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Riddle me this Raleigh Carlton

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Riddle me this Raleigh Carlton

Old 04-11-10, 07:31 PM
  #1  
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Riddle me this Raleigh Carlton

At least 20 years ago I picked up a slightly beat up Raleigh Carlton Gran Sport frame. It had brakes and stem but little else. I built it up, have been riding it, took it on a 30 miler today.

Lately I've been curious about its age. I've checked all the usual online places but it doesn't fit into the Raleigh serial number schemes or catalogs.

It is the lagoon blue and white of the mid-70's, chromed fork and stay ends. Rear eyelets are on the top of the dropouts. The fork has a "Reynolds 531 fork" decal, the down tube has a decal which says "Guaranteed built with butted Reynolds 521 tubes" or something similar. A serial number stamped into the left rear dropout is 0214769, except that the 0 isn't complete. The bottom left was mis-stamped so that it is just the right vertical stoke with a hook on top going to the left. There are no letters unless the leading 0 is actually a O. There is a triangular Carlton decal on the front of the down tube below the derailleur.

The various catalogs in Sheldon Brown's RetroRaleighs article say that it should have double-butted 531 tubes, fork, and stays, but there is no decal mentioning stays at all. And shouldn't the Reynolds decal say "double butted"? 1975 is missing in the catalog list, so maybe the '75 specs were slightly different.

One of Sheldon Brown's articles says "The 531DB Gran Sports built in the early 70's did not have letters in the serial number." This suggests early 70's.

I'm just curious.
Thanks,
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Old 04-11-10, 08:08 PM
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Stamping the serial on the dropout was not very common. I've only heard of some Super Courses, and Grand Prix that had this done, and they all seemed to date from '67 - '69.
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Old 04-11-10, 08:44 PM
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I have what I believe to be a 1973 Raleigh Gran sport that is exactly the same as you describe. The only marking on mine is also stamped onto the dropout that reads "0209515". Mine is white with the blue head tube and matching stripes on the seat tube.

As far as the Reynolds sticker, mine also reads "butted" but so does my Raleigh Professional's sticker. I'm thinking none of the stickers said "double butted" but I cannot say for sure.

Have a picture of yours by any chance?
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Old 04-11-10, 08:53 PM
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I had a mid 60's Carlton Catalina with a sn on the rear dropout.
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Old 04-11-10, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
I have what I believe to be a 1973 Raleigh Gran sport that is exactly the same as you describe. The only marking on mine is also stamped onto the dropout that reads "0209515".
Thanks. I was going to guess 1973 or 74. One more clue is the Carlton decal on the front of the down tube. Sheldon Brown's '73 and '74 sales literature show it, but not the '72.

As far as the Reynolds sticker, mine also reads "butted" but so does my Raleigh Professional's sticker. I'm thinking none of the stickers said "double butted" but I cannot say for sure.
I don't remember for sure but I thought I remember thinking that I'd remembered reading it long ago. The sales literature did not show any decal on the stays, not that I ever saw any, but I thought I remember reading that the decals would mention it. But what do I know? (That's why I'm asking!)

Have a picture of yours by any chance?
I'll try to post a few in a day or two. It isn't pretty but is (ahem) experienced. It was when I got it. Paid $10 for it.

Thanks all.
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Old 04-11-10, 10:33 PM
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Re: the Reynold's decals. I guess I misunderstood your original question. The Reynolds sticker on my Professional says "butted tubes forks and stays" so yes, some of the stickers mentioned stays. That particular sticker is on a 1978 and also has the Tube investments logo on it.

The 72 gran sport in the catalog looks very different. It has painted rear stays and it looks like zeus dropouts. The downtube decal is the Raleigh script and not the block lettering. The Carlton decal is not present and the crank does not appear to be a mod 93.

