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Grail bike quandry.

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Grail bike quandry.

Old 08-14-20, 07:29 AM
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Grail bike quandry.

After passively looking for years for a Raleigh Grand Prix like my first one I got in 1971 it has surfaced! The right year, color, size, condition, at the upper limit of my price range but I think they'll haggle and about an hour drive outside my search radius but it's got all the blocks checked. The quandry? After all these years and now that it's finally within reach.... I'm not sure I really, really want it. They really weren't all that great and I'm afraid reality wouldn't be able to match up with 49 year old nostalgia. But DAMN is it pretty.
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Old 08-14-20, 07:33 AM
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Yeah, living up to the nostalgia can be a problem. I know you'll do what's best.
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Old 08-14-20, 07:57 AM
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Go ahead and get it and bear in mind the whole time that grail bikes are strange, memory is stranger.

When I was a kid I so very much wanted a PX-10. When I returned to cycling I acquired several of them, and currently own none - I liked the idea of the PX-10 more than the reality, and truth be told, if I'm gonna ride a French bike boom production race bike I really would prefer a Gitane.

Then there was the quest to replace my beloved Puch Royal X that I had foolishly sold to someone who had it stolen from him a few months later - and then 30+ years later THAT VERY BIKE surfaces and I snag it. And yes, it's a lovely bike, and I am grateful to have it back, but it spends a lot of time on its pegs and will probably remain in semi-retirement for the rest of the time I'm around to keep it.

My latest mad-scientist bike is an attempt to re-create the vibe of the ONLY bike I truly regret letting go of in the last 20 years, an early Raleigh Competition I plucked from a trashpile and built up as a beater fixed-gear. I stupidly let go of that one during a downsizing purge - but lo, it's replacement manages to meet (and perhaps slightly surpass) my memories.

Finally, the OTHER memory bike is my current clunker challenge entry. I'm waiting to see what I think of this Raleigh Gran Sport once its finally on the road - my taste in bikes has changed, and I don't think I really appreciated my first one that I bought used and rode for a year or so as a commuter. We'll see.
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Old 08-14-20, 07:57 AM
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...this is the same thing you run into looking up old girlfriends.
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Old 08-14-20, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...this is the same thing you run into looking up old girlfriends.

😂😂😂 Ain't that the truth!
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Old 08-14-20, 08:19 AM
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You should go buy it.

If it brings back some memories all the better. If at the end of the day your thirst is satiated then worth it. And if you decide the bike isnt for you at least you can close that chapter and move on.
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Old 08-14-20, 08:58 AM
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Get it. You can definitely ride it a while, scratch the nostalgia itch, and flip it.
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Old 08-14-20, 09:02 AM
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What made it so precious to you?

I ask because my first "good" bike was a Raleigh Super Course. I loved it, and rode it everywhere when I had it (from age 18 - 21 when it got stolen). After I got back into cycling, and had fixed up, and was used to riding a Fuji Finest, I came across a Super Course that was the same size, year, color and all but the saddle was original equipment. When I built it up and rode it, it was a bit of a disappointment because I had gotten so used to the better ride of the Fuji.

If you're getting it for sentiment and to take an occasional ride, and display - I wouldn't counsel you against getting it. On the other hand, if you're getting it because you imagine it becoming your "A" ride, and you're used to something that rides better, you're likely setting yourself up for disappointment.
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Old 08-14-20, 09:11 AM
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Or maybe get a bike with a similar vibe but "better"? My first bike was a cheap Nishiki 10 speed. I picked up a Sekine SHS 271 from the mid 70s that was "better" in every respect to that old Nishiki. The Sekine is from the same era as that Nishiki and like the Nishiki it has turkey levers and "rat trap" pedals. But it is a better bike with a tange frameset, forged drop outs, chromed socks and 1/2 chromed fork, and better parts. Why not relive your past and upgrade your bike ride at the same time? I love the Sekine and it has become my daily commuter and knocking around town bike.

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Old 08-14-20, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
What made it so precious to ?
My first "good" bike as well and I rode it everywhere. Lots of memories but all too often how we remember things and how they really were are quite different. I suspect I might find my plan of painting an '84 Grand Prix with the '71 livery would be more enjoyable. The '84 is a much better bike all the way around it's just lacking the classic very early 70's Raleigh paint scheme. I can't do anything on this one for several days anyway, maybe somebody else will buy it and spare me the torment.
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Old 08-14-20, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
My first "good" bike as well and I rode it everywhere. Lots of memories but all too often how we remember things and how they really were are quite different. I suspect I might find my plan of painting an '84 Grand Prix with the '71 livery would be more enjoyable. The '84 is a much better bike all the way around it's just lacking the classic very early 70's Raleigh paint scheme. I can't do anything on this one for several days anyway, maybe somebody else will buy it and spare me the torment.
Another possibility is to find someone who has one, and to persuade them to let you ride it. That could help you decide whether to pursue it or not.
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Old 08-14-20, 11:54 AM
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It's a Grand Prix, it shouldn't be very pricy, even in nice condition. And they can be customized and built up to be super nice riders (yanno, swap the steel bits for alloy) and no matter what it's an old Raleigh and will look gorgeous. $100 max in poor condition, $200 max in mint condition. You'll have a nice Raleigh siting around that likely everyone who sees it will ask about and you can tell them its the first bike you had. Doesn't sound so bad to me.

