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Altered Stock Components on Carlton-Era Raleighs

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Altered Stock Components on Carlton-Era Raleighs

Old 08-31-16, 10:13 AM
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Kilroy1988 
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Altered Stock Components on Carlton-Era Raleighs

Good morning!

I have been recommended to start a new thread concerning a question that has arisen in a classified advertisement regarding brake hoods on a 1974 Raleigh International. It seems prudent to expand the topic more generally, so here is the thesis:

What level of reliability can we glean from the original Raleigh catalogues during the Carlton era (roughly 1960-1985), regarding the specifications of stock components supplied with the advertised bicycles? Where the specifications deviated from directly by the manufacturers? The example in the previous thread was that although a 1974 Raleigh International is pictured and described as having white details such as hoods, bar tape and cable housing, that this was not necessarily true of the bikes that were shipped new out of the factory. How often was this the case, and what sorts of components were most likely to be deliberately or carelessly substituted and shipped "out-of-spec," as it were?

What were contemporary expectations that a bicycle would arrived spec'd as per the official catalogue, and was it possible to order bicycles directly from Raleigh of England that included different specifications, hence making them "stock" but without meeting catalogue details?

Retro Raleighs

The number of members here who have contemporary experience with these bicycles seems invaluable to figure out the extent of such a practice, and I would be very grateful for any further information. Of course the catalogues and reportedly "original" bicycles existing today do not help much one way or another, and it seems as if collective memory will serve best.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-31-16, 10:29 AM
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What might you see as reliable evidence to support or refute your hypothesis? Memory? Shop receipts? My point here is that variations from stock were likely frequent, but evidence of such variations these many years later will be largely anecdotal.
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Old 08-31-16, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
What might you see as reliable evidence to support or refute your hypothesis? Memory? Shop receipts? My point here is that variations from stock were likely frequent, but evidence of such variations these many years later will be largely anecdotal.
Ideally receipts or other official documentation, realistically collective memory. Anecdotal evidence is a large part of reconstructing history, and if a decent number people who purchased or sold Raleighs during those years have information concerning this topic, it would be worthy of consideration. Cheers!
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Old 08-31-16, 11:36 AM
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I would think the Bike shops that sold them would change the components to what the customer wanted before delivery.
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Old 08-31-16, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
"Level of reliability" of vintage catalogs? As a tool of what the manufacturer planned to make? Great. Value as a guide of what they actually made? Zero.
Are you speaking from experience with Raleigh catalogues, or assuming? I'm interested in evidence, so actual examples would be very appreciated. In fact a grand majority of the Raleighs I have seen advertised in "original" condition match the specifications of the catalogues very well, so it seems that they actually do make a valuable guide.
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Old 08-31-16, 11:46 AM
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I think it would be better to focus all of our efforts on building a time machine. If it works, we could be certain of what & what was not included on consumer products from the 1970's of all kinds, not just bikes! If it doesn't work, we will still be in the same place and have lost nothing except our time....which we would lose if we actually spent the time and tried to quantify this information to begin with....
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Old 08-31-16, 11:51 AM
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Once a load of bikes are in the storage shed of the bike shop, they become part of the store's stock. If there's a Raleigh Professional in the shed that's been there a couple years and hasn't sold, and now a customer bike comes in for a repair and needs, say, a new Campy NR derailleur, the one on the Pro is a likely candidate. It depends on many things.
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Old 08-31-16, 11:54 AM
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My Gran Sport equipped 1979 competition evidently had a Nuovo Record front derailleur. I'm not sure if this was purposefully done, if the previous owner changed it or if the shop changed before delivery but it is not 100% catalog correct.
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Old 08-31-16, 12:01 PM
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There were "surprises" here and there when one opened up a Raleigh box.
not noted, but sometimes corrected, like when a Superleggero seat post was in the box with an International, usually seen on a Pro, it would go into inventory and the correct one fitted for the shop floor…

Cad plated spokes instead of Chrome plated? So it goes.

Customer wanting "safety brake levers", the whole lever got swapped out for Dia-Compes with them already installed… faster assembly… (we did end up with an excess of white Carlton hoods, but the Weinmann levers with the perforations sold well…

Documentation is going to be pretty sketchy.
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Old 08-31-16, 12:49 PM
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"Specifications subject to change without notice."
- Any bicycle catalog ever printed

A huge disappointment to the Period Catalog Correct Police.

-Bandera
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Old 08-31-16, 01:12 PM
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I have seen "time capsule" bikes that didn't quite match the catalogs--and not just in the equipment, in lugs, dropouts, fork crowns, etc. The catalogs are only a rough guide.

