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  1. #1
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    Help please for Raleigh 20 refurb?

    Hi, I just won a raleigh 20 on ebay for about $150 with shipping. The Seller says its a single speed with the wheels changed mag wheels in good condition. I'd like to do the 20% of the work that improves it by 80%. I bid on mint condition ones, but I'm an ebay novice so lost by a couple of $s.

    My budget is $200-300. I'm thinking of 1) changing tires to big apples. 2) Add a brooks saddle and 3) add gearing & brakes (looks like coaster brake now). I think 1 & 2 are easy enough. But will the BA's fit on the magwheels? The item number is 180059435670 in on ebay case anyone wants to look. 4) If I change the handlebars, does that mean I need to change the headset also? Should I bother?

    Ok for #3, I would really appreciate if someone could link exactly which parts to buy (gears, brakes, cables, etc) from a US vendor, and tell me what I need to do. If i add gears, does that mean I need a new wheel or I can rebuild the old wheel or whatever? Please take into consideration that I am almost useless from a mechanical perspective. I plan to order the parts and have someone implement what you guys tell me.

    Changing the bb looks kinda hard from what I've read, but if there is an easy way, it's within my budget and someone can link the part....

    The bike will be for my kids, but I'll use it also. In the meantime, my wife and I are quite happy with the two Brompton m3's.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    jur
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    With the mag wheel, I don't think fitting a geared hub is possible... they come with what they have. That one looks like a fixed speed or possibly a coaster brake. So you would have to replace the back wheel. You would also need brake levers and brakes, most likely for BMX would do the job. For matching looks, replace both wheels and sell those; I'm no expert on BMX wheels but these look like Tuff ones, they may be worth something, so you will get something back. If you buy off-the shelf inexpensive BMX wheels, you may break even.

    Big Apples will just fit.

    Replacing the handlebars is not so simple. The simplest solution is to get one of these and put it in the original handlebars place, and then use a 1" stem to fit a handlebar. The narrow part goes into the steerer tube and s then clamped by the original clamp. All other items on the headset are retained.

  3. #3
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericeric
    Hi, I just won a raleigh 20 on ebay for about $150 with shipping
    That's a pretty tricked out ride already - nice find!

    I concur with Jur about gearing on those wheels. They look pretty rare - most 'mags' are actually plastic but they look like actual magnesium. As Jur says - you won't be able to fit a hub gear to the rear one - hub gears are quite substantial cylinders that contain an interior mass of small cogs. Singlespeeds - like the one you have there - simply have a freewheel or fixed cog attached to what's ostensibly the same as a front hub. So you'll have to replace the rear at least if you want gears. It looks so nice with those wheels though - can you be tempted to keep it as is? It's lighter that way.

    A cheap way to get some gears would be to trawl around for another old english 3-speed; The Sturmey Archer hubs are pretty bombproof, pretty common, and at one time it is what would have been fitted to your Twenty anyway so will fit a treat. Getting an old hub serviced and laced into a 1 1/2" bmx rim shouldn't cost the earth. If you are looking to go new, then Shimano (Nexus), Sram (Spectro) or a new Sturmey Archer will all work, though will be more costly depending on how many gears you go for. 3 is fine for town use, 5 better, 7 or 8 more flexible - especially if you live somewhere more hilly. If you don't want to change the bottom bracket (which with your budget is probably wise) you may need to try out some different size sprockets on the hub you choose to get a good usable range of gears. No point in having a 7 speed if they're all granny gears and you spin out at 16mph! You should be able to find sprockets that go down to about 12 teeth which married to the stock chainring should be excellent.

    There are ways of cheaply doing the bottom bracket. You can get it rethreaded from an english thread to a modern international thread (26tpi -> 24tpi [or the other way around - I forget) or fit a cheap and cheerful *** bracket - details here:

    Vince's *** Bracket solution

    Tyres - I've not fitted any myself but think you could possibly squeeze some in - forget mudguards (sorry: fenders). An alternative might be a pair of Schwalbe Marathons or Continental City Contacts, though neither will give you the inbuilt suspension that a low-inflated BigApple is designed to do. It's a shame they don't do a sort of smaller MediumApple™ tyre for bikes with smaller clearances if you ask me.

