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1970's Raleigh Grand Prix restoration ideas

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1970's Raleigh Grand Prix restoration ideas

Old 04-29-20, 02:15 PM
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jimfern
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1970's Raleigh Grand Prix restoration ideas

One of my neighbors was throwing it away so I had to rescue it. It needs new tires, brake pads and some other bits. What's the typical budget you guys plan for a mild restoration? It was free and I believe I'm looking at about $70 worth of parts to get it running again. Although the paint is worn, all the hardware seems to be in good shape. The budget includes tires/tubes for about $46 and pedal straps, brake pads and handlebar tape for about $25.
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Old 04-29-20, 02:44 PM
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Up to about $70 sounds right, which might include a can of spray touch-up paint from the auto parts store. Be careful, though, "free" can get expensive real fast.
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Old 04-29-20, 03:00 PM
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One bicycle restoration can be a bit costly. Many bicycle restorations are inexpensive. Special tools for several of the jobs will be needed if you dont have them.

Chain, ball bearings, grease, cables, cable housing, tires, tubes, handlebar tape or grips, saddle at times, brake pads are the usual suspects for replacement.
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Old 04-29-20, 03:06 PM
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Pretty tough to bring it in under $70 if you're going $46 for tires and tubes (and that's pretty frugal), but you should be able to get close depending on the brake pads you choose and what you do about cables. Probably need new inner cables at least and if you have stem shifters new housing would help and new housing for the brakes as well. Might want to replace the straddle cables on the brakes if they're really crappy, which many are. Probably should service all the bearings which won't cost a lot if you have the tools, or a co-op. Is the chain still serviceable? That's $8 - $15 or so. If the chain's crap, you might want to look at a new freewheel. If it's still the original freewheel with 14t small sprocket, it might be one which requires the old Maillard removal tool. It seems those are uncommon these days even though there were about a billion Raleighs that had those freewheels back then. Probably the biggest potential cost is in a decent saddle. Any saddle is ok for a couple miles, but if you're looking to get 20+ mile rides, a cheap or worn out saddle can be punishing. So, I'd guess you're going to end up in the $100 ball park even being pretty frugal. It's really easy to blow your budget on a free bicycle, from someone with experience, more than once.
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Old 04-29-20, 03:20 PM
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I have a Masi fixed that I really enjoy riding and a Trek 3700 that i use on the trails, so I didn't really see myself riding this one too much and that's why I don't want to throw too much money at it. I just thought it would be a shame for the bike to end up in the trash.

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Old 04-29-20, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jimfern View Post
I have a Masi fixed that I really enjoy riding and a Trek 3700 that i use on the trails, so I didn't really see myself riding this one too much and that's why I don't want to throw too much money at it. I just thought it would be a shame for the bike to end up in the trash.
If it has all of the parts you could just re-use everything. I've done this several times. Simply take it apart as far as you can, clean everything and put it back together. It's obviously not a racing, heavy touring, or off-road bike so there is no danger of it malfunctioning while riding under extreme conditions.
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Old 04-29-20, 07:37 PM
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Grand Prix's came with steel rims. Steel rims suck! If you have to replace the rims, it probably does not make economic sense. You may still want to do it but it rapidly becomes uneconomic to replace rims and possibly spokes,...
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Old 04-30-20, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Grand Prix's came with steel rims. Steel rims suck! If you have to replace the rims, it probably does not make economic sense. You may still want to do it but it rapidly becomes uneconomic to replace rims and possibly spokes,...
The OP got the bike for free, he could ride it with the steel rims to see if he likes the bike and if he doesn't ride in the rain, then there is no problem at all. If he decides that he does like it and wants to invest in aluminum rims, there are several economical options.

I bought a Grand Prix for $25.00 at a thrift store, invested about $200.00 in parts plus my labor. I will never sell the bike so I'm not worried about economics. This is a hobby. I now have a finely tuned vintage bike that is unique.


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Old 04-30-20, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
I bought a Grand Prix for $25.00 at a thrift store, invested about $200.00 in parts plus my labor. I will never sell the bike so I'm worried about economics. This is a hobby. I now have a finely tuned vintage bike that is unique.

That's my favorite part about working on a bike. At the end of it the bike is never stock and is 100% mine.

Right now I'm at 3...I hope to keep it that number and resist buying another because I would never want to sell it.
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Old 04-30-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
The OP got the bike for free, he could ride it with the steel rims to see if he likes the bike and if he doesn't ride in the rain, then there is no problem at all. If he decides that he does like it and wants to invest in aluminum rims, there are several economical options.

