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Raleigh Grand Prix, Super Grand Prix, Super Course Frame Weights

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Raleigh Grand Prix, Super Grand Prix, Super Course Frame Weights

Old 03-11-22, 10:40 AM
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Raleigh Grand Prix, Super Grand Prix, Super Course Frame Weights

I've had several Raleigh frames hanging in my shop waiting to be built up so while cleaning up, thought I'd weigh them to see if there were any significant differences between the Grand Prix, Super Grand Prix and the Super Course.

All three frames are 23-1/2", the Grand Prix and Super Course are 1972 models. The Super Grand Prix is from 1977

Both the Grand Prix and Super Grand Prix have 2030 "High Tensile" tubing throughout. The Super Course has Reynolds 531 Straight Gauge frame tubes and "High Tensile" fork blades and rear stays

The weights are as follows:

Grand Prix
Frame: 2648 grams
Fork: 862 grams

Super Grand Prix
Frame: 2706 grams
Fork: 852 grams

Super Course:
Frame: 2538 grams
Fork: 834 grams

The Grand Prix and Super Course have identical frame geometries so the weight differences are attributed to the tubing types, not sure why the forks have different weights

The Super Grand Prix, although the tubing is the same as the Grand Prix, the frame geometries and designs are completely different. The SGP is designed for 700C wheels, has a shorter wheel base and much beefier seat stays, it is more of a racing geometry than the Grand Prix. I've restored a couple of Super Grand Pix's and they were a stiffer and more responsive ride than the GP's I've ridden.
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Old 05-03-22, 09:37 AM
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Old 05-03-22, 11:52 AM
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Interesting real world comparison. Difference is measured in ounces not pounds. Although the real difference is in the geometry and how the bike handles. And of course the hardware.
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Old 05-03-22, 02:05 PM
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I've had a grand prix and now have a super course and while the weight isn't much different the feel of the frame is significantly nicer on the supercourse. Of course a competition rides even nicer....
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Old 05-04-22, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by swampyankee2
Interesting real world comparison. Difference is measured in ounces not pounds. Although the real difference is in the geometry and how the bike handles. And of course the hardware.
"ounces not pounds" ?

I've noted the frame geometries, in terms of hardware the main difference between the 72 SC and 72 GP are alloy vs steel rims. As 52telecaster stated, there is a discernible difference between the SC and GP even though the geometries are the same
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Old 05-04-22, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76
"ounces not pounds" ?

Talking strictly about the bare frame weights which were noted - converted to Imperial units: GP - 5#13.4 oz.; SGP - 5# 15-1/2 oz.; SC - 5# 9-1/2oz., so a 6-1/2 oz. difference between the heaviest and lightest. Yes, steel rims are a big contributor, and other hardware can as well. As someone else linked to a vintage catalog, a Super Course is listed as being one pound lighter than a Grand Prix.


The reason for my original query was, how much difference would there be between a 531 framed bike and a Hi-ten, or Carbolite, or other lower-end framed bike that is similarly equipped, and why are those lesser framed bikes looked at with such disdain. From what I'm getting, there is a different in the "liveliness" of a frame made from lighter, stiffer materials, but as a casual, duffer rider I'm not sure it would be as noticeable - or matter - to me. I know most of the folks here have more finely tuned and experienced tastes, but I will probably never be one. I guess I'm more of a Raleigh Sports, Grand Prix guy. LOL
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Old 05-04-22, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by swampyankee2
Talking strictly about the bare frame weights which were noted - converted to Imperial units: GP - 5#13.4 oz.; SGP - 5# 15-1/2 oz.; SC - 5# 9-1/2oz., so a 6-1/2 oz. difference between the heaviest and lightest. Yes, steel rims are a big contributor, and other hardware can as well. As someone else linked to a vintage catalog, a Super Course is listed as being one pound lighter than a Grand Prix.


The reason for my original query was, how much difference would there be between a 531 framed bike and a Hi-ten, or Carbolite, or other lower-end framed bike that is similarly equipped, and why are those lesser framed bikes looked at with such disdain. From what I'm getting, there is a different in the "liveliness" of a frame made from lighter, stiffer materials, but as a casual, duffer rider I'm not sure it would be as noticeable - or matter - to me. I know most of the folks here have more finely tuned and experienced tastes, but I will probably never be one. I guess I'm more of a Raleigh Sports, Grand Prix guy. LOL
If I could put it into words, and I am not an expert at all, with a straight guage reynolds main triangle it just feels a touch springier on the Reynolds frame. The double butted versions are moreso. That's as simply as I can put it. It's subtle but noticable and feels like the bike springs forward a bit with a pedal stroke. As for high tensile, I have ridden many great high tensile bikes. My favorites are 3 speed sports types. Nothing cooler than an old three speed.
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Old 05-07-22, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
If I could put it into words, and I am not an expert at all, with a straight guage reynolds main triangle it just feels a touch springier on the Reynolds frame. The double butted versions are moreso. That's as simply as I can put it. It's subtle but noticable and feels like the bike springs forward a bit with a pedal stroke. As for high tensile, I have ridden many great high tensile bikes. My favorites are 3 speed sports types. Nothing cooler than an old three speed.
52 telecaster claims not to be a great writer but this description of the difference between riding a more resilient versus less resilient frame is clear, concise, elementary, and IMHO accurate!

