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Old 08-07-14, 02:27 PM   #1
fixieupper
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Newbie trying to build my first bike.

Hi everyone, I'm new to this site so bare with me. I've just stripped down an old raleigh road bike from the late 80's or early 90's (no idea how to identify) and I'm thinking of rebuilding it from scratch but I'm a little in over my head at the minute. I've never actually done it before and I haven't rode a bike since my early teens (25 now). I thought it would be a good project and once it's complete could help me to get fit. Anyway, I was wondering where would be the best place to start and where is the best place to get parts? If this thread takes off I'd really appreciate all the help, if any, I receive.
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Old 08-07-14, 03:20 PM   #2
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I think you could benefit from getting a Park Tools Blue Book, it's about as good a repair manual as you will find. It should cover most of the stuff you'd need to know.
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Old 08-07-14, 03:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by fixieupper View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new to this site so bare with me. I've just stripped down an old raleigh road bike from the late 80's or early 90's (no idea how to identify) and I'm thinking of rebuilding it from scratch but I'm a little in over my head at the minute. I've never actually done it before and I haven't rode a bike since my early teens (25 now). I thought it would be a good project and once it's complete could help me to get fit. Anyway, I was wondering where would be the best place to start and where is the best place to get parts? If this thread takes off I'd really appreciate all the help, if any, I receive.
First...have a plan. Make a list of the parts you'll need. Have a budget. Have tools.
Start with craigslist and then start looking at closeout sales from nashbar, ribble , etc.
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Old 08-07-14, 03:25 PM   #4
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Older Raleighs can be classy bikes that ride great. I recently re-built my girlfriend's dad's '84 Raleigh Marathon into a comfy, classy tourer, and it turned out great.

They can also be headaches at times (like any retro bike).

There are lots of resources on the web to help you identify the bike. The late Sheldon Brown has lots of info on Raleighs, and lots of other great info (click through the articles in the yellow box at the bottom of the page). There are other catalog sites, including the 80s-90s UK catalogs, on the web. The reason to ID your bike is so you can decide what standards the frame has (what speeds, what type of attachments, mounts, etc.). You can modify the bike from there once you know where you're starting from; some retro stuff is totally compatible with modern stuff, some retro stuff is incompatible.

You could also post pictures of the bike to the Classic & Vintage: What's it worth? section of this forum.

You have to decide which vintage parts you can refurbish and keep, and which you should replace. I ended up keeping the cranks, BB, stem, and handlebars, and replacing almost everything else.
I overhauled the bearings in the BB and headset.
I used quality, used stuff for the derailers, shifters, seatpost, and pedals.
Then I got new wheels, cassette, chain, tires, tubes, bar wrap, fenders, and a Brooks saddle.

He ended up with a very classy, lugged steel bike for about $550. And it's HIS bike, from 30 years ago, which is mega-cool. He rode a weeklong 430 mile tour on it with my GF and I last month (RAGBRAI).

For help with servicing and maintenance, Park Tool has a huge help section with tons of info and videos. Look in your community for a "bike co-op", "community bike shop", or whatever that concept is called in the UK. They should have used parts, tools, and people to help you work on your bike. I took a basic maintenance class at my local co-op, and have learned a lot more while volunteering there.

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 08-07-14, 03:30 PM   #5
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I suggest that you start this thread over in the Classic and Vintage forum, where Raleighs are well liked and understood. The C&V crowd are quite friendly and willing to help.

The Bicycle Mechanics forum would also be a good place to ask, where they'll suggest things like: learn how to regrease all the bearings, because they are very likely to have the original, now hard and ineffective grease; replace the brake pads (an excellent idea - Kool Stop salmon pads are a great improvement); replace the cables and housings (also a great idea for any older bike); replace the tires if they're cracked (Panaracer Paselas are excellent and available in many sizes); check the chain for wear and relube as a minimum if not replace it; and of course, make sure the bike is adjusted to fit you (definitely something that will increase your riding comfort). There's a Fitting Your Bike forum that can be helpful for the last suggestion.

Good places to learn how to do bike rebuilding are your bicycle co-op if there is one, which will also save you the expense of many bike-specific tools and very likely will have used replacement parts. Web sites to research for DIY instruction are Sheldon Brown's and Park Tools.

There are lots of places for parts. I use Universal Cycles and Harris Cyclery for new parts, but the C&V Sales sub forum is also a great place to buy used parts that will fit your Raleigh.

edit: Tim_Iowa beat me to many of the same ideas, and he included links.

I like Leonard Zinn's bike repair manual, "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance", and there are other good ones, any of which would be a worthwhile investment for this project

Last edited by Dfrost; 08-07-14 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 08-07-14, 03:42 PM   #6
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I would also check around the local bikes scene. I know some LBS have a "junk yard" where you can get used parts fairly cheap, maybe even original parts for that bike.

One of our local shops has a basement full of old scrap bikes. You have to buy the whole bike and everything on it. Most of the bikes are in really bad shape but have useable parts. So you can buy a bike from the junkyard and pay maybe $50 for it but depending on what you're looking for you might have most all the parts you are looking for, plus an extra frame for the next project.
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