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Gifted Raleigh Gran Sport: odd components?

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Gifted Raleigh Gran Sport: odd components?

Old 08-23-22, 06:16 PM
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tiger1964 
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Gifted Raleigh Gran Sport: odd components?

Today I was gifted this Raleigh by a long (long!) time friend; it had been his late father’s. Bought new in the 1970’s, he rode it for under a year, had a wreck that hurt him but apparently not the bike, got spooked and parked it. It seems to have been in family basements for, I do not know… 40 to 50 years? My friend did not want to discard it or send it to Goodwill, etc., but a bit small for him (23-1/2” c-to-t seat tube) and he has “gone carbon” anyway. So I just now brought it home.

I do not know much about Raleighs and Gran Sports in particular, but looked at some on-line photos and they’ve come up in a few BF/C&V topics. Hmm, they all seem to be outfitted with Stronglight 93 cranks, Huret derailleurs, etc. Not this one. OK, the brakes are Weinmann center pulls and a no-name headset, but the hubs, seat post, derailleurs, cranks and pedals are all Campagnolo. No idea, but can I suspect a massive “dealer upgrade” at delivery? or was there a “special equipment” variant? I see it’s 531 tubing, but stamped dropouts, hence a claw on the RD. By the way, serial number is 0190651, perhaps there’s a database to determine year?

I have a full plate of “restorations” to finish up as it is — but did not want this to end up in a dumpster, etc. It seems like incredible condition under the accrued dirt, the one scratch on the blue head tube paint is the first I’ve found so far. So, first step is “sympathetic restoration” over the winter, lots of polishing to do and I think I can make the paint job look good. I suspect it will need a chain, all new cables, handlebar tape and, presumably, replace the tires even if they look new — due to age. It should be possible to make it look, if not showroom new, then close.

The reason I asked about the bike was i had discussed with him what I’ve been reading about 650B conversions for “gravel bikes”, and I have nothing in my collection to fit that bill. I think it would need really long-reach brakes, I have not researched that yet. And it might be too nice to subject gravel roads — OTOH, it would mean at least the bike got used…


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Old 08-23-22, 07:04 PM
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Yeah, I agree that bike has been heavily upgraded. Hubs typically should be Normandy with Weinman rims.

It’s a very nice bike, in what looks like excellent condition. It’s worthy of a full tuneup and some miles.
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Old 08-23-22, 07:24 PM
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I'm going to guess 1973, based on the serial # and '73 - later "Raleigh" graphics. I've seen Gran Sports with either Stronglight 93 or Nervar Star cranksets but not with a Campy crankset as factory issue. Original hubs would have been Normandy with 27 11/4 alloy rims. Rear derailleur looks like a Campagnolo but it is at a wonky angle, as though someone may have mounted it to the hanger for the Gran Sport's original Simplex. Seatpost and front derailleur also upgraded to Campy. Certainly nothing to complain about here component-wise. Being as the original handlebar tape has been replaced, and the replacement tape is pretty beat up, I'd guess the bike did do some mileage before the owner's mishap.

Being as the bike came with 1 1/4 (32mm) wide tires and the frame can probably accept 27 x 1 3/8 without clearance problems, converting to 650B may not be worth the expense involved. If the geometry of this Gran Sport is similar to mine, it will make an excellent "all-surface" bike.
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Old 08-23-22, 07:28 PM
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I had a Gran Sport that I had the pleasure of riding for 14 years, so they hold a special place in my heart.
Having said that, most of the parts on it were pretty mediocre at best. Mine retained the Stronglight 93 cranks and the Weinmann brakes, but the rest was replaced. No shame in having nicer parts than what the bike came with.
(btw, what size is it??)

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(not that I need another bike)
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Old 08-23-22, 07:45 PM
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That’s a nice bike. There may be easier routes to turning this into a gravel bike. Some of the early 70s bikes can take a fairly fat tire if running 700 c wheels. Can this handle a 38c tire? It might not but it’s worth trying.

Also this is 531 main tubes and fork, right? If it’s hi tensile in the rear, it will be easy to spread the rear triangle.

