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'71 Raleigh International Evolution/Devolution

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'71 Raleigh International Evolution/Devolution

Old 05-09-23, 04:35 PM
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'71 Raleigh International Evolution/Devolution

Thought I'd share the curious history of my '71 Raleigh International, which I just tweaked to take its technology backwards a couple of decades. It started as a fairly beat up frame and fork that I snagged on one of the bike lists for small money. I built it up as a drop-bar commuter with front basket, bar-end shifters, SunTour Cyclone drivetrain, 32mm tires and fenders, and Stronglight compact double crankset. I used it in that config for several years:

IMAGE_294.jpg

Enter the Bike Butcher of Portland, who agreed to subject this frame to the whole @gugie--a 650B x 42mm conversion with braze-on MAFAC Raid brakes, custom front rack, internal wiring, a smoothing out of the dings and dents, and a fresh powdercoat. I built it up as a commuter/tourer w/ dynohub and lamp and a Shimergo drivetrain (8-speed Shimano cassette and rear mech, Campy Veloce 10-speed brifters). Sometimes it got to stay in my office:



In the winter, I install knobby Soma Cazadero 650 x 42mm tires:


I also use it with my Burley trailer to make Costco runs:


And a few years back I toured from Washington, DC, back to Boston:

IMG_7094

Untitled

While I was happy with that setup, on a recent ride, someone suggested that those MAFAC brakes would actually be more effective with genuine MAFAC levers, which should provide the proper cable pull. Enter @gugie again, who dug deep in his stash to find me a set. Once I was going with non-aero levers, I decided the gearing might as well also take a few steps back, so I decided to go with 8-speed downtube friction shifting. At first, I tried SunTour levers and a SunTour VX-GT RD, but it didn't have enough swing to deal with that 32-t large cog, so on the advice of several here, specifically @rccardr, I went with Shimano SL-6207 levers and the Shimano LX RD I had on there previously. I installed it all today, and shifting is marvelous! Here's the current state of affairs:








Ready for another decade or so of commuting, hauling, touring and whatnot.
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Old 05-09-23, 04:39 PM
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I have used Camp. 10-spd Ergoshifters with Shimano 9-speed on several bikes, but never realized a similar setup could work with 8-speed.
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Old 05-09-23, 05:08 PM
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So how are the brake levers playing with the brakes?

I think the combo of lever pull and brake needs to take into account the rider's hand. The closer your hand is to making a fist, the stronger the pull.

The levers I use on RAIDs are typically some inexpensive Tektro aero levers. I have no idea what the lever pull is, but they work well for me. I have large hands (cue the one liners), which may be why they work fine even though the lever pull is "wrong" for the brakes.
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Old 05-09-23, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
So how are the brake levers playing with the brakes?
They're terrific! It takes very little pull to engage the brakes, and the feel is clean and snappy (rather than mushy).
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Old 05-09-23, 07:38 PM
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Shimano 6207: Always the answer!
Sweet ride, Neal.
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Old 05-09-23, 07:54 PM
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Internationals lend themselves to this sort of tomfoolery. They practically invite it! Happy miles...
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Old 05-09-23, 11:06 PM
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I've been told I have large hands for my modest height, but I've never even come close to being comfortable with Mafac drop bar levers.
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Old 05-10-23, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie
I have large hands (cue the one liners…
More strength for wrenching gas pipe bikes into alignment??
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Old 05-10-23, 12:03 PM
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Love the color. The leather really complements it.
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Old 05-10-23, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RCMoeur
I've been told I have large hands for my modest height, but I've never even come close to being comfortable with Mafac drop bar levers.
Same here. No Modolo, Campag., or MAFAC levers for me. Weinmanns and Shimanos let me grab a fistful of braking power for a sudden stop.
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Old 05-16-23, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by John E
Same here. No Modolo, Campag., or MAFAC levers for me. Weinmanns and Shimanos let me grab a fistful of braking power for a sudden stop.
Oddly enough, one of the components that are better now than they have ever been, (other than aesthetically,) is drop-bar non-integrated brake levers.

Despite the fact that they haven't been spec'd on new bikes for three decades, the best feeling, best fitting, overall best brake levers that have ever been made are being made right now.

--Shannon
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Old 05-17-23, 06:31 PM
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One thing that Neal's leaving out is that when I "gugified" his International I reraked the fork. He wanted to try low trail, I think I calculated the new trail in the low 30's. Neal didn't like the handling .

No problem, I flew back east for Peter Weigle's French Fender Day in 2017. After the event we rode back to Providence, RI then took a train to Boston, where he hosted me for a few days. That's when he told me about the "too low!" geometry. No problem, it got packed up with my bike and shipped to the Orygun Atelier for some unraking.


Big Red got packed up and Neal's blue fork hitched a ride back to the Atelier

What the Atelier giveth, the Atelier taketh away.
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Old 05-17-23, 06:57 PM
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^ Yeah, I learned that I like mid-trail, neutral handling.