I bought a Grand Prix for $25.00 at a thrift store, invested about $200.00 in parts plus my labor. I will never sell the bike so I'm not worried about economics. This is a hobby. I now have a finely tuned vintage bike that is unique.

^ This.
Buying to ride is all about the journey and the joy. The International frameset I bought 3 or 4 years ago is on it's third incarnation, having gone from faithful restoration to modern drivetrain rando to townie. Each version has delivered abundant joy while being economically unsound using GAAP as a measure.
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Old 04-30-20, 01:27 PM
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Because I can never leave well enough alone, these projects always cost me more than they Ďshouldí or I expect they will; they take on a life of their own. Mind you, Iíve often said Iíll never buy a brand new bike again. My Raleigh Professional, though almost 50, is a beautiful ride. And often enough, Iíll catch guys kitted out on expensive new carbon bikes - I'm not boasting, it just happens sometimes, not always, often enough Iím the one caught up to but I must admit it feels good to know my old bike (and equally aged body) can hold its own.

Many of these vintage bikes are amazing bits of pre-CAD design and engineering. In the end, I reckon if Iíve restored or rebuilt one of these bikes for $300-$800 dollars instead of spending 2,3 or 4K on a brand-new one, Iíve done well. Most of it is a labor of love though, I just enjoy the process of restoring and using something that had been forgotten and neglected, considered useless because it's outmoded and old.

So itís usually going to be a quick inexpensive job for me- thatís the plan. Inevitably though, these projects grow, itís a bit like doing construction in your home, you open a wall to fix moldy drywall, find old wiring, rotten plumbing, the scope of the job changes. Right now, for example, the rust spots on my Raleigh Professional and Super Course have begun to annoy me. I have a chrome Ross touring bike that needs to be broken down, all its parts polished and then rebuilt. And while thatís happening, hey I may as well get it re-chromed. Salt spray from a ferry to San Francisco and trips out to the coast, a shortcut through the shallows of Richardson Lagoon during a tour did a number on the 40-year-old finish. An earthquake caused top tube scratches and dings on my otherwise perfect Klein Quantum frame - beyond that, that bike is pristine and the marred paint is there staring me in the face every time I ride it. That was the last brand-new bike I bought 20 years ago and up until then, it looked showroom perfect.


The earthquake damage on my Klein and a spare 1980 Ross MTB in the background. My sister's old Schwinn World Tour behind that.


So, when I find a project, hereís how it goes as all sense of practicality and savings is overridden by perfectionism:

I break the whole bike down and wherever possible take the components apart. You quickly learn about the different proprietary and national thread pitches when you have to research why your crank puller won't thread. And youíll also need imperial and metric gauged tools. The Mexican guys at work call imperial Ďgringoí. Latin America, Canada, nearly the whole world has gone metric - not the US.

Then you learn that freewheel removers are really quite diverse and the one you need for bike ĎXí is a hard-to-find special order.

Standard hardware-store wrenches donít work on all the narrow wee hub cones, headset nuts, and pedal assemblies on a bike. Terms like bottom bracket pin spanner will enter your lexicon.

Broken down, I begin to degrease and then polish all the components with Simichrome, 0000 steel wool, and/or compound on a buffing wheel followed by a chamois.

Since the frame and fork are stripped, I canít bring myself to do the rattle can, itís only about $130 or less to powder coat it... so if itís an okay frame, I powder coat it... a spray paint job will bug me every time I ride it but thatís my perfectionism. To each his own and if a spray can gives you joy and saves you money in the process, all the more power to you! Think about perusing an art supply store for a broader range of colors and higher quality paints than what is available at the hardware store.

So, I powder coat it, unless of course, Iíve decided itís a nice frame geometry with gorgeous lug work dying to have a professional paint job, appropriate decals, and lining around the lugs for $500. Mind you, that usually happens after Iíve been able to ride the rebuilt bike for several months and Iíve determined I love it - then I need to break it all down again for the painter. That's what I will probably do with my Raleighs within the next two years.



I ride the hell out of the Super Course and have been keeping the wabi-sabi aesthetic. Itís a fun, nice, responsive ride but the rust concerns me. Besides doing some cool tri-tone paint job on the bike with British Racing Green would be stunning - a poor man's Mercian.




Headtube with heron logo, Nervex lugs, and Simplex Gold friction shifters. Carlton and Raleigh really could have done more with the stock paint to highlight the gorgeous lugs. Even just a bit of gold or cream lining, even black around them would have made a big difference in setting them off.