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Old 08-24-22, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
Yeah, I agree that bike has been heavily upgraded. Hubs typically should be Normandy with Weinman rims.
That reinforces my suspicions. I had hoped someone with resources like old catalogs, etc., might show exactly what a Gran Sport was.

Originally Posted by daka View Post
I'm going to guess 1973, based on the serial # and '73 - later "Raleigh" graphics.
My recollections is the bike was bought later in the 1970's. My friend graduated high school in 1973 and got his first almost-all-Campy bike the next year, and likely an influencer in the father's choice of a bike, or cycling for that matter. The father would have, appreciated the better spec -- he had an engineering background (& had worked on the Bell X-1 project, for instance).

Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
(btw, what size is it??)
I measured 23-1/2" from center of bottom bracket to very top of seat tube. Have not measured top tube yet.

Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
That’s a nice bike. There may be easier routes to turning this into a gravel bike. Some of the early 70s bikes can take a fairly fat tire if running 700 c wheels. Can this handle a 38c tire? It might not but it’s worth trying. Also this is 531 main tubes and fork, right? If it’s hi tensile in the rear, it will be easy to spread the rear triangle.
Interesting guess; going from 27" to 700C might provide for 'improved' tire clearances. I do have two wheels here with 700x30's I could test fit.

Reynolds decals mention 531 Butted frame tubes, and also 531 decals on forks. Would Raleigh do main tubes and forks but not rear triangle?
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Old 08-24-22, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
That reinforces my suspicions. I had hoped someone with resources like old catalogs, etc., might show exactly what a Gran Sport was.

Snip . . .

Interesting guess; going from 27" to 700C might provide for 'improved' tire clearances. I do have two wheels here with 700x30's I could test fit.

Reynolds decals mention 531 Butted frame tubes, and also 531 decals on forks. Would Raleigh do main tubes and forks but not rear triangle?
Reynolds main tubes and hi tensile fork and stays was not uncommon BITD. There are a few bikes I can think of with Reynolds main tubes and fork. I assume those bikes have a hi tensile rear triangle; otherwise the manufacturer would have used a different Reynolds sticker showing that the entire bike was made out of Reynolds, right?

I'll bet you can fit a 35c tire on that bike even if 38c might not work. I have my '73 Motobecane Grand Record (also Reynolds main tubes and fork and likely hi tensile steel rear triangle) set up with 35c tires and wide ranging gearing (50/36 crank and 14-28 freewheel) to run on rough roads and gravel.

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Old 08-24-22, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
That reinforces my suspicions. I had hoped someone with resources like old catalogs, etc., might show exactly what a Gran Sport was.
I've still got a couple of Raleigh catalogs from my youth. They aren't marked with dates, so it's hard to be certain what years they represent, but I believe they were for 1974 and 1976.

From the '74 catalog:


high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8422/2...46c056_k_d.jpg

and the specs for the bikes,...

high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8434/2...1a9a13_k_d.jpg

and from the 1976 catalog...

high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8001/2...ff7d0d_k_d.jpg

and the specs for the bikes,...

high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8428/2...86bdd5_k_d.jpg

Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Reynolds decals mention 531 Butted frame tubes, and also 531 decals on forks. Would Raleigh do main tubes and forks but not rear triangle?
Mine had the same sticker as yours, and I don't know of a reason to not trust it. I've heard mention of Gran Sport versions with just Reynolds main tubes, though. Don't know if the sticker indicated this, or if it was the result of some inspection of the frame tubes or dimensions. Of course, there is the disclaimer at the bottom of the spec sheets: Specifications Subject to Change Without Notice, so it's possible that Raleigh might have built some with non-specified tubes when they ran short of full sets of 531.

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Old 08-24-22, 06:09 AM
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That Gran Sport is nicely equipped. Great bike. Another option for gravel would be cyclo-cross tubulars. Here I have a pair on my Mercier.

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Old 08-24-22, 06:17 AM
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...and did I mention that a year or so ago my wife bought me a jersey that I have not worn yet? She knew I like Campy so she looked around and found one on-line that says Campagnolo -- but it also says Raleigh all over it. I thanked her but told her, "now I need to get a Raleigh". Little did I know then...

Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Reynolds main tubes and hi tensile fork and stays was not uncommon BITD. There are a few bikes I can think of with Reynolds main tubes and fork. I assume those bikes have a hi tensile rear triangle; otherwise the manufacturer would have used a different Reynolds sticker showing that the entire bike was made out of Reynolds, right? I'll bet you can fit a 35c tire on that bike even if 38c might not work. I have my '73 Motobecane Grand Record (also Reynolds main tubes and fork and likely hi tensile steel rear triangle) set up with 35c tires and wide ranging gearing (50/36 crank and 14-28 freewheel) to run on rough roads and gravel.
I was ready to conclude plain stays until SteelBikeGuy posting the brochures both of which mention 531 stays (w/disclaimer). Anyway, your Motobecane impresses and I need to cast a wider net on selecting tires/rims, for a guy just getting away from 23mm tires, even 35mm would seem fat. Anyway, another childhood friend (known since 1968, cycling together starting in 1971) has more modern bikes but just bought a higher-end gravel bike and I would like to have something to join him on gravel trails. OTOH, the bike looks so nice I wonder if I'd tear up the paint gravel riding; I have no experience there.

Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I've still got a couple of Raleigh catalogs from my youth. They aren't marked with dates, so it's hard to be certain what years they represent, but I believe they were for 1974 and 1976.
From the '74 catalog:
high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8422/2...46c056_k_d.jpg
and the specs for the bikes,..
high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8434/2...1a9a13_k_d.jpg
and from the 1976 catalog...
high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8001/2...ff7d0d_k_d.jpg
and the specs for the bikes,...
high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8428/2...86bdd5_k_d.jpg
Mine had the same sticker as yours, and I don't know of a reason to not trust it. I've heard mention of Gran Sport versions with just Reynolds main tubes, though. Don't know if the sticker indicated this, or if it was the result of some inspection of the frame tubes or dimensions. Of course, there is the disclaimer at the bottom of the spec sheets: Specifications Subject to Change Without Notice, so it's possible that Raleigh might have built some with non-specified tubes when they ran short of full sets of 531.
Good stuff there! and, yeah, I presume possible some bikes built with "whatever we can get" although probably not all this Campy I am looking at. And I think the saddle is a Brooks Pro, not a B17.

And I wonder if it's known what's a good match to touch up the blue paint, the scrape not he head tube needs attention.
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Old 08-24-22, 07:33 AM
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My wife bought a '75 Gran Sport in... oh... '84, with low-end-ish Campag mechs and hubs, but with the Stronglight 93 and a Laprade seatpost. The seller / original owner was not a "cafeteria plan" enthusiast, just a rich parent who, in my observation, wanted to throw some money at his daughter's desire to have something "nice".* Dealer probably talked him into the Campag upgrades citing the "plastic-y" nature of the Simplex mechs. So I'm guessing such upsell offerings were not uncommon at the time.

And yes, the stamped dropouts combined with a 531 triangle/fork were/are a haad-scratcher to me.

As for a paint match, my wife was an artist, and had a formula for that shade of blue I faintly recall her using the little bottles of Testors, with just a hint of yellow added to some generic light blue. Alas, she took it with her.....


*(10-ish years later, the emerging MTB "craze" made this bike passé for the daughter, I surmised. That's how we got it on the cheap.)

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Old 08-24-22, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Can this handle a 38c tire?
I'm running 70c x 35's on one of mine, and I'm pretty sure there's room for 38's. Can't do it with fenders, however.

This also points out that there's no need to run with OEM equipment. Heck, BITD if you bought a Raleigh Super Course or Gran(d) Sport(s) and didn't make some modifications to the livery you probably didn't ride it much.

Here's my Grand Sport that I kept OEM. I didn't do any mods just so I had something to compare it to.



The only things not original on this bike are the tires and handlebar tape - maybe the chain, can't remember if I put a new one on.

