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Finding and fixing a '53 Raleigh Sports.

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Finding and fixing a '53 Raleigh Sports.

Old 06-24-11, 11:04 PM
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auchencrow
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Finding and fixing a '53 Raleigh Sports.

As the economy sinks here, hordes of DKO flippers have descended on every garage and estate sale, tripping over Playskool doll houses to be the first to lay hands on any decent (indecent) BSO, their rusty SUV’s left idling by the curb, with their anxious harpies goading them ever onward.

Sellers too, have learned the value of a buck, peeling themselves away from big-screen American Pickers just long enough to survey the junk in their garage, and bump their heads on dear old departed Uncle Ted’s decrepit Raleigh Sports.

“Let’s sell this POC on Craigs’s list!” the lady of the house exclaimed.

Her hubby belched out an enthusiastic “Hellya”, took a crummy camera-phone snap, and listed the bike – pausing just long enough to mutter “Who’s gonna buy this POC?”

Well - it just so-happened, that I was perusing Craig’s list that evening, and frustrated as I was by the lack of any decent 10-speed flip-fodder, I started looking at 3-speeds again…In the past, I tended to ignore them, but encouraged by Sixty-Fiver’s 3-speed thread, and emboldened by my own 3-speed foray with a ’51 Armstrong, my interest was piqued. I saw the ad for an old Raleigh Sports. Even from the grainy photo, I could tell it was the worse for wear, but it had a full chaincase - and it was cheap!

- And did I mention, that when I was eight years old, Jamey Lynch (who was 10), had a Raleigh Sports, and he never let me ride it?

…I soon found myself standing in a garage, on 8-Mile Road: The bike had a lot of “patina”. I told myself, “Oh-this-is-really-really-cool-goodie-goodie!”



I said to the seller – “There is some pretty awful rust here”. He acceded, and added that it had not been ridden in a long time. I reached down to turn the crank. It sounded like the bottom bracket shell was full of corn flakes. I turned to him and said, “Did you put cornflakes in here?” “What’ll you gimme for it?” he said, a little perturbed. I made an offer, ever confident that I could tend to the crank, and the deal was done.

Curious about the noise, I immediately started tearing the bike down when I got it home. “That full chaincase is pretty mysterious” I noted – “and I don’t even know how to get that thing off!” - Suddenly all my confidence and cockiness was gone!

- But once I got it apart, it was evident what was making the awful noise: The balls were dry, the cup was cracked clean through, and the spindle was just plain “pitiful” (-if you’ll excuse the pun).





This started a two-week odyssey in search of a spindle and cup. The latter was located in an old shop in Detroit, but no luck at all on the spindle. RHM was so kind as to send me one of his, but our measurement methods differed, so it did not fit.

Meanwhile, I started cleaning and rebuilding the hubs. They reminded me of the pedals - worn from honest use, but still a lot of life in them.



By this time, I was committed to this bike – but it still didn’t have a spindle. Then one night, I spied a spindle on eBay-England, which looked uncannily like mine! It was in fact a Raleigh Industries spindle – one and the same part number “A-16GC-G”! – (Leave it to those Brits to come up with the most arcane part numbers.) I placed a snipe bid for 99 British Pounds, determined to win it – I thought that if I lost out, it could be years before I would find another.

I prevailed over three other bidders 6 days later, and won it for 6 bucks, but I waited another two weeks to receive it.

By this time, everything was clean and ready to assemble. I had even fabricated my own Sturmey Archer cable with number 3 fishing leaders, black shrink-wrap, and Shimano SIS housing.



With the bike almost completely assembled and ready to ride, I went to screw in the indicator chain for the SA hub... It wouldn’t screw in. - I imagined I was missing the hole. Still it would not screw in… I knew I put it together correctly – I began to doubt myself, and I pulled the wheel to completely disassemble the SA hub once again, this time with oil oozing out all over me.



- It was as I suspected – a broken axle key. (Of course, it waited 60 years to break on me!)



Two dollars (and eight hours) later, I was reassembling everything again, and I hooked up my homemade SA shift cable. - Works like a champ, and the bike ran and shifted smooth as silk. I was sitting bolt upright and it felt weird and geeky – but it was fun… I rode past a couple of garage sales, and I sensed that the looks I garnered from the DKO flippers were burning two holes into the back of my head - but it felt good.

When I got home, I cracked open a beer, and googled Jamey Lynch… Found him on Face book. - Although I had not seen or spoken to him in 50 years, I posted these pictures of my new Raleigh Sports to his page, along with the words “-and you can’t ride it!”
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Old 06-24-11, 11:05 PM
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Old 06-24-11, 11:17 PM
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You rule, Auchen. Awesome post. Awesome bike.
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Old 06-25-11, 12:22 AM
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If he tries to ride it anyway, I'll help you beat him up.

