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Just Got A $10 Raleigh; What Now?

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Just Got A $10 Raleigh; What Now?

Old 06-10-11, 11:14 PM
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Just Got A $10 Raleigh; What Now?

It's a Ladies' Sport, and judging by the decal chart here, I'd say it's 1973-6. It's in quite decent shape, to my surprise: while I haven't actually ridden it (flat tires), the gear shift does seem to make the cable go in and out, and while both brakes have one side that doesn't seem inclined to respond to the brake levers, they also have another side that does. There's not that much rust, no obvious signs of accidents etc., the saddle (Brooks) has only tiny hints of cracks. The only things I can spot are: the handlebars are a bit skewed to one side, and there's a thing missing in the fork crown:


The thing is: I am clueless about fixing bikes. That's why I bought this: to learn. Does anyone know what the missing bit is, and what it does? And: any suggestions about how to proceed? -- I read a lot here, and have found some references online, but otherwise, I will be winging it.

No suggestions could possibly be too obvious for me. Warnings of potential catastrophes I can avoid would be particularly welcome.

A few more pictures:




Thanks. I think this will be fun.
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Old 06-11-11, 04:04 AM
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Hi hbok,

Nice bike! Congratulations on the find and welcome. I'd start by putting some air in the tubes and giving the bike a good clean. Generally bits that should move but don't can be unscrewed, cleaned, oiled, and put back together again. Judging by the pictures this might be all it needs.
There should be a serial number on the bottom bracket (turn the bike over) that should tell you (after searching the net for the explanation of the code) where and when the bike was built.
Have fun!
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Old 06-11-11, 06:16 AM
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Start here: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/english-3.html

The most complicated bit on your bike is the 3 speed hub, and there are a ton of web pages devoted to servicing Sturmey Archer hubs....but leave it alone for now! As non-fixie said, start with cleaning, polishing, oiling etc.

Those brakes act that way - Sheldon will have an article on how to adjust them. The skewed handlebars are easy to fix - loosen the nut at the top of the stem a couple of turns, give it a sharp tap to free the wedge down in the stem, and simply straighten up the bars.....then tighten it all back up.

Nice bike - it will clean up well.
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Old 06-11-11, 06:16 AM
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I was in the exact same position as you about 6 weeks ago. It's much easier than it seems though I still have sooo much to learn. Cleaning and polishing the chrome (use a ball of aluminium foil and windex) is very satisfying and made me feel as though I really was accomplishing something while I got the courage to do the 'real' stuff.
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Old 06-11-11, 06:28 AM
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That's in fine shape. These bikes are really easy to work on -the only hard parts are the cottered cranks and the hub. The hub you can probably ignore, the BB might even be OK. I'd scrub the rims really well and get the rust out. OA is magic but the rust you have looks like it would come off with a good scrubbing with barkeeper's friend and maybe some brass wool.

The paint looks to be in excellent condition and will clean right up with scratch remover. I'd pull the brakes off and totally clean them and buff the pivot bolt, clean off the washers, ream the insides of the pivots on each arm with a wooden dowel or some 1500 wet sandpaper and then grease it all when it goes back together. Doing this as well a putting on new pads and adjusting the calipers so they center will give you decent stopping on the old steel rims.

The front hub bearings and the headset probably need new grease. It isn't hard and there are tons of tutorials on this online. Or you could just take it to your LBS and have them do a heavy tune up on it -probably cost around $100-150 or maybe less if you have a cheap bike shop or a coupon.

I know there is someplace online that sells the thimbles for the fork -Yellow Jersey? someplace I have seen it. Search for Raleigh thimbles and you might find one.
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Old 06-11-11, 08:48 AM
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I'd call Yellow Jersey. They seem to have plenty of Eastman of India spare parts which thankfully are at least dimensionally perfect (formerly licensed) Raleigh knockoffs. If one needs a new headset or bottom bracket and fleaBay fails you, they are your last best hope. I'd also recommend Bikesmith Tools & Design for their cotters and related Raleigh specific tools.
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Old 06-11-11, 11:26 AM
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If you want to re-use the R-nuts on the cotters I think this is the only guy who is making the old whitworth-threaded cotters now. I don't think the Eastman cotters are the old-style threads. The only other chance is to find NOS ones ($$$$!).

For my money lately my cotter press has been doing such a great job I have been re-using the OEM Nottingham cotters after only doing a light touch-up on the face with a file and then re-using the R-nuts.
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