may rebuild it, and put it back on the bike.

The brakes are the original (I think) Weinmann sidepulls. As I received the bike, it had wrong wheels, was missing the rear derailleur, but otherwise appeared to be complete with the original remaining components.
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Old 09-30-11, 09:12 PM   #25
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Wow. Nice work!
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