Great story (-ies)!! Glad to see another survivor's found a home.
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Old 06-25-11, 12:41 AM
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LOVE IT. That was funny, and amazingly well-written, and the bike is great. I mean, seriously great. You win!
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Old 06-25-11, 12:43 AM
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Thank you so much Colonel, and Captain.
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Old 06-25-11, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by snarkypup View Post
LOVE IT. That was funny, and amazingly well-written, and the bike is great. I mean, seriously great. You win!
Hi Snarky !
I take that as a high compliment coming from you.
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Old 06-25-11, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Hi Snarky !
I take that as a high compliment coming from you.
Aw, shucks. I'm just a little ol' English major. <shuffle>

I love the ending of your story. I can never get my students to understand that the story has to GO somewhere. This went. I'd give you an A.
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Old 06-25-11, 01:25 AM
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Great inspiration Auchencrow! Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be posting my '51 dawn tourist.
Have you considered posting instructions on how to make your own Sturmey-Archer cable? I just bought a new one for mine, hope it fits. The original was fine until it caught the drill mounted wire brush I was using to clean the rod-brakes - YIKES! Next time, I'll disassemble things first.
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Old 06-25-11, 01:38 AM
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Great tale of resurrecting a noble English steed! Glad that you were able to get a fine old Sports back on the road.
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Old 06-25-11, 04:49 AM
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Another nice bike and nice story!
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Old 06-25-11, 06:22 AM
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Great bike and loved the story!!
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Old 06-25-11, 07:34 AM
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Another great CV story! This is what it's all about. Great find. The bike looks great, and I'll bet it rides like a dream!

It looks like the bike was resprayed black over the white fender dovetail. Have you thought about trying to rub off the black to reveal the original white?
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Old 06-25-11, 07:42 AM
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Great story, Auchen, and great resurrection on the Sports.

Neal
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Old 06-25-11, 08:02 AM
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Beautiful machine there, Auchen!

-Kurt
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Old 06-25-11, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
Another great CV story! This is what it's all about. Great find. The bike looks great, and I'll bet it rides like a dream!

It looks like the bike was resprayed black over the white fender dovetail. Have you thought about trying to rub off the black to reveal the original white?

Thanks Southpaw - Actually it's quite the opposite - The black painted fender was dipped in "white tail" paint at the factory, and subsequently worn/scraped/chipped/corroded away until you have the final effect you see today.

I considered "restoring" it to all-white again briefly, but it just lends too much character to the bike, IMO.
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Old 06-25-11, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by randomgear View Post
Great inspiration Auchencrow! Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be posting my '51 dawn tourist.
Have you considered posting instructions on how to make your own Sturmey-Archer cable? I just bought a new one for mine, hope it fits. The original was fine until it caught the drill mounted wire brush I was using to clean the rod-brakes - YIKES! Next time, I'll disassemble things first.
I will be looking forward to seeing your '51 Tourist - These old 3-speeds are a world unto themselves within C&V, especially for one such as myself who had such a myopic focus on ten-speeds. They sure are a lot of work though.

I can only guess what's next: Two speeds? One speeds? No speeds?
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Old 06-25-11, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by folderfan550 View Post
Great tale of resurrecting a noble English steed! Glad that you were able to get a fine old Sports back on the road.
Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
Another nice bike and nice story!
Originally Posted by rookgirl View Post
Great bike and loved the story!!

Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Great story, Auchen, and great resurrection on the Sports.
Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Beautiful machine there, Auchen!

-Kurt

Thanks to you all.
(I have to say that what makes C&V especially rewarding is sharing stuff here, with such an appreciative and noble audience.)
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Old 06-25-11, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by randomgear View Post
.....Have you considered posting instructions on how to make your own Sturmey-Archer cable? ...
Noted. Perhaps I'll do a follow-up to THIS THREAD - but the trick is having a real crimping tool. I am afraid flattening the leader with pliers (vs. squeezing it) would not do.
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Old 06-25-11, 08:33 AM
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Another great story, Auchen. Nice work on giving that bike another life.

You mentioned winning that spindle for $6. Did the shipping cost elevate that to much more?
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Old 06-25-11, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger M View Post
Another great story, Auchen. Nice work on giving that bike another life.

You mentioned winning that spindle for $6. Did the shipping cost elevate that to much more?
Hi Roger - IIRC, it was just about another six or eight dollars for the shipping. I really got off easily considering what I was willing to pay to get this thing finished.
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Old 06-25-11, 11:51 AM
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Another old steed saved- yeah! Thanks for the great story.
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Old 06-25-11, 11:59 AM
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Yeah! Great bike and great story!
But someone has to say it, "fork's bent", you lucky dog.
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Old 06-25-11, 12:40 PM
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.
.
Thank you, kiwigem.


Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
Yeah! Great bike and great story!
But someone has to say it, "fork's bent", you lucky dog.
- and thanks David, for that^ (good thing no one has to say it again! )
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Old 06-25-11, 03:50 PM
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A big golf clap for you from out here in 3-Speed-Acres-in-the-Shire.
Well done.

Corey K

Last edited by Coreyk; 06-25-11 at 03:53 PM.
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