I just purchased a used Raleigh Sports, which despite appearances actually is in really good condition. I'm planning on cleaning and restoring it as much as I can.
I stumbled upon it online while searching for the best durable, post-apocalypse bike I could find. Having the idea that vintage bikes were what best suited my needs, since they already proved their durability, and they usually are easier to repair (simple mechanics, steel that can be welded etc.) The online auction started at 10 euros and that's the price I got it for. It comes from a house on the sea (Knokke, Belgium). The salt there can't have done him much good, which can be seen on the fenders.
The story from the previous owner (52 y.o.) was that he got it when he was 12. So 1972 was my first guess. Actually, inspecting the rear AW hub the date was 1960, which, combined with a steel pulley and a brooks B66 saddle instead of the B72, has me convinced (by Sheldon Brown's information) this bike is more likely to having been built around 1960. But tell me if you think I'm wrong.
It has had a refit in the seventies though. I don't think the 'made in Switzerland' Lucifer headlight is typically Raleigh, as are neither the speedometer (Huret) and the rather interesting bell. (see pictures).
All lights are still working, gear shifting is very good, brakes function perfectly (I think they're original, see photos). I just replaced the flat inner rear tire, the bike was good to go. I did 30 km (20 miles) on it today, and the ride was a real treat!
So I came on this forum to ask some questions:
- How to remove the rust! I know this is possibly the most asked question about vintage bikes on this forum, but in this case you'll see how the rust on some points, and especially on the fenders, has penetrated the paint. I wonder how I can try to minimize this rust appearance, without damaging the paint too much? I already successfully tried to remove the rust on the unpainted parts (handlebar, rims) with steel whool soaked in vinegar (a good idea?).
- Should I replace the steel rims with aluminium ones? I did notice that braking power is less than on other aluminium rims, but it doesn't bother me too much. I do appreciate how the steel rims, when cleaned, shine in their chrome.
- Should I try to open and reassemble the Sturmey Archer hub? Or is just lubricating it through its oil cap enough?
- The brooks saddle. As the pictures show, it's quite dry, probably hasn't been treated for years or even decades. I was thinking about treating it from the underside with pure beeswax? (since we have some beehives in our garden).
- What are other adjustments / modifications I might consider? Keeping in mind that I primarily bought this bike for its ease of maintenance, durability. Although I'm quite falling in love with its vintage aspect, I wouldn't mind customizing it a little for practical reasons. But preferably nothing I can't undo.
Finally, does anyone have more information on my lamp brand? (Lucifer, Swiss) Or about the speed meter? (Huret) I would be very thankful.
Thank you all very much for any input!
Here are some pictures (almost as I bought it, it's been more cleaned since, and I have replaced the flat rear tire).
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