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Raleigh Supercourse build advice needed

Old 06-30-20, 01:07 PM
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jblackmd
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Raleigh Supercourse build advice needed

What with my lap pool being closed with the Covid, I dusted off my old bike and have really been getting into riding it. It runs great! I bought this 1973 Raleigh Supercourse TT in 1980, but it was still new in the box, unassembled. I have made some changes over the years. I replaced the crank after I bent it with a Sugino LT. I soon replaced the rims, originally it came with sew-ups, with 700 C's after my first flat. I changed the handlebars to a more hybrid type because I was concerned that hunching over all the time might injure my back. It was getting a bit stiff.

The rest of the bike is stock, and I'm thinking I would like to do something about that. I love the bike, but the derailleurs really do suck. They are plastic Simplex. I'm used to them, but they skip and are not precise. The brakes are Weinmann Centerpulls, and they work fine. My question to the forum is what would be a good derailleur set for this model? Would new components fit? Should I be looking for used or NOS? If I change the deralleurs, do I have to change the chain, sprocket and cluster? Should I change the chain anyway because it's really, really old? And of course, should I change none of those things and keep it as stock as possible? I still have the old handlebars and brake levers in storage.

I know these are a lot of questions, but there aren't a ton of places to ask them and any advice would be greatly appreciated.


My ride.

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Old 06-30-20, 01:53 PM
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Suntour VGT Luxe
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Old 06-30-20, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Suntour VGT Luxe
always a good choice... barcons too.
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Old 06-30-20, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
always a good choice... barcons too.
So Suntour, rather than Shimano or Campy? I never heard of Barcon
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Old 06-30-20, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jblackmd View Post
So Suntour, rather than Shimano or Campy? I never heard of Barcon
Many of the later 1970's Raleigh bikes came with the aforementioned Suntour VGT. They are great derailleurs and reasonably priced second hand.
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Old 06-30-20, 02:52 PM
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@jblackmd, the bearing grease in the bottom bracket, headset, hubs and pedals would have deteriorated by now. If you're going to ride it regularly, I'd suggest having the old grease cleaned out and new applied.
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Old 06-30-20, 02:56 PM
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for example, here is what the grease looked like in my 1974 Raleigh Grand Prix headset...

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Old 06-30-20, 03:01 PM
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Definitely have your BB and headset cleaned up and re-greased. Perhaps a riser bar for a more upright position and alleviate stress on the lower back.
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Old 06-30-20, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Many of the later 1970's Raleigh bikes came with the aforementioned Suntour VGT. They are great derailleurs and reasonably priced second hand.
my search begins!
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Old 06-30-20, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
@jblackmd, the bearing grease in the bottom bracket, headset, hubs and pedals would have deteriorated by now. If you're going to ride it regularly, I'd suggest having the old grease cleaned out and new applied.
I definitely want to do that. Unfortunately I donít have confidence in my ability to do it and not brake the bike. Of course, the bike shops are at limited capacity. To bring it in for service I have to make an appointment just to drop it off, and theyíll have it for like 3 weeks. So I was thinking when I can get it in there, they can do all of that, and adjust the derailleurs and true the wheels. And if the derailleurs still skip, get some new ones. How about the chain? That has to be worn out by now!
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Old 06-30-20, 06:17 PM
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Barcons are also known as bar end shifters. And yes, chains are cheap. Replace it.
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Old 07-01-20, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jblackmd View Post
I definitely want to do that. Unfortunately I don’t have confidence in my ability to do it and not brake the bike. Of course, the bike shops are at limited capacity. To bring it in for service I have to make an appointment just to drop it off, and they’ll have it for like 3 weeks. So I was thinking when I can get it in there, they can do all of that, and adjust the derailleurs and true the wheels. And if the derailleurs still skip, get some new ones. How about the chain? That has to be worn out by now!
Sheldon Brown (RIP) site has good instructions on both, as does Park Tools web site.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/bbcups.html
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/bbadj.html
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/headsets.html

You'll notice the use of some specialized tools for both. If you live near a bike co-op, you might be able to use their tools. I will admit to servicing bottom brackets and headsets back in the '70s using only a hammer and punch, and adjustable wrench. Being a poor college student and not having internet, etc. to show me the error of my ways, I used what I had. Not recommending it, just noting that it is possible. I would leave as much together as possible, i..e., don't remove the fixed BB cup, the crown race or cups on the headset, etc. Just clean them and repack with fresh bearings.
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Old 07-01-20, 01:11 PM
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Pars I was considering learning how to do this stuff... I mean, if it was a situation where I had been doing it all my life, or at least as a kid, I would do it. I've always done minor repairs on it. But nothing like this. I saw a YouTube about greasing the hubs, and I don't live near a bike co-op that I know of, so I would have to buy the tools. I know this is probably sacrilege in a forum like this, but I'm going to have the bike gone over professionally. Found this service that comes to your house and does it: Velofix. I chose the package where they basically disassemble and inspect and service the entire bike in a day. I have an appointment for this Saturday AM. I'm going to have them put on a new chain, replace any worn parts and fit it to me. I'm going to hold off on replacing the derailleurs until I can see how they are after they've been serviced. They are plastic Simplex, but I don't see any cracks and the cogs look good.

