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1973 Raleigh Competition Build/Restoration

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1973 Raleigh Competition Build/Restoration

Old 12-04-20, 01:58 PM
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Splendidtutiona
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1973 Raleigh Competition Build/Restoration

So, I bought a Raleigh Competition off Craigslist for $50 in late 2016. I had a bunch of time on my hands at the time and thought, why not rebuild old bikes? I know (or so I thought) about bikes.

To be fair, I had rebuilt my circa late 90s to early 2000s mountain bike(s) a couple of times, so I thought I would have this down. Come to find out, these older bikes are a little different. I’ll tell this story in a probably longer version than any of you really care to read, but in my Engineer way of attempting to be thorough, this will probably take a while. So grab a coffee, beer, wine, water or apple juice, as you prefer, and strap in!

I was finishing a 1974 Schwinn Le Tour when I saw an ad for a Raleigh Competition. I think I looked it up and said, “yeah, sufficiently high end” and went to Newark from my house on Base at McGuire to go get it. No idea this was fairly ‘coveted’ by a few. I got there and attempted to negotiate slightly and the guy proceeded to tell me no way, $50 or nothing since he apparently had a ton of interest. I now realize “yeah, no kidding, a competition for $50?!?” This was at a body shop in Newark and the bike used to belong to an employee who had moved to Florida. The owner told me that he had tried to contact the previous owner more than a few times and finally got a “just go ahead and get rid of it” Given the state of how I got it (should have taken pictures, oops) I can believe it. Dirty, grimey, the original Huret Jubilee derailleurs replace with a Shimano RX100 in the back and some DNP(?) up front. Most of the paint under the top tube was missing, but no holes and was otherwise intact. Original brakes, rims, hubs, crank, Jubilee Shifters, bars stem, brake levers and even had Carlton hoods in decent shape. Again, at the time, I had no idea.

I go home and set to taking it apart and get to the cranks. Unbeknownst to me, the 22mm standard threading these (then unknown) cranks do not have. “Hmm, the crank puller seems a little loose” I says to myself, “whatever, here goes nothing!” I stupidly remember thinking. *slip* goes the threads. Crap. Now what. I attempt think of about 37 different ways to get these off, no dice. The internet it is. “What’s is happen wif my cranks?” I ask the internet (probably this forum). “23mm crank puller threads.” It answer back. “Crap!” [expletive edited for audience] says me. Then 2017 hits and I get VERY busy. I found myself in Africa 4 times, and on planes over 50 times (those were the days! Remember flying on planes!) but in that time, I found out that Kopp’s Cycle in Princeton is the oldest shop in the US. “Surely they MUST have some old crank puller for these sill French TA cranks.” Thinks I. “No.” they say! The “Psych! We actually do!” Huzzah! My prayers are answered! Nope, I damaged the threads (well on one side, the other came right off) and the puller won’t thread. “Crap!” I say again. And the bike gets put away until…Covid!

I have moved, (Baltimore) and evaluated my situation extensively, and decided this is the time to fix the Raleigh. I go to Harbor Freight for 3 prong pullers. Cant get those to set, so back to the puller. “A little brute force and ignorance might lust do it here!” apparently 1970s French aluminum is no match for 1970s French…steel? (whatever they made the pullers out of) because the puller threaded! With a lot of force! Huzzah! Victory over the cranks! And the rest of the parts are immediately stripped.

Everything comes off nice and eas…seatpost! It seems to be chemically welded into the frame. “Crap!” I exclaim once again! So, the fight with the seatpost begins. Chemicals, pliers, other pullers, grapples, swords, fire (no, not really fire) nothing works. So, I resort to cutting. With a small hacksaw. Basically a Sawzall blade with a handle on it. “It’s working!” I exclaim. 4 hours later, I am less enthused. But, I have the seatpost almost cut all the way through! (I wanted to be very careful not to cut into the frame) and I pulled the rest of the tub out with pliers. What a fight!


Seatpost is out!