Not sure what to make of all the weak hands talk other than HTFU.
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Old 05-17-23, 08:28 PM
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Gugie, do you have a few pictures to show "too low" versus "more like Neutral?" And maybe examples of the associated specifications? I'd like to see how my Trek 610 conversion fork, the OEM geometry of my 1952 Rudge Aero Special, and my Terraferma Super Corsa stack up. All have similarly low trail. Or, I have measurements of all three, which perhaps we can share.

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Old 05-17-23, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
^ Yeah, I learned that I like mid-trail, neutral handling.

Not sure what to make of all the weak hands talk other than HTFU.
I'm kinda in the same place - I still think Weinmann 500's and early Campy Record sidepulls were fine, they just need more of a good squeeze than most center pulls. But I haven't tried anything similar with a long reach. Maybe my Rudge with its long GB Hiduminium brakes will be a good example.
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Old 05-17-23, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Gugie, do you have a few pictures to show "too low" versus "more like Neutral?" And maybe examples of the associated specifications? I'd like to see how my Trek 610 conversion fork, the OEM geometry of my 1952 Rudge Aero Special, and my Terraferma Super Corsa stack up. All have similarly low trail. Or, I have measurements of all three, which perhaps we can share.
Pictures? Nah, trail is a number. Here's a great white paper on fork rake and trail.
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Old 05-18-23, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Pictures? Nah, trail is a number. Here's a great white paper on fork rake and trail.
I sure appreciate the new fork tips!
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Old 05-18-23, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Pictures? Nah, trail is a number. Here's a great white paper on fork rake and trail.
My interest is to learn more about something you mentioned, neutral steering. I've seen the term for a while: Dick Talbot in his book (from 1984) talked about designing it for a custom bike, so I think I know how to evaluate my own bikes. Have you ridden a 650b rando set up with neutral steering? Have you found any existing bikes which are already neutral steering? It's basically that the front of the bike does nor rise or fall as the bars are turned. This suggests flop-factor is zero, and I'm not sure it sounds attractive to have zero restoring force in the handlebars, at least that's how I assume it works.
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Old 05-18-23, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
My interest is to learn more about something you mentioned, neutral steering. I've seen the term for a while: Dick Talbot in his book (from 1984) talked about designing it for a custom bike, so I think I know how to evaluate my own bikes. Have you ridden a 650b rando set up with neutral steering? Have you found any existing bikes which are already neutral steering? It's basically that the front of the bike does nor rise or fall as the bars are turned. This suggests flop-factor is zero, and I'm not sure it sounds attractive to have zero restoring force in the handlebars, at least that's how I assume it works.
I can tell you that the bike gugie did for me, which has a pretty low trail is amazingly easy to steer with a front load, which is how I prefer to tour. It has some restorative force and is a little different to ride when unloaded but if I hadn't ridden it for a year I'd be used to the feel in a couple of blocks of riding. I don't know what the flop factor is but in this case I love the lower trail.

Not a great pic but as you can see I am not afraid to ride it unloaded.
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Old 05-19-23, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
My interest is to learn more about something you mentioned, neutral steering. I've seen the term for a while: Dick Talbot in his book (from 1984) talked about designing it for a custom bike, so I think I know how to evaluate my own bikes. Have you ridden a 650b rando set up with neutral steering? Have you found any existing bikes which are already neutral steering? It's basically that the front of the bike does nor rise or fall as the bars are turned. This suggests flop-factor is zero, and I'm not sure it sounds attractive to have zero restoring force in the handlebars, at least that's how I assume it works.
Actually, @nlerner mentioned neutral steering, but I get your drift. Talking about bike handling and trail is a deep rabbit hole. @52telecaster gave a good explanation of how low trail and loaded front ends work well together.

I've never ridden a 650b bike with neutral steering, but @nlerner has, and prefers it, even with the ginormous Waxwing (plug for my buddy Dave Cain in Vermont) porteur bag up front. All mine are low trail.

I can't help you with flop-factors, zero restoring force, etc. I can give some simple analogies that explain what low, neutral, and high trail bikes might be good at.

In the 80's and 90's it seemed that Americans wanted higher trail bikes designed for criterium racing, where you want to steer quickly to get a jump on someone, or quickly react to someone else trying to break away from the pack. I've owned them in the past, they feel squirrely to me. Descending on curvy roads I always felt like I was constantly correcting my line. Put a bit of a load on the back of that bike and it was "the tail wagging the dog", where the rear end seemed to want to steer the bike. Put a rack up front, egads, it was hard to steer. A low trail bike would be a crappy geometry for road racing, steering would feel sluggish. But I feel like I can point the bike into a turn and just rail it. I can easily stand and pedal up a hill with my low trail bikes.

YMMV. We often forget to take into account the engine, which is most of the weight, and is distributed differently between different people. Handling skills, experience, etc. may make one person of the same height and weight prefer a different geometry than someone else.

Don't overthink it. If you're really interested in low trail, take a test ride. If you were in Portland and somewhere near my height I'd invite you over to ride one of mine. As Admiral Grace Hopper was quoted as saying, One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions. The measurement in this case would be riding a low trail bike.
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