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Japanese built Raleigh International: Raleisonic?

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Japanese built Raleigh International: Raleisonic?

Old 10-14-07, 04:06 PM
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JunkYardBike
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Japanese built Raleigh International: Raleisonic?

Yesterday I purchased what I believe to be a 1983 Raleigh International frameset at the Trexlertown, PA swap meet. This frame features the 'sport touring' geometry I've been seeking, with relaxed seat and head tubes, and 43 cm chainstays (c-c). It's constructed of full [EDIT: tubes are single, not double butted, as I originally posted] butted Reynolds 531, with fully chromed fork and chainstays. It's designed for 27" rims.

Very little information is available on the internet regarding the Japanese built Raleighs. From what I gather, some may have been built by Panasonic (hence the 'Raleisonic' moniker in the title), but perhaps not all. There are a few threads on BF referring to the Japanese built models, but they contain little information. I did find the following two posts in the bikelist.org archives:

I bought the same Japanese 531 Raleigh from Michaels Cyclery in Ames IA =
in 1983. I don't remember the model, but they were all "frame only" =
products. Jerry is right. Just two models; one was a Crit frame and the =
other a tourer. I don't know how Michael came up with these odd frames, =
but they really were pretty nice, and you could equip them to order. I =
think they were pretty inexpensive too at around $170.00 for the frame. =
Funny thing though. The one I had didn't ride that well despite it's =
good fit and finish and I didn't keep it very long. Maybe Michael had an =
inside track on these frames. He was in charge of Raleigh team racing in =
those days.
I spoke with a fellow that worked at Michaels cyclery today, and asked =
him about the Japanese 531 Raleigh frames they sold back in 83. He told =
me that the red ones were Internationals and the blue ones were =
Competitions. He also told me that they sold around 500 of those frames. =
Apparently the Suntour dropouts had a fairly high failure rate, so keep =
an eye out for cracks if you have one of these frames. He remembered =
them selling for $150.00.
Not the most prestigious pedigree, it seems, and not the most glowing review. I plan to put it to the test, however. It does appear well built, if not fancy. Some of the brazing is rough, and the lug accents are sloppy.

I'm providing these photos as a reference for those interested. If anyone has additional or anecdotal information about Japanese Raleighs, I'd be interested in learning it.




















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Old 10-14-07, 04:07 PM
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Old 10-14-07, 06:09 PM
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That serial number format was used by many Asian manufacturers. The N may stand for National who produced Panasonic, but I cannot say with 100% certainty, as it may also have been used by other manufacturers. The frame was built in 1982, either late February or August. In the case of the latter, it could be a 1983 model. FWIW, this format, with the N, appears on the majority of early 1980s Centurions.
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Old 10-14-07, 06:48 PM
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Interesting bike, JYB, and likely a very nice rider given the solid Japanese roots and 531 DB frameset. And your size, too! Nice catch.

Neal
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Old 10-14-07, 09:19 PM
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I have one of those frames hanging in my rafters. I stripped it and repainted it with automotive paint. I did not know what model it was so I decaled it with 70's era Competition GS decals, including the one at the bottom of the seat tube that says "Made in England". Oh well.....

When stripping it, all the tubes were marked with "Reynolds 531" stampings. Faint, but readable. It was a decent frame, though. It did seem a little more flexible than my others for some reason.
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Old 10-15-07, 09:43 AM
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Thanks for that info, T-Mar, and for the positive thinking nlerner!

As for you, Rabid Koala, I was seeking encouraging anecdotal responses! You ride a larger sized frame, don't you? The more I read about large sized 531 frames, the less ideal they sound for taller riders. I think I've read elsewhere that some of the British framebuilders knew how to build properly with 531. I took a risk on this frame because I thought maybe Raleigh had passed that wisdom onto the Japanese subcontractor, and because it was a decent price.

I'll be testing this one out, at any rate.
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Old 10-15-07, 09:51 AM
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Nice catch! I e-bayed/flipped the first cousin of that frame, the "racing model" that was available mail order only. It had no eyelets and was blue. All 531 & made in Japan w/ Suntour drop outs.
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Old 10-15-07, 10:20 AM
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Hmm. I've seen a blue variant being sold as a Competition, once, on eBay.

However, I also recall seeing these frames as being pegged mainly as the one-year 1983 Prestige models. Looks like we're back into another Raleigh quandary.

If I may make a suggestion, I'd try to locate the source of the information (anyone have an '83 U.S catalogue?) as to the Prestige designation. Might be that the shop owner was wrong, and that the Prestige designation is correct, for by '83, the Huffy-produced Raleigh USA Competition model was already rolling off the assembly line with a very different frameset and a green/silver paint job similar to the '84 Marathon.

