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Just bought a Raliegh Grand Prix for commuting

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Just bought a Raliegh Grand Prix for commuting

Old 10-19-05, 11:12 PM
  #1  
tweakedlogic
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Just bought a Raliegh Grand Prix for commuting

Forgive me. I haven't had a road bike for 20 years.
I just bought this Raliegh Grand Prix to turn into a commuter bike. I have been into Mountain biks for some time, but my mountain bike is not a good commuter. So i want to set up the Raliegh to take the punishment of Memphis roads.
My first question is, Is it worth it? I bought the Raleigh (32 Lbs) for $100. But I can buy a BIANCHI NUOVA ALLORO (22 Lbs) for $380. The Raleigh is ready to ride, but the Bianchi need pedals, tires and tubes. My mountain bike is 27Lbs and that's heavy. So, do I keep the Raleigh or buy the Bianchi?
Next question, This bike will be riden 16 miles through Memphis staight into Midtown. The fastest way to go are crowded 4 and 6 lane streets. Battling some of the most inconsiderate drivers in the country. Not to mention broken glass, skrews, pot holes, tree limbs, curbs, and massive cracks.
So I need to know about tires and brakes first. What is the best set up. I was sondering if I should put dual tread mountain bike tires on it. I thought they may hold up better. But these are 27" wheels and I haven't seen any 27" mountain bike tires. They may exist, but I don't know. And brake pads, what kind is best? Or better yet, what should I stay away from?
Next is the handle bars. I have read about some complaints on the Raliegh bars. Should I get better ones for the commute comfort?
The saddle is already replaced with a "taint saver".
Sorry about all of the questions, I am amazed at how little cross over there is.
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Old 10-20-05, 12:42 AM
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mswantak
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A Grand Prix is a perfectly good commuter bike; I have a '68 model that I ride every day in an urban environment. You don't mention what year yours is, but if it's an older one with steel rims and crank you might think about swapping those out for alloy -- at least the rims, in order to get better braking in the wet.

My '68 has 27" x 1 1/8" road tires on it, and they can be a little harsh around town unless I keep the pressure at about 80 psi. Also, they catch in cracks and seams in the road surface more easily than 1 1/4" tires. A couple months back, I had a '77 Grand Prix that had a set of 27" x 1 1/4" Michelin World Tours on it; they were especially good town tires.

As for bars, personally I don't like drop bars for city riding; that posture is best suited for riding where you're not stopping every couple of blocks. I use an inverted set of Raleigh 'North Road' upright bars; they only drop about half as far as regular road bars, and they give me three different hand positions -- none too far from the brake levers. I also use bar-end shifters so as not to be far away from those controls either.

Finally, if one of those inconsiderate drivers nerfs you into the bushes, you'll feel a lot worse if it's the Bianchi you're riding.
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Old 10-20-05, 03:11 AM
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tweakedlogic
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Thank you mswantak. That was a very concise answer. You don't find the bike to be too heavy? What about fit? (I'm 6'1").
Guess I should have mentioned I bought the bike on eBay and don't have it yet. I bought the saddle and 4 inner tubes after I won the auction.
About wheels, I have been thinking about it already to lighten the load. I think 20/24 spoke alloy wheels be too fragile. I need to put this bike on a serious diet. I still need to add a lock, lights, water bottle, and pump.
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Old 10-20-05, 05:50 AM
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mswantak
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My GP weighs 28 or 30 pounds; I guess weight is sort of subjective. If you just got off a Varsity, 30 pounds seems like a miracle; if you just got off a Merckx, it seems like torture. Even in hilly areas, I think a decent first gear (32-34) compensates adequately for that kind of weight.

Fit depends on your anatomy and what size frame your GP has. Your overall height is less critical than your inseam and upper body length. Those will have to do with what frame size and toptube length feel good to you. You can fudge around with an ill-fitting toptube by using stems of various projection length, or different bars. Myself, after I get a bike, I spend several weeks tinkering around with the fit until I arrive at something I like. I suspect that's true with most riders.

I don't think I'd put 20-24 spoke wheels on a commuter either; stick with the 36s.

And post some pics of your bike once it comes in.
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Old 10-20-05, 06:16 AM
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Naw...you need to do what we all do...buy both of them! Load the Raleigh down with all of the commuting junk that you can find. Two locks, lights, racks, fenders, and the biggest, heaviest tires that were ever made. Include some tube slime and some tuffy strips, and you have the greatest road training machine ever built (and, honestly, pretty practical transportation.) Save the Bianchi for the weekends and when you ride it, you'll be in absolute bikie heaven.
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Old 10-20-05, 11:12 PM
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tweakedlogic
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(smiles) I wish. My finacial fortitude is not that strong right now.
I made a test run on my hybred tonight. I was surprized that I did it in under an hour. I think I will not be able to take the rout I did tomorrow because of traffic. But the thing I need to watch will be wheel and tire damage.
Thanks guys for your advice. Any one else have helpful words?
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Old 10-21-05, 09:58 AM
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Nearly all 27x1 1/4 tires are much more puncture-proof than nearly all 700C tires, in my experience. I use Nashbar's house-brand kevlar-belted 27 x 1 1/4 tire on my commuter and have had very good flat resistance. Specialized Armadillos are also available in 27" sizes, and they're just about as thick and heavy as they come. And thorn-resistant tubes are also available in 27" - they're about as heavy themselves as most tires, but I found I couldn't easily put a pushpin through one I was playing with.

Kool-Stop brake pads are the best, and are made in both newfangled versions that will probably fit and in the rectangular block shape likely to be "original" on your Raleigh.. Replace the bars only if you find you don't like the ones you've got; I really like having road drops on my commuter, but many disagree.

I wouldn't worry at all about weight; I carry groceries and thigns around on my commuter all week, so I'd feel a little silly trying to reduce the weight of the bike itself.

-chris
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