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Old 06-20-10, 05:34 PM   #1
RetroActivePay
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Raleigh Alyeska vs. LHT dilemma

I've recently gotten interested in bicycle touring and I want to hit the ground running. I have plans to bike along the coast of Maine in August, tentative plans throughout the year and a cross country trip next summer.

Now for the dilemma. I've been looking into getting an LHT for quite a while now but I recently received a Raleigh Alyeska from my uncle. I don't know how old the bicycle is, or the shape of the parts. It seems to have seen better days in some areas. The frame is the proper size.

My question is, would it be worth it to re-outfit the Raleigh with mostly new components or just purchase an LHT? I feel like since I already have the frame I should be able to get better parts and end up paying around the same cost. I can see fixing up the Raleigh being a hassle but I would probably stand to learn something in the process as well.

Also, how much would a LBS typically charge if I gave them the frame and the parts and asked them to put it together?
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Old 06-20-10, 06:01 PM   #2
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As I recall the Raleigh Alyeska is a pretty nice frame.

The answer to question above is, "it depends." If *most* of the components on the bike now are in good shape and just need a little maintenance, you can save a ton of money by either learning how to whip the bike into shape or have a shop do it for you.

If many parts need to be replaced, then you can end up spending quite a bit of money getting the bike ready to go -- it depends on how patient and resourceful you are in sourcing the parts and, to some degree, how much work you need to do.

In your case, sounds like the frame was free. You can fix up a lot of things on a bike for a few hundred dollars.

Why don't you take a bunch of pictures of the bike and the components and post them here? See if you can give us the model of the rims, hubs, crankset, derailleurs and shifters. Also, are the rims 27-inch or 700c?
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Old 06-20-10, 06:47 PM   #3
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So I think the rims are 27 inch, the tires say 27 x 1 1/4.

I'm having trouble discerning what each individual part is, but here is what I found online. I can't imagine my uncle would have changed much of the stock components. Here's a list of the '85 component list, it might be spot on.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/retroral...gh-alyeska.jpg
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/retroral...5/pages/3.html

I figure I can keep the fork, frame, headset, stem, bars, and possibly the seatpost and change the rest. I'm looking to get 700c wheels, maybe built by www.peterwhitecycles.com, and whatever else I need. Do you think I can do all this for less than getting a complete LHT?
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Old 06-20-10, 07:15 PM   #4
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You can almost certainly rebuild this bike for the less than the price of a new one, but I'm not sure why you're so eager to replace so much.

Here's what I would do -- based on what I have done in the past. I'm assuming you want to learn some (which you mentioned above) but don't own specialized tools.

Get enough tools to dismantle most of the bike (allen wrenches, some adjustable wrenches, screwdriver, etc.). Dismantle the bike -- you should be able to get everything off except the crankset, headset and front fork. Clean all the parts.

- Take it to a shop, and ask them to overhaul the hubs and true the wheels; overhaul the headset; and overhaul the bottom bracket.
- Figure out what gearing you want on the bike -- on that SR crankset you have, you should be able to get a smaller inner chainring to lower the gears a bit (perhaps a 24T or 26T).
- Have the bike shop give you the bike back with the wheels true, and an overhauled BB and headset
- Buy new tires, tubes, rim strips, chain, brake pads, handlebar tape, brake and derailleur cables, and cable housing
- If you don't like downtube shifters, get a bar end shifter conversion kit from Rivendell; www.rivbike.com.
- Put the bike back together

I wouldn't do more than that right now.

Last edited by BengeBoy; 06-21-10 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 06-20-10, 07:43 PM   #5
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I want to second BengeBoy's advice. Get the bike back up to road worthy shape and ride it. See what you think of the bike and then you can consider upgrades or the LHT.
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Old 06-21-10, 06:24 AM   #6
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My main concern with not upgrading is I've read unfavorable reviews of the stock parts. Is there any truth to this? I don't want to spend the money to fix something I'm going to want to replace.
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Old 06-21-10, 07:33 AM   #7
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+2 on Bengeboy advice:
I don't know what your stock parts are but many of the old '80s tourer were true beast. I myself own an '86 Miyata 1000 and only re-lubed the bearings and cables and replaced the rubber(tires, tubes and brake pads). Often the old '80s wheels are heavier but stronger than many of the newer ones. My wheels have over 10,000 miles and still going strong. It is probably friction shifting which is easy to repair(especially on the road). 27" tires are fine. There are not a lot of 27" tire choices but there are enough tire choices to get a decent ride.
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Old 06-21-10, 08:28 AM   #8
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My main concern with not upgrading is I've read unfavorable reviews of the stock parts. Is there any truth to this? I don't want to spend the money to fix something I'm going to want to replace.
Well -- you aren't really spending money on replacing anything. You're basically replacing all of the "wear" parts that need replacing anyway (tires, tubes, chain, brake pads, etc.). Everything else you are just cleaning up and putting back on the bike.

