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Latest Find 1969-70 Raleigh Competition

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Latest Find 1969-70 Raleigh Competition

Old 01-17-23, 05:16 PM
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Latest Find 1969-70 Raleigh Competition

Hello Friends, I wanted to share my latest addition and get any thoughts, information, advice, etc. from the group. A Schwinn Paramount is on my bucket list so chromed lugs always get my attention which is what first drew me to this when I saw it posted. Reynolds 531 frame and fork and the paint and chrome looks to be in good shape, just covered by a respectable level of grime. I went back and forth with the owner and eventually got him down to $150, I'm definitely curious to hear thoughts on that price. The pump is a Britannia Sprint Veloce with a Campagnolo end and I am really stoked about the vintage bottle holder on the frame. The serial number starts with an E which supposedly indicates a 1970 model but I have read a number of posts that indicate that chromed lugs only came on the 1969 Competition so I'm not sure about the year. I am also curious about the white plastic clips on the seat tube (last pic), it was clearly meant to hold something, I just can't figure out what it would be. This is my first English bike so any tips would be most welcome.









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Old 01-17-23, 05:28 PM
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-----

congratulations, these are nice, have one as well

wheels and front mech not original, everything else appears OEM

original wheels would have been Normandy Luxe Competition hubs with tubular rims, 36 hole

original front mech was Simplex Prestige

some of these received Campag ends and some ZEUS, your fella has the ZEUS

as you have probably found by now the other colour for this model at this time was british racing green


-----
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Old 01-17-23, 05:38 PM
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Pinning down the year on Raleighs of the era is often a challenge. I suspect every "rule" like "this year's had that" got broken. I've seen photos of Competitions of my year ('73) with different lugs, fork crown and dropouts. Now it could be that I am wrong about mine being a '73 or likewise, theirs. What I ado know is that the boring repetitiveness of the Japanese bikes was far, far from what bike shops got when they opened a Raleigh box. (I spent a year assembling Fujis and Centurians, then the next doing Motobecanes mostly and a few Raleighs. Different worlds; the Japanese and the Europeans.)
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Old 01-17-23, 05:47 PM
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From Sheldon Brown; 1969 catalog. Beautiful bike and wonderful find. Congratulations!
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Old 01-17-23, 08:52 PM
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In my opinion it seems the serial number system is pretty straight forward and E equals 1970 across many thousands of examples, I see no reason to doubt this. What is not straight forward, is what Raleigh would give to the customer during this era when they ordered a Competition. The bike isnít even cataloged from 1970-72 so who says they have to all be the same or that this isnít what some of them liked like. I think itís a 1970 with a 1969 look about it. Cool bike!
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Old 01-17-23, 09:03 PM
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I think it's likely that Raleigh made no changes to the model from 1969 to 1970, so kind of hard to pin it down exactly. Do any of the components have date codes? Hubs, perhaps?

Isn't it also the case that some 1973 models (identified by the use of Capella lugs) have serial #s starting with E? Seems I've had a few in my time. Raleigh seemed to like to sow confusion.

Fwiw, here's a pic of the serial # of a green Competition, a '69 according to the person (long forgotten!) who sent me these pics:

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Old 01-17-23, 10:25 PM
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I was a bit surprised initially that it wasn't green, but the catalog does say it also came in black. I've heard of A prefixed serials put on later-in-the year 1973 builds (I thought this was after making more than 9,999 H's in Worksop and the driving force behind the revised serial numbering that started in 1974). I have an E-series Professional, as well as 1971 and 1972 built Competitions (the '71 appearing to be made in Nottingham) and I've no doubt yours was built in 1970 as well. The Nervex lugs, wraparound seat stays, and the fork crown reinforce that impression.

Looks like it was built with care, and it should clean up beautifully. Would like to see it with the dirt and grime gone, and more of its underlying character revealed.
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Old 01-17-23, 11:37 PM
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I'd say the white plastic clips are pump pegs but the upper peg has broken off from the clamp.

I've always wanted one of these but whenever I get close to buying one, I balk.
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Old 01-17-23, 11:48 PM
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That should clean up real nice with a little elbow grease. Cool ride.
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Old 01-18-23, 12:40 AM
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Very cool ride.
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Old 01-18-23, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Pcampeau View Post
In my opinion it seems the serial number system is pretty straight forward and E equals 1970 across many thousands of examples, I see no reason to doubt this. What is not straight forward, is what Raleigh would give to the customer during this era when they ordered a Competition. The bike isnít even cataloged from 1970-72 so who says they have to all be the same or that this isnít what some of them liked like. I think itís a 1970 with a 1969 look about it. Cool bike!
Thanks--looks like you need a Competition for your collection! Do you think I got a good deal at $150? I'm new to Raleigh's and am always looking to educate myself.
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Old 01-18-23, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I think it's likely that Raleigh made no changes to the model from 1969 to 1970, so kind of hard to pin it down exactly. Do any of the components have date codes? Hubs, perhaps?