-Kurt
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Old 10-15-07, 11:29 AM
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I remember Michael's selling these. They ran an ad every month in the back of Bicycling magazine. If anyone has a back issue from the early 80s, you can look it up.
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Old 10-15-07, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
If I may make a suggestion, I'd try to locate the source of the information (anyone have an '83 U.S catalogue?) as to the Prestige designation. Might be that the shop owner was wrong, and that the Prestige designation is correct, for by '83, the Huffy-produced Raleigh USA Competition model was already rolling off the assembly line with a very different frameset and a green/silver paint job similar to the '84 Marathon.
Kurt,

You suspect a catalogue would refer to special mail-order frames like those sourced by Michael's Cyclery? Or do you think the I'd be able to ID the frame against a Prestige?

The persuasive bit about the posts on bikelist.org are that the frames from Michael's Cyclery have no model decals. There is no hint of such a decal on my frame. I think Noah Scape has a good idea. If I can locate the original ad, it may help with the ID.
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Old 10-15-07, 05:41 PM
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I have no idea as to whether or not they would or not, however, I do know that there exists a model discrepancy here that probably traces back to the 1983 Prestige model in the model listings at Retro Raleighs, which matches the description of this machine, and all the Prestige models I've seen before it.

No mention is made of the geometry difference on Sheldon's site, however - neither is the existence of a blue frame listed either.

The reason I suspect a catalogue is because most of the information on Retro Raleighs is based ON catalogues. The extent of research - as done on that site - would make me quite surprised if the information was gathered from anywhere else, particularly for such an elusive model.

-Kurt

Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
Kurt,

You suspect a catalogue would refer to special mail-order frames like those sourced by Michael's Cyclery? Or do you think the I'd be able to ID the frame against a Prestige?

The persuasive bit about the posts on bikelist.org are that the frames from Michael's Cyclery have no model decals. There is no hint of such a decal on my frame. I think Noah Scape has a good idea. If I can locate the original ad, it may help with the ID.
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Old 10-15-07, 06:11 PM
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Here are some photos of what Kurt and I identified as an '83 Prestige, sent to me by an owner selling on Craigslist (i.e., I'm blaming HIM for the out-of focus shots... )
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
1983 Raleigh Prestige 1.jpg (18.7 KB, 249 views)
File Type: jpg
1983 Raleigh Prestige 2.jpg (14.2 KB, 215 views)
File Type: jpg
1983 Raleigh Prestige 3.jpg (34.2 KB, 205 views)
File Type: jpg
1983 Raleigh Prestige 4.jpg (21.0 KB, 212 views)
File Type: jpg
1983 Raleigh Prestige 5.jpg (23.0 KB, 203 views)
File Type: jpg
1983 Raleigh Prestige 11.jpg (19.7 KB, 205 views)
File Type: jpg
1983 Raleigh Prestige 12.jpg (22.3 KB, 202 views)
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Old 10-15-07, 07:24 PM
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The frame in those photos does appear very, very similar. Now, was it truly a Prestige model?
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Old 10-15-07, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
The frame in those photos does appear very, very similar. Now, was it truly a Prestige model?
Same frame, same strikeout 3D badge, same Suntour dropouts.

These are the facts:

#1: Both the "Prestige" as we know it and the "International" and "Competition" models were special-order models.

#2: The so-called "Prestige" and the "International" are one in the same - the frames are identical. This is not a problem of "which frame is it," but a problem of "which name is it?"

The questions now are:


- Is it an '83 Prestige...or an '83 "Raleigh USA International?"

- Is the "Prestige" name, as given on Retro Raleighs, just another tidbit of incorrect information (in typical Retro Raleighs fashion)?

- Or is it, in fact, a one-year model under the Prestige name, produced in two frame geometries? And if so, are the "International" and "Competition" monikers for these bikes absolutely and completely irrelevant; nothing but a load of nonsense dreamed up by Michael's Cyclery in an effort to refer potential buyers of the recently deleted International and Competition models to the reasonably equivalent Prestige models? (My own belief as to the actuality of what happened).

- If these were carryovers of the International and Competition models, why no lettering? Obviously, Raleigh was able to send over 531 tubing and the original downtube decals (yes - those are Nottingham production decals - compare the texture and flaking of them to the Made In Japan sticker) to Japan - what would prevent them from sending their overstock of International, and particularly, Competition (as the Comp G.S. was still in production in '82) decals on over with the downtube decals? Now, if this bike was called the Prestige, I can see where the production of decals might have been rushed, ultimately negating the top tube decals due to production constraints.

-Kurt
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Old 10-15-07, 10:27 PM
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Thanks for that explanation, Kurt. Clears things up a bit for me, and muddies the waters at the same time!
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Old 10-15-07, 11:44 PM
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One other thing to add when I mention the duality of the Prestige and the International - I am not discounting the "Competition" model in the mix - the so called "Competition" and "International" frames DO differ in geometry. My point is that one cannot ignore the fact that they might have been both released under the same name Prestige; one with racing geometry, the other with sport touring.

