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Restoring an early 70s Raleigh Super Course

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Restoring an early 70s Raleigh Super Course

Old 09-09-19, 07:16 AM
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Carvingtr
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Restoring an early 70s Raleigh Super Course

My father has a early 70s Super Course which has lots of sentimental value to him. He has mentioned several times that he would like to get the bike back in riding condition or even do a restoration. My mother and I have decided to surprise him by getting this done before Christmas this year. My biggest concern is with the condition of the paint, there is plenty of surface rust, so the finish will either have to be stabilized and left in it's current state or completely refinished. While my biggest concern is with the paint my biggest questions are about hardware.

The bike has Simplex shifters and derailleurs that are in terrible shape and will need to be replaced, I have read that these can be replaced with Raleigh branded Suntour units but I am not sure which ones are a direct fit.

The brakes are center pull Weinmann units and look to be in serviceable condition. The brake pads will obviously need to be replaced, is there a recommended brand pad that fits these better than others?

I removed the stem and fork over the weekend and in the process lost most of the bearing balls, can these be replaced with caged bearings or do the balls have to be loose in the race?

I have yet to remove any parts of the drive train and plan on getting some of that done this coming week, the chain rings look to be in good shape and will probably just need to be cleaned up, but the fasteners holding them together are rusted and one is missing. Does anyone know what size bolts are in the factory chain rings?

The rear gears are pretty rusty and I'm not sure if they can be saved. Are these a cassette or free wheel and is there a direct replacement for them? Also is a modern chain going to be compatible with the original drive train components or is it going to be better just to try and retrofit a full modern drive train to the bike?

Thanks in advance,

Ryan
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Old 09-09-19, 07:44 AM
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Glenns Manual and Haynes Bicycle Mechanics books.

Use the correct tools, in correct sizes -1/4" will work, but 6mm is correct.

If you are riding it, the changes are warranted. If a show bike, you can accomplish that as well.
Careful working with Simplex (Delrin) plastic from this vintage - very brittle.

Lots of bicycle graveyards in metro areas to source parts.

Also, look up photos of your bicycle and use for guides.
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Old 09-09-19, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by 100bikes View Post
Careful working with Simplex (Delrin) plastic from this vintage - very brittle.
Too late, I broke the gears on the derailleur removing the rusted chain.
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Old 09-09-19, 08:45 AM
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First, replacing the Simplex derailleurs with SunTour stuff was a routine repair/replacement/upgrade when the bike was new. The V-GT Luxe rear on a mounting claw and pretty much any SunTour front derailleur would be an improvement. If you can find some SunTour Power Ratchet downtube shifters, that would also be good. If you score a set of the same shifters in the handlebar end (barcon) variety, it's a major upgrade. And don't feel bad about the Simplex stuff breaking, it manages to do that all on its own.

100bikes mentioned Glenn's Complete Bicycle Manual, and that would be an excellent book for this. You might even get lucky and find a copy in your local library, you never can tell. If not, copies are cheap enough, and it's a very good and detailed book that would perfectly suit an early 70s Super Course.

Tires - Panaracer Pasela in 27 x 1 1/4 will work on the stock rims, but don't inflate to more than 70 psi. The tires are rated for more than that, but only on the later hooked-bead rims. On the other hand, those tires roll really, really smoothly at 70 psi or even less.
Cables - get some good stainless steel ones and use Teflon lined housings and you will be shocked by how well they work.
Brake Pads - Kool-Stop sells several different versions of salmon-colored replacement pads for Weinmann brake shoes. My personal preference would be the ones with the X cutouts rather than the dot type, but the dot type is more historically accurate.

The downside to refinishing is that even if repainted, the chrome will probably look tired. Search this forum for Evapo-Rust and Oxalic Acid methods and consider soaking and washing the frame to get rid of the rust. My preferred technique is to wrap the frame and fork in blue paper shop towels and tape them down, then liberally soak said towels with non-toxic Evapo-Rust, then wrap everything up tightly in plastic shrink wrap (either the funky mover's non-adhesive stuff or kitchen cling wrap) and let it sit overnight. It is amazing the difference it makes. I also use Evapo-Rust on chromed steel parts and it seems to work better than anything else.
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Old 09-09-19, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Carvingtr View Post

The brakes are center pull Weinmann units and look to be in serviceable condition. The brake pads will obviously need to be replaced, is there a recommended brand pad that fits these better than others?
I like the KoolStop Continentals on vintage bikes, but KoolStop also makes inserts for Weinmann brakes.

