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Old 05-04-08, 06:48 AM   #1
Neil_B
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The Historian's 'Garage Queen'

Since everyone posts about bike builds here:

I picked up a Raleigh Pursuit last weekend at a Boy Scout sale for 5 dollars. I don't have photos of it yet, but here's what it features:

27 inch wheels.

double chainring

downtube shifters

additional brake levers that operate from the hoods

steel frame

quick release skewers on the wheels, with an additional 'catch' to release the front wheel.

tan/brown color scheme. There's a logo on the saddle that says "canyon cycles", possibly the shop that sold it.

The bike appears to be in good shape, aside from dirt, dust, and a gunked up drivetrain. Living where I do I'd regret not having a triple, and if I make it road worthy I'd get standard shifters instead of the downtube ones. I could live with the 27 inch wheels if need be. Is this worth 'pursuing', or not? I think it might make a fine touring bike.

My thanks to Neil F., for calling attention to the bike and guessing that it would probably fit me.
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Old 05-04-08, 08:26 AM   #2
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If the bike fits you and you want to tinker with it, yes. It's not worth sinking piles of money into (IMO), but fixing up on the cheap is fun. First I would recommend removing the brake "safety" levers, those things are anything but safe. Nothing wrong with 27" wheels...just not as many tire choices these days as there is with 700 size. Have a go at it.
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Old 05-04-08, 09:00 AM   #3
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If by "standard shifters", you mean STI, you are probably heading towards spending way more than the bike will be worth. If you can take the bike apart, clean and service the parts, reassemble it and ride it without replacing much more than tires, tubes, freewheel, chain and cables, it could be a nice bike to have around.

Replacing shifters, cranks, levers, handlebars, stems, wheels, pedals, saddles...etc. can become surprisingly costly unless you happen to have the parts lying around or have access to cheap parts somewhere.
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Old 05-04-08, 09:32 AM   #4
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If by "standard shifters", you mean STI, you are probably heading towards spending way more than the bike will be worth. If you can take the bike apart, clean and service the parts, reassemble it and ride it without replacing much more than tires, tubes, freewheel, chain and cables, it could be a nice bike to have around.

Replacing shifters, cranks, levers, handlebars, stems, wheels, pedals, saddles...etc. can become surprisingly costly unless you happen to have the parts lying around or have access to cheap parts somewhere.
Understood. But a new entry level steel road bike is going to be 800 bucks or more anyway. So why not invest in upgrading the old bike, which was a step above entry level? It will also teach me about fixing up bikes, which is a priceless set of lessons.

The shifting isn't a big thing anyway. I don't ride a drop-bar bike because I don't know how to ride one - taking my hands off the handlebars causes me to wobble. Once I get over that problem, learning to use the stem shifters can't be worse than learning to using the STI.

I can live with 27 inch wheels, as long as I can get decent tires and tubes for it. Ditto the 12 speed drivetrain, which shows almost no wear. I'm going to have a brutal time with it on the hills around here - PA switchback roads are nasty, as Beverly will tell you - but I could use it as a 'special' bike for flat club rides.
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Old 05-04-08, 10:09 AM   #5
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and if I make it road worthy I'd get standard shifters instead of the downtube ones.
Historian, you've been undone! You should be ashamed of yourself for uttering such blasphemy! You need to turn in your Retro Grouch card.
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Old 05-04-08, 10:54 AM   #6
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If it fits you well, is in good condition and you are aware of what you are getting yourself into and it still seems like a good idea, then by all means, go for it.

Bar end shifters might be something to consider as an option. Easier to reach than down tube, but without the compatibility restrictions of STI, especially if you go friction.

Although there are fewer choices with 27" tires, there are good ones. That should not be a concern.