Now, hereís where I have a dilemma: Braze-on top tube brake housing cable stops are much cleaner looking than top tube housing guides or cable clips (see image below). The Supercourse image above shows the braze-on housing stops. I like the look of the cable clips but it irritates me that one must go over the bike model name and scratch it off. Also, both the guides and clips rust from the salt in oneís sweat, it collects, degrades the paint and the top tube begins to rust. That said, braze-on stops ainít in keeping with the original bike. Iíve dipped chrome parts in Plasti-Dip a few times to repel moisture - Iíve yet to decide if I like it and it doesnít resolve the issue that you canít clean properly under the cable unless you remove the clips. You should really do that after every sweaty ride if you want to preserve them but c'mon, who is that type-A? In the end, Iíll probably choose preservation over aesthetics and do the braze-on stops. Thatís a bit extra to pay the painter but worth it.



Campagnolo cable clips covering bike model/marque decal. 1975 Mark IV Raleigh Professional.



Rust on the top tube beneath cable housing.



Housing guides on a 1980 Univega MTB I restored for my son. Theyíve exposed metal on the edges and will rust.


I while away hours on eBay, Craigís list, Sheldon Brownís website, perusing Grant Petersonís rambling stream-of-consciousness musings. My determination to fully restore a bike with NOS or little-used vintage parts becomes an obsession soon after I start the project. I stalked BikeForums for well over a decade and only just signed up on this forum in an attempt to buy some white ĎCarltoní brake lever hoods for my Sķper Course.


Carlton brake lever hoods. Not on my bike ot tape wrapping - thanks to google. Mine are in the mail so Iíll swap this photo out once Iíve installed them. Love the old fluted cable housing!


With not a little horror, I watch my neighbor acquire old lugged steel bikes, get them powder-coated one color and put all new components on them to resell. He also sells all the salvageable vintage parts. How can he be so vintage adverse? Mind you, he does good work and makes a pretty little profit on eBay. I get the precise clean reliability of new components - theyíre nice and I built up my tourer with mostly new components. There is something though about the disassembling, cleaning and polishing then putting vintage parts back together, knowing how they work, and remembering how I got to know them that really connects me to the bike. The old friction shifters that require I know all the little quirks to finesse shifting and knowing when to change gears on a hill just brightens the ride experience for me; Itís like driving a manual instead of an automatic.

So, all bearings and races get cleaned and repacked with new ones. If thereís pitting or wear anywhere in the races, the part gets replaced. The one place Iíll often update my components is in the bottom bracket, headset and hubs if needed. If you have to replace hubs, youíve committed to buying or building a new wheel. But I may as well just at least put in a new sealed-cartridge bottom bracket for $25-$35 if the old one is shot. Of course, Iíll need the correctly splined tool for that. Thatíll be an additional $15-$25.

A Brooks B17 or Professional saddle eventually goes on every bike I ride - Iím picky that way. If you ride a lot, by the time you shuffle off this mortal coil, you'll cumulatively have spent months ir years of your life sitting on a bicycle saddle, it is worth the investment to get one you find comfortable. REI has B17s for $119, sometimes you can get them cheaper or lightly used for less. Some people find them horribly uncomfortable, I think they are the most comfortable bike saddle Iíve used: 8,9,10 hours a day on a touring bike sold me on their saddles, probably for good but Iím open to suggestions.


A Brooks B17 and Raleigh ĎRí nut Seatpost binder on the Super Course.




A Brooks Professional saddle on the Raleigh Professional. I couldnít resist the repetitive balance - Art Major.


Be wary of old brake pads. New brake pads are a must if the old ones are hardened and no longer gummy. Being able to stop When you want rather than slowly squealing to a stop is important. $25 - 33.50 for 4 - sometimes, sanding where the shoe contacts the rims is enough. I like the red rubber because itís usually stickier (I think Grant Peterson says Ďgrippyí) yellow Kool Stops are fab in wet weather because they are soft and very grippy but the trade-off is they wear faster.


Red rubber brake cartridges.


Fortunately, brake levers are pretty basic and bulletproof. I almost always want the new $15 hoods if the old ones are too cracked or gross. Wesleyís Bleche White, a cleaner for automobile tire whitewalls works wonders on removing grime from brake lever hoods though for just $10.


New cotton handlebar tape - $12. Iíve been sealing mine with a homemade wax waterproofing pomade that I made to waterproof all my canvas touring bags - the wax is nice and Ďgrippyí for a while and then burnishes over time


New cables for shifters and brakes along with housing will cost you about $30. If youíve bought in volume because you love restoring bikes that price goes down per bike considerably.

Iím assuming you donít need new wheels - a wheelset would set you back a pretty penny, at least $250, Eventually, Iíll build or rebuild wheels if I love the bike.

