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Old 03-11-17, 12:16 AM   #1
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A new credit-card rig? Raleigh Grand Prix

In mid May I'm headed to France for twelve days. What was originally designed in my mind (and communicated to my SO) was a week-plus of seeing the Loire valley on bike. Eventually, lots of our friends got invited who while great (one is a sommelier who works for an importer) are less bike-interested.

But yesterday I got the green light to blow off a lot of them for my conceived bike tour. (Well, at least at the beginning and end of our trip between the private showings we have scheduled.) The question now of course is the bike. While I've got too many I don't have one that is easy to ship to and from, and esp. deal with the logistics of trains etc. And the one best suited for the ride is one so close to my heart I'm frightened to put it on a plane. For the flights alone taking a full-size bike would be $300 plus whatever packing/materials/case costs me.

Digging around I found out I get a promotion from work which drastically (think 1K off) reduces the price of Raleigh bikes, including their Ritchey-based breakaway bike, the Grand Prix: https://www.raleighusa.com/grand-prix-2208 . It's not the perfect touring bike by any means. But for fast and lightweight touring it seems it could be made to work. I'm thinking: Tubus Tara low-rider racker (with the fork adapters), the front-rider Ortlieb panniers which have been underused the last few years, and my Carradice Nelson long-flap on a Bagman rack.

So -- before I do something rash, what am I overlooking. (Except that I wish it was a Shimano build instead of Campy.)

France tour will be a total of about 8-9 days on a bike, 50-80mi days. Staying in AirBnBs / Warmshowers etc (i.e. no camping).

This fall I also have a 5-day tour of New England scoped which (slightly) helps justify the purchase of a rig which should evade airline fees for bikes.
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Old 03-11-17, 06:09 AM   #2
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For that kind of cash, you could be rolling a Marrakesh. Disc brakes. Braze-ons. Brooks saddle. Boom.

My personal opinion of Raleigh has slipped over the years. The Grand Prix was my first quality bike (back in 1973), and I dearly loved it, but I truly dislike how they've slipped in quality and craftsmanship over the past few decades. Now all you are getting is the headbadge.
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Old 03-11-17, 06:29 AM   #3
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I'm confused. Are you saying this bike will not be charged airline bike fees? If so, why?

BTW...You can often ship a bike for a lot less that what most airlines charge using a service like bikeflights.com. I try to take a tour out west every year. I never fly with the bike anymore.
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Old 03-11-17, 07:16 AM   #4
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For that kind of cash, you could be rolling a Marrakesh. Disc brakes. Braze-ons. Brooks saddle. Boom.

My personal opinion of Raleigh has slipped over the years. The Grand Prix was my first quality bike (back in 1973), and I dearly loved it, but I truly dislike how they've slipped in quality and craftsmanship over the past few decades. Now all you are getting is the headbadge.
I agree that the craftsmanship isn't there on some of their bikes--using TIG instead of lugs to keep prices down. But describe the lack of quality? Are they any worse than any other TIG welded frame made from Reynolds in Taiwan (like all of QBPs products)? If so why.

As for the Marrakesh -- it isn't a comparable bike because it isn't a travel bike (i.e. the frame doesn't break in two.)

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I'm confused. Are you saying this bike will not be charged airline bike fees? If so, why?

BTW...You can often ship a bike for a lot less that what most airlines charge using a service like bikeflights.com. I try to take a tour out west every year. I never fly with the bike anymore.
The Grand Prix is built with a Ritchey Break-away frame -- similar to S&S couplers. The bike folds down into a bag (included with the bike) that meets standard airline requirements. This not only evades fees for bikes, it also makes it a heckuva a lot easier to transport around airports/metros/taxis.

Bikeflights from Denver -> Paris is about $500 each way.

Last edited by jmeb; 03-11-17 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 03-11-17, 07:24 AM   #5
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I'm confused. Are you saying this bike will not be charged airline bike fees? If so, why?
It's a Ritchey Break-Away.
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Old 03-11-17, 07:28 AM   #6
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Sorry. Missed that. Not enough morning coffee.
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Old 03-11-17, 07:29 AM   #7
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@jmeb

I should have elaborated on the quality thing. You see, I am jaded now, because my first after school job was working in a shop that carried Raleigh, Peugeot, Motobecane, Gitane, and Puch. This was early-'70's, and over the years I've seen all of these companies slide downhill into something more-corporate and less-craftsman. Perhaps I should not colorize my decisions that way, but its tough getting old and adapting to new things as hard as I try.