That being said, nostalgia doesn't work like that for me and it'd have to be the actual bike that I had for me to care too much.
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Old 08-14-20, 12:15 PM
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Memories get pretty distorted by time, yet we all have to keep relearning that.
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Old 08-14-20, 12:25 PM
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GREAT input guys! 🖒 When I had it I wanted something better, now I have a garage full of better bikes. I think I'll let the memory stay a memory and enjoy the ones I have. THANKS!!!

Last edited by Murray Missile; 08-14-20 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 08-14-20, 12:57 PM
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If there is doubt, then it is not your grail.
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Old 08-14-20, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
If there is doubt, then it is not your grail.
This is really the best point here.
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Old 08-14-20, 03:22 PM
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Only if it's dirt cheap.
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Old 08-14-20, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
This is really the best point here.
sometimes the wallet is just not fat enough.
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Old 08-14-20, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
...They really weren't all that great ...
This.
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Old 08-15-20, 04:51 AM
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I guess I'm fortunate to have not had any good bikes when I was a kid. Dad bought a Hawthorn single speed that was passed through the three of us. Then my brother and I made a banana seat/ape hanger bike from various parts and thrashed that around (poor old thing). Then, after mowing a lot of lawns for small money, I had enough for a 10 speed. Like most kids the only choice was a Schwinn Varsity, green. I really enjoyed that bike and loved the color. It followed me as I grew through high school, college, marriage and kids, getting fewer miles and more dust n cobwebs each year. Finally I realized I was not going to ride it and it went to the transfer station ages ago.

No regrets. I've learned a lot (mostly from YOU folks) and have also seen a lot of Varsities since then. I have no itches to relive that past. Yesterday, I did my 35 miles on the Raleigh Pro - dawn patrol in the cool air. Slobbered in debris and wet mud from all the recent storm damage, it still looked great and rode great. I kept thinking about how luck I was to have it. And that's one of the 8 in current rotation. I would not ride the Varisty if I had it.

If nostalgia ever nagged me I would bring down my salty roads bike, Babe the Blue Oxen (Free Spirit) and ride that. Naw, not until the snow is deep again.
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Old 08-15-20, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Or maybe get a bike with a similar vibe but "better"? My first bike was a cheap Nishiki 10 speed. I picked up a Sekine SHS 271 from the mid 70s that was "better" in every respect to that old Nishiki. The Sekine is from the same era as that Nishiki and like the Nishiki it has turkey levers and "rat trap" pedals. But it is a better bike with a tange frameset, forged drop outs, chromed socks and 1/2 chromed fork, and better parts. Why not relive your past and upgrade your bike ride at the same time? I love the Sekine and it has become my daily commuter and knocking around town bike.
That's what I did with my Fuji. I had a 1980 Fuji Royale that I bought brand new out of a shop. It got stolen, once in 1982, recovered, then again in 1984. I replaced it with a Miyata 310 and have owned other bikes since, but I always had a soft spot for my old Fuji. Thanks to the knowledge gained on this site, when a 1981 S12-S LTD came up locally, I knew it was an upgrade to the Royale and brought it home. It had a bad respray so I painted it Cobalt Blue in homage to my old bike. It came with most of the original components, and I tried to stay close to original with anything that needed replaced. If I stumble across a Royale in the future, I may pick it up, but I am quite happy with how this one came out.


1981 Fuji S12-S LTD
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Old 08-15-20, 08:21 AM
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I have a 1971 Grand Prix that has been in my attic for years wauting to be built. It is the green color and made in Holland. I thought I would build it up but every time I get close to doing something with it , I have a nicer bike come my way and absorbs my time. They are heavy frames and I am afraid after all these years of riding much lighter higher end bikes it would be anticlimatic. They are bullet proof bikes to be sure but do I want to spend a few weeks putting it together? I dunno, Joe joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 08-15-20, 01:56 PM
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My folks got me a Huffy 12 speed for my 16th birthday- never rode it much, I was a runner in HS and we lived on a big hill. I often wonder if my bike journey would have been different if I'd had a nicer first road bike but I eventually ended up at a good place and I certainly don't pine for that Huffy lol. You made a wise choice Murray Missile keep building memories with that garage full of lovely bikes,
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Old 08-15-20, 04:21 PM
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wait... what color is *the color*??


(this is from the 1976 catalog. Not sure how the '71 model differs)

personally... I've got a weird bit of lust for blue mink & silver... despite having better bikes.
I've reluctantly avoided purchasing at least one in great shape and my size just because I knew my lust was only skin/paint deep.



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(btw, my size is 24 1/2", just in case....)
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Old 08-16-20, 11:48 AM
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Carmine Red and Black. The 1971 had a black band on the top tube as well and the "Raleigh" and "Grand Prix" were in cursive. Mine had a Wright leather saddle and the dye would come off on the seat of your pants LOL. I put a cheap black stocking cap over the saddle to keep from getting strange looks.

Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
wait... what color is *the color*??


(this is from the 1976 catalog. Not sure how the '71 model differs)



Steve in Peoria
(btw, my size is 24 1/2", just in case....)
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