My Gran sport is no show piece either. The factory paint does not look like it was that great to begin with, at least not on mine. I think some of the bikes like the competition were just dunked in paint so it wouldn't surprise me if that is what happened with these. My bike has thin paint in some spots and thick globs in others, just enough to almost cover all of the file marks. Even so, they are still very attractive bikes. I would love to get my hands on one with the mostly blue paint scheme too go with my white one.
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Old 04-12-10, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
Have a picture of yours by any chance?
As requested
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
fork_crown..jpg (94.2 KB, 152 views)
File Type: jpg
bottom_bracket..jpg (94.1 KB, 146 views)
File Type: jpg
side_view..jpg (99.5 KB, 163 views)
File Type: jpg
rear_view..jpg (98.0 KB, 142 views)
File Type: jpg
SN..jpg (100.7 KB, 157 views)
File Type: jpg
front_view..jpg (95.3 KB, 146 views)
File Type: jpg
gran_sport_logo..jpg (73.1 KB, 151 views)
File Type: jpg
head_tube..jpg (72.6 KB, 139 views)
File Type: jpg
down_tube..jpg (63.0 KB, 158 views)
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Old 04-12-10, 09:10 PM
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That's a beautiful Gran Sport Jimmuller!

Hey mkeller234 - Time for you to post yours too!
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Old 04-12-10, 09:18 PM
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I just picked up a bike which I believe to be mid 1970s with a similar reynolds 531 frame tubes sticker... it had the same crown and I suspect reynolds fork blades as well. I assume the whole frame is 531 based on the apparent decent quality and that that is just the stickers they had on hand... I would assume yours if full 531 since the fork sports the decal also.

However, I also know the reynolds butted tubes forks and stays stickers predated my own frame and most likely yours so it is a bit odd.
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Old 04-13-10, 04:19 AM
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Looks really nice to me, I like the color scheme on yours better. Other than paint ours are nearly identical, both have the same fork crown which does not seem to appear in ANY of the catalog photos. It's the same fork crown that was used on the Super Courses so they probably interchanged them freely.

I think the way they outlined the lugs was a little odd. Only in front of the head tube lugs and then one spot at the seat cluster. I re-did mine the same as original based on photos of other peoples bikes.
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Old 04-13-10, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
That's a beautiful Gran Sport Jimmuller!

Hey mkeller234 - Time for you to post yours too!
Thank you and mkeller234 for the kind words. I would have used "beautiful" only if it meant "experienced"! It was that way when I got it. Currently it carries Shimano 600 hubs, a Fiamme Yellow Label rim in front, a Mavic MA2 on the rear, a Pro Comp 14-28 freewheel, and an 80's vintage Sugino Maxy Comp crank with 48/36 (soon to be replaced with an Sugino RT, I think), and a new WTB saddle. All low-end stuff but it works just fine.

So, mkeller234, how about pics of your reverse-color bike?
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Old 04-13-10, 12:08 PM
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That doesn't sound low end to me at all. The gran sports came with a mixed bag of generic low to higher end parts anyway. I just switched the goofy atom freewheel on mine with a 14-28 shimano last night, I am currently swapping the brake levers with some nos Universal mod 61s.

I did't want to impose on your thread with pics of my bike. Since you ask though...

This is the way I found it:


This picture is from last year:


This is from a ride yesterday:


These are the levers I bought for it. I also got some replacements for the tatty reynolds decals.
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Old 04-13-10, 03:59 PM
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I've guessed mine was 73 - 76. Brooks saddle, white hoods, carlton sticker, 531 tubes.

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Old 04-13-10, 04:01 PM
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Thanks for the pics. Nice bike! (Why the fenders? You ride it regularly in the rain?)

Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
That doesn't sound low end to me at all.
Well, the crank has started going clink! once per revolution under some conditions and I'm suspecting either it has deformed or the swaged joint is slipping. The Fiamme Yellow Label rim was a bit of a cheapie two decades ago.

Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
I am currently swapping the brake levers with some nos Universal mod 61s.
One thing I like about mine is the name Carlton embossed in the hoods, even though you can't see it through the bag straps.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-13-10, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by robtown View Post
I've guessed mine was 73 - 76. Brooks saddle, white hoods, carlton sticker, 531 tubes.
Ooh, I like that one too!

