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Refurbishing Raleigh? Worth doing?

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Refurbishing Raleigh? Worth doing?

Old 09-07-12, 03:15 PM
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bauwser
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Refurbishing Raleigh? Worth doing?

I recently purchased a house that had a few old bicycles in the backyard. Coincidentally at the same time I am looking to begin commuting to work. I have a decent road bike right now but for various reasons do not wish to ride it in. One of the bikes in the yard is an old Raleigh Sport. It's in kind of rough shape, and if I were to use it would likely need new wheels, tires, brakes, levers, shifters, cables, handle bars, saddle and maybe even work on the gearing (Lots!). The frame looks to be in pretty good shape with only a little rust.

I know basically nothing about working on a bike like this so I would have to take it to my LBS.

I feel shameful to sell such a cool bike (along with the couple of others, which I'm not attached to) to buy another 3 speed internal gear hub bike made in China, but is it worth it to take what might amount to a $25 frame and have a LBS rebuild it from the ground up (if they even would)?

Note that the house I bought is 100 yrs old, so I do value cool old things, but at the same time don't want to spend over $300 when I can get something functionally kind of equivalent for that price.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 09-07-12, 03:21 PM
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Spend ten minutes on C/L to find out who your local active craigslist bike sellers are and tell them what you have to trade and what you want. They may have a good commuter candidate and be glad to take the pile of bikes off your hands. You may want to post a few photos here to make sure your trading "cards" have no hidden value.

No sense in investing $300 with the LBS to recreate a $75-$175 bike.
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Old 09-07-12, 03:31 PM
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I would say in your case, no... that kind of bike is only worth it if you have a source of old parts and such and can redo it yourself cheap and actually enjoy it. Not many LBS would even want/be able to do it... most likely they will try to sell you a bike instead. If you haven't already, read the Sheldon Brown article on Raleigh 3 speeds https://sheldonbrown.com/raleigh.html
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Old 09-07-12, 03:41 PM
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Good advice about CL sellers. They might be able to fix your bike pile for much less bucks than your LBS. Take a few pics.
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Old 09-07-12, 03:44 PM
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If you have a local bike coop, you might be able to take it there and learn how to do all the work on it yourself...
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Old 09-07-12, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Good advice about CL sellers. They might be able to fix your bike pile for much less bucks than your LBS. Take a few pics.
Yeah, I don't know if they'd want to fix yours up for you (maybe if you offered them some of the other bikes too as payment and/or a source of parts), but you might get someone to trade you a functional bike for all your nonfunctional ones (after first making sure you're not giving away a gem in the rough among your bikes). That is assuming you really need all that done to get the bike up and running. If you really only need some new rubber and cables and maybe a seat cover, that should be pretty inexpensive.
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Old 09-08-12, 09:16 PM
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I Vote Yes!

Tires, brakes and a saddle are all things you would probably replace anyway. I did all three on my mother's Raleigh that was in fairly good shape. The wheels, shifters and handlebars could probably be reused.

https://affordableluxuryblog.com/2010...speed-bicycle/

I say take it to the LBS and see what they say. Keep a fine old bike out of a landfill.
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Old 09-08-12, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bauwser View Post
I know basically nothing about working on a bike like this so I would have to take it to my LBS.
This is the key sentence.

I like the advice of finding someone in your area that rehabs bikes. I have taken bikes in on trade, took one the owner had tried to fix himself, basically it was a box of random parts with a lot of stuff mounted backwards, or whatever. But underneath it was a bike that could be saved. So I have him credit towards the bike he wanted.

I've also bartered for repair work. Told one neighbor that frequented garage sales to just find me a decent road bike, and don't spend much on it. Two years later, a Cannondale appeared in the driveway. I never charge for repairs, but am happy to barter for it.

Win/win.

Projects are best suited for someone with the time/tools/aptitude/interest/pile of parts to complete it. Or find a co-op, where they can supply tools, knowhow, and parts.
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Last edited by wrk101; 09-09-12 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 09-08-12, 09:55 PM
  #9  
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No sense in investing $300 with the LBS to recreate a $75-$175 bike.
Unless it's your hobby, then it worth sinking how every many $'s you want to into them! Using the above logic, everyone of my bikes should have never been restored or repaired, including a sweet little Raleigh Sports I like to take on lazy Sunday rides. Fix'em if you want, if not, put them into the hands of someone who will enjoy them.
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Old 09-09-12, 05:01 AM
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Would your commute to work be hilly ? If so, a 3 speed , weighty bike may not be the answer
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Old 09-09-12, 09:16 AM
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I would also take a look at the Lovely Bicycle blog post about her old Raleigh:

https://lovelybike.blogspot.com/searc...Lucy%203-Speed

Last edited by maxperkins; 09-09-12 at 09:18 AM. Reason: add a link
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Old 09-09-12, 09:26 AM
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If your in Portland area I'd be more than happy to look at it. You'd actually be surprised how little work that they often really need. I could handle doing most the work, plus upgrade the rear cog for you if you like (I currently don't have spare cables, but I got parts hub and a few other goodies). But at the very least I could also point you in the direction of an LBS that does work on them if you'd be more comfortable going that route.