For instance, my 1979 Competition had a different fork crown than pictured in the catalog. It also didn't match the '78 catalog, so it's not just a case of a leftover fork. My current Gran Sport is undatable by serial number, but the frame is clearly from the early 70's, yet does not quite match any of the catalogs exactly. Some have a derailleur hanger, mine doesn't. Some don't have the hanger but have a different fork crown. Some don't have 531 forks, but mine does. Etc, etc.
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Old 08-31-16, 01:15 PM
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And I have a 1973/74 Raleigh RRA, which doesn't appear in any catalog!
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Old 08-31-16, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
My Gran Sport equipped 1979 competition evidently had a Nuovo Record front derailleur. I'm not sure if this was purposefully done, if the previous owner changed it or if the shop changed before delivery but it is not 100% catalog correct.
See Clubman's front derailleur thread from the weekend. I, for one, do not believe that is a record derailleur. I have no hard evidence that it is, though some reputable aficionados do believe the record was delivered as such in or around 1978. I believe it is a NGS and the fact it is one your bike further confirms it for me.

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...illeur-id.html
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Old 08-31-16, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
"Specifications subject to change without notice."
- Any bicycle catalog ever printed

A huge disappointment to the Period Catalog Correct Police.

-Bandera
Specifications were always subject to change, but what I want to know is did they change, and if so, how often and which components were most likely to be altered from the catalog specifications? I would like real examples and not hearsay or assumptions. I'm trying to learn, not give a false sermon. Once again, you can't seem to post anything but sarcasm in response to my posts. I don't quite understand why.
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Old 08-31-16, 01:49 PM
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Raleigh was famous for putting on what was on hand if the spec'ed item wasn't on hand. They also did runs of slightly different versions of a model at a distributor's request. So, for example, a run of bikes might be made for a German supply line with a different brake spec'ed, or maybe an extra braze-on. Quality control was also all over the place.

What made the Japanese bikes of the '70s so different was their adherence to tight standards and consistency. Not all, but the better Japanese companies did things that were unheard of before. If you pulled a Fuji out of the box in 1977, you knew exactly what you were getting, what had to be done and how long it would take. Peugeots were a venture into the unknown. I never built up a Raleigh, but I would expect a similar experience.

Ben
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Old 08-31-16, 01:52 PM
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@repechage & @lostarchitect Thank you particularly for your examples based on contemporary experience, and to other posters who have or have seen bicycles with uncatalogued specifications. I had guessed that "surprises" might happen now and again and perhaps even often, given the large volume of bicycles being sold by Raleigh during this period. I also find it interesting to learn that some bikes might have been assembled with several elements that did not match specifications. It would be interesting if there was a way to compare them to others of the same model year and note production dates based on serial numbers, to see if there were points in time when modifications to the model line were made, etc...

That all seems like quite a bit of work, though, and for now I'm fine with trying to comprehend the general patterns. Thanks again!
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Old 08-31-16, 01:53 PM
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I don't know that there was a general pattern. It seems like they just had supply chain issues and worked with what was around when stuff ran out.
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Old 08-31-16, 01:58 PM
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Not specifically Raleigh,
but pro steel frames shipped out expecting the seller to have a Tool chest like Campagnolo's
to finish the threading facing and reaming.

Distributing tool wear around, & away from the Manufacturer.
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Old 08-31-16, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
I don't know that there was a general pattern. It seems like they just had supply chain issues and worked with what was around when stuff ran out.
If that's the case then we can jump to my next question a bit earlier than I suspected. If one were to restore or build up a frame set and want to make it "period correct," in the truest sense of the term, is it appropriate to rely on the catalogues we have at our disposal to the utmost? Or were enough bicycles shipped with varied specifications that changing bars or hoods or cable colors, etc, would be acceptable?

From the perspective of working in restoration or to suggest that a bicycle appears "original," and as far as I can tell the catalogues are still the most important resource for creating or assuming that any decades-old bicycle looks like it did when it was delivered from the factory. Only direct evidence from an individual who can trace the heritage of a particular bike should stand as testimony to the contrary.

It's very interesting to know that historically there were deviations from the catalogs, and that these could happen either as errors or purposeful substitutions. However, what prompted me to ask was that some people seem to be dismissive of the catalogs as if the specifications were hardly worth noting. This does not strike me as a good way of looking at things, hence the questions.
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Old 08-31-16, 02:27 PM
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With respect to Raleigh - I worked for Raleigh at the Boston headquarters from ~1973 to 1982. As such, I did not see bikes come out of boxes, but I was involved in setting bikes up for the catalog shots. In some cases I would work from previous year (once applying 'chrome' in the form of sticky-back paper to a previous model (Competition comes to mind).


In the bike-boom era it was always an issue getting specified components. That's what lead to that era's RRA, avoid Campagnolo and spec what was available. All this said, I can't name specific items that were changed during a product year. Certainly the white Carlton hoods weren't set aside for a gum hood, for instance. Forgive my ageing memory, but there might have also been black Carlton hoods.


In any case, as I said, my day-to-day work did not put me in contact with 'current' production.


Oh, I believe it was not unheard of for production for one market to mistakenly get shipped to another. Then there was the famous issue of the party who drove to Canada, thinking a Raleigh he bought there would be cheaper than here. Not only did he discover this not to be true, the Canadian market bike was spec'd differently than the US model, which he preferred. Of course he only discovered this after returning with his bike purchased in Canada.
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Old 08-31-16, 02:45 PM
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Well, like I said, I think the catalogs are a rough guide. If you wanted to building something "period correct" the catalog doesn't matter at all--just pick parts from the period. If you want to get "catalog correct," that's your problem since the catalog was not always "correct" to what came on the bike.