You might be able to use a 7 speed 13-34 Megarange freewheel to give you lower gearing without the expense of a triple setup. My Fuji S12-S came with a 6 speed and I was able to make that change with no problems. I treat it like a 13-24 6 speed with a bail-out granny.
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Old 05-04-08, 11:42 AM   #7
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My old (80's) mixte had the capability of adding a third chainring, which I did pretty cheaply. Might be an option.
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Old 05-04-08, 02:01 PM   #8
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Get the bike in roadworthy condition- including the Down tube shifters and go and ride it. Don't give up on the first ride because you may not be able to get on with the gearing- the ride position- the shifters. Give it several goes before you devcide that the shifters have to go- you need a triple or it needs straight bars.

Give the bike a chance without spending money on it- You may like it and then the centuries will be done on the road instead of trails.
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Old 05-04-08, 03:36 PM   #9
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Get the bike in roadworthy condition- including the Down tube shifters and go and ride it. Don't give up on the first ride because you may not be able to get on with the gearing- the ride position- the shifters. Give it several goes before you devcide that the shifters have to go- you need a triple or it needs straight bars.

Give the bike a chance without spending money on it- You may like it and then the centuries will be done on the road instead of trails.
Agree fully. The steel is gas pipe not a 531 Reynolds or Tange type. Clean up a nice bike and enjoy it. Maybe a change to the cogs on the casette for more low range but not the expense of a triple. Best of luck and I hope you really enjoy the bike.

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Old 05-04-08, 04:54 PM   #10
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Agree fully. The steel is gas pipe not a 531 Reynolds or Tange type. Clean up a nice bike and enjoy it. Maybe a change to the cogs on the casette for more low range but not the expense of a triple. Best of luck and I hope you really enjoy the bike.

Bill
The verdict from a mechanic who examined the bike this afternoon:

Clean it up and lube it. Add extenders to the pedals - important for me, otherwise I'll hurt my knees. Bring it back for a proper fitting so I can get dialed in. Consider it my foul-weather bike. Use it on paved rail-trails and flat charity rides like the MS City to Shore I'm riding in September. Possibly replace the cables, although these seem OK. Carry a wrench in case of a flat on the rear wheel.

Improvements to consider at some point:

A rear wheel with a QR

bar end shifters, or STI if I want to invest in them, although stem shifters work OK.

wider handlebars - this has nothing to do with THIS bike, but just an observation in general. I'm very wide shouldered, but hunched from my scoliosis. Switching to a wider set of bars on a road bike will spread my shoulders and expand my chest cavity.
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Old 05-05-08, 07:08 AM   #11
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Nice "running into" you yesterday. I think you've got a sound approach for this project bike.
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Old 05-05-08, 07:55 AM   #12
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I think you are getting good advice all around. Give friction downtube shifting a try, and if you really do not like taking a hand off the bars to change gears, get friction barcons.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:27 AM   #13
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A couple of decades ago, or three, maybe, downtube shifters were standard shifters.
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Old 05-21-08, 07:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
Since everyone posts about bike builds here:

I picked up a Raleigh Pursuit last weekend at a Boy Scout sale for 5 dollars. I don't have photos of it yet, but here's what it features:

27 inch wheels.

double chainring

downtube shifters

additional brake levers that operate from the hoods

steel frame

quick release skewers on the wheels, with an additional 'catch' to release the front wheel.

tan/brown color scheme. There's a logo on the saddle that says "canyon cycles", possibly the shop that sold it.

The bike appears to be in good shape, aside from dirt, dust, and a gunked up drivetrain. Living where I do I'd regret not having a triple, and if I make it road worthy I'd get standard shifters instead of the downtube ones. I could live with the 27 inch wheels if need be. Is this worth 'pursuing', or not? I think it might make a fine touring bike.

My thanks to Neil F., for calling attention to the bike and guessing that it would probably fit me.
I haven't done anything with the Raleigh yet, aside from get a rear wheel with a quick release, but in the meantime here are some photos of the frame.







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Old 05-21-08, 09:04 AM   #15
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I think you are getting good advice all around. Give friction downtube shifting a try, and if you really do not like taking a hand off the bars to change gears, get friction barcons.
Speaking of "real Schwinns", here's a bike frame that was saved from a dumpster. It's now my NEXT restoration, after the Raleigh:








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