Donít EVER scrimp on tires - EVER! I try to avoid absolutes but this is a major safety issue. I bought cheap tires once and only once. Despite the size stating they were 700C, and the rims also said 700c, it was an ab-so-lute nightmare getting them on the rims because they were nevertheless too small. I put them on a newly built tourer that I was antsy to test ride, I couldn't wait another day. The LBS was closed because it was Sunday, I had to work Monday and there was no guarantee I could make it to the bike shop before they closed Monday evening. Those cheap tires were hanging on the wall and available right then and there. I'd taken them off another bike because they were crappy. Why didn't I toss them in the bin? I have a tendency to be cheap around the wrong things so there they were and I pried them onto my rims. Giddy on my new ride, I had a blowout coming downhill. It was like a shotgun had fired and before I knew what had happened I was scuttin' across the pavement. High-quality brands like Continental, Schwalbe, Vittoria or Michelin will cost you around $100 and a bit for the pair. Spending well and wisely on tires will also help you with fewer flats. Iím curious about Challenge tires - they look a nice replacement for the old cracking gum-walls on my Super Course. The problem is, the choice on tires for 27" clinchers is getting to be slim. Here we go again, a new project and $100 less in my bank account...

Thereís an interesting article at Road Bike Rider on tire width, casing suppleness and pressure related to speed, comfort and riding surface interface. If you want to Google it, itís titled:

Everything You Think You Know About Bicycle Tire Pressure is Probably Wrong.


Last edited by Stronglight56; 05-03-20 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Grammar, spelling, formatting
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Old 04-30-20, 02:38 PM
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Old 04-30-20, 04:48 PM
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You might find you like this bike, as it fills a niche that is empty in your garage. A fixie is nice, and so is a wide-tired MTB, but you don't have a multi-gear road bike. Never mind about the steel rims. They're fine, until they're not. Maybe they'll be fine forever. Most of us here in C&V ride road bikes most of the time. We want you to try this.
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Old 04-30-20, 05:00 PM
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I like GPís and think they ride pretty nicely. But as mentioned, the wheels are a turnoff. Before sinking upwards of $100 into it, I would look around and see what that would buy on CL etc. Heck, maybe clean up the GP and sell it for $75 and then youíd have a bigger budget. See how easy this is to rationalize?
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Old 04-30-20, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
The OP got the bike for free, he could ride it with the steel rims to see if he likes the bike and if he doesn't ride in the rain, then there is no problem at all. If he decides that he does like it and wants to invest in aluminum rims, there are several economical options.

I bought a Grand Prix for $25.00 at a thrift store, invested about $200.00 in parts plus my labor. I will never sell the bike so I'm not worried about economics. This is a hobby. I now have a finely tuned vintage bike that is unique.
I'm not saying he should invest in better wheels. I am saying you can barely appreciate the bike as long as it is shod with steel rims. When I switched my Grand Prix from steel to light weight aluminum rims and light weight tires (tubulars), it was like a different bike. It did not make economic sense but it was WAY better.

When I sold the GP, I kept the wheels. :-)

Whether the OP can afford to buy new wheels is unknown to me.
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Old 04-30-20, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jimfern View Post
I have a Masi fixed that I really enjoy riding and a Trek 3700 that i use on the trails, so I didn't really see myself riding this one too much and that's why I don't want to throw too much money at it. I just thought it would be a shame for the bike to end up in the trash.
Bad Lag ​​, ​​​​​the OP sums it up pretty clearly. It seems to make sense to get it up and running with the stock parts, warts and all. I don't see the point of discouraging the OP by highlighting the flaws of a free, low-end bike. Some would argue that the 20-30 tubing is no better than gas-pipe, but you liked the GP with nice wheels. It's all relative and subjective.
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Old 04-30-20, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Bad Lag ​​, ​​​​​the OP sums it up pretty clearly. It seems to make sense to get it up and running with the stock parts, warts and all. I don't see the point of discouraging the OP by highlighting the flaws of a free, low-end bike. Some would argue that the 20-30 tubing is no better than gas-pipe, but you liked the GP with nice wheels. It's all relative and subjective.
In the end, I sold it and was glad to see it go.

2030 is better than gas pipe but not much. That bike seemed to suck up all the energy and power you put into and give back very little. People are posting pictures of Super Courses, International and Professionals. A Grand Prix is not in that league.

It is a classic bike but that isn't saying much. I do not miss it. I still ride its replacement.