Then, with the state of the frame as it was, I decided to repaint it. I happened upon the Spray.bike folks and figured “Must be better than Rustoleum” so I gave it a shot. I like it-ish. Good colors. Easy to use-ish. I managed to get drips (very few, and I quickly fixed the error of my technique) which they said would be hard to do. They say 2-4” spray distance. Stick with 2”. The results are much better. They say one cost will be enough. Not sure what world they are living in, but no. No way. I then also used two coats of clear. The clear went over faithful reproductions of the original decals by VelsCals. I like the Spray.bike product. I have a little technique down that I can use now for it, which is good. I would also have done more, thinner coats with the clear. They say one coat per can. With the paint (really more of a spray powdercoat) that is about right, but it’s pretty thin. The clear I would say less than 1 can per coat. About 3 coats for 2 cans, and this is how I would do it if I were to use it again. The clear is wetter, more like a regular spray paint, and is used from farther away (12” if I remember right, but maybe 8”) so it will drip if you’re not careful. This was my experience. I also gold lined the lugs with a pint pen I bought at Michaels. The finest tip they had. Then Decals, then clear over everything.


Don't look at me! I'm Naked!

Very technical “Twine from the deck with a paper clip” method of frame support for painting and the underwear is on!

They call this "London Blackfriars" I call it Blickety Black!

Not TERRIBLE per se, but not amazing...


"Who am I! Where is my name tag!"

Needed to be closer and not as thick with the paint around the bottom bracket shell

*#@%ing bubbles!

Headset "Press"

Last edited by Splendidtutiona; 12-04-20 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Add photos
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Old 12-04-20, 02:18 PM
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Apparently there is a picture limit...

Then re-assembly! Only real issues were the headset (troubles in a different post (Can’t get a crown race to set) and then deciding how to put it all together! “Huzzah!” I think. I have everything I need! I have my new (to me) Huret Jubilee Rear Derailleur, I have a success front (the jubilees I could find were way over priced) and the shifters! Then I see a set of Huret Challengers in the ‘bay for $35 shipped. “Hmmmmm,” thinks I “I could use these cheaper and more robust parts for a gravel-ish build! Great Idea!” and I buy Specialized trigger tires (tubulars!) in sale for $35 ea! From Specialized! “Huzzah!” “How do I glue tubular tires?” Did mention the point of this was to learn how to do all this stuff I didn’t know how to do and I am cheap? I did grow up in West Michigan after all. No offence to the Dutch, but West Michigan is very Dutch, and therefore very cheap! So, I glued the tires on! And my pants! And my Shirt! And my hands! And the garage floor! But they are on! And mostly straight…

Did I mention the Challenger stuff was a mess? Well, it was. So I thinks to myself, “perfect! Great opportunity to rebuild and front and rear derailleur!” so I did. It was a pain. And way less fun than I imagined. But they’re clean! And they work! Huzzah!

The rest of the build goes pretty smooth over the next few days and here are the results!














Specs:

Frame and Fork: 1973 Raleigh Competition, Reynolds 531

Dropouts: Huret

Derailleurs F/R: Huret Challenger/Huret Challenger

Shifters: Huret Challenger

Hubs: Normandy Competition (without pitted cones!)

Rims: Rigida Alloy Tubulars

Headset: Raleigh Steel (ISO, except the crown race seat, which is 27mm, not 26.4mm)

Stem: GB

Handlebars: GB(?) whatever was original

Brakes: Weinmann 610 Vamqueur 999

Brake Levers: Weinmann

Hoods: Carlton Black

Seatpost: ???? some old thing I had in the drawer

Seat: Soma Ensho, White

Tape: Cinelli EVA/Cork, White

Freewheel: SunRace 6 speed (only thing I could find new anymore)

Cranks: TA Specialistes Professional 3-pin

Chain: SRAM 8-Speed

Pedals: Atom
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Old 12-04-20, 02:23 PM
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nlerner
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Great story! And nice build--though I say swap in a silver seatpost and you're done.
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Old 12-04-20, 02:30 PM
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Splendidtutiona
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Great story! And nice build--though I say swap in a silver seatpost and you're done.
Thanks! it was fun to write. Yeah, the seatpost looks ok with the white seat, but a silver will look better. And I need a new one, it has two bolts and seems to be holding, but one of them is slightly stripped and I cant torque it much.

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Old 12-04-20, 07:16 PM
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Great write up and neat bike. Yeah lose that seatpost.
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Old 12-05-20, 04:02 PM
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I dunno--- I'm digging the black seat post look with the black bike, blackwall tires, white saddle and white bar tape... There are a million classically styled, silver-stem, silver-seatpost Raleigh Competitions out there--- something great about taking the old classic and doing the Darth Vader thing with it.....

---though if it were me, I'd go all the way with a black stem as well. There are some nice black versions of Nitto stems out there.


You have something of an elegant tuxedo of a bike, all in black with the lug-lining to stand out....


Kind what Nigel Tufnel would do with his Competition: "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is, none. None more black"
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