The only money you are possibly "wasting" is the money to have the hubs on the wheels overhauled and putting new 27-inch tires on -- and that's only wasted if the wheels are junk or you immediately upgrade the wheels to 700c. But if you fix up the wheels, and ride them for a year, it's hard to argue you wasted any money. Plus, you can always unload a set of 27-inch wheels and tires on Craigslist.

I think if you want to go deeper on what you should replace or upgrade, you should get photos and post them here.
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Old 06-21-10, 08:48 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the help, I think I'm just getting ahead of myself with buying new and shiny things. I'll heed your advice and get to dismantling/overhauling now.
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Old 06-21-10, 09:12 AM   #10
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tune, ride, decide. in that order.
Those were good bikes...
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Old 06-21-10, 10:08 AM   #11
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The Alyeska was a very capable rider. I wouldn't swap out any parts until you've taken it out on a few long rides (or short tours). Nothing on it is going to depreciate in value very quickly unless you completely crash the frame, so there's no harm in riding it stock and seeing what you like/dislike.

Considering you got the bike for free, you could be on the road and touring for about $100, maybe $300 if you decide to blow a bunch of money on rags and bags. I don't see a LHT in your future for a long time!
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Old 06-22-10, 09:09 AM   #12
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So none of the bicycle stores in my area carry brake hoods, are these the proper ones? The brakes are Dia-compe 960.

http://www.amazon.com/Dia-Compe-Brak.../dp/B00171HQ62
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Old 06-22-10, 09:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RetroActivePay View Post
So none of the bicycle stores in my area carry brake hoods, are these the proper ones? The brakes are Dia-compe 960.

http://www.amazon.com/Dia-Compe-Brak.../dp/B00171HQ62
Those should work. You can also get them in black or tan for a little less money here: http://aebike.com/product-list/dia-c...1-m15021-qc30/
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Old 06-22-10, 09:48 AM   #14
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Rebuilding the bike will teach you lots of the skills you need to be able fix breakdowns on the road, and it will give you the confidence to tackle them out in the middle of nowhere. This confidence leads to a lot of peace of mind, and that is priceless, and will let you tour in more remote places.

z
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Old 06-22-10, 10:25 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
tune, ride, decide.
+1. There is a lot of wisdom in those three words.

You will learn a lot about your likes and dislikes by riding this bike. If you go off and replace everything, you may find that your hasty decisions were not what you would have done 6 months from now. My own impatience put me on a hybrid which I commuted on for a year and then replaced with a touring bike because it was going to cost too much to replace the drivetrain and handlebar set up for something more appropriate to the type of riding I was doing.
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Old 06-22-10, 01:19 PM   #16
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So just a progress update- apparently in the 25 years of ownership my uncle barely rode the bike because my LBS said it didn't need any of the overhauling or wheel truing. I'm almost finished cleaning/putting everything back together and I've finally reached the tricky part of setting up the cantilever brakes and derailleurs.

Just a question- I bought the fizik microtex dual tape (http://www.nano-bike-parts.de/bilder...oss/1092_1.jpg) and I'm having trouble wrapping it. All the guides I've read said to reverse the wrap direction at the brake but the tape isn't symmetric so either the logo disappears until each successive wrap or is now showing. I'm guessing this is a flaw in the tape itself?
Also, the perfectionist in me thinks wrapping bar tape is very hard.
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Old 06-22-10, 04:19 PM   #17
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Also, the perfectionist in me thinks wrapping bar tape is very hard.

I know what you mean.

FWIW, I dont reverse the wrapping direction, I just sorta pull/stretch it around the hoods (use the two small pieces to cover the spot that the wrap wont cover) and keep with the same pattern in the same direction. I usually have to do and then redo it a time or two to get the spacing just right. I Have wrapped many a bar, and it gets easier and better with practice.

you want to get really annoyed by your perfectionism? Try a "harlequin wrap"...
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...26tbs%3Disch:1
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