A couple of weeks ago I got a call from someone who'd seen the sign in the driveway, who said he had a few bikes and a bunch of parts he'd like to get rid of. Now, this has been a particularly bad summer for what's been showing up at the shop. Way too many cheap first generation Taiwanese knockoffs of Japanese bikes (decent frames, the world's worst chrome). To the point that I've been seriously considering pulling in the sign and just working on my own bikes for awhile. I set up an appointment for the guy to drop by and make a note to be around.
He shows up right on time, and as I look in the back of the pickup I immediately realize I'm not looking at the usual junk that's been plaguing me all summer. First thing I see is a 24" sewup wheel. On the top of the box of parts is a very nice condition Brooks B-17. A set of long-plate TA shoe cleats. A LOT more parts underneath. And the bikes.
There's four of them: a Raleigh Super Course (I guess '73 but it looks heavily upgraded), a Motobecane mixte (2040 tubing, Weinmann alloy rims, SR five pin cotterless crank), a 70's something Trek (still working on the provenance), and a Panasonic DX-3000 (very tall frame). What's getting me excited is that, with the exception of the Panasonic (which was stored badly), somebody actually understood how you put a bike away and then forget about it. We're talking dirt, cobwebs, and light patina. No need for oxalic acid, rotary wire brushes, etc. Try Mother's Wheel Polish, Meguiar's Cleaner Wax, plus soap and water. OK, I'm interested.
The usual hemming and hawing to start the price negotiations, and I've only got $80.00 in the shop's bike buying fund. Then the guy mentions that he's a long time mountain biker (talking to him it was obvious he at least understood what he had sitting there, even if he didn't know the fine details), and he's trying to put some money together to get his first road bike. Light bulb goes off. I suggest to him that he keep the Raleigh, I give him the $80.00 for everything else, and he leaves the Raleigh with me to do my usual restoration and put it back on the road for him. He's in immediate agreement.
Now, my memory of the Raleigh timeline is that 1973 was the last year for the Super Course. Simplex Prestige and cottered crank. In '74 they brought out the Super Course Mark II which lists a Nervar Star crankset and Huret derailleurs. Well, we're looking at the Nervar crankset, but it's got a 42/38 chainring set and they're badly mounted 130 BCD rings. The Star needs 128's. The rear derailleur is Huret Jubilee, the front Huret Allvit. Which, I'm starting to notice is very close to the '74 specifications. I check the serial number which comes out (I'm doing this from memory) WA40001?? which means it was built in the first fortnight of 1974.
OK, here's pics of the bike:
As I wasn't able to come up with proper chainrings for the Nervar, I traded him his crank for a 7400 Dura-Ace near-NOS I've had laying around for years. Otherwise I put it back just the way he brought it in. Yes, the color is Coffee. That's a '73 color, wasn't done in '74. And the top tube says "Super Course" not "Super Course Mk II". Anybody got any ideas on this one? Or am I just trying to give Raleigh too much credit for organization back during the height of the Bike Boom.
By the way, I got the Motobecane finished yesterday. Someone's certainly going to find a home for this one. Only things I don't like about it is the stem shifters and brake extension levers. Both seems too cheesy for a bike that is obviously not the bottom of the line model.