As far as the disdain thing, we are a society of consumers who want “good stuff.” Better frames are clearly “good stuff” compared to lesser ones (hence we call it “gas pipe” versus “low-carbon steel”). Snobbishness is built in!
;

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Old 05-07-22, 07:56 AM
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I generally agree with 52telecaster in his assessment of the quality of riding Reynolds straight versus butted compared to high tensile tubing. Additionally, with the higher-end frames I'm become accustomed to riding made completely from butted 531, I'd have to say that the difference between having "pencil" and more robust seat and chain stays, the shape of fork blades and height of bottom bracket make the most difference in riding quality for me. If the main tubes are all roughly the same length I don't see any critical differences coming from the frame geometry (as long as it's more or less traditional), although I've noted that riding on smaller frames definitely felt tighter than the larger 24.5-25.5" frames I'm used to. Those had the benefit of being lightweight while also reducing flex in the stays and bottom bracket area due to shorter tube lengths.

I personally love the way that straight-gauge Reynolds 531 rides because it doesn't flex under me as much as my butted frames with the same tube lengths. I appreciate high tensile frames for the same reason, and had a 1960s Frejus that was super fast and stiff to prove it... Although the supple and fine-tuned qualities of fully butted 531 frames fascinate me, when I begin pushing hard on most of mine I do get rather irked at seeing so much bottom bracket flex. For example, if I have a front derailleur the chain almost always rocks back and forth enough to touch either side of the cage when I'm really pushing on it, and at Eroica CA this weekend I described my Carlton Super Python as "whippy." In exchange the frames are much more comfortable for long-distance riding and feel responsive at all times, while more solid, heavier frames can become a bore and lack personality.

As far as the difference in perception about each of the 1970s Raleigh models being considered, a lot of that probably has to come down to the components that they were originally equipped with because we have to keep in mind that these were stock bicycles and most people investing in them at this end of the spectrum would not have been the sort who are looking to upgrade often or swap a lot of parts off brand new bikes. I would argue that in the price range they were when new during the first period of consumer demand for such bicycles in the United States, getting one's money's worth and having upgraded components was probably a significant factor in why the Super Couse became such a popular model. Cheers!

-Gregory

Last edited by Kilroy1988; 05-07-22 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 05-07-22, 08:20 AM
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Someone here probably has a PDF copy of the Bicycle Guide magazine report published in the mid-1980s of riders' comparisons of. newly built anonymized Columbus-tubed frames.

Short take: they commissioned a builder (might have been Mondonico; can't remember for sure) to produce five or six bike framesets, identical in size, geometry, lugsets, running gear, etc., using all of the then-current Columbus tubesets. A number of riders tried out the bikes and then ranked them by preference. To apparently everyone's surprise, as I remember it, the winner was the bike with the straight-gauge tubeset. Aelle? Zeta? Don't remember.
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Old 05-07-22, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Someone here probably has a PDF copy of the Bicycle Guide magazine report published in the mid-1980s of riders' comparisons of. newly built anonymized Columbus-tubed frames.

Short take: they commissioned a builder (might have been Mondonico; can't remember for sure) to produce five or six bike framesets, identical in size, geometry, lugsets, running gear, etc., using all of the then-current Columbus tubesets. A number of riders tried out the bikes and then ranked them by preference. To apparently everyone's surprise, as I remember it, the winner was the bike with the straight-gauge tubeset. Aelle? Zeta? Don't remember.
I read that too. Very cool read.
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Old 02-24-24, 12:20 PM
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While restoring a 1971 Super Course, I discovered that the down-tube is seamed, just like the Grand Prix which has 20-30 tubing.

I'm guessing Raleigh got away with this by using a Reynolds decal on the SC model which says "531 Tubing" rather than "531 Tubes".

"531 Tubing" indicates a Reynold Seat Tube, which accepts a 26.6 mm seat post in contrast the the early Grand Prix which accepts a 25.4 seat post

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