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Worth saving a tired cheap Raleigh?

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Worth saving a tired cheap Raleigh?

Old 05-09-10, 03:03 PM
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Raleigh Madone
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Worth saving a tired cheap Raleigh?

Hi everyone
I'm new on this forum, which I found as I looked for my current "dream bike" (think Pashley Princess' mean sister), to replace my old cheapo Raleigh that is both in very poor shape and a bit small for me. I'm not having much luck finding my bike, so I'm starting to think that maybe it would be worth having my old Raleigh repaired (make this rebuilt, new everything except the frame).

This is a bike I'd use to zip around town, go to work (in skirt and sandals most of the time), grocery store, movies etc. I carry quite a bit of stuff on it and can tell the frame doesn't like it too much... So a couple of questions:
- how do I know if the frame is damaged?
- can I extend the lenght of the bike a bit (with the headpost) without compromising the overall balance? (note that I rarely go over 25km on this)
- does anyone know if "special" parts such as skirtguard, dingdong bells etc can be found in Canada, preferably in Ottawa or Montreal?

I'm sure there'd be other things to consider in my decision, advice on anything is most welcome. And if you happen to have a step-through bike (or even just a frame) fitting a 5'6'' person, in something snazzier than black or brown or forest green (sorry, I know those are the classic colours!), on this side of Toronto, pls drop me a line.

thanks in advance
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Old 05-09-10, 03:11 PM
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I'm in favor of fixing up Raleighs. They tend to be great for what you want to do. We'd like to see a picture of your Raleigh, it would help with the evaluations.
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Old 05-09-10, 03:37 PM
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Depending on your budget, an upgrade to a mixte would be a nice move. Do a search of the various mixte postings, there are several of them out there with some nice pictures.
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Old 05-09-10, 03:43 PM
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Which Raleigh model (and approximate age) do you have?

If you have a Sports, for example, might not make much sense to rebuild it (and there are not many ways you can rebuild it.) A good overhaul at your LBS, might suffice.

If you did not have a crash, the frame is unlikely to be damaged.
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Old 05-09-10, 04:26 PM
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Hi again
ok, I got some pics of the bike but can't figure how to upload them, sorry.

It's a Sprite (I think - the decal is pretty damaged), no idea how old - bought it in 2001 from a local bike recycler. It's got 5 speeds, the chain is forever coming off and nobody has ever found a way to properly hook the rear fender to the frame so I never sneak up on anyone thanks to the rattling noise...

When I say "rebuild", what I have in mind is mostly getting a 7 or 8 speed internal hub, ideally with a belt, and of course a chain cover, so I never again need to worry about oil stain and rain. I'd also like to get different brakes. I briefly owned a Pashley Sonnet and really liked the tran and brakes. The saddle needs replacing so I'd get a Brooks, put decent lights from and back (the current Chinese ones don't work), replace the rear rack (it's bent out of shape anyway).

One of my problem is that I can't do any of this myself and I've yet to find a LBS with the parts and vintage mindset.

All this on a bike that I quite like but feels a bit small and has a higher step than I'd like. Verdict?
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Old 05-09-10, 04:38 PM
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Methinks you need to find another vintage bike that fits properly. 7/8 sp internal hub is a great idea but sounds like the Sprite is a lost cause. Even an older CCM would do. See whether you can trade your bike for a frame or another bike on CL. I have a step-through 1991 Schwinn Neu City red frame (Nice and heavy and it takes a rear canti brake) which you can have for free, but I am too far away. See if anyone local on the CL bites for a trade or go for a ride to a local co-op. But make sure that you know what size bike you want/need. Good luck!
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Old 05-09-10, 04:45 PM
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ok, let's try again the pics:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_3645..jpg (97.9 KB, 72 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_3643..jpg (99.2 KB, 91 views)
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Old 05-09-10, 05:06 PM
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I'm sorry, but that's a great looking bike already. It would be a nice bike to convert to a geared hub. As for enclosing the chain, your easiest route might be the Hebie Chain glider.
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Old 05-09-10, 06:03 PM
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That is a mixte frame, I also believe that is a newer production frame. It is definitely worth putting some money into. Check with your LBS and see if they can get a chain guard for a Torker T530. Torker bikes are sold by Seattle Bike Supply (SBS).

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Old 05-09-10, 06:27 PM
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That one will never be an "Iron Maiden" like a Pashley, but lots of folks would love that Sprite for what it is.
You didn't say what city you are in? Someone here could clue you into someone who could get it all sorted, then ride it until your dream comes along.
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Old 05-09-10, 07:25 PM
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+1 You already have a mixte, and you already have a pretty decent bike. Get some help to sort it out, and enjoy it!
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Old 05-09-10, 07:30 PM
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Glad that you posted pictures. You got a mixte (as everyone else said). If it is too small, still, you better find the right size bike. The good news is that this bike being a mixte and not a strep-through will get you some nice cash or the right frame towards your quest...
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Old 05-09-10, 08:34 PM
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Been to this site yet? Get a wrench and a screwdriver and click on this link;
https://sheldonbrown.com/retroraleighs/index.html
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Old 05-09-10, 08:38 PM
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This is useful, thanks everyone. I'm in the Ottawa area (sorry, thought this showed up in my ID), perhaps Forster on Bank street can help improve it enough so that I can use it while checking out all yard sales until I find the ONE (well, more like the next n+1 :-)

BTW, I find it interesting that most of you think a mixte is better/will sell better than a step-through. I don't see the upside of the mixte myself - is it technically superior? Why? I find the convenience of the step-through, especially with a heavily loaded bike or a narrow skirt, hard to beat.
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Old 05-09-10, 08:43 PM
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I'd rather have that bike than a Pashley, actually.
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Old 05-09-10, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Raleigh Madone View Post
BTW, I find it interesting that most of you think a mixte is better/will sell better than a step-through. I don't see the upside of the mixte myself - is it technically superior? Why? I find the convenience of the step-through, especially with a heavily loaded bike or a narrow skirt, hard to beat.
For reasons that I don't really grasp, the "mixte" seems to be the trendiest thing going right now. Perhaps it's because guys can ride them without feeling like they are on a "girl's bike." That's good news for you if you want to sell it, you could probably get over $100 for it just because it's a "mixtie."

