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Stem on Raleigh Sports question

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Stem on Raleigh Sports question

Old 01-18-11, 09:14 AM
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Amesja
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Stem on Raleigh Sports question

I've been looking at many pictures of vintage Sports and in many of them the stem seems either very long or the stems are only put into the steerer tube an inch or so.

Mine is sticking up about 3" out of the steer tube before it gets thicker at the knuckle and I've got about 2-1/2" inserted give or take. What I am saying is that my stem is about 5 or 6 inches long at the bottom section where it is all the same diameter. It seems to me that there are many pictures of Raleigh Sports out there that have their bars up at least that far.

Were there different-height stems available on these bikes from Raleigh or am I being too conservative with how much I leave in the steerer? There are no marks on my stem stating the "safe" maximum height adjustment level is. Higher bars would be nice but I don't want to damage the stem or the steerer tube (or put myself in danger if I snap something, of course.)
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Old 01-18-11, 09:19 AM
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2" is safe, according to Raleigh manuals. For the most part, quill length was the same across the board.

-Kurt
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Old 01-18-11, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
2" is safe, according to Raleigh manuals. For the most part, quill length was the same across the board.

-Kurt
Thanks!

Is that 2" measured from the bottom of the quill body or the bottom of the expander nut?
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Old 01-18-11, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
Is that 2" measured from the bottom of the quill body or the bottom of the expander nut?
From the bottom edge of the quill upwards.

I know some folks run them a bit higher with no issue, but I don't think I'd try it (if only to protect the steerer tube).

-Kurt
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Old 01-18-11, 09:45 AM
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Wow, I just marked mine and pulled it out and I was running about 2-1/2 just by eyeball at what I thought was "safe." I kind of knew but wasn't thinking about the fact that the expander-nut type quills are able to run with a little less in the steerer and still be safe compared to the wedge type. I put a new mark with a sharpie on it at exactly 2" up from the bottom of the quill and set it so that the mark was just covered by the top of the headtube nut. That should keep me in the safety zone and give me a little more bar height.

Still, I see a lot of pictures online of stock-looking quills that seem up higher than that. Some of them seem an inch or so higher. If they have the same quill then I guess they are just taking a risk of damaging the steerer tube and/or quill whether they know it or not. I'd really hate to have to source a replacement fork for one of these bikes. I suppose it could be done with a donor bike but I'd hate to put a modern fork on as it would be ugly and not nearly as supple as the Raleigh part. They just don't make forks like they used to IMHO. If there are two things I love about these old 3-speeds are the lively supple feel of the fork and frame, and the low BB. These things are just plain gone in modern bikes of the post MTB-revolution era
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Old 01-18-11, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
I've been looking at many pictures of vintage Sports and in many of them the stem seems either very long or the stems are only put into the steerer tube an inch or so.

Mine is sticking up about 3" out of the steer tube before it gets thicker at the knuckle and I've got about 2-1/2" inserted give or take. What I am saying is that my stem is about 5 or 6 inches long at the bottom section where it is all the same diameter. It seems to me that there are many pictures of Raleigh Sports out there that have their bars up at least that far.

Were there different-height stems available on these bikes from Raleigh or am I being too conservative with how much I leave in the steerer? There are no marks on my stem stating the "safe" maximum height adjustment level is. Higher bars would be nice but I don't want to damage the stem or the steerer tube (or put myself in danger if I snap something, of course.)
Up until about ten or fifteen years ago, it
was not all that difficult to get a longer
stem that would fit in a Raleigh Sports
steering tube. I have no idea where
mine came from, but given my tight
fisted nature, probably scrap picked
somewhere. I used to get a lot of stuff
from the dump before they closed it off.

So possibly the photos you're seeing
are similar in nature?
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Old 01-18-11, 12:43 PM
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One of my 23" framed Sports has a longer stem than my other. A friend found a fairly long Raleigh Sports stem in a bike shop parts bin.
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Old 01-18-11, 01:04 PM
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Those longer stems might have been for the choppers or 20s or something like that. They're sure handy for 21" frames, though.
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Old 01-18-11, 02:05 PM
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Out of the 4 Sports stems I have, one is considerably longer, it could be a generic one, not Raleigh.
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Old 01-18-11, 04:49 PM
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There are two possibilities of 7/8" stem found on North-Road equipped Raleighs:

A. This stem variant was used on the 1967-1972(?) Superbes:



B. Titan made a stem for the Sprite with extended reach for the stem shifters. This is not the exact variant used, but very close to it. The versions fitted to Sprites have 7/8" clamp diameters:



-Kurt
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Old 01-18-11, 04:55 PM
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Mine is definitely the top variant. Of course mine doesn't look nearly that nice as my Northroads are a bit scratched up, and the stem bolt is all chewed from too much force being put into it through a 12-pt wrench instead of a 6-pt at one point in the past.
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Old 01-18-11, 05:04 PM
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The stem bolt is the same on the shorty stems as the Superbe variant.

Out of curiosity, is your Raleigh a Superbe? First-gen Sprite?

-Kurt
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Old 01-18-11, 05:14 PM
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It's a 1954 Sports Light Roadster Model 22 according to the info on your site. It has the old-style plain lugs with the diamond-shaped 2030 tubing decal. I tried to add my serial number to your database but I think something got messed up when I submitted it due to the fact that I've got scripts pretty much disabled most of the time.

Since this picture was taken It has been returned to closer to what it should look like with a Brooks, new rubber block pedals, light and light bracket, and a head badge that isn't quite finished being repainted which is why I haven't taken any new pictures yet.

Last edited by Amesja; 01-18-11 at 05:18 PM. Reason: added picture
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Old 01-18-11, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
It's a 1954 Sports Light Roadster Model 22 according to the info on your site. It has the old-style plain lugs with the diamond-shaped 2030 tubing decal. I tried to add my serial number to your database but I think something got messed up when I submitted it due to the fact that I've got scripts pretty much disabled most of the time.
A '54 Sports L.R. would have had the common, shorter stem. I wouldn't suggest a Sir Walter stem as a replacement though; the 1950's examples had patent numbers on top. I'll get you a photo of that later:



-Kurt
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Old 01-18-11, 06:00 PM
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I have a couple of after market stems that look very similar to the OEM Raleigh but are quite a bit longer, I currently have one of them installed on my 21" Raleigh Sports, and considering putting one on my Superbe. Pyramid is one brand that is still available, IIRC it has nearly 8"-10" of extension.

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