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trying to figure out the year of this Raleigh Grand Prix

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trying to figure out the year of this Raleigh Grand Prix

Old 05-13-10, 11:45 AM
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matty53182
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trying to figure out the year of this Raleigh Grand Prix

I'm about to inherit a Raleigh Grand Prix (see attached photos) from my father, who believes he purchased it (new) around 1970.

Can anyone tell what the exact year of the bike is?

I'm also wondering if it would be at all possible to transform it into a track bike; I've already been told that if it was built for 27x¼" tires, it probably can't happen.

Any input on the year of this model -- or any advice on how to restore it -- is appreciated!
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Old 05-13-10, 11:51 AM
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Would there happen to be a serial number on it? It looks early 70's, but serial numbers can nail it down to the exact year.

If you're not going to use it, or pass it to a close friend, it isn't worth dumping a lot of cash into. If you are, getting alloy wheels to replace steel is task #1, and changing to a cotterless crankset is a less urgent task #2. This will take about 3 pounds off the present weight of the bike and give it much better braking.
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Old 05-13-10, 11:58 AM
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Retro Raleighs: The Grand Prix

and

How Old is Your Raleigh?

Are good reference sites.

The tire size is 27 X 1 1/4 the frame is a bit heavy to be turning it into a "Track Bike"
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Old 05-13-10, 12:02 PM
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the serial number should be in the back of the seatpost. The first number after the two letters is the last digit of the year of manufacturing. Assume that it is 197x. Decals make it look 74ish +/-1
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Old 05-13-10, 12:06 PM
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It is impossible to transform that bike into a true "Track Bike" - Track bikes are built differently to and the tubes are butted at different angles to give make them optimized for racing on an indoor/outdoor velodrome with different dropouts, bottom bracket widths, and wheels.

Having said that, you could do a fixed gear conversion to the Grand Prix - but it would be expensive. You'd have to buy a new Bottom bracket, crankset, wheelset, and chain, and you'd have many unused frame braze-ons sitting around on your converted bike.

I'd recommend that if you want a track bike, you go buy a new track bike. BikesDirect has plenty that would suit you, and would prove much more cost-effective than converting this one.
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Old 05-13-10, 12:07 PM
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why isn't it worth the cash? are some of the parts too difficult to replace, or will the frame be too worn out?

i'm assuming i'd have to replace almost everything, and work from the frame on up.

i don't necessarily need it to be a track bike. i actually have no idea how to do any of this. i just think it'd be fun to make it rideable again. and fixed gear, to keep things simple.

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Old 05-13-10, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by matty53182 View Post
why isn't it worth the cash? are some of the parts too difficult to replace, or will the frame be too worn out?

i'm assuming i'd have to replace almost everything, and work from the frame on up.

i don't necessarily need it to be a track bike. i actually have no idea how to do any of this. i just think it'd be fun to make it rideable again. and fixed gear, to keep things simple.
The frame on this bike is heavy. Should be a sticker on the DT that denotes the frame material and should be something like "2010 high carbon steel". Nothing wrong with the bike... just heavy. You can turn it into a SS (and there is no derailleur hanger on it), but it will still be heavy. Getting new alloy wheels will help some, but this will not be under 25 lbs as a SS. New stem, bars and seatpost will help as well... (speaking of, it looks like the seatpost is on backwards)
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Old 05-13-10, 12:22 PM
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So, bluntly...

Why would someone that doesn't know why this will not make a good track bike want a track bike? Track bikes are built different from the beginning. They are built to be a lightweight as possible and as quick as possible in the steering to help a very fit rider win a very competitive race. To the point of not being very safe or comfortable to the average rider.

The Raleigh Grand Prix, was built to be a rather nice entry level 10 speed bicycle.
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Old 05-13-10, 12:26 PM
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...the project would kind of like trying to convert a 1973 Chevrolet Impala into a Corvette.
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Old 05-13-10, 12:30 PM
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sorry, i simply don't know what i'm talking about. the red "newbie" moniker in this case is much appropriate. i should've just said "single speed"

i was thinking ... not a race-ready track bike, but city-ready. i met someone the other day who takes old steel frames and slaps track tires on them. obvy not for racing. they said steel good for city bumps. my imagination was, as imagination does, 12 steps ahead.

well, who knows, i'll take the bike, and maybe one day it'll be ... something fun to work on?
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Old 05-13-10, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by matty53182 View Post
why isn't it worth the cash? are some of the parts too difficult to replace, or will the frame be too worn out?

i'm assuming i'd have to replace almost everything, and work from the frame on up.

i don't necessarily need it to be a track bike. i actually have no idea how to do any of this. i just think it'd be fun to make it rideable again. and fixed gear, to keep things simple.
New wheels: at least $120 for a good SS/FG wheelset depending on what you get.
New BB (I'm not sure what size you'd need off the top of my head): Probably at least $30.
Track Crankset: At least $40, depending on if you buy used/new.
Cog/lockring: at least $25.

This is a quick breakdown, but the cost to convert it (not counting labour/tools, which you'd have to figure out for yourself) could easily go around $200. Going Singlespeed wouldn't be a terrible idea - you could keep the current wheelset, remove one of the chainrings from the crank, remove the derailuers, and shorten your chain to go around one of the cogs.

I don't know - I'll leave it to some other C&Vers to comment on my cost breakdown.
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Old 05-13-10, 12:33 PM
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Having quite a few miles in on 2030 frame Raleighs' I can tell you that a slightly upgraded machine is not a bad bicycle at all. By the time these bikes came along Raleigh had decades of experience building entry level machines. My favorite formula is to find a cheap parts bike with alloy wheels and handlebars, (and Suntour Derailleurs if I can), and build the Raleigh up with the newer parts.

