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Raleigh Professional vs Specialized Sequoia ?

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Raleigh Professional vs Specialized Sequoia ?

Old 03-28-22, 08:54 PM
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greatbasin
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Raleigh Professional vs Specialized Sequoia ?

I like vintage bikes and have been looking to get myself something better than my '86 Schwinn Traveller that doesn't fit. I've mostly ridden it casually, but I'd like to do some longer rides, even multi-day touring. I have a thread over in the touring section with my experience shopping for a touring bike. I understand the ways vintage bikes don't measure up to modern expedition tourers, but they appeal to me nonetheless. I also know the Raleigh Professional (Mark 3) isn't even close to a touring bike. I think the International was sort of a "Sport Tourer" and that's probably more comparable to the Sequoia (the early 80's one). Even so, it's hard not to imagine the Professional being a sweet bike and if I added 25 pounds of cargo to it with my 135 pounds of rider and "sport toured," I don't think it would ruin the experience.

I don't know the actual geometry of that Mark 3 frame, but I suspect the Sequoia has got a lower trail figure. I'm sure I could add racks and fenders to the Sequoia, but the Professional has at least an eyelet on the dropouts.

Neither of these are especially bargains. I don't know FMV, but I think either one is desirable enough that knowledgeable sellers are going to see what they can get. I suppose I have to figure out not just whether the bike is desirable to me, but whether I can make good use of it. With the Sequoia, I'd probably just use the frame and build everything else over for lightweight touring. With the Professional, I don't know. A bar bag with my credit cards in it?

In the budget vintage category, I'm looking at a Centurion Super Elite. Again, I'd probably just use the frame. Even if I replace the wheels and gears, I'd keep the down-tube shifters and the caliper brakes.

I don't have much experience trying to do anything with my vintage bike - I mean to go anywhere with it other than 10 or 15 miles on bikepaths here and there. Am I being realistic thinking I can take a 50 year old race bike and ride it for a weeklong trip?
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Old 03-28-22, 09:27 PM
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You could sure do it with a competition.
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Old 03-28-22, 09:41 PM
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According to this article, Jim Merz toured on a Raleigh Pro from Portland, OR to the Panama Canal. Surely, if it worked for him, then it should work for others too.
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Old 03-28-22, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
Am I being realistic thinking I can take a 50 year old race bike and ride it for a weeklong trip?
People did it all the time 50 years ago.
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Old 03-28-22, 10:18 PM
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It looks like he mostly loaded the front on the Professional. That's what I was thinking. Small front paniers and a handlebar bag. For the rear, maybe just a big saddlebag like a Carradice Pendle. Looks like the woman had the International. I haven't seen one of those for sale lately.
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Old 03-28-22, 11:02 PM
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@greatbasin

Neither, these are the bikes you seek.







These are what he came up with after he took the trip on the Raleigh, his touring bikes are legendary, ride fantastic and are second to none.

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Old 03-28-22, 11:10 PM
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I think the choice is obvious.

I'm confused why anybody hasn't pointed it out yet.

The answer is: all of the above.
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Old 03-28-22, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
It looks like he mostly loaded the front on the Professional. That's what I was thinking. Small front paniers and a handlebar bag. For the rear, maybe just a big saddlebag like a Carradice Pendle. Looks like the woman had the International. I haven't seen one of those for sale lately.
The Raleigh seemed to do just fine and Jim had a hand in the Sequoia bringing his touring acumen to it so it might be the pick of the two.
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Old 03-29-22, 05:06 AM
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My brother did week long camping tours on his 1979 Professional. He used Blackburn drop out adapters for the rear rack. He reported that it worked just fine and with the correct gearing he would take it cross country without hesitation. At the same time I have an 81 Competition GS and it worked just fine for camping tours back then.
Today I have both bikes and still ride the Comp GS as a daily rider.
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Old 03-29-22, 05:34 AM
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Either of those two are fine, but actual touring bikes were available at the time: such as Specialized Expedition Touring, Centurion Pro Tour and Motobecane Grand Touring. Raleigh also made a touring bike, but name escapes me. Of those I mention above, the French Motobecane tour bike can be more bargain priced than the other two, had great paint + a good ride, but may be a bit less of a pure touring bike. Don

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Old 03-29-22, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ollo_ollo View Post
Either of those two are fine, but actual touring bikes were available at the time: such as Specialized Expedition Touring, Centurion Pro Tour and Motobecane Grand Touring. Raleigh also made a touring bike, but name escapes me. Of those I mention above, the French Motobecane tour bike can be more bargain priced than the other two, had great paint + a good ride, but may be a bit less of a pure touring bike. Don
The Motos are very smooth.
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Old 03-29-22, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I think the choice is obvious.

