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Old 02-20-14, 01:45 PM   #1
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Opinions? 1975 Raleigh Super Course Mk II Mixte repaint: use original components?

Opinions please!...

Am normally a 3-speed guy, but noticed this $50 complete 10sp mixte at my community bike shop because of its aluminum rims and parts and the Carlton decal (under some spray paint!). It's straight gauge 531 in very good structural and mechanical shape.

Have never been a fan of repainting, but A) it's a somewhat rare (as a mixte) and decent bike of its time (cost $1000 in today's dollars) and B) the paint is horrible. Previous owner spray painted the headtube and seat tube to conceal the logos! Paint is washed out and beyond faded, but not rusty. I'm willing to pay for a decent paint job and decal set.

OBJECTIVE: I want to keep the bike for my wife as a casual semi-upright / sportier alternative to her Dutch 3-speed for when we go more than ~10 miles, while still honoring the Raleigh/Carlton nostalgia of the 1970s. I plan to add VO fenders & rear rack, and more swept back Belleville/Porteur type bars like this with more hand positions and thumb shifters to take advantage of the versatile mixte geometry, similar to Veloria's Constance project at LovelyBike.

PAINT PLAN: Unless someone convinces me it's a crime, am NOT restoring the original Raleigh candy cane paint scheme. I just don't like the big white panels on the 70s red. My wife requested off-white monotone. I'll leave the original chrome tips and crown which are in good shape. And I'm thinking of a minimal application of the Carlton and "Made in England" and the small Raleigh decal. Maybe the 531.

QUESTION>>>> Not knowing the performance of these original parts vs modern parts, should I keep the perfectly good original components...
  • Nervar Sport crankset (alum chainrings in good shape, nice chrome on the cranks)
  • Huret derailleurs and shifters (which can go on Paul Thumbies, I think)
  • Aluminum 27" wheels (they total 4 kg with tires)
  • Weinman centerpull brakes
... or -- since I'm departing from the original paint design anyway -- should I just sell those parts to a purist and instead get lighter/smoother modern stuff? Maybe even a 7 speed internally geared hub. Basically, from your vintage enthusiast standpoint, is my unauthentic paint plan making any effort to keep the original components pointless? I do not plan to sell the bike, nor do I care what I eventually get for it. Well, unless fully restoring it is worth like $1000 or something

Thanks for any suggestions or thoughts!

Jamie
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Old 02-20-14, 02:20 PM   #2
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531 Mixtes are rare. Nice find. If the BB is in good shape, I'd keep the crank, though I assume it uses Nervar's 128bcd rings which are not easily replaced if you want to change gearing. If it were me I'd keep the wheels, add a modern ramped freewheel, and maybe some Suntour power thumb shifters. Paul thumbies are nice but pricey. I'd only go that route if you are in need of SIS shifters. Original brakes are fine. I'd probably use a different FD.
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Old 02-20-14, 02:25 PM   #3
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Interesting... hadn't thought about just the modern freewheel, which may make a big shifting improvement! yes, BB is in great shape. Not sure what rings it has. They are 54 42 I think. Looks like standard hole placement as far as I can tell. Will check when I get back to the bike. The entire crankset cleaned up really nicely. Thanks for the other tips, too. Good advice!
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Old 02-20-14, 02:37 PM   #4
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I am presently doing a 1976 Raleigh Record 10speed Mixte. I picked it up at a benefit sale for homeless horses for a $5 dollar donation.
My thought process is that the bike is most desirable because of the lovely shape of the Mixte frame. The paint was shot and I have seldom seen so much scratching on a frame. I have almost finished the white paint job and probably will not put any decals back on. I had also thought maybe just one simple period "Raleigh" on the down tube. The Mixte frame looks nice without adornment.
For now, I'm using the original steel wheels and replacing the drop bars with north road style. Again to keep it simple, I'm using a 5speed chainring from an older Sprite and will try a simple Sunrace thumb shifter I picked up at the LBS to run the Suntour RD. I also have a set of 27" Raleigh fenders in a coppertone color which look nice on the white frame.
It may become another bike for my wife (she says she doesn't need another bike) or some other family member. Either way, it is looking good in its new coat, and that "prettiness" can be turned into money as well.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 02-20-14, 02:37 PM   #5
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Original parts won't bring much money if you sell them. I would clean them up and use them on the mixte.
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Old 02-20-14, 02:39 PM   #6
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Normally, I'm agnostic on whether to repaint. But yours is so far gone that I would say yes, repaint. And given you're not restoring it, I can understand why you don't want to restore the original look. It's not a top of the line bike, but it's a very nice bike, so as long as it looks very nice, it will be, uh, very nice.

The components are more than adequate if they still work. The derailleurs are surprisingly good, unless you prefer indexed (click into position) shifting.