    Brooks saddle will be a nice addition and should fit straight on. The stock Twenty saddle in the UK was a white Brooks so I don't foresee any problems. With that black frame I think a honey coloured one, along with matching grips (ok so that gets expensive) would look pretty special.

    You have the old-skool curved stem/bar setup - they are hard to find here in the UK and I am a mite bit jealous. I don't think you should swap them out just yet. Get the other things done and get used to riding it and see how you like it. I think it's elegant and it looks like it gives a good riding position, so why change it for a modern setup that changes the look of the bike? Ok - so it will be a bit heavier - but you didn't buy a Twenty because of it's weight-weeny reputation did you?

    Brakes should be really easy to source. Most BMX calipers and handles will fit. If you go for a coaster rear hub then you don't need two levers and there's less cabling to fit. If it scares you to fit them - perhaps you should involve your local bike shop in sourcing and fitting these (You'll probably need them to build your rear wheel anyway) for the sake of your safety and well being.

    Bottom line - for your budget you should be able to do it though a new Brooks might be a stretch. Where possible get cheapies from ebay/yard sales/goodwill store donor bikes or end-of-year sales or you might find yourself looking at a money pit like I did!.
    My Twenty cost more than is sane when you counter in the respray, Phil wood bracket conversion, carbon wheel etc...

    But it's worth it oh yes.... Hell - it was my hobby bike and it gives me much riding pleasure.
    Last edited by LittlePixel; 12-11-06 at 06:02 AM.

  4. #4
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    thanks!

    Jur, Little Pixel,

    I appreciate the advice.

    I was hoping to sneak away with it for $75. I think it was only $35 an hour before the end of the auction.

    1) Gearing - I think I'll take LP's advice to try it out as is first. Gearing looks like a major change. I'll go visit the bike store my brother in law (tri-athlete. i am more of a couch potato myself) uses and see how big a deal it is.
    2) Brooks & big apples - I'll start out with these. I have a honey 66 sprung saddle on my orange brompton, and it does look pretty cool. My wife has a black one on a yellow B. Bikes and saddles get lots of compliments and 30 people have asked us where to get them. We are probably the only ones with B's in Manila.

    By the way, do the BA's need a different inner tube? Or just the standard one will do?

    3) Headset and handlebars - Ok you convinced me with the do nothing approach, for now anyway!
    4) Bottom bracket - Do you know where I can get order the *** brackets in the US? I've googled this a few times and can't seem to locate it.

    If I like the bike enough, I'll spring for a gearing and wheels and the BB if I can find the bracket.

    I was quite torn between getting a twenty and a used bike friday ($800-900 for an older NWT sometimes on the BF site) or a Moulton F. I need to keep total cost down to about $400 so there will be no remorse. The Moulton F's are appealing. But they seem to need work on the frame because of a design issue (needs strengthening) and I wanted something practical.

    Thanks guys!

  5. #5
    jur
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    I wouldn't necessarily do anything for a new BB. The Raleigh cranks look cool IMHO, I kept mine but had them replated so they look like new. They are a bit heavy but that shouldn't be much of an objection. They are steel and will last forever. You may ask an LBS to repack the bearings with fresh grease and balls. If the axle is pitted you can buy a new one eg here. Mine is pitted, I need a new one, may buy this month.

  6. #6
    To fold or not to fold?
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    Wahay - finally bought me a Twenty for a decent price. From the look of it fairly good nick - here. Going to pick up this weekend and turn to fiddling with in the new year. Little Pixel, Jur - I'm going to be relying on you for wise words and support over the next few months....

  7. #7
    jur
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    Snap! Identical to how mine was, except mine still had the plastic Brooks saddle.

    Let this be a kick in the butt for me to get my web site finished. I'll put in some work tonight...