Things I'd suggest upgrading, listed in order of "bang for buck":

1. Tires. This is the one thing that will make a vintage bike ride better, faster, and more comfortably. Wide, light, and supple tires are the way to go, IMO. I have several Gran(d) Sport(s) with various kit, and I can tell the difference on them just by tire quality. Note that all of my non-OEM GS bikes have been converted to 700c. Doing so does two things, there's a much bigger selection of modern tires, and the small reduction in diameter moves the tire back a bit from the bottom bracket to where the chainstays are a bit wider, allowing a slightly wider tire to fit. If you can get a pair of good quality, used wheels this is something to consider.
2. Derailleurs. The OEM derailleurs shift like crap compared to putting on something as simple and inexpensive as an old SunTour or Shimano derailleur set.
3. Brake pads. Fresh and modern brake pads will make a big difference.

Everything else is personal preference.

These are relatively common bikes. Changing out components won't offend the bike gods.
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Old 08-24-22, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
That reinforces my suspicions. I had hoped someone with resources like old catalogs, etc., might show exactly what a Gran Sport was.
Vintage Raleigh bicycle catalogs are on the web, but as someone who as worked in bicycle manufacturing, keep in mind that catalog spec isn't written in stone. Product shortages, shipping delays, price increases, etc. can all lead to deviations from catalog spec before the bike even leaves the factory. Bike-boom era bikes such as yours are particularly subject to such substitutions.

Interesting guess; going from 27" to 700C might provide for 'improved' tire clearances. I do have two wheels here with 700x30's I could test fit.
Yes, but you may need to change to longer reach brake calipers.

Reynolds decals mention 531 Butted frame tubes, and also 531 decals on forks. Would Raleigh do main tubes and forks but not rear triangle?
Possible, but not likely.
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Old 08-24-22, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I'm running 70c x 35's on one of mine, and I'm pretty sure there's room for 38's. Can't do it with fenders, however. This also points out that there's no need to run with OEM equipment. Heck, BITD if you bought a Raleigh Super Course or Gran(d) Sport(s) and didn't make some modifications to the livery you probably didn't ride it much.
Wow, that looks great. Odom front hub? And I guess eventually I need to ponder fenders — or not. Again, I have no gravel experience. My wife bought me a book of all the rail-trails in the Mid-Atlantic; that’s great but I’d say well over 60% are not hard paved. Thus, I am considering a gavel conversion. I probably should ride someone’s bikes with gravel 700C’s and then one with 650B, and see what I like better. Supple? What’s that? Yesterday, I rode with said friend (36+miles, 1,700 feet of climbing, so unusual for me) and some rural roads despite recent repaving were so coarse I was skittering around on 25mm and 115PSI; for once “squishy” might have been welcome! His bike, 30mm or 32mm, had no problems.

Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Things I'd suggest upgrading, listed in order of "bang for buck":
1. Tires. This is the one thing that will make a vintage bike ride better, faster, and more comfortably. Wide, light, and supple tires are the way to go, IMO. I have several Gran(d) Sport(s) with various kit, and I can tell the difference on them just by tire quality. Note that all of my non-OEM GS bikes have been converted to 700c. Doing so does two things, there's a much bigger selection of modern tires, and the small reduction in diameter moves the tire back a bit from the bottom bracket to where the chainstays are a bit wider, allowing a slightly wider tire to fit. If you can get a pair of good quality, used wheels this is something to consider.
2. Derailleurs. The OEM derailleurs shift like crap compared to putting on something as simple and inexpensive as an old SunTour or Shimano derailleur set.
3. Brake pads. Fresh and modern brake pads will make a big difference.


Everything else is personal preference. These are relatively common bikes. Changing out components won't offend the bike gods.
1. Yeah, I really am appreciating modern tires. Uh, If I do this bike in two stages, (a) restore as is and try it out, (b) do the gravel conversion, then I’ll be buying a set of 27” tires and then shortly not use them anymore.
2. Normally yeah, but it’s emotionally difficult to pull Campy NR off of anything! If I decide I need a wider range, I have seen the long cage arms retro-fitted to NR derailleurs — that and a wider freewheel and I think I understand there’s a 39T chainring that fits?
3. Thanks, I had almost forgotten that. Kool-Stops for sure. Then again, if I decide to change wheels, will need longer brakes (Weinmann 750?) and transfer the pads over, so no real waste there.