As jeirvine says, a modern freewheel and chain will improve shifting. Thumb shifters are a good idea. Another idea is stem-mounted shifters. I may have a spare pair if you need. Down-tube shifters are not ideal when you're using upright handlebars. I've done it, which is how I know.

It's one of the nicest production mixte bikes ever made, so congratulations, and keep updating this thread with your progress. We want lots of pictures!
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Old 02-20-14, 03:01 PM   #7
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I actually think that paint will clean up and polish pretty good. Faded = patina. Use polishing compound, available Walmart or almost anywhere else for a couple of $.

Repaints have several problems.

First, a quality repaint costs serious $$. Cheaper paint jobs tend to be chip machines.

Secondly, you then have to round up reproduction decals, can be a painful and somewhat costly exercise.

Third, its a lot of work, versus a few hours of polishing.

Last, you rarely will be able to get the money back out of it. Bike snobs want original, people that don't care want cheap.

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Old 02-20-14, 05:00 PM   #8
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I agree with wrk101. Just a bunch of cleaning, then some polishing compound to bring back what color is left. You'll be surprised how good it will look. Unfortunately, the decals will probably suffer in that process since they're made of butterfly wings, but Velocals has a nice new set of Supercourse MKII decals if you want to go that way later.

Here's my wife's bike- the paint and chrome were in better shape than yours, but some Oxalic acid to remove rust and polishing compound and wax did wonders. I also rebuilt the wheels with 700c rims and stainless spokes and changed it to a 27-speed MTB drivetrain. It's her gravel-grinder path machine.
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Old 02-20-14, 09:37 PM   #9
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Good work, cycle maven!

I relent. Wrk101 is right.
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Old 02-21-14, 09:28 AM   #10
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Original parts won't bring much money if you sell them. I would clean them up and use them on the mixte.
That's what I'll try then, thanks!
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Old 02-21-14, 09:32 AM   #11
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Thanks for the thoughts. Yes, I'll go with a modern freewheel and chain! I hadn't thought of that until the comments here. I knew not to keep downtube shifting with upright bars, but am still undecided on stem, thumb, or bar-ends, but leaning toward thumb.

I'll update pics as I go, perhaps on a flickr set and link here. Thanks, again!

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Normally, I'm agnostic on whether to repaint. But yours is so far gone that I would say yes, repaint. And given you're not restoring it, I can understand why you don't want to restore the original look. It's not a top of the line bike, but it's a very nice bike, so as long as it looks very nice, it will be, uh, very nice.

The components are more than adequate if they still work. The derailleurs are surprisingly good, unless you prefer indexed (click into position) shifting.

As jeirvine says, a modern freewheel and chain will improve shifting. Thumb shifters are a good idea. Another idea is stem-mounted shifters. I may have a spare pair if you need. Down-tube shifters are not ideal when you're using upright handlebars. I've done it, which is how I know.

It's one of the nicest production mixte bikes ever made, so congratulations, and keep updating this thread with your progress. We want lots of pictures!
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Old 02-21-14, 09:42 AM   #12
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I will give the polish a go before resigning to a repaint (which i've never done in my dozens of refurb jobs). But it's faded to the gold undercoat, mostly on the top of the tubes as if it's just a severe amount of sunlight damage. Someone mutilated this bike with black spray paint on the head badge area and seat tube, which 0000 steel wool helped, but cannot really fix. I will try polish before giving up entirely, but since I don't like the original scheme anyway, I thought this might be the first bike I actually repaint. I did locate a full set of transfers for $40.

My time is somewhat costly, and I don't mind handing it off to a shop for a couple hundred for a quality paint job, though I haven't looked into that yet. Is it a lot of work for *me* if I deal with a paint shop? Can't tell if you're implying I will need to make multiple visits, but I'll be on the lookout for that before committing.

Yes, I don't expect to get money out of it at all, but your wise point is well taken. Thanks so much, wrk101!

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I actually think that paint will clean up and polish pretty good. Faded = patina. Use polishing compound, available Walmart or almost anywhere else for a couple of $.

Repaints have several problems.

First, a quality repaint costs serious $$. Cheaper paint jobs tend to be chip machines.

Secondly, you then have to round up reproduction decals, can be a painful and somewhat costly exercise.

Third, its a lot of work, versus a few hours of polishing.

Last, you rarely will be able to get the money back out of it. Bike snobs want original, people that don't care want cheap.
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Old 02-21-14, 09:44 AM   #13
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Same bike here! That paint looks great. Mine is terrible. Luckily, all my chrome is in good shape, though.

I might have to do 700C wheels to fit fenders; we'll see. But the alloy 27" wheels are in good shape, and wheels aren't cheap.

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I agree with wrk101. Just a bunch of cleaning, then some polishing compound to bring back what color is left. You'll be surprised how good it will look. Unfortunately, the decals will probably suffer in that process since they're made of butterfly wings, but Velocals has a nice new set of Supercourse MKII decals if you want to go that way later.