I also would like to defend my suggestion of the Marrakesh, because when I clicked on your Raleigh link, I saw no mention of a breakaway frame in the price for that particular bike. I still say that you'd be better off with a Marrakesh. I'm not smitten with that Raleigh, in fact its rather meh imho.

ETA:

I just now saw its a breakaway. My bad.
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Old 03-11-17, 07:35 AM   #8
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Sorry. Missed that. Not enough morning coffee.
With you on that. I need some intravenous caffeine, pry my eyes open Clockwork Orange-style, and an ice-cold Aqua Velva slap in the face.
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Old 03-11-17, 07:46 AM   #9
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Raleigh does an impressively **** job of advertising that it is a Ritchey Break-Away frame. Especially considering they seem to be one of the few (only?) major manufacturers to offer such a bike.

Other options are usually frameset only. The only ones I've seen are the Ritchey Break-Away cross ($1500 for frameset and case) and Surly Travlers Check or World Troller (both $1200, but case doesn't appear included, which runs another $400 new, maybe less used.)

Unfortunately my travels over the next few years are likely not bike-centric trips but trips where I get to sneak in a few days of cycling. Hence the appeal of a travel frame.
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Old 03-11-17, 07:47 AM   #10
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...
Digging around I found out I get a promotion from work which drastically (think 1K off) reduces the price of Raleigh bikes, including their Ritchey-based breakaway bike, the Grand Prix: https://www.raleighusa.com/grand-prix-2208 . It's not the perfect touring bike by any means. But for fast and lightweight touring it seems it could be made to work. I'm thinking: Tubus Tara low-rider racker (with the fork adapters), the front-rider Ortlieb panniers which have been underused the last few years, and my Carradice Nelson long-flap on a Bagman rack.
....
You get that for $1k less than the advertised price? WOW. Bike cost is less than $800? Or, did you mean that you will have an extra $1k in income and you would apply that to the bike?

It is not clear to me if the travel bag is included in the price or not. And I have no idea if that travel bag is designed for airline handlers or not.

If you mean you would have an extra $1k of income, I would consider a Bike Friday instead. But, if you can get that bike for under $800, get the Raleigh.

I have a rear Campy brifter on my rando bike, I like it.

Gearing does not look too bad. Since you are packing light, the compact double with a 13/29 cassette might be adequate for most hills.

I trust you have the skills to break it down and reassemble it later. My S&S bike, both times I shipped it on airlines, I had to tweak the wheels a bit with a spoke wrench to straighten the wheels (I use rim brakes), just making a note of caution here that you may need to do the same.

I would prefer more than 28 spokes, but for traveling light that may be adequate.

I would consider those quick detachable fenders, but I do not know how much room you will have in the bag.

Last summer I met someone bikepacking with a Ritchey breakaway bike. He was quite happy with it.

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I'm confused. Are you saying this bike will not be charged airline bike fees? If so, why?

BTW...You can often ship a bike for a lot less that what most airlines charge using a service like bikeflights.com. I try to take a tour out west every year. I never fly with the bike anymore.
He is a bit confusing but he said it has a Ritchey type frame that splits in two halves.

A friend of mine last summer was trying to figure out how to ship several bikes to Canada for a group trip that started in Canada and finished in USA. But the bike shipping companies were not very enthusiastic about shipping to other countries where customs duties could become an issue. My friends group ended up renting a van that one guy drove for three days to get to the destination to avoid the airline fees.
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Old 03-11-17, 08:02 AM   #11
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@Tourist in MSN : 1K less than suggested price ($1300 shipped to me.) Specs list the bag as included and sales folk have confirmed.

Good to know re:truing wheels. Not much of a problem as I typically carry a CrankBros multi tool which has a workable spoke wrench.

I'll check out Bike Fridays. While the Raleigh is already a compromise to me aesthetically (I ride lugged steel except for my mtbs) -- I'm not sure I could get over the aversion to folders. Even if they are functionally very handy.
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Old 03-11-17, 08:24 AM   #12
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@jmeb

I should have elaborated on the quality thing. You see, I am jaded now, because my first after school job was working in a shop that carried Raleigh, Peugeot, Motobecane, Gitane, and Puch. This was early-'70's, and over the years I've seen all of these companies slide downhill into something more-corporate and less-craftsman. Perhaps I should not colorize my decisions that way, but its tough getting old and adapting to new things as hard as I try.