Isn't it also the case that some 1973 models (identified by the use of Capella lugs) have serial #s starting with E? Seems I've had a few in my time. Raleigh seemed to like to sow confusion.

Fwiw, here's a pic of the serial # of a green Competition, a '69 according to the person (long forgotten!) who sent me these pics:
I will definitely look for date codes on the tear down, right now it's pretty hard to see anything through the dirt .
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Old 01-18-23, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
I was a bit surprised initially that it wasn't green, but the catalog does say it also came in black. I've heard of A prefixed serials put on later-in-the year 1973 builds (I thought this was after making more than 9,999 H's in Worksop and the driving force behind the revised serial numbering that started in 1974). I have an E-series Professional, as well as 1971 and 1972 built Competitions (the '71 appearing to be made in Nottingham) and I've no doubt yours was built in 1970 as well. The Nervex lugs, wraparound seat stays, and the fork crown reinforce that impression.

Looks like it was built with care, and it should clean up beautifully. Would like to see it with the dirt and grime gone, and more of its underlying character revealed.
Thanks--I'm new to Raleigh's and curious about your Nottingham comment--I thought the Professional and Competitions (531 frames) from this period were all built in Nottingham, do you know where else they were being built and how I would tell the difference? I used to work for a company with an office in Nottingham and I traveled there many times, it's a nice town with some great pubs in the city but this was before my steel bike obsession kicked in. It would have been nice to see the factory (or what's left of it).
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Old 01-18-23, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Very cool ride.
Thanks, I'm really happy with it.
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Old 01-18-23, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by sfazio View Post
Thanks--I'm new to Raleigh's and curious about your Nottingham comment--I thought the Professional and Competitions (531 frames) from this period were all built in Nottingham, do you know where else they were being built and how I would tell the difference? I used to work for a company with an office in Nottingham and I traveled there many times, it's a nice town with some great pubs in the city but this was before my steel bike obsession kicked in. It would have been nice to see the factory (or what's left of it).
The official Raleigh company history highlights doesn't include this detail, but in 1960, Raleigh purchased Carlton. While both brands continued to be built and marketed, Raleigh built most of its higher-end bicycles at the Worksop facility where Carlton production had been headquartered. (see Sheldon Brown's version of their condensed history) Until Raleigh opened their facility at Ilkeston to make Team Professionals and "special builds", most of the higher end Raleighs were built built in the Worksop facility. I can't say all 531, because until 1977 or 1978, all Super Courses were still made in Nottingham. I've heard that some Gran(d) Sport(s) frame were also made in Nottingham, and I have a 1971 built (1972 model year) lavender and Lilac liveried Competition which has what looks like a Nottingham serial number.

My understanding is that all Raleigh Professionals, Internationals, the 1973-4 RRA and nearly all the Competitions and Grand Sports were built in Worksop from the late 60's until the factory burned down in 1980 or 1981
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Old 01-18-23, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
The official Raleigh company history highlights doesn't include this detail, but in 1960, Raleigh purchased Carlton. While both brands continued to be built and marketed, Raleigh built most of its higher-end bicycles at the Worksop facility where Carlton production had been headquartered. (see Sheldon Brown's version of their condensed history) Until Raleigh opened their facility at Ilkeston to make Team Professionals and "special builds", most of the higher end Raleighs were built built in the Worksop facility. I can't say all 531, because until 1977 or 1978, all Super Courses were still made in Nottingham. I've heard that some Gran(d) Sport(s) frame were also made in Nottingham, and I have a 1971 built (1972 model year) lavender and Lilac liveried Competition which has what looks like a Nottingham serial number.

My understanding is that all Raleigh Professionals, Internationals, the 1973-4 RRA and nearly all the Competitions and Grand Sports were built in Worksop from the late 60's until the factory burned down in 1980 or 1981
Very interesting and informative, thanks so much!
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Old 01-18-23, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by sfazio View Post
Thanks--looks like you need a Competition for your collection! Do you think I got a good deal at $150? I'm new to Raleigh's and am always looking to educate myself.
I think you got an excellent deal for $150. I have paid that much for notable frames before, and I have felt like the prices were fair. I bought a 73 Raleigh Competition frame last year for $50, and it's in fair condition with a missing derailleur hanger (that I knew about) and a small crack at the seat post collar (which I didn't). So yes, your complete bike in that condition was a steal**. I look forward to seeing it cleaned up!

