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Old 03-22-11, 09:34 PM   #1
BrazAd
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Raleigh 555 - what is it, perzackly?

Hey gang,

Bike newbie here, first-time poster. (I mistakenly posted this in the wrong forum here... hope this one gets some answers!) In looking for a new-to-me bike I've found a couple of Raleighs from the early-mid 80s that have "Raleigh 555" tubing.

Is 555 chromoly? Is it as good as 531? Any info or tips are appreciated!

Gary
Albany, GA
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Old 03-22-11, 11:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I always assumed that Raleigh 555 was re-badged Reynolds 501, based on the following:

1. During the mid-80s when this tubing was used, Raleigh was still owned by Tube Investments, the manufacturer of Reynolds tubing.

2. As Lofter points out, Raleigh USA was still marketing Reynolds 753 and 531 frames along with Raleigh 555, so Raleigh 555 would not have been either of those two tubesets and would presumibly have been a less expensive tubeset, which was Reynolds 501's position in the Reynolds line-up.

3. Raleigh 555 was a chromium-molybdenum tubeset. Reynolds only chromium-molybdenum tubeset at time was Reynolds 531.

4. Raleigh 555 was unique to the US market. At the time Raleigh USA was using 555 tubests, Raleigh bicycles in other markets were being marketed with Reynolds 501.

5. The Raleigh 555 decal is remarkably similar to a Reynolds decal. If for some reason, Raleigh USA was using non-Reynolds tubing, I seriously doubt that Tubing Investments would have permitted the use of a decal design that consumers would associate with Reynolds tubesets.

6. There was a lighter version of both the Raleigh and Reynolds tubests, called 555SL and 501SL repectively.

Basically, Reynolds 501 was a seamed, butted tubeset intended for mid-range, sports bicycles. It was about 0.5 lbs (225 g) heavier than a Reynolds 531 tubset and about 0.9 lbs (425 g) heavier than the top of the line Reynolds 753. However, the 501SL tubeset gave away little weight advantage to 531, being only 0.16 lb (75g) heavier.

Comparable seamed, butted tubesets from other manufacturers would have been Columbus Cromor, Ishiwata EXO-M and Tange Infinity.
I have a 555SL 1983 Raleigh Super Course. A very nice bike. Mid-range though... not high-end.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 03-23-11, 09:09 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
1. During the mid-80s when this tubing was used, Raleigh was still owned by Tube Investments, the manufacturer of Reynolds tubing.
...
3. Raleigh 555 was a chromium-molybdenum tubeset. Reynolds only chromium-molybdenum tubeset at time was Reynolds 531.
But wasn't Raleigh USA owned by Huffy at the time? I had heard that the "Raleigh 555" tubing was just Asian CrMo. (And 531 is MANGANESE-Molybdenum, not CrMo. Maybe the OP meant to say "Reynolds' only CrMo was 501?)

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Old 03-23-11, 07:53 PM   #4
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Yes, Huffy licensed the Raleigh name in the US in the 1980s. Their bikes were sourced from Taiwan and Japan, and the really high-end stuff still came from the UK. I have a 1983 Raleigh Marathon, made in Taiwan, made of Raleigh 502 tubing, and a 1983 Super Course, made in Japan of Raleigh 555SL.

And yeah, I think it should be 501 in the other post, not 531.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

Last edited by Doohickie; 03-26-11 at 03:01 PM.
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