I removed the stem and fork over the weekend and in the process lost most of the bearing balls, can these be replaced with caged bearings or do the balls have to be loose in the race?
You could certainly use caged bearings if you could find them, but I've always liked loose bearings in head sets. My 1974 SC uses 25 5/32" bearings.

The rear gears are pretty rusty and I'm not sure if they can be saved. Are these a cassette or free wheel and is there a direct replacement for them? Also is a modern chain going to be compatible with the original drive train components or is it going to be better just to try and retrofit a full modern drive train to the bike?
SunRace makes some decent (and inexpensive) 5 speed freewheels. You should check the threading on the hub though. There may be a small chance that you have a French threaded freewheel. You can use any chain spec'd for 5/6/7 speed. I use KMC Z33s, but I think they are renamed Z-6.

Good luck on the restoration
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Old 09-09-19, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Carvingtr View Post
My father has a early 70s Super Course which has lots of sentimental value to him. He has mentioned several times that he would like to get the bike back in riding condition or even do a restoration. My mother and I have decided to surprise him by getting this done before Christmas this year. My biggest concern is with the condition of the paint, there is plenty of surface rust, so the finish will either have to be stabilized and left in it's current state or completely refinished. While my biggest concern is with the paint
...paint is an issue a lot of people agonize over. At this point, given your description and your father's desire for what appears to be a ride, not a period restoration, you can either go with powdercoat (which has some disadvantages if the person who does it is not careful with the threading and the fork crown race in masking them....it's difficult to find the tools to restore these on Raleigh proprietary threading, which your bike probably has.) Or you can just strip the paint using a chemical stripper, lose the chrome by sanding it (which deals also with the rust, ) prime it with a self etching automotive primer, anc colorcoat and decal it with replacement decals from Velocals, or maybe H Lloyd. Your final step for a first class and durable paint job would be to clear coat the whole thing with a two part epoxy clear like this stuff. Needless to say it's a lot of work, and some people just sub it out, but it's not cheap.

Originally Posted by Carvingtr View Post
my biggest questions are about hardware.

The bike has Simplex shifters and derailleurs that are in terrible shape and will need to be replaced, I have read that these can be replaced with Raleigh branded Suntour units but I am not sure which ones are a direct fit.
...as stated above, with a claw mount like these bikes used, almost any old derailleurs will work.

Originally Posted by Carvingtr View Post
The brakes are center pull Weinmann units and look to be in serviceable condition. The brake pads will obviously need to be replaced, is there a recommended brand pad that fits these better than others?
...solid brakes, the recommendation for Kool Stop pads is a good one, but there are many brands you can use.

Originally Posted by Carvingtr View Post
I removed the stem and fork over the weekend and in the process lost most of the bearing balls, can these be replaced with caged bearings or do the balls have to be loose in the race?
...loose bearings are much more easily sourced for this use. make sure you measure one of the remaining ones and use the right size.

Originally Posted by Carvingtr View Post
I have yet to remove any parts of the drive train and plan on getting some of that done this coming week, the chain rings look to be in good shape and will probably just need to be cleaned up, but the fasteners holding them together are rusted and one is missing. Does anyone know what size bolts are in the factory chain rings?
...if your bike is old enough to have a cottered crank, this might require some looking. If it already has a cotterless crank, the chainring bolts are pretty standard. You'll get better answers with photos posted somewhere.

Originally Posted by Carvingtr View Post
The rear gears are pretty rusty and I'm not sure if they can be saved. Are these a cassette or free wheel and is there a direct replacement for them? Also is a modern chain going to be compatible with the original drive train components or is it going to be better just to try and retrofit a full modern drive train to the bike?
...these had freewheels. Sourcing them and a chain that fits your setup is not a problem, they are readily available.


Once you have the whole thing apart, start putting photos in your thread. You'll get more accurate information, and it's easier to respond. The headset and fork threading are most probably Raleigh proprietary threading (most of these were.) As is most probably the BB and spindle cup threading. They did vary some (depending on where made), and many of them have been modified over the years. Without some pictures it's very hard to give specifics other than to try very hard not to **** up the headset and BB threading as you disassemble it.
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Old 09-09-19, 10:06 AM
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You say "early 70s" Super Course (SC). The specs for these change toward the later 70s, so rehab/ replace/ upgrade has numerous options and quite a timeline. A good resource to correctly date and spec your Super Course would be the "Headbadge" website. I believe the site owner is a bike forums member. Based on your description, I think the Super Course is 1973. Photo and Specs are here and here.

An upgrade to SunTour derailleurs is a solid bet and what was spec'd on the later 70s Super Courses, but some of the early 70s SCs had Huret Challenger derailleurs which aged a bit better and were more robust than the delrin components in Simplex derailleurs. Just an option to consider.