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Old 07-01-20, 01:31 PM
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As previously noted, barcons are bar end shifters and shimano and campy made them too!
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Old 07-01-20, 02:43 PM
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52telecaster I saw that. I've thought about the shifters, but I'll tell ya: back in the day only the best bikes had down tube shifters. I'm pretty used to them by now. Whatever I end up doing with the derailleurs, I'll likely keep the shifters. I might get metal ones to match whatever derailleurs I end up installing, if any. I'll see how the Simplex work after they've been adjusted.
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Old 07-01-20, 03:48 PM
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Really nothing better then a Suntour Cyclone GT for that bike.
Tim


1978 Supercourse
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Old 07-01-20, 07:56 PM
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cool. I found a front, rear and the levers on eBay for around 60 bucks, and they look perfect.
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Old 07-04-20, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
@jblackmd, the bearing grease in the bottom bracket, headset, hubs and pedals would have deteriorated by now. If you're going to ride it regularly, I'd suggest having the old grease cleaned out and new applied.
Velofix was by today and took care of your laundry list, and also trued the wheels, adjusted the brakes and derailleurs. Big difference! Felt like it was 1980 again! Now, the crappy Simplex do shift better than they did, especially the front, and Iíll ride them for a bit. But I did order a nice set of Suntour Cyclones and Iíll switch them out in a few weeks.
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Old 07-04-20, 09:02 PM
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Looks like it's in good hands...
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Old 07-05-20, 01:20 AM
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I'll echo the sentiments here about the front derailer. The original Cyclone, later second-gen model, or Cyclone MII will all do fantastically. The endless band models are very nice and slick too, if you start with a brand-new one.

However, I wouldn't suggest barcons here, and I'd go so far as to say this is an absolutely ridiculous suggestion that completely ignore OP's current handlebars. Shifters have no business sticking out of the side of an already-wide, flat handlebar? I can't imagine trying to shift them that way. Not to mention that it'd be a great way to induce front end handling problems when shifting, or to cause shifting if one brushes an object with the handlebars. Unless that recommendation also comes with one for North Road bars or some upright bar that sweeps back, barcons have no business as a recommendation here. For that matter, I don't think any of these 22.2 diameter bars would be large enough to fit barcons in the end, so it's a moot point.

I know there's a long-standing bias against stem shifters here because of their use on low-end 10-speeds, but a set of these would be perfect with the existing flat bar. That, or thumbies.

Also, I've never quite had the same love for the Suntour GT/VGT that the forum has. Sure, they're better than Nuovo Record for accurate shifts, but their return spring is hellishly stiff. Plus, all the folks who still fawn over them have caused them to regularly hit the $35-45 mark on eBay, when they're a $10 derailer at best. The upgrades on the OP's Super Course are sensible and tasteful, but the build is not tethered to period correctness - as such, any later 1980's or 90's Shimano or SunTour derailer will do, and will be a lot easier to source. Furthermore, the lesser spring tension of these later derailers, which will make shifting easier.

FYI, if that's an Atom/Malliard freewheel, changing the chain could result in chain skate (where the narrower modern chain snags between the gaps and rides the V-shaped grooves Atom on the top of their freewheel cog teeth). As such, changing the chain may force you into swapping out the freewheel as well to avoid problems. While these wider chains and stamped freewheels aren't ideal for smooth shifting, I'd measure chain wear before changing it just because it's "old." If it works as intended and you are pleased with the current, period levels of performance, why mess with perfectly good parts? Unless you specifically desire buttery smooth shifts, save your money to replace the plastic Simplex bits and let the chain and freewheel wear out first.

-Kurt
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Old 07-05-20, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
I'll echo the sentiments here about the front derailer. The original Cyclone, later second-gen model, or Cyclone MII will all do fantastically. The endless band models are very nice and slick too, if you start with a brand-new one.

However, I wouldn't suggest barcons here, and I'd go so far as to say this is an absolutely ridiculous suggestion that completely ignore OP's current handlebars. Shifters have no business sticking out of the side of an already-wide, flat handlebar? I can't imagine trying to shift them that way. Not to mention that it'd be a great way to induce front end handling problems when shifting, or to cause shifting if one brushes an object with the handlebars. Unless that recommendation also comes with one for North Road bars or some upright bar that sweeps back, barcons have no business as a recommendation here. For that matter, I don't think any of these 22.2 diameter bars would be large enough to fit barcons in the end, so it's a moot point.

I know there's a long-standing bias against stem shifters here because of their use on low-end 10-speeds, but a set of these would be perfect with the existing flat bar. That, or thumbies.

Also, I've never quite had the same love for the Suntour GT/VGT that the forum has. Sure, they're better than Nuovo Record for accurate shifts, but their return spring is hellishly stiff. Plus, all the folks who still fawn over them have caused them to regularly hit the $35-45 mark on eBay, when they're a $10 derailer at best. The upgrades on the OP's Super Course are sensible and tasteful, but the build is not tethered to period correctness - as such, any later 1980's or 90's Shimano or SunTour derailer will do, and will be a lot easier to source. Furthermore, the lesser spring tension of these later derailers, which will make shifting easier.

FYI, if that's an Atom/Malliard freewheel, changing the chain could result in chain skate (where the narrower modern chain snags between the gaps and rides the V-shaped grooves Atom on the top of their freewheel cog teeth). As such, changing the chain may force you into swapping out the freewheel as well to avoid problems. While these wider chains and stamped freewheels aren't ideal for smooth shifting, I'd measure chain wear before changing it just because it's "old." If it works as intended and you are pleased with the current, period levels of performance, why mess with perfectly good parts? Unless you specifically desire buttery smooth shifts, save your money to replace the plastic Simplex bits and let the chain and freewheel wear out first.

-Kurt
They ended up not changing the chain. After he removed it and inspected it, he said it was fine and didn't need to be replaced. As for the Cyclones, I already bought them. The simplex do work a lot better now, but they are still imprecise. I'll switch them over in a few weeks, and if I don't like them I can always look for a later model Suntour or Shimano. As for the shifters, I'm pretty used to the downlubes after so many years, and I don't have plans to change that at this time.
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Old 07-05-20, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Looks like it's in good hands...
The best!
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