That's said, the catalog is what you have. So if you have a project in mind, you could start with it as a base point but make period correct substitutions as needed, since Raleigh did the same.

Frankly I don't think there's any need to get too anal about it. Raleigh certainly wasn't.
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Old 08-31-16, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Raleigh was famous for putting on what was on hand if the spec'ed item wasn't on hand. They also did runs of slightly different versions of a model at a distributor's request. So, for example, a run of bikes might be made for a German supply line with a different brake spec'ed, or maybe an extra braze-on. Quality control was also all over the place.

What made the Japanese bikes of the '70s so different was their adherence to tight standards and consistency. Not all, but the better Japanese companies did things that were unheard of before. If you pulled a Fuji out of the box in 1977, you knew exactly what you were getting, what had to be done and how long it would take. Peugeots were a venture into the unknown. I never built up a Raleigh, but I would expect a similar experience.

Ben
From what I remember most British builders were much less tied in to using matching components than say French or Italians who might see it as a matter of national pride to use all Simplex or all Campagnolo and in no case include "foreign" parts. The Brits were much more likely to use what was on hand or perhaps what they were able to get a good deal on.
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Old 08-31-16, 04:57 PM
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I think every 70s Raleigh should be built into a functioning rider to replace a Chinese import - but that's just me.
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Old 08-31-16, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Specifications were always subject to change, but what I want to know is did they change, and if so, how often and which components were most likely to be altered from the catalog specifications? I would like real examples and not hearsay or assumptions. I'm trying to learn, not give a false sermon. Once again, you can't seem to post anything but sarcasm in response to my posts. I don't quite understand why.
Honestly, I think it's a little silly to get hurt over something that's really pretty common sense.

Just think of what it's like to have to order enough of a certain part to a certain spec, and estimate how many of those units you're going to need. You have to rely that the vendor you're purchasing from is going to be able to acquire the parts you're needing in the volume in which you're needing. You have to rely that the manufacturer of those parts is going to be able to produce enough of those parts, you have to hope there won't be power, weather, labor, material, equipment or any other shortages or problems that would delay the manufacture or delivery of those parts... or if the parts you've specced are dogs... you're stuck... if that happens... what happens? Does the bike just not get made? Or do you put the bike together with the best equipment at that pricepoint, so neither you, nor the customer gets shortchanged.

Think of the bike boom. Think of how much STUFF you needed- out of nowhere.

Think of after the boom. Think of how much STUFF you're now stuck with.

Think of the 1970s and 80s in England. Would you say the economy was healthy and stable?

Look at the Trek 720. The early 720s (82-83) were specced with Huret front and rear derailleurs, but you see an AWFUL lot of Simplex FDs on bikes that are otherwise really stock. Turns out the Huret FDs were breaking as they were affixing them to the bikes. John D. Thompson said there was literally a pile of broken Huret FDs before they came up with the solution of the Simplex FDs. They were quality parts and they were either on hand or acquirable. They're not officially specced on those early 720s- but those Simplexes are stock.

If you're really interested in those stories- and they are interesting stories, you're probably better off starting with a component, and finding out about that. Chances are, without a WHOLE lot of research work, you're not going to tie in the 1976 murder of a low level labor leader in Cambodia that triggered a revolt which in conjunction with record flooding that summer- stopped up the brown rubber supply to the world for 6 months to Raleigh using white hoods for the part of the first quarter of 1977... (I just made that up, but you should get the point)

I do like seeing 1968 GTOs- the labor strike of 1967-68 meant that parts for those cars weren't made. So you'll see the screening under the cowl is actually chicken wire. The cars needed to go out- but the parts weren't there. Pontiac improvised and got the car out.
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Old 08-31-16, 05:51 PM
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Raleigh was one of the largest manufacturers in the world with many different specs/decals/tyre sizes/brakes for international markets. Dozens of models were sold over the years in Canada that weren't sold in the US. According to Raleigh catalogs, the sporty Lenton Sports and Clubmans from the late 40'/early 50's all came with 4 speed hubs but I've seen no less than three examples with original 3 speed hubs (@nlerner?) My mother worked for a national department store in 1970 and I'd check out the 10 speeds weekly. Raleighs would have Simplex on a Record one week and Huret on the same bike the next week. The bike boom stressed resources and it was really difficult if not impossible to keep true to catalogs. People didn't order a Record from a catalog, they walked into a store, kicked the tires and decided then. Catalogs from the large builders are and have always been a guideline, not a policy. Smaller builders are more likely to be true to the written word.

Here's a 58 Raleigh Superbe. I've had two of them, identical except one had a 59 SW and this one has a 58. Please let me know if you even find this model in any catalog anywhere, never mind the specs.



Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Specifications were always subject to change, but what I want to know is did they change, and if so, how often and which components were most likely to be altered from the catalog specifications? I would like real examples and not hearsay or assumptions. I'm trying to learn, not give a false sermon. Once again, you can't seem to post anything but sarcasm in response to my posts. I don't quite understand why.
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