I'm confused why anybody hasn't pointed it out yet.

The answer is: all of the above.
Seriously, it's about deciding to go.
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Old 03-29-22, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
The Motos are very smooth.
That was my take also. Mine had Vitus 888 tubing. Saw many with side pull caliper brakes rather than the cantilevers found on most tourers + some also had a double crank vs triple Stronglight on mine. It also had these somewhat rare Weinmann scissor centerpulls which I moved to my Grand Jubile when I sold the Grand Touring. Don

Ebay pic

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Old 03-29-22, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by philpeugeot View Post
According to this article, Jim Merz toured on a Raleigh Pro from Portland, OR to the Panama Canal. Surely, if it worked for him, then it should work for others too.
[mom mode] well, if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off too? [/mom mode]

With all due respect, Mr. Merz toured on tubulars and had 45-54 chainrings and 13-23 freewheels. Not the usual sort of touring gearing.

Yeah, you could use a Raleigh Pro, but the number of better options is huge. Just off the top of my head, I'd recommend a Trek 520. There must be 100,000 of them in the world, and they were actually designed for this sort of thing.

and just for fun, here's a scan of the April 1972 Bicycling article on the bikes and trip...





for the record, these are not my scans, and I wish I knew who should be getting credit.
And also for the record, Mr. Merz is active on the Classic Rendezvous list, in case anyone is curious. He's still cranking out interesting bike parts and such.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-29-22, 12:46 PM
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I have a 1983 Specialized Sequoia and have used it for touring. I haven't had a Raleigh Professional, but I have a number of similar bikes.

To me, assuming you can't follow @gugie's advice and buy both, the choice comes down to the balance of what you want to do. If you want a bike that is fun to ride unloaded and you might once in a while use it for light touring, the Raleigh Pro is a good choice. If you want a bike for light touring that can also be used for unloaded day rides, the Sequoia is a better choice. Unless you ride aggressively, the Sequoia won't be at much disadvantage for road rides. It's a fun bike to ride.

If you want to do heavily loaded touring, one of the other options mentioned by others might be better. I used to have a Surly Long Haul Trucker, and for a while I didn't understand why everyone loved them so much. Then I took it for a tour with four fully loaded panniers and another bag on the front, and I understood -- fully loaded, it rode about the same as it did completely bare. Full-on touring bikes are mules. They aren't great for everything, but for what they're designed for they can't be beat.
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Old 03-29-22, 12:48 PM
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I think 25 pounds of gear would be a lot.

Unless you've got a dedicated touring bike- throwing all the weight on the rear would make things squirrelly.

If I'm reading this right- yes, you could use either of those bikes to ride great distances with a decent load on.

Yes, you could fairly easily modify either of those bikes to ride great distances with a decent load more easily.

Yes- you could do that with a vintage sport touring bike or even a vintage "racing" bike. Heck- people rode Schwinn Continentals across the country.

If you wanted to stick with that 25 pound figure- get a tourer.

If you wanted to lose a bit of that cargo weight- get a sport/touring bike and get a triple on it and make sure you have good brakes.
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Old 03-29-22, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
If you want a bike for light touring that can also be used for unloaded day rides, the Sequoia is a better choice. Unless you ride aggressively, the Sequoia won't be at much disadvantage for road rides. It's a fun bike to ride.