  8. #8
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    If you want a set of stock wheels with the 3 speed hub, I saw this on the "Old Roads" forum

    "I have a set of wheels for a Twenty. (20 x 1.75)I built a set of custom wheels for the bicycle and don't need them anymore. This is a 1969 original set with rebuilt hubs. The original Raleigh tires with red stripes are on them. The back hub is a SA AW. The front hub has the oil port. The hubs are 36 spoke. Over all in good shape, not rusted. FORD906@CS.com
    I can send photos on request. I sell on Ebay but I thought this may be a better place. I live in the Niagara Falls, NY area and I can ship them. Ed"

    I emailed him and got this reply;
    "The tires hold air but the sidewalls are cracked. I would get Kenda high pressure gumwall tires. I want $50 + $14 shipping. Ed Lang"

    I decided against buying them, as I only need the rims. But they could be a good deal for someone wanting to restore an original Twenty".

    DIY Stems for "Twenty"
    I've come across a simple way to make one, using only a hacksaw, and a 5mm hex key
    You need;
    One 16", "Big Cheese" brand, Chrome-moly BMX seatpost
    2" of 1-1/8" OD x 1/8" wall aluminum tubing.
    Whatever threadless type stem works for you.
    Handlebar end plug to cap the top of the tube.
    Because the stem for a Twenty is externally clamped, you don't need a quill inside.

    http://bikesmithdesign.com/MyBikes/2...-stem-bits.jpg
    http://bikesmithdesign.com/MyBikes/20/tall-stem.jpg

    Normally, a 7/8" tube won't fit into a steerer tube, but the Big Cheese posts are actually 0.871" for a perfect fit. I think they were 22.0mm before chroming. With about a 0.065" wall thickness they are plenty stiff, but not light @ 330g.. But if weight were all that big a deal to you, would you be riding a "Twenty" in the 1st place?.

    If you can't get them locally, I've several of the seatposts and a large supply of the aluminum tubing for making spacers. I was aiming for something tall, but you can cut them to length. Threadless stems are available in just about any offset, rise and price range you can imagine.

    For those with more tools;
    I wanted a shorter extension than is possible by clamping on a stem. So I sandblasted some of the chrome off at the top of a seatpost, and TIG welded on the clamp end of a steel stem.
    http://bikesmithdesign.com/MyBikes/20/stem.jpg

    I'm running flat type bars, 3" above my saddle, and there is still more stem than I need inserted in the steerer.
    http://bikesmithdesign.com/MyBikes/20/20wStem.jpg

  9. #9
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    bb & crank, stem, twenty pricing, twenty vs. bf

    Jur, will take your advice to just service the crank and bb.

    Mn, On the steel wheels, Sheldon Brown said thats one of the things to definitely change because he says they are heavy. I'd pass on the twenty wheels and maybe look for something lighter if I decide to add gearing. On the stems, I'll pass by an LBS and get some understanding of whats involved if I upgrade it.

    Matt, hey that's a great deal. I noticed the UK twenty's sell for a lot less than those in the US. I bid on two mint USA twenty's and they went for over $225 + shipping. In fact one did not hit the reserve price.

    I've been looking at Bike Friday's also. Even used, they seem to sell at high prices ($800-1000+). Just in general, does it make sense to spend close to $500-700 on an upgraded twenty or better to just buy a second hand BF NWT or pocket something instead? I kinda like the history of the twenty, so its more about how much to spend on it. Most of the comments seem to lead to not too many upgrades and I do have 3 kids...

  10. #10
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    I think most of us have found it's best not to keep track of what we spend on our Twenties. If you left it as is you'd probably have a pretty decent bike.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MnHPVA Guy
    I think most of us have found it's best not to keep track of what we spend on our Twenties.
    I agree whole heartedly with that quote. I planned on spending $600 total including the cost of the bike, but ended up spending a wee bit more .

    Eric,
    I think your new Twenty looks great the way it is, but I do understand the desire to upgrade and personalize. I like the Magnesium wheels that are already on the bike. If you watch ebay in the BMX section, you can sometimes get yourself a two speed conversion kit for single speed wheels. You have to keep your eyes open because they are not always on there, but it would be an easy and inexpensive way to double your gear choices ! Sa far as the BB goes, you can always get a shop to rethread the BB to a conventional tpi count. This will allow you to use any BB and crank you would like to try out,
    Juan

  12. #12
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    It can get messy retapping from 24 to 26. I did it and it was a bit of a botch (well i paid a bike shop to do it) Still threads but i don't know how many times it'll last...I'd probably leave the original cups in there, just change the axle to you can fit lightweight racing cranks (ie anything but cotter pins). And forget about the brooks saddle, that's just too cliche'd now ( hahaha)