I’d normally “go wild” but I do feel like a custodian of my friend's father’s bike. Then again, it will be ridden now, after four decades of slumber, so a few modifications might be OK.

Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
The seller / original owner was not a "cafeteria plan" enthusiast, just a rich parent who, in my observation, wanted to throw some money at his daughter's desire to have something "nice". Dealer probably talked him into the Campag upgrades citing the "plastic-y" nature of the Simplex mechs. So I'm guessing such upsell offerings were not uncommon at the time.
Somehow, I think this bike’s origins must have been similar. My friend does not even know what dealer it was (where were there Raleigh dealers in suburban MD in the 1970’s?)

Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Vintage Raleigh bicycle catalogs are on the web, but as someone who as worked in bicycle manufacturing, keep in mind that catalog spec isn't written in stone. Product shortages, shipping delays, price increases, etc. can all lead to deviations from catalog spec before the bike even leaves the factory. Bike-boom era bikes such as yours are particularly subject to such substitutions. Yes, but you may need to change to longer reach brake calipers. Possible, but not likely.
Thanks. I guess if I somehow knew what year bike it is form the serial #, perusing the catalogs would have more value. And I do think it odd if Raleigh made these with both 531 stays and plain stays, and not change the decal.
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Old 08-24-22, 12:24 PM
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I disagree with the "late 70's" assessment. I'm pretty sure that frame was built between 1970 - 1972 in Nottingham, based on the serial number and convention.

The bike is in really nice shape and the upgrades seem to have been made sensibly.
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Old 08-24-22, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Wow, that looks great. Odom front hub? And I guess eventually I need to ponder fenders — or not. Again, I have no gravel experience.
Normally yeah, but it’s emotionally difficult to pull Campy NR off of anything! If I decide I need a wider range, I have seen the long cage arms retro-fitted to NR derailleurs — that and a wider freewheel and I think I understand there’s a 39T chainring that fits?
... Kool-Stops for sure. Then again, if I decide to change wheels, will need longer brakes (Weinmann 750?) and transfer the pads over, so no real waste there.
Yep, thoses are Odom hubs. I really pimped this one out.
Fenders on gravel can be problematic, but it really depends on what you mean by gravel. The gravel forestry roads I ride in Oregon are different than, say, the gravel roads in Central California that Eroica rides on. The warning is that you should have a lot of fender clearance if you're riding gravel. I know people that have had a rock travel up and get jammed between the tire and fender. My purpose built gravel frame has 30mm of clearance.

My comments on part replacement were based on the OEM components. Since you've got a NR drivetrain, the OEM horse is out of the barn already, feel free to swap out any parts you desire!

Changing from 27" to 700c shouldn't necessitate a brake change, it's only a 4mm difference in pad position.
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Old 08-24-22, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
I disagree with the "late 70's" assessment. I'm pretty sure that frame was built between 1970 - 1972 in Nottingham, based on the serial number and convention.

The bike is in really nice shape and the upgrades seem to have been made sensibly.
Whenever someone asks me about the year of manufacture on one of my many Raleighs, I typically just say 1973. Seems that the Worksop factory was running full bore right around them.
Of course, serial numbers would help clear that up, but then what's the fun in knowing facts? ;-)
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Old 08-24-22, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
I disagree with the "late 70's" assessment. I'm pretty sure that frame was built between 1970 - 1972 in Nottingham, based on the serial number and convention.
...and...
Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Of course, serial numbers would help clear that up, but then what's the fun in knowing facts? ;-)
OK, serial number is in Post #1. What do "official records", etc., say about the date of manufacture? I checked with the son, and am told no way the father bought it that early, so, either (a) he bought an extremely well cared for -- and modified -- used bike, or (b) somehow this was years-old leftover inventory (uh, during the Bike Boom Years, really?) and the Campy upgrades were part of an arrangement to move it along to a first owner. No idea. I did know both of them from September 1971, I doubt I would have overlooked this bike. Regardless, it is what it is. Perhaps my friend will find a dated photo, he says he has a huge bin of family photos to sort.

Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Fenders on gravel can be problematic, but it really depends on what you mean by gravel. The gravel forestry roads I ride in Oregon are different than, say, the gravel roads in Central California that Eroica rides on. The warning is that you should have a lot of fender clearance if you're riding gravel. I know people that have had a rock travel up and get jammed between the tire and fender. My purpose built gravel frame has 30mm of clearance.
Good to know. Again, I have not ridden on gravel roads here and do not know the coarseness of the surfaces. Indeed, scratch any surface in MD and you are more likely to find hard red clay, Maryland is basically on big brick excepting the shorelines. Hmm, might try w/out fenders and add later, or try them with the understanding I might be removing them trailside.
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Old 08-24-22, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
...and...


OK, serial number is in Post #1. What do "official records", etc., say about the date of manufacture? I checked with the son, and am told no way the father bought it that early, so, either (a) he bought an extremely well cared for -- and modified -- used bike, or (b) somehow this was years-old leftover inventory (uh, during the Bike Boom Years, really?) and the Campy upgrades were part of an arrangement to move it along to a first owner. No idea. I did know both of them from September 1971, I doubt I would have overlooked this bike. Regardless, it is what it is. Perhaps my friend will find a dated photo, he says he has a huge bin of family photos to sort.



Good to know. Again, I have not ridden on gravel roads here and do not know the coarseness of the surfaces. Indeed, scratch any surface in MD and you are more likely to find hard red clay, Maryland is basically on big brick excepting the shorelines. Hmm, might try w/out fenders and add later, or try them with the understanding I might be removing them trailside.
Kurt Kaminer (one of our community) has pulled together a relatively extensive compilation of catalogs and serial number information. https://www.kurtkaminer.com/TH_raleigh_catdata.html

I am quite aware that Raleigh did a lot of scrambling to keep up with demand all through the 1970's. My uncle was one of the larger Raleigh dealers in the eastern US through that period, and I can't tell you how many times he had his orders changed or received things that were different from specs (it was relatively common). This said, they did get quite consistent about making all their 531 models in Worksop by 1977 (the Super Course and Grand Sports were the last models to fully transition), and those serials would all be on the bottom bracket and either follow the pre-1974 A#### serial convention, or the 1974 and later WA###### serial convention. Also, as looking through the catalogs depicts, 1973 and 1974 Grand Sports with rear dropouts that have derailleur hangers. Given what was going on in the supply chain, this doesn't prove the date, but it suggests the earlier date range to me.

1971 -1973 were evidently tumultuous times. I have a lilac Competition that was made with stamped Zeus dropouts that I think was made in Nottingham, rather than Worksop. I also have a Grand Sports with stamped dropouts that has no discernable serial number on the frame anywhere. I think it's one of the 1973's that gugie likes to refer to.

p.s. If you ever decide to attempt the C&O canal with it, 35's and mudguards would be the way to go, imo.,, at least west of Point of Rocks.
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Old 08-24-22, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
OK, serial number is in Post #1. What do "official records", etc., say about the date of manufacture? I checked with the son, and am told no way the father bought it that early, so, either (a) he bought an extremely well cared for -- and modified -- used bike, or (b) somehow this was years-old leftover inventory (uh, during the Bike Boom Years, really?) and the Campy upgrades were part of an arrangement to move it along to a first owner.
Your observation is probably correct. I bought a Super Course MkII in 1975 brand new. Serial number on it shows it was built in 1973.
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Old 08-24-22, 05:53 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I've still got a couple of Raleigh catalogs from my youth. They aren't marked with dates, so it's hard to be certain what years they represent, but I believe they were for 1974 and 1976.

From the '74 catalog:


high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8422/2...46c056_k_d.jpg

and the specs for the bikes,...

high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8434/2...1a9a13_k_d.jpg

and from the 1976 catalog...

high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8001/2...ff7d0d_k_d.jpg

and the specs for the bikes,...

high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8428/2...86bdd5_k_d.jpg



Mine had the same sticker as yours, and I don't know of a reason to not trust it. I've heard mention of Gran Sport versions with just Reynolds main tubes, though. Don't know if the sticker indicated this, or if it was the result of some inspection of the frame tubes or dimensions. Of course, there is the disclaimer at the bottom of the spec sheets: Specifications Subject to Change Without Notice, so it's possible that Raleigh might have built some with non-specified tubes when they ran short of full sets of 531.