If your Dad's Super Course is the one in the links above, then you may also have cottered steel cranks. Evapo-rust does wonderful things for old steel bike parts and may clean up those crank bolts quite well (and the chain rings and cranks too if you soak the whole thing). If you want to stay faithful to the original, you could give that a go. Instructions for making a cotter pin press to extract the cotter pins is available online. The necessary lighting hanger c-clamp that serves as the starting point for the press is about $7 and you can buy it online or from a local supplier. The grinder for modifying the clamp may be a barrier. I've made one and it did get the cotters out.

An upgrade to an alloy crankset and modern cartridge bottom bracket may shave a couple pounds off the bike (and Dad could go faster). Period "correct" cranksets are readily available via eBay.
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Old 09-09-19, 10:17 AM
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....this is probably the most useful thing I can tell you:

When taking apart a bike this old and with rust issues, mix up 50/50 automatic trans fluid and acetone in a small squeeze bottle that is made from acetone proof plastic. Apply it liberally to all thread interfaces five or ten minutes before you try to take that section apart. You're welcome.
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Old 09-09-19, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...if your bike is old enough to have a cottered crank, this might require some looking. If it already has a cotterless crank, the chainring bolts are pretty standard. You'll get better answers with photos posted somewhere.
Definitely have a cottered crank.
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Old 09-09-19, 10:37 AM
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See if you can feel him out about how he would feel about an update rather than a period-correct restoration. I have modern components on my 1973 Super Course, and I love it that way. It's a great bike to start from because the frame offers such a good ride, but it did not come with nice components. It's like a painter's canvass more than a masterpiece.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:53 AM
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Thanks for all the replies so far, there is a ton of really good information just in the post I have already received.

Ryan
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Old 09-10-19, 04:03 AM
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Here's a quick update on the bike. The bike has Stronglight cranks with cotter pins, tried to get them out with a c-clamp and a socket, no luck will try a bigger c-clamp later this week. The serial number on the bike is 284676.
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Old 09-10-19, 04:18 AM
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The serial number tags it as a 1972 model.
Raleigh Serial Numbers & Charts
Possibly useful information, if you need to track down original parts - and it's cool to know in any event.
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Old 09-10-19, 06:20 AM
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If you haven't already visited this thread "Show Us Your Super Course", take a few minutes to scan through it, or take a while and enjoy all of the great member Super Course pictured in it. I enjoyed my 79 Super Course greatly, wish I had kept it, and its International stable mate, to this day.

Oh, welcome to the C&V forum also, welcome aboard @Carvingtr.

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Old 09-10-19, 06:41 AM
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You didn't mention your Dad's age group but I found in my 60's a taller stem really helped me achieve a more comfortable riding position.

Also I have become a fan of wide platform pedals since I'm not pedaling anywhere all that fast anymore.

I'm more about the comfort these days.

One final note: on some bikes for more moderate cruising I've found upright bars like a Nitto Albatross or similar have been just the ticket and I love the position of thumb shifters on such bars. Another comfort bonus in my view.

May your project be a great success.

Please post pics when you can.
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Old 09-10-19, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cooperryder View Post
You didn't mention your Dad's age group but I found in my 60's a taller stem really helped me achieve a more comfortable riding position.

Also I have become a fan of wide platform pedals since I'm not pedaling anywhere all that fast anymore.

I'm more about the comfort these days.

One final note: on some bikes for more moderate cruising I've found upright bars like a Nitto Albatross or similar have been just the ticket and I love the position of thumb shifters on such bars. Another comfort bonus in my view.

May your project be a great success.

Please post pics when you can.
My Dad will be 67 at years end. He mostly rides converted railroad paths. The bike may end up being hung on a wall as a monument to his youth and not getting ridden very often. He rode this bike from Birmingham to Mexico shortly after he got it and because of that memorable trip he hasn't been able to let the bike go.
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Old 09-10-19, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Carvingtr View Post
Here's a quick update on the bike. The bike has Stronglight cranks with cotter pins, tried to get them out with a c-clamp and a socket, no luck will try a bigger c-clamp later this week. The serial number on the bike is 284676.
...if you have the fork and everything else off the frame except the cranks, you can usually maneuver the frame around enough to use a vise instead of a C clamp. Use a socket for the negative space in the same way as with the clamp, and use plenty of penetrating oil on the cotters, top and bottom. Keep the nut on the cotter, loose, to help preserve the threads as you push with the vise jaws.
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Old 09-10-19, 08:44 AM
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.
....here is a link to a guy's '72 Super Course restoration, but he had good paint and chrome on the frame. Some of his parts choices might help you.
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Old 09-10-19, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
See if you can feel him out about how he would feel about an update rather than a period-correct restoration. I have modern components on my 1973 Super Course, and I love it that way. It's a great bike to start from because the frame offers such a good ride, but it did not come with nice components. It's like a painter's canvass more than a masterpiece.
Agreed. Suntour V-GT mechs and a Stronglight cotterless crankset (the one whose spider formed the cool 5-pointed star) made my '72 or '73 Super Course an even greater improvement over my Peugeot UO-8 -- until it got stolen. , especially since I used mine for a still-remembered epic first bike tour, too.