  13. #13
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    I think most of us have found it's best not to keep track of what we spend on our Twenties.

    get yourself a two speed conversion kit for single speed wheels

    forget about the brooks saddle, that's just too cliche'd now

    Well am happy to be a member of the 20 club. Thanks for the 2 spd conversion suggestion. That sounds promising. Brooks saddle, well cliche'd maybe, but I like what I like! With all the do nothing or do little suggestions, I'll be able to restrain my upgrade impulses and save up for a BF!

  14. #14
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    If you want to go back to the three speed configuration, you'd be better off finding a used or NOS SA AW hub in good condition and lacing it to a good alloy rim. The stock chrome steel rims are too heavy, too wide and offer very poor braking performance. My $0.02.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericeric
    I think most of us have found it's best not to keep track of what we spend on our Twenties.
    I prefer not keeping track of what i put into a bike project. My Twenty cost me probably not too far from a low end BF and more than a Downtube for sure. I think you could look at it for a few idea.

    Now, i have decided to sell it and i don't know where to begin. I am in Canada. I prefer not going the ebay way if i could. I have created a page about the sale.

  16. #16
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    The above posts gave you great options to consider! Twentys are cool bikes, they are fun to ride and draw attention to themselves! When all is said and the work is done, the bike should reflect your taste , and be something that you are proud of!

    I have "made a pet" out of my Twenty and I really enjoy riding it! My Twenty seems to get more use than any of the other bikes in my collection! I'm not finished with it yet, I still need a proper seat bag for it, an original frame pump and maybe a set of alloy wheels laced to the Raleigh/SA hubs! I go for the resto-custom look myself! As others indicated, I probably will never add up the dollars! Anyway the smiles are too many to count!!!

    Al
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  17. #17
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    The saddest thing I find in this forum (don't take this the wrong way guys) is there's never any posts from the myriad of original Twenty owners we are inheriting the bikes from. In the uk - the Twenty is percieved on the whole as a granny bike, ridden - at least that was the marketing idea in the non p.c. seventies - by our mums. I bet there are some good reviews/riding tips/stories we'll never be party to.

    In 33.333% of suburban british garages there is a twenty waiting to find it's true direction in life

  18. #18
    jur
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    It's true... why do I love my Twenty so? It's heavy, but rides so enjoyable. I have other bikes, but the Twenty... it gets to do the bulk of the work. And I'm planning to go touring Tasmania in March next year on it. I am still working on the conversion. Bottle cages and SA 8 speed hub at the moment...

    But I won't consider taking it on the Australian Audax Alpine classic. 200km, 3500m climbing. For that I'll take my light(er) weight Giant CRX2.

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    I saw some SA 3 spd hubs for about $30. They were 36 hole hubs. Is that the right one?

    It will take another 30 days for the bike to get shipped across the pacific and to my doorstep. I am looking forward to it being sturdy. I bike sometimes with my labrador on a leash attached to my brompton. That bike seems to be slightly too fragile for that purpose as he can easily yank it right or left. Its probably an invitation for disaster, but its the only way i can get him enough exercise and he seems to like it.

  20. #20
    rhm
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    Okay, here's a Raleigh Twenty story for you!

    I had a professor at the University of Chicago who was originally from England. He was not actually very old, but by the combination of the way he dressed (tweedy -- it looked like hadn't quite made the transition from Oxbridge to the midwest) talked (he had a weak voice, and when he emphasized a word his voice would rise an octave, almost as if he was singing) and walked (he had a serious limp, so it took him a long, long, time to get anywhere on foot) he gave the impression of a very old, very frail, man. But then you'd see him all over Hyde Park, zipping through traffic on a Raleigh Twenty with almost unbelievable agility. Once you saw the confidence with which he handled that bike, you knew you were dealing with someone who was still at the height of his mental powers, and not about to let a couple physical shortcomings get in his way. The Twenty seemed appropriate for a semi-crippled old Englishman, but I don't think there was another bike on the market that he could have ridden like that!