If you want to do heavily loaded touring, one of the other options mentioned by others might be better. I used to have a Surly Long Haul Trucker, and for a while I didn't understand why everyone loved them so much. Then I took it for a tour with four fully loaded panniers and another bag on the front, and I understood -- fully loaded, it rode about the same as it did completely bare. Full-on touring bikes are mules. They aren't great for everything, but for what they're designed for they can't be beat.
Andy brings up a good point, even though he has followed my advice and currently needs more than his fingers and toes to count all of his bikes. We ride together often, and more often than not he brings "The 7 Iron" - his Sequoia would be the bike that would fit pretty much every ride, including light touring.


Andy riding on a credit card tour a few years back down the Willamette Valley. @Dfrost in front with a handlebar bag and front panniers on his Miyata 910

Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I think 25 pounds of gear would be a lot.
Unless you've got a dedicated touring bike- throwing all the weight on the rear would make things squirrelly.
This brings up a another good point. What does touring mean to you? Almost all of the touring I've done in the past 10 years is what is what I call "credit card touring". That means overnight stays in a bed with a roof over your head. Sometimes it's stopping at a friend's house, mostly though it means inexpensive hotels along the way. If it's more than just a couple of days, my kit almost always comes out to about 15 lbs including the bags. That's typically 2-4 lbs more others I'm riding with bring, but I do like my creature comforts.


6 guys, 6 days, 400 miles of riding in the PNW. I have very fond memories of that tour.

If you're camping, you'll obviously need a sleeping bag, probably a tent, and maybe some cooking gear. You can easily exceed 25 lbs of gear in that case.

Bottom line, the more you carry, the more you'll appreciate a beefier bike.
Conversely, the less you carry, the more you'll appreciate a lighter bike.

I'm a big proponent of front loading a bike, with the proviso that the geometry can handle it (probably not a racing geometry bike).

10 bikes, most of them front loaded with camping gear with a group from 2016

Grant Petersen popularized the term "S24O" - a sub-24 hour over night. Ride out after work a couple of dozen miles, camp out, return the next day. Might not even have to take a vacation day from work...You'll need pretty much the same gear as a week's worth of touring, just add some more clothes.

Here's how I packed for one about a year and a half ago.

There's a tent, sleeping bag and cooking kit in there somewhere, along with the rest of my kit.
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Old 03-29-22, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
@greatbasin
Neither, these are the bikes you seek.
Seek is the operative word. If I remember correctly, Jim Merz only built about 200 frames, and you have almost half of them.
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Old 03-29-22, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Seek is the operative word. If I remember correctly, Jim Merz only built about 200 frames, and you have almost half of them.
Even if that were the case, I would still only have half as many as I want.

The build sheets go up to 350 with several in the beginning and the end not numbered on the sheets, I think he says about 400 but you're right, its not that many in the grand scheme of things.

We could probably add at least a couple thousand more from his time at Big S.
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Old 03-29-22, 05:02 PM
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You said you weigh 135 pounds. You would have to add over 100 pounds of stuff to your bike to equal me riding the bike in my underwear. I would not hesitate to ride a Raleigh Pro at my weight. I bet you could add 25 pounds of gear and be fine in terms of the bike supporting it. But, I bet the Pro has steeper angles which would make for twitchier steering. If you want to do some unloaded riding as well as light touring, go for the Pro.
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Old 03-29-22, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Here's how I packed for one about a year and a half ago.

There's a tent, sleeping bag and cooking kit in there somewhere, along with the rest of my kit.
I bet you could fit a tiny house in that handlebar bag.
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Old 03-29-22, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by beicster View Post
You said you weigh 135 pounds. You would have to add over 100 pounds of stuff to your bike to equal me riding the bike in my underwear. I would not hesitate to ride a Raleigh Pro at my weight. I bet you could add 25 pounds of gear and be fine in terms of the bike supporting it. But, I bet the Pro has steeper angles which would make for twitchier steering. If you want to do some unloaded riding as well as light touring, go for the Pro.
I'm right there with you, plus another 10-15 pounds, but I don't think it's that simple. I'm out-of-my-depth here, so you should imagine me doing a lot of hand waving as I say this and still feel free to be skeptical, but I believe center-of-gravity is critical to bike handling. For you and me, our 200+ pounds is generally centered between the wheels. We can add a lot of weight above either wheel before it starts moving the needle on center of gravity. On the other hand, if you're a 135 pound rider and you put 25 pounds of weight over the back wheel, you've shifted things considerably. @gugie has preached to me about the evils of weight on a rear rack. I don't notice it for small loads such as I'd typically use for a commute to work, but with a heavier load, even at my weight, I definitely feel it. Once you start talking about weight on the front and the effect of trail it approaches the realm of dark magic for me. Near as I can tell, there's a magic plane where the weight is on or around the axis where the caster effect kicks in and so becomes more-or-less invisible/weightless to bike handling. I have at best a very vague mental model of how it works, but on the bike I've felt it (or, rather, not felt it). I'm sure unless you have the trail perfectly tuned to the placement of the weight, this gets wonky if you add a lot of weight.

