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Old 01-15-22, 01:40 AM
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cudak888 
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Saw this waiting for repair at the LBS and recognized it. I've always been looking for a green Superbe (I finally picked up @Ged117's '50 Sports Superbe Tourist last year), but this one happens to be part of that story. 10 years ago, I spotted this exact bike, with its owner, outside his house. I stopped to have a brief chat with him about it and never saw it again - until it showed up at the LBS a few weeks ago, quite a bit rougher than I remembered on first encounter (but still missing the lower chaincase cover at the hub sprocket).

Nonetheless, that's only the tip of the story. This, if I'm not mistaken, is the first incarnation of the late-1970's Raleigh Royal Roadster, before the ground-up redesign of the Sports/Superbe frame for the UK market in '82. I'm not 100% sure on this, as the UK/EU catalogs appear difficult to come by even now, but the '78 French catalog is a fairly close match. This is obviously a post-1972 bike by decals (and 36/36 rims), and it's a Sports-style frame (73/73) with EA3 / 26x1-3/8" wheels. It's the equivalent of a 1950's Dawn, specifically, a Dawn Superbe Tourist (though, of course, the Dawn name was retired by the TI era). The similarities with the 1950's lineup don't end there, as it's basically a factory 1970's clone of a 1950's-spec Superbe. Not only is it fitted with a chaincase and Superbe-staple AG hub, it's finished in the green of a 1950's Superbe, not the metalflake Bronze Green that got plastered on everything after 1967. Personally, I find it fascinating.

Note the Sir Walter transfer on the seattube in place of the hideous Rampar logo; the telltale sign of a Raleigh not made for the North American market. Headbadge is Nottingham, and it has remnants of the late-1970's Union Jack decal on the seattube (where the tubing decal often resides on NA bikes).

Again, I'm not 100% sure this is a Royal Roadster and I couldn't crane my neck far enough to read the chaincase or decipher the date on the hub. It does have the Pletcher rear brake bridge that showed up on the 1978 US models. Note that the later case has a vertical pinched seam at the joint between the two halves, instead of the overlapped and soldered seam of the 1950's bikes.









-Kurt

P.S.: Wound up selling the shop my last Michelin EA3 World Tours to the LBS so they could finish up the repair for this gentleman, only to realize I need one more tire for my own projects... - anyone have a spare?
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