An upgraded 2030 frame GP will ride, and feel pretty close to a bike made with straight gauge 531, at least in my personal opinion.

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Old 05-13-10, 12:34 PM
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Make it a singlespeed. It won't be tough. If you know someone who knows bikes, enlist their help.
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Old 05-13-10, 12:37 PM
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Its something fun to work on now...

It looks like it is in great shape. I never see the point of making a "single speed" out of a 10 speed except that it seams to be the "pop culture" for bicycles now days. This bike can be converted without ruining it though.

Your Grand Prix could be up graded fairly easy to make it a more pleasant ride. Just alloy wheels will help with the weight issue. If you end up riding a lot replacing the crank with a cotter-less one will help too.
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Old 05-13-10, 01:27 PM
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No problem at all making this into a SS or FG. In fact, if you're looking for a SS or FG just for riding around, I've long thought this model would be an ideal choice, providing you can get the proper brakes. The problem would occur if you intend to sell it and get the money you put into it, back out when it sells.

Before you attempt to convert it, if you haven't ridden it already, do so, and see if the bike feels like it fits you. If not, whatever you do won't make this right for you. If it does fit, I suggest following the cheap route. Use the existing small chain ring, if you want FG, find a replacement set of wheels and see if the brake calipers will work with the new rims. If not, you'll need to change those out.

If you want to convert to Single speed, you could simply take off the derailleurs, and replace the five speed freewheel with a single speed. Adjust the chain length, tune the bike up, and you're in business. If you want lighter wheels for 27" SS, or 27" FG, send me a PM.
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Old 05-13-10, 02:43 PM
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Those frames are not just heavy, they are also soft. They flex sideways, a lot!, when you push down. That characteristic is why I got rid of my 1973 Grand Prix. It just soaked up too much of the energy I was expending.

Does it still have it's original steel rims? If so, get rid of those, for sure.
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Old 05-13-10, 06:27 PM
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Where was this one built? I picked up a Gazelle (Holland) built GP a couple of weeks ago and it looks like a pretty nice bike. It's 2030 but it has the long calipers so a 700 conversion takes about 5 minutes. It also has a Flip Flop Hub making the FG conversion a 5 minute job, too. It's one of those 5 speed on one side, fixy thread on the other hubs. I've seen them on Raleighs before and was a little surprised to see it on my latest bargan.
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Old 05-13-10, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Mills View Post
Those frames are not just heavy, they are also soft. They flex sideways, a lot!, when you push down. That characteristic is why I got rid of my 1973 Grand Prix. It just soaked up too much of the energy I was expending.

Does it still have it's original steel rims? If so, get rid of those, for sure.
Flex on a steel frame, really depends on the weight of the engine. A lot. Those high tensile frames feel 'flexy' if you weight 150lbs, but add 50 (on the engine or in gear) to that and do not flex that much.
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Old 05-13-10, 07:11 PM
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Well, I've weighed about 190 pounds when I was riding the Grand Prix. It used to suck the life out of my legs. Luckily, back then, I had a lot of life in me. My GP was made in Holland (~1973), so I assume it was a Gazelle produced bike.

I switched over to a Bob Jackson DB 531 frame and it was like an epiphany! I sold the GP immediately. I still have the Bob Jackson. :-)

If he's keeping it, the number one thing to do is to get rid of the steel wheels and replace them with some light weight aluminum rimmed ones. This may already have been done, I can't tell from the photos.
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Old 05-13-10, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by EjustE View Post
the serial number should be in the back of the seatpost. The first number after the two letters is the last digit of the year of manufacturing. Assume that it is 197x. Decals make it look 74ish +/-1
+1, 1973 or 1974. The Rampar "R" on the decals says 1973 or newer and the cottered cranks says older, or close to 1973. I thought Raleigh introduced cotterless cranks on the Grand Prix in 75, but I could be wrong.
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Old 07-07-11, 07:47 AM
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I have a 1974 GP converted to fixed gear. I call it a fixie but never a track bike. For 1, I still rock a front brake. Only posers do that so that makes me a poser I guess. Or maybe someone that needs to be able to stop very suddenly in NY traffic. Also the geometry on the GP makes it slightly squishy.

What I can tell you about my 1974 Dutch made Grand Prix.

Mine had a 26tpi treaded bottom bracket. Pain in the ass. I had to use Philwood cups with a discontinued Shimano UN-72 Bottom Bracket. The other options are to re-tap the BB shell to 24tpi or Use a full Philwood BB & cups. If you are going to covert it take off the small chainring and use the large one with a 18t or 17t cog. Service the BB without taking out the cotter pins since they been in there for 36years they will not want to come out and once they do they will never go back in properly.

Yes the frame is a flexy. Mine is a 54cm I think. I weight about 175lbs and I mainly feel the flex when I hit bumps. I don't think is bad because I like cushy feel. Now a true track bike should have very little flex so more power is transfered to the drive train but, I am not racing anyone so who cares.

The brake calipers on the bike will not really reach 700c rims. The just fall short. I have cheated this before by shaving a slight bit off the brake pads themselves but eventually ended up getting a new front brake for which you will have to have the fork drilled.

The Simplex derailer on it is garbage. I saved it just in case someone wants to restore a Raleigh GP but, besides that they aren't worth anything.

Mothers Aluminum Polish will get every piece of metal on that thing looking better than when it came from the Gazelle factory. Give it shot.

Converting that thing won't be cheap but, you do it on your own you will have learned a lot. Mainly about how annoying cotter cranks are and how Raleighs 26tpi threading sucks. My bike looks pretty close to being a showroom piece but, I spent around 600 in parts alone. For that you can buy bike direct bike that's lighter, possibly faster but, you will never feel as close to the machine you built yourself.
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