So your comment about adding 25 pounds of weight for a 135 pound rider is definitely true in terms of things like vertical flex of the frame, but I don't think it holds up to scrutiny for bike handling. And that's without opening the can of worms that is the distinction between sprung and unsprung weight.
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Old 03-29-22, 06:53 PM
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Good thoughts about percentage of weight effects on center of gravity, @Andy_K.

When touring on that 18” chainstayed Klein mentioned elsewhere and shown below loaded during our 3-week tour, I moved the panniers forward so that their CG was within the bike’s wheelbase. That, plus the inherently stiff oversized tubing of the frame made the load weight totally manageable.



Then there’s the magic Andy mentions of front loading. I’ve carried 25 pounds in the panniers on this @gugie-modified Miyata 912 with more rake=reduced trail. (Mark did all his magic only having the fork.) Certainly the weight is noticeable when the road heads uphill, but surprisingly minimal effect on handling and steering, including downhill. It’s even easy to ride out of the saddle. I’m less sure about sensitivity to being near the steering axis. The HUGE advantage is that bike handling does not depend on frame tubing stiffness. On this trip with Andy, Mark and others, the total load in all three bags was probably about 15 lbs, but minimal effect in the high winds we had most days. Then there were the uphills, where I’m not the climber I used to be… The great advantage is that the bike is still fun with small loads too. (That was equally true with the Klein, BTW.)


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Old 03-29-22, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I bet you could fit a tiny house in that handlebar bag.
I’ve rented it out to a family of little people already.
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Old 03-29-22, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I'm right there with you, plus another 10-15 pounds, but I don't think it's that simple. I'm out-of-my-depth here, so you should imagine me doing a lot of hand waving as I say this and still feel free to be skeptical, but I believe center-of-gravity is critical to bike handling. For you and me, our 200+ pounds is generally centered between the wheels. We can add a lot of weight above either wheel before it starts moving the needle on center of gravity. On the other hand, if you're a 135 pound rider and you put 25 pounds of weight over the back wheel, you've shifted things considerably. @gugie has preached to me about the evils of weight on a rear rack. I don't notice it for small loads such as I'd typically use for a commute to work, but with a heavier load, even at my weight, I definitely feel it. Once you start talking about weight on the front and the effect of trail it approaches the realm of dark magic for me. Near as I can tell, there's a magic plane where the weight is on or around the axis where the caster effect kicks in and so becomes more-or-less invisible/weightless to bike handling. I have at best a very vague mental model of how it works, but on the bike I've felt it (or, rather, not felt it). I'm sure unless you have the trail perfectly tuned to the placement of the weight, this gets wonky if you add a lot of weight.

So your comment about adding 25 pounds of weight for a 135 pound rider is definitely true in terms of things like vertical flex of the frame, but I don't think it holds up to scrutiny for bike handling. And that's without opening the can of worms that is the distinction between sprung and unsprung weight.
You make some great points that I did not think of. But, I didn't see where he said it would all go over his back wheel. I read that it would be a handlebar bag and a Carradice Pendle or something similar. I have ridden with full rear panniers and a full Camper Long Flap carradice and there is a difference in how it changes things. I did not like rear panniers on my Trek 500 due to frame flex but I never felt that when I had a saddle bag.
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Last edited by beicster; 03-29-22 at 06:57 PM. Reason: typo. Probably even more I missed.
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