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Raleigh Sprite Dilemma

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Raleigh Sprite Dilemma

Old 09-29-12, 10:42 PM
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Raleigh Sprite Dilemma

I've acquired a '70s Raleigh Sprite with a 5-speed derailleur shifter. It has a long shifter mounted on the top tube. I've also picked up a parts bike with a clean Sturmey-Archer internal three speed system (wheel, cables and shifter)

Question: Would swapping out the 5-speed for a 3 speed make the bike more desirable (valuable)?

I don't see much buzz about the 5 -speeds.

Just wondering

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Old 09-30-12, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by canflyboy
I've acquired a '70s Raleigh Sprite with a 5-speed derailleur shifter. It has a long shifter mounted on the top tube. I've also picked up a parts bike with a clean Sturmey-Archer internal three speed system (wheel, cables and shifter)

Question: Would swapping out the 5-speed for a 3 speed make the bike more desirable (valuable)?

I don't see much buzz about the 5 -speeds.

Just wondering

Canflyboy
Are the wheels the same size? It will depend on your local market, and the person purchasing the bike.

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Old 09-30-12, 05:59 AM
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I doubt that you will change it's value significantly. Convert it if that's what you want to do, but keep the old parts so a future owner can convert it back.

-G
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Old 09-30-12, 06:12 AM
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Yeah, if you're thinking of flipping it, I doubt that it will make much difference. My Sprite came to me as a 5-speed, but the 52 chainring with a 14-30 freewheel meant the gearing was absurdly high for the hills around here, so I converted it to a SA 3-speed rear with two cogs in back shifted by a Svelto rear derailleur. It makes a nice 6-speed. (Actually a 7-speed since it has "emergency low" if I shift onto a smaller 36-tooth chainring in front by hand--there's no front derailleur.)
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Old 09-30-12, 06:20 AM
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I had a five speed Sprite for a while. For what it's worth, my advice would be to leave it alone. The one I had functioned very well and I was taken aback by how nicely it rode. I'm not much for "upright" riding, but I sure did like the way the Sprite rode for me. The only issue I could think of at the time was that the upright position made reaching for the shifter a little bit more of a task. Minor quibble for a nice neighborhood rider.
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Old 09-30-12, 06:55 AM
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I have two five speed Sprites that I've converted to 3 speed. I prefer them with the IGH, but that's just me.

As other have said, it depends on your market. There's a guy here locally that seems to be making out okay by marketing the older bikes as being for hipsters or pushing the tweed angle. His bikes always seem to sell for more than I'd personally be willing to pay, but I will say that his appear to be the cleanest, shiniest and prettiest older bikes I've ever seen outside of this forum.
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Old 09-30-12, 07:03 AM
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I currently have four "Sprites" in the stable. One is a six speed, the other three are 10speeds. All have original stem shifters. I would like to see this top tube shifter. I find 3 speeds sometimes end up as 1 "too low", 1 "too high" and one almost right for the bike. I would leave it as a five.
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Old 09-30-12, 07:06 AM
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Bring it back to its 1960's roots and fit it with a 5-speed internal gear hub:







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Old 09-30-12, 07:08 AM
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I see a lot of the 5 speed sprites at our local co-op and they are popular like that. An all-season rider might appreciate a 3 speed more but otherwise there's not much to gain by spending time and money converting it. I like the sprites though and would just leave this one as-is. Save the 3 speed conversion for something that doesn't work already.
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Old 09-30-12, 08:06 AM
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nlerner, Nice!! I have the step through sister to yours, but not as nicely cleaned up and without those awesome levers.

It's going to be a leisurely winter project, but a test ride confirmed that it's a funny and zippy (as my daughter described it) bike.
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Old 09-30-12, 11:13 AM
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Someone asked about some pics of the top tube shifters. Little blurry, but you'll get the general idea.

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