The OP says that one of the chain-ring crank bolts is missing -- there were only 3 to start with so something needs to be done. It's possible (I last looked at one over 40 yr ago!) that the missing bolt could be just a standard hardware hex-head short machine screw -- M6 or 1/4 x 20 or maybe one size bigger? The male part just screwed into the crank spider -- there was no separate specially made nut to have to find. If the threads in the empty hole are destroyed, could just drill out the hole and put any old nut and bolt in for safety.

Sheldon Brown has info on getting cotter pins out. Often a tough job, especially if you were hoping to re-use the cotter pins. Cotter pin removal was by far the biggest barrier to doing routine bike maintenance in a university dorm room. If it's just for riding on rail trails for old-time's sake, consider leaving the cranks on and just trickle oil into the gaps between the spindle and the two cups. If it spins OK and doesn't rattle, it could suffice. It'll leak oil so make sure your mother approves whatever wall it might get hung on eventually.

When I had my replacement cotterless crank set installed, the shop had no trouble installing the new bottom bracket, so almost certainly the shell threads are standard English, not Raleigh proprietary.
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Old 09-10-19, 07:44 PM
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I've built two Super Courses from pretty much bare frames a '73 and a '78. The dark green '73 was my first ever bike build, starting from a very rough frame. Lurking on BF was a great help in figuring out what components to use. A friend gave me a nice set of 700c wheels, and I decided, as stated in above posts, to go with Suntour drivetrain, a GT Luxe rear, and a Cyclone II front, Suntour bar end shifters, and a Sugino triple crank, because I already had the BB. The freewheel is a Shimano 6 speed 34t Megarange. It's a great combination. I overspent on the paint, but I'm thrilled by how it turned out. I ended up with more invested than the bike is worth, but it's worth every $$$ to me. To save money, I would go with powder coat next time, also it may be more durable. The gold '78 was in better shape paint wise (only slightly), and came with a few more components than the '73. I went with an identical drive train except the '78 has a SR Apex double crank. Both bikes have KMC 7 speed chains. I have stock type Weinmann pads on the '78, and Koolstop dual compound in modern Shimano type holders on the '73, since it was my Eroica ride last year. These are great riding bikes, good luck with yours!
My green repainted '73 with Pasela 28s.

Original paint, decals and "patina" 'on the 78, with 700c x 28 Gatorskins. I may try to touch up the paint, and do new decals, or even try powercoat. Right now, I'm just enjoying the ride.

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Old 09-10-19, 10:06 PM
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Repeating what conspiratemus1 says, the bottom bracket should be normal English-threaded.

As for removing and installing the precious original hardened crank cotters!:

It will likely take heat to remove the precious cotters without smooshing or bending the threaded ends. Most home mechanics ruin them, beware!
I use a propane torch on the big knuckle of the arm, heated until some oil smoke issues from the assembly when you remove the torch.
Then either a press or a hammer, used judiciously, should allow the cotters to come out damage-free.
Do not damage these cotters, you can't buy decent new ones any more!!!

Upon re-installation, first get the cotters in their correct crankarm, i.e. make sure that both cotters slide freely through their mating arm. If one hangs up, try it in the other arm. Tolerances on these parts was I believe somewhat of a selection-fit process or so it seems.
Then be sure that the two cotters point in opposite directions before driving them in, otherwise the cranks won't be quite 180-degrees apart!
Alternate between hammer blows to the head of the cotter and wrench-tightening of the nut. Repeat until the nut no longer wants to turn.
Definitely use 11 good GR25 1/4" ball bearings per side and install the fixed cup with grease and prodigious torque around 30 Ft.-lbs.

All this because I do feel that the original crankset is worth saving.

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Old 09-11-19, 04:08 AM
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I purchased a Suntour V Luxe derailleur set and a set of power ratchet shifters yesterday. Price was pretty low so if something doesn't work our it's not a huge loss.
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Old 09-11-19, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Repeating what conspiratemus1 says, the bottom bracket should be normal English-threaded.