I also would like to defend my suggestion of the Marrakesh, because when I clicked on your Raleigh link, I saw no mention of a breakaway frame in the price for that particular bike. I still say that you'd be better off with a Marrakesh. I'm not smitten with that Raleigh, in fact its rather meh imho.
I too worked in the mid-'70s in shops that sold Raleigh, Peugeot, Motobecane, Gitane, and Puch, as well as Schwinn, Bianchi, etc., but I seem to remember better than you the iffy quality control for those brands (with the arguable exceptions of Motobecance and Puch) back then. I like the original bikes, too, but although the present-day versions of those bikes may not be thrilling, overall quality is much higher than in those days in terms of frame alignment and brazing and welding.

Also, there's nothing "meh" about Raleigh offering a production breakaway-frame bike or the 531 Team Carlton. The 2017 Raleigh line reminds me of Grant Petersen's days as the product manager for Bridgestone's USA line. I can't remember the last time a bike company's lineup showed this kind of innovative thinking.
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Old 03-11-17, 08:39 AM   #13
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....
Also, there's nothing "meh" about Raleigh offering a production breakaway-frame bike or the 531 Team Carlton. ...
This was sort of my feeling as well. No they aren't making bikes designed for adventure do-everything touring like Surly/Salsa. But the Breakaway frame, 531 team, Clubman, and Port Townsend are all pretty unique offerings for reasonable prices.
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Old 03-11-17, 08:49 AM   #14
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This was sort of my feeling as well. No they aren't making bikes designed for adventure do-everything touring like Surly/Salsa. But the Breakaway frame, 531 team, Clubman, and Port Townsend are all pretty unique offerings for reasonable prices.
I recently purchased a Raleigh Roker Comp gravel bike from the Raleigh online site. I'm 100% satisfied with the bike, value and service from Raleigh. If you have a corporate discount code, you can purchase the Breakaway Clubman for $1365.00. Try using (Edit: ) CYCLE4TAW as you log in.

See: Question about ordering from Raleigh corp
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Old 03-11-17, 08:56 AM   #15
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If you don't like the campy build, buy the frameset
https://www.raleighusa.com/frameset-grand-prix-1602
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Old 03-11-17, 09:18 AM   #16
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Just go for it. However, don't go buy a bike because you can get discount. Get the bike that you really want. I really like S&S couplers on mine. Once you have a travel bike, you'll never travel without one again.
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Old 03-11-17, 09:21 AM   #17
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If you don't like the campy build, buy the frameset
https://www.raleighusa.com/frameset-grand-prix-1602
A year and a half ago when I was shopping for a new bike frame for general riding but not loaded touring, if I saw that I would have seriously considered buying it at that price. Photo includes a headset, but that is not mentioned in the text. The specs tab suggests that the travel bag is included.

But that page mentions 28mm tires, I would want wider. I did not see a tire specification on the bike (full build) page. I wonder what the widest that you can fit with and without fenders is?
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Old 03-11-17, 09:25 AM   #18
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For that kind of cash, you could be rolling a Marrakesh. Disc brakes. Braze-ons. Brooks saddle. Boom.

My personal opinion of Raleigh has slipped over the years. The Grand Prix was my first quality bike (back in 1973), and I dearly loved it, but I truly dislike how they've slipped in quality and craftsmanship over the past few decades. Now all you are getting is the headbadge.
Wow. So much wow.

So its a break away frame the op is asking about, you miss that important point, and suggest something totally different.
Then you bemoan raleigh's current QC standards while providing some rosy colored history about their frames from the 70s being great quality. A couple models were great, from what ive read and seen. And much, again from what ive read and seen, was inconsistenrly made with questionable finish.

The bike the OP is asking about is an incredible deal at $1300.

As for current raleigh having low QC...what? Every frame ive seen in stores over the last 5 years has looked as well finished as the specialized and trek bikes that fill local shops.
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Old 03-11-17, 09:42 AM   #19
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Just go for it. However, don't go buy a bike because you can get discount. Get the bike that you really want. I really like S&S couplers on mine. Once you have a travel bike, you'll never travel without one again.
I'm sort of with you on this. At the same time, I also want a bike that I will fit comfortably on and enjoy the ride but it is not something that is grail-like to me. I have a couple of bikes I considered just fitting S&S to but at the end of the day, I don't ever want to trust them to an airline.

The other bike really worth consider I think is potentially the World Troller or Travelers Check. But both will end up cost 6-800 more. Maybe I should just eat that but its hard to stomach for a bike that I don't "need."

Wonder if my buddy who works in a big shop that order through QBP but isnt' a dealer can get a deal on a Travelers Check....