Without (and even with sometimes) pictures its hard to say what is needed to get it running. But these bikes were made to last pretty much forever. A good cleaning, new chain, and rubber is often all that is needed to get them rolling again. The chrome on these bikes (depending on year of manufacture) is pretty thick, so most the rust usually comes off fairly easily. And the hubs usually only need to be cleaned and adjusted properly.

If you're really dedicated or interested in doing it yourself check out the 150+ pages of the "for the love of English 3 speed thread. https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...glish-3-speeds Just about everything you'd ever need to know to get it up and going is there. Like wise the check the Sheldon Brown site https://sheldonbrown.com/english-3.html.

They really aren't that hard to fix yourself.

Last edited by conradpdx; 09-09-12 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 09-09-12, 10:00 AM
  #13  
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Speaking of Lovely bike. https://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/...intage-vs.html

She gives a great run down of the pros of rehabbing the Sports on the link. And likewise she spells out what these bike need for everyday use, follow her advice on the above mentioned link and you'll have a phenomenal ride. I'd really think about it. If it's a bike you're going to use spending more than it's worth in resale isn't much of a factor, considering the more you ride any bike, you're going to put more money into than it's worth just in basic maintenance over the years, that's not including upgrades and fixed parts.

I'm willing to bet that you won't find a new 3 speed bike that is comparable to the Sports in comfort and durability for less than $500.00. Though you could probably find a better used Sports for $100.-$150 (here in PDX) to start as a base if you wanted, which might save you a few bucks over your current frame.
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Old 09-11-12, 11:24 AM
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Wow, thanks for the great replies!

My commute would be very flat so my thinking was that a three speed would be quite adequate and reliable. After reading through the responses I'm still quite torn. I would love to work on this during weekends but for the foreseeable future I have many other projects around the house that would take priority.

Thanks for the recommendation of going to a bike coop. I'm going to start there and see if I can get some help. If not I think I may have to list the bike on CL and see if I can get cash towards the purchase of a usable commuter.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-11-12, 02:00 PM
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I only continue this because you seem pretty interested in the bike.

If the shifter cable has tension, and the wheels are straight the bike probably runs fine. Fill that hub with WD-40 and and ride it or spin the wheel for a bit (don't worry if it wont shift yet), let it drain completely (ie let it sit for a week). Then add about 3 Tsps. of 30 weight oil and again ride it for a bit or spin the wheel for a few minutes. At which point 90% of the time the hub is ok.

Next adjust the tension on the shifter cable. This is done on the part that is called the indicator chain (the screwed connection on the cable just outside of the rear hub). Ride it but don't stand on the peddles (the gears when not adjusted right can and will slip). When it's in 3 gear the cable should be fairly loose, 1st fairly tight. If it doesn't engage in 1st gear it's too loose and little by little tighten it up until 1st gear connects. Then switch it to 3rd gear- if it doesn't engage or slips, it's too tight and loosen it a bit. When your done there should be a spot between 3rd and 2nd gear where the hub doesn't engage at all. You know your adjusted when you can shift all three gears and get the neutral between 2nd and 3rd.

A little 30 weight oil down the seat tube keeps the bottom bracket lubed. And depending on the year of the bike the front hub will also have an oil port (spin what looks like a little clip in the middle of the hub till you see the hole) and again a few drops there does wonders.

If your hub and shifter work good, most everything else on the bike is merely cosmetics. That and get some Kool-Stop Salmon brake pads and your pretty much good to go.

Those old chains are really good too, more than once I've only needed to clean and re oil them despite their age. And they work just as good as new ones do.

<note> stay away from motor oil with additives, the additives can gunk everything up.

Most the time this is all that's needed to do on an old Sports. You could easily break it up into an few minutes here and there over a couple of weeks
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Old 09-12-12, 04:27 AM
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And actually, the gradual method of breaking this refurbishing up may be beneficial . Don't forget to oil the front hub also.
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Old 09-12-12, 06:23 AM
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Using the guides you find on the internet and a decent set of common tools, you can do most things yourself. When I started on the 3 speed path a fair few years ago I had only experience doing repairs on old American balloon tire bicycles (my other bike passion) and the only real guide online was the Sheldon Brown site. It still is an excellent guide. With the help of that site and some of the newer ones, you ought to be able to be able to tackle 95% of the jobs on the bike, and certainly all of the common ones. I did a lot of my work on my Sports on the small balcony of a 1 bedroom apartment using common house tools. Parts are readily available on the internet still, if you ever need them.

If your commute is pretty flat, then the stock gearing should be fine. I swapped my cog, but in really flat areas it is not necessary. They do make excellent utility commuters.
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