Here's my wife's bike- the paint and chrome were in better shape than yours, but some Oxalic acid to remove rust and polishing compound and wax did wonders. I also rebuilt the wheels with 700c rims and stainless spokes and changed it to a 27-speed MTB drivetrain. It's her gravel-grinder path machine.
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Old 02-21-14, 09:56 AM   #14
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Or i might have to split the fenders around the bridges.
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I might have to do 700C wheels to fit fenders; we'll see. But the alloy 27" wheels are in good shape, and wheels aren't cheap.
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Old 02-21-14, 10:01 AM   #15
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Excellent advice here.

One additional thought: Does your wife like / Is she comfortable shifting a derailleur? You mentioned going IGH. I only raise this because we love to build the bike WE want, but not always exactly what SHE wants.

I'm an old married guy, and still haven't really learned this lesson . . .
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Old 02-21-14, 10:27 AM   #16
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I might have to do 700C wheels to fit fenders; we'll see. But the alloy 27" wheels are in good shape, and wheels aren't cheap.
Keep an eye open for fenders (mudguards) from Raleigh Sprites. They came with nice fenders, 27" wheels, and there are quite a few out there. Sometimes you can get a whole Sprite for less than the cost of new fenders.
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Old 02-21-14, 10:59 AM   #17
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Same bike here! That paint looks great. Mine is terrible. Luckily, all my chrome is in good shape, though.

I might have to do 700C wheels to fit fenders; we'll see. But the alloy 27" wheels are in good shape, and wheels aren't cheap.
I went to 700C so I could use fatter tires- these are 35 mm- plus my spokes were all rusty. I didn't have quite enough room between the stays with the 35 mm tires so I dented the inside of the chainstays. I hope that wasn't sacrelidge.

Anyway, Leicalad has excellent advice- although the original components are plenty fine, and would be better with a ramped freewheel, best to consult the eventual user of the bike for component preferences.

Also, I just had a frame powdercoated with a sparkly deep purple color. My wife say it looks great. The shop did all the prep work and saved me a whole bunch of time, and it only cost $120. And if you're going to paint the bike anyway, now would be the time to add braze-on bits, like water bottle mounts.
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Old 02-21-14, 11:28 AM   #18
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Good point, thanks! You're making me think that through... She has IGH (both modern grip & vintage trigger) and derailleur (mountain trigger) bikes now, so thumb shifters would be yet another type for her . She and I normally prefer IGH and ride pretty heavy bikes, but since this has nicer (for its time) and all-original working components, I thought I'd continue the original concept of a lightweight 10sp derailleur French mixte since that complements the heavier 3-speeds and single speeds in our fleet. If I end up switching to 700C wheels, I'll reconsider.

To be honest, she won't really ride it much except if I can convince her to go on longer but not-fast road rides where I'll be on my Sports. If I let her pick the color and bars, it will get to stay longer We're currently in a one-out / one-in policy around here!

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Excellent advice here.

One additional thought: Does your wife like / Is she comfortable shifting a derailleur? You mentioned going IGH. I only raise this because we love to build the bike WE want, but not always exactly what SHE wants.

I'm an old married guy, and still haven't really learned this lesson . . .
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Old 02-21-14, 11:41 AM   #19
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I actually used fenders from a 26" Raleigh 3 speed. I had to bend some new fender stays from wire that I got from Home Depot but they look great with the 27s. My original wheels were shot so I came up with another set of alloy 27s and stuck a 7 speed freewheel on them. They needed to be redished, it took me a year to get around to doing that, though and kit rode fine with the rear wheels a couple of MMs to the left. I've obviously opted not to repaint but I probably will someday.
As far as components, I'd put it back together the way it is and let her ride it some. Feel how it rides and go from there. You get a better idea of what will work when you've been around the block a few times. I had a long list of mods to do on mine and some of them I've undone just cause I like the old stuff better.
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Old 02-21-14, 11:52 AM   #20
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My opinion doesn't count for much here but I'll offer it anyway FWIW. Those components (brakes, derailleurs) should be fine after cleaning. Replace the cables and housings, of course. Consider replacing brake pads too. Those wheels should be fine, and there is no real value to switching between 27" and 700c, and thus no need to consider it per se. Make sure the hub bearings are good though. You mentioned "standard" w.r.t. the chainrings. There were no real standards for Bolt Circle Diameter (BCD) then, and manufacturers like Stronglight often used their own. So you will not be able to fit just any "standard" chainrings. But then again, you really don't have to. If you need lower gears, try a bigger FW, up to the limit of that RD.

Chances are, once you wife becomes familiar with that bike's handling she will really like it.
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Old 02-21-14, 05:13 PM   #21
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Thanks, again, everyone.