BTW, Branko, before I sold mine, I painted it a dark blue, not unlike the color of yours.
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Old 05-01-20, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Bad Lag ​​, ​​​​​the OP sums it up pretty clearly. It seems to make sense to get it up and running with the stock parts, warts and all. I don't see the point of discouraging the OP by highlighting the flaws of a free, low-end bike. Some would argue that the 20-30 tubing is no better than gas-pipe, but you liked the GP with nice wheels. It's all relative and subjective.
When i read this, it made me think, sometimes free isn't cheap enough. I did like the idea of rebuilding it, but it still needs the parts I mentioned to be ride worthy and I'm not in love with it at this point. Thanks for your advice.

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Old 05-01-20, 08:27 AM
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It costs similar amounts of money to service a very low end and a high end bike to get them into riding condition. The high end bike would likely have some nicer tires, brake pads, saddle, bar tape, etc, but in general you could use the same parts.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jimfern View Post
When i read this, it made me think, sometimes free isn't cheap enough. I did like the idea of rebuilding it, but it still needs the parts I mentioned to be ride worthy and I'm not in love with it at this point. Thanks for your advice.
If the bike doesn't interest you, then there's no need to restore it. As others have noted, it could turn into a money pit. For me and others who grew up with these low-end 1970's era bikes, we find it rewarding to restore them. Like most hobbies, it's not about making a profit, or even getting your money back, it's about having fun. It's a good thing you saved it from the trash.
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Old 05-01-20, 04:58 PM
  #21  
Bad Lag
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Originally Posted by jimfern View Post
When i read this, it made me think, sometimes free isn't cheap enough. I did like the idea of rebuilding it, but it still needs the parts I mentioned to be ride worthy and I'm not in love with it at this point. Thanks for your advice.
If I were an LBS owner, I would give away (or sell at super low cost) beater bikes obtained for free or at super-low cost.

That way, some of the people who take them will eventually come back to me for replacement parts and upgrades. The bike is given away and taken as a charitable contribution tax deduction and I make money on parts upgrades. Let's call it a "marketing strategy".

Note that branko's GP is really nice. Also note, as nice as it is, it does not have its original seat post, saddle, crank, bottom bracket, wheels, tires or derailleurs. The fenders are aftermarket (not stock).

So, it IS a hobby and he has had fun upgrading his GP. He did a nice job. I bet it's a nice ride.

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Old 05-01-20, 05:20 PM
  #22  
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Nice looking Restoration....

Hi All!
I'm new to the forums and modifying these old bikes.....however I recently purchased a Raleigh patina frame off eBay and hope to build up a simple bike with parts taken from an early 80's Schwinn Traveller. I enjoyed riding the Schwinn around...but it was way undersized for me at 54.....I'm 6'1". The frame gets here in a few days and it apparently is one of the models built in Holland....which is supposed to make life much easier with replacing the bottom bracket? It has the standard threading and not the proprietary threading of other area builds. Can someone here confirm that? I also read somewhere on the forums that once the conversion is made from 27" to 700C wheels....its possible to run tire sizing anywhere from 37mm up to 42mm....Can anyone here confirm that as well?
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Old 05-01-20, 05:27 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by jimfern View Post
When i read this, it made me think, sometimes free isn't cheap enough. I did like the idea of rebuilding it, but it still needs the parts I mentioned to be ride worthy and I'm not in love with it at this point. Thanks for your advice.
It really depends. There is some value to learning by doing. Whether it's worth it to you - only one person can answer. I've erred on the side of "costs more than I'm likely to recoup several times, but I'm not regretting it. Perhaps you will, perhaps you won't. All I'll add is, if the bike fits (or comes close) there's an additional element of learning that can take place.

Best of luck on your journey.
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Old 05-01-20, 11:18 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Bad Lag ​​, ​​​​​the OP sums it up pretty clearly. It seems to make sense to get it up and running with the stock parts, warts and all. I don't see the point of discouraging the OP by highlighting the flaws of a free, low-end bike. Some would argue that the 20-30 tubing is no better than gas-pipe, but you liked the GP with nice wheels. It's all relative and subjective.

Originally Posted by jimfern View Post
When i read this, it made me think, sometimes free isn't cheap enough. I did like the idea of rebuilding it, but it still needs the parts I mentioned to be ride worthy and I'm not in love with it at this point. Thanks for your advice.
Here's a thread that pertains to the 20-30 tubing used in the Grand Prix...

2030 Frame Tubes
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Old 05-02-20, 11:52 AM
  #25  
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Hi, I need to up my posts so I can post this bike in the for sale section. I don't really want any $ for it,just don't want to see it in the dump, so as soon as I have enough posts, I'll throw it up for free pickup in the DFW area. It needs a paint job too. I like to tinker with stuff but since I don't really love this one, and it appears some of you do have a soft spot for it, have at it. I measured the frame and it appears to be 59 CM which is also way too big for me.
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