  21. #21
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    Hmmmm,
    I spent way too much on my twenty!! And there's still more to come!!
    I settled for the original BB for now with new bearings, (Harris cyclery), powdercoated the original 46t crank set, coming will be a Shimano UN72 BB with Phil Wood 26TPI cups so I can fit a set of Redline cotterless cranks and a 48t ring to give my S/A xrf8 - 8 speed hub, (Harris cyclery,again), some more top end speed. New 451 Aero rims with Schwalbe Stevlios make it a lot quicker and a yellow Selle Italia gel saddle matches the black/yellow bar tape on the drop bars.
    For brakes I'm using BMX style, but I'm considering Sheldon's idea of drop bolts for modern road calipers as I'm not using fenders, all in all it is heavier than my other roadies, even with a fair deal of light mods, but what a BLAST to ride and the looks you get........ it may be well worth it.

  22. #22
    To fold or not to fold?
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    The madness has started. Picked up my £35 Twenty from Welwyn garden City (£8.90 ticket, plus £3 tube fare...); a bit grottier than I'd hoped - some rust patches and chrome mostly pretty grim, cranks and pedals fairly well used; tyres on last legs with cracked up walls. But rides well; SA hub in good shape, no major nasties. Brakes a bit dodgy as I negotiated back home from Kings Cross Station. Stopped at local bike shop and erm spent a total of £134.05 on a new Selle Brooklands plush leather saddle, plus Kalloy seatpost, new whitewall 451 Schwalbes and tubes, various bottles of frame cleaner, etc. Total money blown so far on a rusty old bike with a cult reputation - £146.95 (about £40 more than what a new Downtube NS goes for on Ebay). And got a quote for stripping and powder coating for £45 - so that's next on the list, should take me over £200 with VAT on a rusty old bike...and prob another £100 on rebuilding the wheels with alloy rims....Now just need to find a way to get the thing to fold - the hinge appears jammed. I guess only option is to flood with GT85 and use brute force.
    Last edited by matt52; 12-15-06 at 12:40 PM.

  23. #23
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericeric
    I saw some SA 3 spd hubs for about $30. They were 36 hole hubs. Is that the right one?

    It will take another 30 days for the bike to get shipped across the pacific and to my doorstep. I am looking forward to it being sturdy. I bike sometimes with my labrador on a leash attached to my brompton. That bike seems to be slightly too fragile for that purpose as he can easily yank it right or left. Its probably an invitation for disaster, but its the only way i can get him enough exercise and he seems to like it.
    You can use any SA 3speed hub. The original on mine has 28 holes, but 36 is better, for reasons that you can get 36H rims much easier.

    30 days! you will have to have patience

    where on the bike do you attach the dog leash? (I'm thinking the seatpost may be the least risky for stability?)

  24. #24
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt52
    The madness has started. Picked up my 35 Twenty from Welwyn garden City (8.90 ticket, plus 3 tube fare...); a bit grottier than I'd hoped - some rust patches and chrome mostly pretty grim, cranks and pedals fairly well used; tyres on last legs with cracked up walls. But rides well; SA hub in good shape, no major nasties. Brakes a bit dodgy as I negotiated back home from Kings Cross Station. Stopped at local bike shop and erm spent a total of 134.05 on a new Selle Brooklands plush leather saddle, plus Kalloy seatpost, new whitewall 451 Schwalbes and tubes, various bottles of frame cleaner, etc. Total money blown so far on a rusty old bike with a cult reputation - 146.95 (about 40 more than what a new Downtube NS goes for on Ebay). And got a quote for stripping and powder coating for 45 - so that's next on the list, should take me over 200 with VAT on a rusty old bike...and prob another 100 on rebuilding the wheels with alloy rims....Now just need to find a way to get the thing to fold - the hinge appears jammed. I guess only option is to flood with GT85 and use brute force.
    For the hinge, first try removing the nut underneath at the front of the hinge. That should then have the frame in 2 parts. Then you may tell better what is stuck.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur
    For the hinge, first try removing the nut underneath at the front of the hinge. That should then have the frame in 2 parts. Then you may tell better what is stuck.
    good idea - I must stop assuming that everything can be sorted by brute force and GT85...

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