As for removing and installing the precious original hardened crank cotters!:


It will likely take heat to remove the precious cotters without smooshing or bending the threaded ends. Most home mechanics ruin them, beware!

I use a propane torch on the big knuckle of the arm, heated until some oil smoke issues from the assembly when you remove the torch.

Then either a press or a hammer, used judiciously, should allow the cotters to come out damage-free.

Do not damage these cotters, you can't buy decent new ones any more!!!


Upon re-installation, first get the cotters in their correct crankarm, i.e. make sure that both cotters slide freely through their mating arm. If one hangs up, try it in the other arm. Tolerances on these parts was I believe somewhat of a selection-fit process or so it seems.

Then be sure that the two cotters point in opposite directions before driving them in, otherwise the cranks won't be quite 180-degrees apart!

Alternate between hammer blows to the head of the cotter and wrench-tightening of the nut. Repeat until the nut no longer wants to turn.

Definitely use 11 good GR25 1/4" ball bearings per side and install the fixed cup with grease and prodigious torque around 30 Ft.-lbs.


All this because I do feel that the original crankset is worth saving.

Unfortunately I have probably already ruined the cotters, I followed the advice on Sheldon Brown's website and have bent the threaded ends attempting to press them out. If what you say about good ones not being available anymore then I'll just buy a Stronglight cotterless crank and rock on.
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Old 09-11-19, 08:07 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
I've built two Super Courses from pretty much bare frames a '73 and a '78. The dark green '73 was my first ever bike build, starting from a very rough frame. Lurking on BF was a great help in figuring out what components to use. A friend gave me a nice set of 700c wheels, and I decided, as stated in above posts, to go with Suntour drivetrain, a GT Luxe rear, and a Cyclone II front, Suntour bar end shifters, and a Sugino triple crank, because I already had the BB. The freewheel is a Shimano 6 speed 34t Megarange. It's a great combination. I overspent on the paint, but I'm thrilled by how it turned out. I ended up with more invested than the bike is worth, but it's worth every $$$ to me. To save money, I would go with powder coat next time, also it may be more durable. The gold '78 was in better shape paint wise (only slightly), and came with a few more components than the '73. I went with an identical drive train except the '78 has a SR Apex double crank. Both bikes have KMC 7 speed chains. I have stock type Weinmann pads on the '78, and Koolstop dual compound in modern Shimano type holders on the '73, since it was my Eroica ride last year. These are great riding bikes, good luck with yours!
Nice looking bikes, hoping mine looks that good when I'm finished.
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Old 09-11-19, 08:45 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post

When I had my replacement cotterless crank set installed, the shop had no trouble installing the new bottom bracket, so almost certainly the shell threads are standard English, not Raleigh proprietary.
Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Repeating what conspiratemus1 says, the bottom bracket should be normal English-threaded.
...people say this all the time on Bike Forums, and it is even repeated on at least one "History of the Super Course" web site. Maybe I'm just very unlucky, but of the two I have, and the other one I've worked on here, all had Raleigh proprietary threading. I have always assumed it had something to do with them originally being made as frames in the Carlton production facility, and then some increase or other movement of production of some frames to the Raleigh factory, where the tooling and frame parts supplies were different. But I don't know enough about them to say one way or the other.

Regardless, they do exist in both versions. Otherwise you wouldn't hear all the stories about searching out the special spindles that have enough reach between the shoulders to do the conversion to cotterless cranks using that and the Raleigh original cups. It would be a snap to just buy a standard square taper BB unit that is wide enough for a MTB shell in standard threading and go from there.


Cottered Cranks=Raleigh 26 TPI Threading

In later years, higher-end Raleigh models such as the International, Professional, Competition, Grand Sport and other models built at the separate Carlton workshop used B.S.C. threading, as did models made in Asia and the United States. These bicycles all used cotterless cranks.

Generally speaking, Raleighs that use cottered cranks have Raleigh 26 TPI threading for both the bottom bracket and the headset. These include all Nottingham-built bicycles sold with a coaster brake or internal-gear hub, as well as lower-priced derailer-equipped models up through the Super Course, which had a frame of plain-gauge Reynolds 531 tubing. Although the diameters are the same as B.S.C., the different thread pitch makes the parts incompatible. This article will provide strategies for getting around this problem.https://sheldonbrown.com/raleigh26.html
But to the OP, you really ought to check once you get it apart. Standard threading will make your project much easier to accomplish.

If you're set on going to a square taper crank, and it turns out this has Raleigh threading, Velo Orange sells a "threadless" BB unit in square taper which some people here have used and re happy with. I can't say how good it is, because I've never used one of them.

Last edited by 3alarmer; 09-11-19 at 08:50 AM.
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