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I'm not sure how one can tell what the fork blades and rear triangle are made of. Since Young's modulus is pretty much the same for all steels, one might have to bend a stay or fork blade past the point of plastic deformation before being able to conclude whether or not it was a high-strength steel, and who wants to do that? Perhaps the weight of the fork would be a give-away? Since the Rapid-Taper (crimpless) chainstays are a known Reynolds product, that could be a hint for that item. Remembering a remark that 531 seat stays were larger in diameter, I measured the seat stay diameter at the caps of two Super Courses, one Gran Sport and one Raleigh International (allegedly full 531) and they are all exactly the same. So, who knows?

As to stamped drop-outs vs. forged, I think we'd all prefer forged but I've never heard anyone say they could tell the difference when riding a bike the road. But those are items that would effect the cost of manufacture as the forged components would be more expensive to purchase. On a mid-range bike during the bike-boom years it's apparent they waffled back and forth, since the Gran Sports have been seen built both ways.
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Old 08-25-22, 10:16 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
Kurt Kaminer (one of our community) has pulled together a relatively extensive compilation of catalogs and serial number information. https://www.kurtkaminer.com/TH_raleigh_catdata.html
Thanks, interesting stuff there but a big "do not rely on this" disclaimer on the serial #'s. Odd that the stamping on the dropout was only for one year... why? Anyway, if I took that 100% then the bike is 1973. Or not.

Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
p.s. If you ever decide to attempt the C&O canal with it, 35's and mudguards would be the way to go, imo.,, at least west of Point of Rocks.
I think the last time I cycled on the C&O was 1972-1973 in my mid teens, right after a hurricane made a mess of the towpath, etc. We had to stop every few hundred yards to scrape the mud out from under my friend's Schwinn Suburban's fenders with sticks we would find. This is at the southern end. Disinclined to go back unless they've paved it.

Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Your observation is probably correct. I bought a Super Course MkII in 1975 brand new. Serial number on it shows it was built in 1973.
Thank you, more reinforcement for my beliefs. I wish the bike had a dealer sticked so I could research more.

Originally Posted by daka View Post
I'm not sure how one can tell what the fork blades and rear triangle are made of. Since Young's modulus is pretty much the same for all steel...
Wow, you've thought this through more than I have. And what impact would the type of steel have on a gravel bike -- sadly, I have no clue.
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Old 08-25-22, 11:27 AM
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All of the spec sheets I've ever seen for a Gran(d) Sport(s) show DB main tubes and 531 forks. Earlier spec sheets don't show 531 stays. All of the GS frames I've ever seen have a 531 sticker on the forks.

Pretty much everything else is up for grabs. I have a Gran Sport, a Grand Sport, and a Grand Sports decaled frame. I've got one so modified it has it's own, unique model name.

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Old 08-25-22, 02:19 PM
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If the gravel roads you'll be riding on are not too rough, then 27x1-3/8" tires (about the equivalent of 700x35) are probably fine. I would try that first, and if you don't like it then look for other options. I don't think switching to 700C is going to gain you enough clearance to use wider tires. I have an International from about the same time period, and the chainstay clearance limits me to 700x35. Maybe the Gran Sport's had more clearance but I wouldn't count on it.
If you switch to smaller diameter wheels, that's going to be a fairly big expense, and you'll only be able to use slightly wider tires, 38mm or perhaps 40mm. Not many bikes from the early 70's will take 650Bx42 tires.
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Old 08-25-22, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kroozer View Post
If the gravel roads you'll be riding on are not too rough, then 27x1-3/8" tires (about the equivalent of 700x35) are probably fine. I would try that first, and if you don't like it then look for other options. I don't think switching to 700C is going to gain you enough clearance to use wider tires. I have an International from about the same time period, and the chainstay clearance limits me to 700x35. Maybe the Gran Sport's had more clearance but I wouldn't count on it.
If you switch to smaller diameter wheels, that's going to be a fairly big expense, and you'll only be able to use slightly wider tires, 38mm or perhaps 40mm. Not many bikes from the early 70's will take 650Bx42 tires.
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