Oh, I meant to askmkeller234 what was so goofy about the Atom freewheel?
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Old 04-13-10, 04:06 PM
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I think it's a '74, jimmuller. I had a 75 or 76, and it had the Reynolds decal that was printed diagonally.

Yours gives me sweet memories. I never should have sold it. But that was LONG ago! I bought mine new and sold it for a PX-10. I'm not saying I shouldn't have bought the PX-10, just that I should have kept both.
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Old 04-13-10, 05:03 PM
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Jim, the fenders are mostly for looks since I have another bike that gets all the rain riding. I found the fenders NOS and cheap and liked the look so on they went. I actually haven't ridden this bike much at all to this point, I have been altering it this spring to get more riding time. The stem it came with was 130mm which is way to long for me. It also had a too small seat post inserted so I had to get a proper one and spread the lug open a bit. It also came with some knobby kenda tires that weren't so great and I finally replaced them with Panaracer paselas over the winter. The atom freewheel that was on it had a really goofy jump in the middle, I think a difference of about 8 teeth. You were either spinning like crazy or working harder than you should but it really seemed to hurt my ability to cruise comfortably.

Here is the picture of the jump. This freewheel also made shifting less than fun with it's flat teeth, the chain liked to skate in between gears at times.
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Old 04-13-10, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by robtown View Post
I've guessed mine was 73 - 76. Brooks saddle, white hoods, carlton sticker, 531 tubes.


Nice! Yours has the fork crown that shows up in catalogs. What suntour RD is on there?
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Old 04-13-10, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
(Why the fenders? You ride it regularly in the rain?)
Why not?

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Old 04-13-10, 06:34 PM
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Spent a rainy evening making a few changes to my Gran Sport

New brake levers:


New decals. I had a choice when it came to the fork, I picked the "wrong" one but I liked how it looked better. I have the Reynolds ones if I ever care to change it.


Three new decals on the downtube:


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Old 04-13-10, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
The stem it came with was 130mm which is way to long for me.
Uh, it's been a long time since I worried about such, but is stem length measured between center of the bolt and center of the bar? If so, then 130mm, wow, that's long.

Mine had a GB STEM which measured 95mm, and I replaced it with an 85mm SR which also had a nice recessed Allen bolt for adjustment. I still have the stem, if anyone wants it.

So much fun! Thank you, gentlemen, for the conversation.
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Old 04-13-10, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Uh, it's been a long time since I worried about such, but is stem length measured between center of the bolt and center of the bar? If so, then 130mm, wow, that's long.

Mine had a GB STEM which measured 95mm, and I replaced it with an 85mm SR which also had a nice recessed Allen bolt for adjustment. I still have the stem, if anyone wants it.

So much fun! Thank you, gentlemen, for the conversation.
Yeah, center to center like you said. It was a GB stem too and I replaced it with the same but in 90ish mm length. I've been debating whether or not to put the rando bars back on since they were comfy, maybe some Nitto Noodles in the future? I've enjoyed the chat too, you don't see a lot of the gran sports on here.
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Old 04-13-10, 07:42 PM
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I think the Gran Sport didn't sell nearly as well as any of the other ten speed models. I did extended touring on mine, and it served me very well. Later, I put tubular wheels on it, which were a lot of fun at the time.
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Old 04-13-10, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I think the Gran Sport didn't sell nearly as well as any of the other ten speed models. I did extended touring on mine, and it served me very well. Later, I put tubular wheels on it, which were a lot of fun at the time.
Yeah, I am not really a fan of the weinmann rims that mine came with. I was thinking about maybe someday lacing something nice on and replacing the galvanized spokes while I am at it.
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Old 04-13-10, 07:59 PM
  #25  
noglider 
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Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

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Yeah, those rims are heavy (for aluminum), and I can tell you they're not that strong, either. I had someone bend them for me.

Plus, in those days, clincher tires were heavy, hence tubulars made a big improvement.
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