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...
But that page mentions 28mm tires, I would want wider. I did not see a tire specification on the bike (full build) page. I wonder what the widest that you can fit with and without fenders is?
28s are designed to fit with fenders and long reach brakes according to their online chat mechanics. If that's the case 32s should fit no problem without.
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Old 03-11-17, 10:30 AM   #20
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I'm sort of with you on this. At the same time, I also want a bike that I will fit comfortably on and enjoy the ride but it is not something that is grail-like to me. I have a couple of bikes I considered just fitting S&S to but at the end of the day, I don't ever want to trust them to an airline.

The other bike really worth consider I think is potentially the World Troller or Travelers Check. But both will end up cost 6-800 more. Maybe I should just eat that but its hard to stomach for a bike that I don't "need."

Wonder if my buddy who works in a big shop that order through QBP but isnt' a dealer can get a deal on a Travelers Check.....
Just think about this. $600~800 more for the bike that you want vs a bike that you don't fancy or necessary.

BTW, you will be surprised how much time and money you save by taking a travel bike. Not to mention no extra baggage charges for S&S and Ritchey breakaway bikes.
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Old 03-11-17, 11:35 AM   #21
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Just a Reality Check, Campag is rare, a tiny % of the component sales , so a handicap when you need small parts in small towns..

I live in one of those small towns on a popular touring route.





....
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Old 03-11-17, 11:59 AM   #22
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I wouldn't going credit card touring on a Marrakesh, it's just another over built Maxaway steel frame. Suitable for loading touring, there's much better options for lightly loaded all day riding. A +6lb frame and 2.7lbs fork is never going to have the ride qualities of a 4.5lb frame with 1lb carbon fork. Right told for the job is always better.
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Old 03-11-17, 12:17 PM   #23
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If an airline employee at the check in desk requires to see inside your case, they can nail you for the "It's a Bike" fee anyhow.. **

Maybe you can book thru a direct flight, denver to paris with an airline, European, that does not aggressively collect fees.. like US carriers have done.

** Testimony of a cyclist with an S&S connector equipped bike, their personal experience..



Bike Friday packs even more conveniently into a Suitcase, read CGOAB the folding bike riding touring section, is mostly Bike Friday Owners,





....
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Old 03-11-17, 01:41 PM   #24
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If an airline employee at the check in desk requires to see inside your case, they can nail you for the "It's a Bike" fee anyhow.. **
I'd have argued that point. It does not say that I can have X linear inches and Y pounds, only if it is not a bike, it says if my oversized luggage is a bike, I can pay a lower rate than what the normal overage charges would be.

OTOH, you can also have the gate agent not even bother collecting the fee, as I did.

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Try using RALEIGHUSA as you log in.
Didn't work for me when I created a logon the other day. I used CYCLE4TAW. Shows me the same $1365 price.
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Old 03-11-17, 01:42 PM   #25
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...
I should have elaborated on the quality thing. You see, I am jaded now, because my first after school job was working in a shop that carried Raleigh, Peugeot, Motobecane, Gitane, and Puch. This was early-'70's, and ...
...
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I too worked in the mid-'70s in shops that sold Raleigh, Peugeot, Motobecane, Gitane, and Puch, as well as Schwinn, Bianchi, etc., ....
Wow. Small world.

I bought my 1972 Raleigh Gran Prix in 1973 when I was a mechanic at a bike shop that sold Raleigh, Gitane, a few other brands that were also british and maybe part of the Raleigh family. I bought the one year older model because it was a lot cheaper than the current model, I was saving for college. The shop I worked for did not sell Schwinn, Peugeot, Puch or Motobecane. Last year I donated the Gran Prix to a charity, I had not ridden it for over a decade.

Regarding the frames of the 70s, I have to say that I like the quality today of the welded frames compared to the brazed cheaper frames of the bikes like the old Gran Prix. And the Gran Prix back then came out of the Nottingham factory, thus it had a proprietary bottom bracket thread. The only real advantage I can think of for those older frames was the steel was soft enough that most major frame problems could be bent back to where you wanted it.

And the components back then, my cottered steel crank on the Grand Prix had a lot more flex and a lot more weight than modern Aluminum cranks. My Grand Prix had the plastic Simplex derailleurs, which were not highly thought of. They had some plastic parts riveted to some stamped sheet steel parts and lacked the precision of the parts available on cheaper bikes today. Almost all the mechanics I worked with had replaced our derailleurs with Suntour or Huret on our various bikes. The Suntour Honor and Suntour Spirt that I had on my Grand Prix were a lot better than the stock Simplex, but they were made of riveted stamped sheet steel and would look pretty ugly next to a modern set of Deore derailleurs.
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