Yes, the components are in good shape, and I'll keep them, at least initially. Combined with a new freewheel, sounds like they'll be fine and stay true to the vintage bike. I love overhauling the mechanics of a bike, cleaning everything, and re-assembling!

The 27" vs 700c was in order to fit fenders between the frame and wheels. The bike wasn't made for fenders, and currently only has about 0.75" of clearance from the 27x1-1/4 tire tread at the seat stay bridge. I was considering 27x1-3/8, which would leave even less clearance. 700C gives another 4mm due to the smaller wheel diameter.

Have a great weekend!

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My opinion doesn't count for much here but I'll offer it anyway FWIW. Those components (brakes, derailleurs) should be fine after cleaning. Replace the cables and housings, of course. Consider replacing brake pads too. Those wheels should be fine, and there is no real value to switching between 27" and 700c, and thus no need to consider it per se. Make sure the hub bearings are good though. You mentioned "standard" w.r.t. the chainrings. There were no real standards for Bolt Circle Diameter (BCD) then, and manufacturers like Stronglight often used their own. So you will not be able to fit just any "standard" chainrings. But then again, you really don't have to. If you need lower gears, try a bigger FW, up to the limit of that RD.

Chances are, once you wife becomes familiar with that bike's handling she will really like it.
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Old 02-21-14, 05:15 PM   #22
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That does look good, thanks. I've noticed that fender radius can be biased a little by squeezing or spreading the walls of the fender a little.

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I actually used fenders from a 26" Raleigh 3 speed. I had to bend some new fender stays from wire that I got from Home Depot but they look great with the 27s. My original wheels were shot so I came up with another set of alloy 27s and stuck a 7 speed freewheel on them. They needed to be redished, it took me a year to get around to doing that, though and kit rode fine with the rear wheels a couple of MMs to the left. I've obviously opted not to repaint but I probably will someday.
As far as components, I'd put it back together the way it is and let her ride it some. Feel how it rides and go from there. You get a better idea of what will work when you've been around the block a few times. I had a long list of mods to do on mine and some of them I've undone just cause I like the old stuff better.
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Old 02-21-14, 05:16 PM   #23
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Good idea, thanks! Am working at a community bike shop where I might run into some Sprites with fenders.

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Keep an eye open for fenders (mudguards) from Raleigh Sprites. They came with nice fenders, 27" wheels, and there are quite a few out there. Sometimes you can get a whole Sprite for less than the cost of new fenders.
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Old 02-21-14, 05:19 PM   #24
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Thanks for explaining BCD... I actually didn't know what that was I mostly have single chainwheel vintage bikes without front derailleurs, so I don't often deal with chainrings. The BCD of this Nervar Sport crankset does NOT line up with other 5 hole BCD on my modern hybrid bike. But I think I'll just keep the crankset I have. It's cotterless with alloy chainwheels and in good shape. Cleaned up nicely, too.

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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
My opinion doesn't count for much here but I'll offer it anyway FWIW. Those components (brakes, derailleurs) should be fine after cleaning. Replace the cables and housings, of course. Consider replacing brake pads too. Those wheels should be fine, and there is no real value to switching between 27" and 700c, and thus no need to consider it per se. Make sure the hub bearings are good though. You mentioned "standard" w.r.t. the chainrings. There were no real standards for Bolt Circle Diameter (BCD) then, and manufacturers like Stronglight often used their own. So you will not be able to fit just any "standard" chainrings. But then again, you really don't have to. If you need lower gears, try a bigger FW, up to the limit of that RD.

Chances are, once you wife becomes familiar with that bike's handling she will really like it.
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Old 02-21-14, 06:30 PM   #25
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Bikes: '73 Raleigh Carlton Gran Sport, '72 Peugeot UO-8, '82 Peugeot TH8, '87 Bianchi Brava, '76? Masi Grand Criterium, '87 Centurion Ironman Expert, '74 Motobecane Champion Team, '86 Gazelle champion mondial, '81? Grandis, and lots of uncertainty on some
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Originally Posted by HooBikes View Post
Thanks for explaining BCD...
Y'er quite welcome. Actually some BCD standards have developed more recently. 110mm is the de-facto standard for "compact double", which is to say a double capable of running small rings down toward 30T; I don't know the minimum T for a 110. The Campy NR was 144mm, IIRC. Mtb's made 74mm the de-facto standard for the granny ring of a triple. Stronglight's BCD generally didn't match anything else. The TA cyclotourist style uses 54.2mm, I think, for the outer ring to attach to the crank arm, then a larger pattern to attach the inner ring to the outer. Sheldon Brown gives a whole bunch of BCDs used over the years.
http://sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-bcd.html

The nice thing about standards is you can have so many of them. If you start with 10 competing standards, then try to develop a new standard to unify them all, and you end up with 11 competing standards.
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