**Especially if it fits...
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Old 01-18-23, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sfazio View Post
Thanks--looks like you need a Competition for your collection! Do you think I got a good deal at $150? I'm new to Raleigh's and am always looking to educate myself.
Yes, you got a very good deal on this! I do need a 70s Competition in my collection. Iíve got an 84 Raleigh USA Competition but they are not similar bikes at all.

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Old 01-19-23, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
The official Raleigh company history highlights doesn't include this detail, but in 1960, Raleigh purchased Carlton. While both brands continued to be built and marketed, Raleigh built most of its higher-end bicycles at the Worksop facility where Carlton production had been headquartered. (see Sheldon Brown's version of their condensed history) Until Raleigh opened their facility at Ilkeston to make Team Professionals and "special builds", most of the higher end Raleighs were built built in the Worksop facility. I can't say all 531, because until 1977 or 1978, all Super Courses were still made in Nottingham. I've heard that some Gran(d) Sport(s) frame were also made in Nottingham, and I have a 1971 built (1972 model year) lavender and Lilac liveried Competition which has what looks like a Nottingham serial number.

My understanding is that all Raleigh Professionals, Internationals, the 1973-4 RRA and nearly all the Competitions and Grand Sports were built in Worksop from the late 60's until the factory burned down in 1980 or 1981
Why do you suggest that Super Courses were built in Nottingham? My '74 has a Worksop serial number in the same "W" format as my '74 International, not to mention the Carlton decal on the seat tube..... I'm less certain of the origins of my '73 Super Course and Gran Sport - despite the Carlton decals on the seat tube the serial numbers are on the NDS dropout and are all numbers, not in a format used before or after by Carlton at Worksop. Subcontracted, or built at the Nottingham plant maybe?
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Old 01-19-23, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by daka View Post
Why do you suggest that Super Courses were built in Nottingham? My '74 has a Worksop serial number in the same "W" format as my '74 International, not to mention the Carlton decal on the seat tube..... I'm less certain of the origins of my '73 Super Course and Gran Sport - despite the Carlton decals on the seat tube the serial numbers are on the NDS dropout and are all numbers, not in a format used before or after by Carlton at Worksop. Subcontracted, or built at the Nottingham plant maybe?
That's a new data point for me. I have a '72 that has a Nottingham serial number. Despite these being rather ubquitous, I've not taken note of '73s until the '77 redesign, and I had presumed they continued to be made in Nottingham. I did know from having one back in the day, that after the redesign, they were made in Worksop. Thanks for helping me learn something today.
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Old 01-19-23, 01:09 PM
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I know that @cudak888 has dug into this serial # question in-depth and with great stamina. The only thing I might add, and it could easily be coincidence, is that Gazelle used a similar 7 digit /all number format. However, their numbering sequence was consistent and pretty well understood and they were long past having any leading zros. Their sequence started with 2, and then 3 in the early '70s. So, while the format is similar, the Grand Prixs, Super Courses and Gran Sports numbered that way do not fall into the Gazelle sequence. In addition, the Gazelle-built Grand Prix that I had at one time sported a decal saying it was built by Gazelle in Holland and "Nottingham" was replaced by decorative lines on the headbadge. The '73 Super Course and Gran Sport with the seven numeral s/n do say Nottingham, England on the headbadge. Other than the headbadge my '73s don't appear to have any other indication of where they were made, while both of the '74s have a "Made in England" decal on the top tube. Still scratching my head on this one....
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Old 01-19-23, 01:53 PM
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Very nice find! And a great bargain at $150. I have one of these that I paid more than twice that for and I still felt like I got a good deal.

On the serial number, I have an odd data point to add. Here's my Competition, as bought, for reference.



The only thing this matches in the Raleigh catalogs I've seen is the 1969 Competition, and all the components match that catalog entry. But here's the oddity -- the serial number would place it as a 1967 frame.



As has been mentioned, Raleigh catalogs from that period were more of a guideline than an exact specification. My best guess on mine is that the frame was built in 1967 for a different model -- I think there was a Carlton like this -- but never got used for some reason, then sometime around 1969 they grabbed it, painted it, and built it as a Competition. In the OP case, I think the most likely scenario is that they were still building Competitions (more or less) according to the 1969 catalog spec into 1970.

BTW, the one detail I notice that's different between mine and yours is the seat cluster (including the rear brake hanger). Here's mine:



I don't know if that tells us anything. It's just different.

Also note, the Zues crank uses some unusual bolt pattern. It looks like it would be 50.4, but it isn't. I don't think it matches anything else.