Last edited by SailorHarry; 05-09-10 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Stupid iPhone correction corrected
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Old 05-09-10, 09:35 PM
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It's a nice looking bike and is definitely worth saving. Those are decent, serviceable, and durable bicycles.

The bike looks pretty original -- looks like the saddle that came with those bikes in the late 70s. The crank set, to my untrained eye, does not look right. Every one of these I've seen has had a cottered crank. If the crank was replaced and it was done properly, there is no worry, the cotterless aluminum alloy cranks are lighter and better. But, when you take it in to have the problem with the chain coming off taken care of, have them check to make sure everything is ok.

According to the info on the Sheldon Sprite page, the smallest frame these came with was 19". For someone who is 5'6", that's not outrageously small. Of course, you're the one who decides what's too small for you and if you are more comfortable with a larger bike, that's what you should have. But, maybe that frame is ok with some adjustments?

As you can see, the mixte frames have fans so even if you decide to part with it, you should be able to easily find somone who can use it.

Good luck with your bicycle adventure what ever you decide.
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Old 05-09-10, 09:48 PM
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Well, you've all convinced me, I'll definitely take it in to see what the experts say. I do like the look of the bike; the chain coming off may be bad tuning and upkeep - as I said, except perhaps Foster I haven't found a LBS interested in vintage, and until recently I knew nothing about bike maintenance. Maybe they'll fix it and tell me just not to push so hard on the pedals and that will take care of the feeling that it's too short....

In the meantime I just saw a used Bianchi Milano Celeste for sale, it's got almost everything I want except the 20+ years of age, think I'll check it out.
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Old 05-09-10, 10:02 PM
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Have you ever heard of reCycles, they are a community bike shop and they can walk you through getting your bike tuned up. Check it out, I volunteer at the kitchener version called recycle cycles and we have lots of parts from bikes like this and are fairly familiar with servicing them, so I imagine our friends in Ottawa are too.

I've seen a few DIY things for skirt-guards, but I think you'd have to get creative. I have a nice red chainguard that would probably mount on that bike and look at home, but it would take some rigging up. Too bad Ottawa is so far away. I hope re-Cycles can help you!
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Old 05-10-10, 06:13 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion Clasher! I stumbled on the shop last week, as it happens, and thought I should use the facility to service my bikes until I can set something up in the house I'll buy one day... They seem to be doing a great job. Can't believe we don't have the same thing in Hull, the needs would be so great!
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Old 05-10-10, 06:54 AM
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Awesome, hopefully they can help you out. I'd love to see the day when there are enough community bike shops to help everyone.
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Old 05-10-10, 10:42 AM
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Is it me, or is that rear brake pad at an angle? Good luck looking. And, if it was me, I wouldn't rule out finding another bike, because, well, who doesn't need more than one bike?
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Old 05-10-10, 04:01 PM
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Glad you decided to keep it. W/r/t the chain coming off: very often a new chain (less than $10 USD) and a little fiddling with the derailer will fix that. Is it slipping over the teeth of the cogs when you pedal forcefully?

As for the skirt guard: BF user Velouria is something of an expert on the topic, and has blogged on it extensively here.

And +1 on keeping your eye out for another bike -- if you've got room to store two, it's always nice to have a back-up.
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Old 05-11-10, 01:33 AM
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The 'girl's frame' when overstressed can bend at the seat tube where the down tube terminates. Can see this on Crgslist photos occ'n'ly. The mixte frame is stronger & doesn't bend there.
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Old 05-11-10, 06:16 AM
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Hey, all very helpful advice. I'm coming to terms with my n+1 type - could not bring myself to sell my beloved Trek 7.5 FX when I got the Madone (though ostensibly they serve the same purpose - until I rationalized that I'll go cycling to Cuba one day, and wouldn't take the Madone there :-) Then the Pashley was supposed to replace the Raleigh, but I kept the Raleigh just in case - and boy was I glad I did, when I handed the Pashley back! Now I have my eye on a Bianchi Milano Citta (despite very mixed reviews - I'll see if I like the riding style) but will fix the Raleigh anyway. Not that I have any storage space! The expensive ones are in the condo, Raleigh in the building's garage where lots of bikes get stolen. Not sure I'd dare leaving a Bianchi down there.... I need a house!

Re the chain, it did improve when I removed 20 years worth of accumulated grime in the deraileur (cringe). It comes off when changing gears, never when mashing (which I don't do, I spin), so I hold my breadth every time I touch the lever. Funny how none of the stores repairing the bike ever ever suggested changing the chain, or anything else for that matter, even when I complained about the chain. Now even the brakes don't work. I'm thinking best is stripping the whole bike and putting it back together, changing cables and whatever else needs changing. The saddle too is broken, which it too bad cause I do think it was original. I'd love to have a Brooks but I'm not sure it's the right look.

I'll search the forum for skirtguard posts. Thanks again!
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