I have to see that typewritten ad that Charles Wahl mentions in the other post. Would be quite informative.

-Kurt
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Old 10-16-07, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
One other thing to add when I mention the duality of the Prestige and the International - I am not discounting the "Competition" model in the mix - the so called "Competition" and "International" frames DO differ in geometry. My point is that one cannot ignore the fact that they might have been both released under the same name Prestige; one with racing geometry, the other with sport touring.

I have to see that typewritten ad that Charles Wahl mentions in the other post. Would be quite informative.

-Kurt
Thanks to nlerner, I contacted a CR list member who responded quickly. He believes it's an '83 Competition model. He also provided this link to the '83 Raleigh catalogue hosted on Mark Bulgier's website:

https://www.bulgier.net/pics/bike/Cat...83-Catalog.pdf

It's got a page on the elusive Prestige model, Kurt.
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Old 10-16-07, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Noah Scape View Post
I remember Michael's selling these. They ran an ad every month in the back of Bicycling magazine. If anyone has a back issue from the early 80s, you can look it up.

Yes, I recall that ad. When it first appeared the frames were being offered for something like $269 US, and there was a limited quantity with a expiration date for the offer. Yet a year later the ad was still running and the price had dropped to something liek $199 US. I recall a few people who bought the inital offering and were quite upset when the price dropped. Obviously they did not sell well.
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Old 10-16-07, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
Thanks to nlerner, I contacted a CR list member who responded quickly. He believes it's an '83 Competition model. He also provided this link to the '83 Raleigh catalogue hosted on Mark Bulgier's website:

https://www.bulgier.net/pics/bike/Cat...83-Catalog.pdf

It's got a page on the elusive Prestige model, Kurt.
All right - this clears up a few things:

#1: The framesets in question of which you and Blue Order bought/saw are NOT '83 models. These models are from 1982. Why? By '83, all frames obviously adapted the new Raleigh USA lettering and pantographing. For that matter, the BB serial date reflects the '82 year (why would they produce custom-build frames a year before? Doesn't add up)

#2: The blue "Competition" model (as Michael calls it) is NOT the example in the catelogue. The example in the catelogue is the run-of-the-mill 555sl model as later made in the chrome/white scheme in 1984 and 1985. The "Competition" that Michaels sold was far different (I know, I attempted to win one on eBay once) - it featured the same stay cap treatment and lugs as the OP's red example, and also featured the earlier Nottingham lugs, pinstriped in gold. No chrome ends, if I recall right, and by all means, NO silver headtube panel.

#3: The Prestige G.S. meets NO description of the Prestige ever posted online. It's a new one on me, and is definitely not the model you own, nor the description of the Prestige as touted on Retro Raleighs.

-Kurt
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Old 10-16-07, 09:53 AM
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"To travel atop this bicycle is more than a mere bike ride, it is an experience of symphonic proportion." -from the 83 catalog description of the Prestige GS

I'll have what he's having!

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Old 10-16-07, 10:58 AM
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I found these old pics of the blue Raleigh I sold. These are as I picked it up for $100. Odd thing it that the seat post and stem were from a different bike and too small. The original owner used electrical tape to take up the space. This also came with a Cinelli or SR stem in the odd Schwinn .8 sizing. It was a nice frame that if memory serves me I got about $250 for on e-bay, plus another $50 for the mis-matched campy hubs, $70 for the suntour derailleurs, $15 for the cranks $20 for the odd 26.0 SR seat post. I still have all of the other stuff to go on e-bay one of these days...... JYB did well regardless. If sold on ebay I would imagine the frame would more than likely bring greater than the purchase price.

https://s148.photobucket.com/albums/s37/analogue2600
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Old 10-16-07, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
I found these old pics of the blue Raleigh I sold.
There we go - that's the "Competition" model as termed by Michael's. Same as the red frames, save for different geometry and no chrome.

JunkYardBike - can you find out who provided that copy of the '83 catalog? I would like to post it on The Headbadge, if possible.

-Kurt
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Old 10-16-07, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
JunkYardBike - can you find out who provided that copy of the '83 catalog? I would like to post it on The Headbadge, if possible.

-Kurt
It's posted on Mark Bulgier's website: https://www.bulgier.net/

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any contact info there.
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Old 10-16-07, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
It's posted on Mark Bulgier's website: https://www.bulgier.net/

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any contact info there.
Interesting that it is in the "Retro Raleighs" section.

Anyone know how to contact the Bulgiers?

-Kurt
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Old 10-16-07, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
I found these old pics of the blue Raleigh I sold.
Thanks, fender1. No immediate plans to sell the frameset - I'll build it this winter and ride it next season. Aside from the missing chrome and eyelets, those are different rear drops. Hopefully those are the ones prone to failure!
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