Finally, a couple of notes on restoration. First, you can get chrome tape from Amazon that matches the seat tube stripes that are peeling off of yours. Second, if you paint polishes up nicely, and it looks like it would, but you need to touch it up anywhere, Rust Oleum Gloss Black Enamel is a perfect match. Here's a pic of my Competition after I've used the chrome tape and Rust Oleum paint. It's painted around the bottle cage bosses, which @gugie added for me and the fork around the (also added) rack braze-ons. Everything else is the original paint.

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Old 01-19-23, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Very nice find! And a great bargain at $150. I have one of these that I paid more than twice that for and I still felt like I got a good deal.


On the serial number, I have an odd data point to add. Here's my Competition, as bought, for reference.





The only thing this matches in the Raleigh catalogs I've seen is the 1969 Competition, and all the components match that catalog entry. But here's the oddity -- the serial number would place it as a 1967 frame.





As has been mentioned, Raleigh catalogs from that period were more of a guideline than an exact specification. My best guess on mine is that the frame was built in 1967 for a different model -- I think there was a Carlton like this -- but never got used for some reason, then sometime around 1969 they grabbed it, painted it, and built it as a Competition. In the OP case, I think the most likely scenario is that they were still building Competitions (more or less) according to the 1969 catalog spec into 1970.


BTW, the one detail I notice that's different between mine and yours is the seat cluster (including the rear brake hanger). Here's mine:





I don't know if that tells us anything. It's just different.


Also note, the Zues crank uses some unusual bolt pattern. It looks like it would be 50.4, but it isn't. I don't think it matches anything else.


Finally, a couple of notes on restoration. First, you can get chrome tape from Amazon that matches the seat tube stripes that are peeling off of yours. Second, if you paint polishes up nicely, and it looks like it would, but you need to touch it up anywhere, Rust Oleum Gloss Black Enamel is a perfect match. Here's a pic of my Competition after I've used the chrome tape and Rust Oleum paint. It's painted around the bottle cage bosses, which @gugie added for me and the fork around the (also added) rack braze-ons. Everything else is the original paint.


Thanks so much for the response--the seller wasn't a bike guy, this was left in his garage by the original owner and he wanted it gone--he started at $500--he lives an hour away from me and I am in the middle of one project and have another waiting after that bike is done--I really didn't "need" another project but I was drawn to the bike it so I set a low price half hoping he would tell me to pound sand and make the decision for me. When he eventually told me he would meet my price I ran down there and scooped it up before he came to his senses. It's a great lesson in not falling in love too much when negotiating but I know I would have been disappointed seeing someone else get it. His pics didn't do it justice and I was really thrilled when I saw in in person.


Attached is a pic of the serial number--based on what I am hearing it seems like a pretty straight forward 1970, your story is really interesting and just goes to show how difficult it can be to date these old bikes, I have three Peugeot's and those date's are all educated guesses--it's crazy how many companies were just in too much of a hurry to jot some of this stuff down! Here is also a better look at the seat cluster--I have never seen a wrap around attachment like this on seat stays and the brake holder is interesting as well. Thanks for the tip on the chrome tape and paint--there are a few spots that could use a touch up but otherwise there are no dents and the paint should shine up nicely once properly cleaned. Your bike looks fantastic--eager to get this one up and running.






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Old 01-19-23, 04:37 PM
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Bikes: 2012 Trek Madone 4.5, 1982 Austro Daimler SLE, 1970 Peugeot PX10, 1977 PX-10, 1985 Centurion Ironman, 1970 Raleigh Competition

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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
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congratulations, these are nice, have one as well

wheels and front mech not original, everything else appears OEM

original wheels would have been Normandy Luxe Competition hubs with tubular rims, 36 hole

original front mech was Simplex Prestige

some of these received Campag ends and some ZEUS, your fella has the ZEUS

as you have probably found by now the other colour for this model at this time was british racing green


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Thanks! What year is your Competition? Would love to see a pic or two
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Old 01-19-23, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Pinning down the year on Raleighs of the era is often a challenge. I suspect every "rule" like "this year's had that" got broken. I've seen photos of Competitions of my year ('73) with different lugs, fork crown and dropouts. Now it could be that I am wrong about mine being a '73 or likewise, theirs. What I ado know is that the boring repetitiveness of the Japanese bikes was far, far from what bike shops got when they opened a Raleigh box. (I spent a year assembling Fujis and Centurians, then the next doing Motobecanes mostly and a few Raleighs. Different worlds; the Japanese and the Europeans.)
Very interesting--it's crazy to think that they were just cranking these bikes out as fast as they could and that there would be differences in the same model years. The only Japanese bike I have is a 1985 Centurion Ironman, it was a dream to take apart and rebuild, really well built and fun to ride.
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