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Ninteen hundred and thirty eight

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Ninteen hundred and thirty eight

Old 12-11-12, 07:10 PM
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ftwelder
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Ninteen hundred and thirty eight

It was 1939 and the invasion of Poland that really made the rumors fact but in '38 Britain was already preparing for the war. Things were different. A good racing bike was six month's wages to a pair of skilled hands and well beyond reach of the ordinary working man. Raleigh offered a couple of decent club bikes and of course, the Record Ace for those with the means. For everyone else there was the sports model at the bottom (model 31). Not the upright, watered down sports model you see in the 60's, this was a real sports bike with dropped handlebars and quick-release wheels (wing nuts) at 4:19 pounds of British sterling it was a young clubman's dream.

For those with higher ambitions, the "Speed Sports" (model 33) was the next step up. Equipped with "head clip" style stem (comparable to the threadless push in the early 1990's) closer gear ratios and plating upgrades.

Until 1936 this was the penultimate model. Raleigh suppliers (Reynolds) had just developed the alloy later to be know as "531" and due to it's cost had only been used in the construction of the "Record Ace" model at nearly double the cost of a typical sports model. Hidden between the prestige and touring models was the "Silver Record" (model 40) built with the main tubes of the new material "chrome molybenum" steel tubing and the balance from the venerable 1040 high carbon alloy once highly regarded as "the best British steel". Looking through the pages of the catalog it would seem to be out of place as though the page had been removed and placed somewhere earlier in the catalog. It was only slightly cheaper than the RA and 20% higher than the Super Sports.

Equipped with the same Highgate (Lauterwasser) handlebars, KS Sturmey-Archer gearhub and headclip extension (and in fact everything but the rear fork stays) and at 8:2 pounds was the Silver Record hidden between the Superbe and the renowned "RA" (record ace). The new KS series close ratio, thin wall hub was used also. Likely responsible for much of the cost increase.

Clearly mentioned in the catalog is superior Raleigh "in house" chromium plating (though they offered inferior plating done elsewhere seemingly). The technology, only a few years old would be replaced with thicker, softer stainless steel units we now know. The Good news is the forks, cranks and all the components received the same lovely finish and didn't suffer the same flaking issues. Not a new new model but one that would capture the imagination of those who want the best but prefer to go unnoticed while working their way up.

This is a Raleigh Silver Record built just before the cloud of war rolled over Europe. Found in a barn in Western New Hampshire in 2011. It took almost two years to travel the two miles to my studio. It arrived today.

I removed the remains of the original fenders that had been broken at some point in the past and raised the saddle. Please enjoy these "as found" images.


29 859 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 860 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 861 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 863 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 864 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 865 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 866 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 868 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 870 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr


29 872 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr

Last edited by ftwelder; 12-11-12 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 12-11-12, 07:17 PM
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Just gorgeous, a neat slice of history. What are your plans for it?
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Old 12-11-12, 07:23 PM
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Well, that's ​pretty damned cool.
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Old 12-11-12, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
Just gorgeous, a neat slice of history. What are your plans for it?

'Hot bath and a shave. I just rebuild/polish them and get them working properly.
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Old 12-11-12, 07:27 PM
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Frank, it is so cool that these gorgeous old bikes make their way into your stable. Since you have such a love for these old machines and understand preservation instead of restoration, it brings me great pleasure to see this in your hands.

Last edited by photogravity; 12-11-12 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 12-11-12, 07:33 PM
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Great write up, and wonderful bike.
Congrats!
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Old 12-11-12, 07:35 PM
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FT, Just amazing!
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Old 12-11-12, 07:46 PM
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Great bike! Love the geometry. You can buy a near replica of the handlebar today, but try finding a frame like that!
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Old 12-11-12, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
'Hot bath and a shave. I just rebuild/polish them and get them working properly.
That's how they were meant to be... nice!
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Old 12-11-12, 07:50 PM
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What a great read, and bike!
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Old 12-11-12, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickZ View Post
Great bike! Love the geometry. You can buy a near replica of the handlebar today, but try finding a frame like that!
Hell, Frank is so talented that he built his own replica of a Lauterwasser! I seem to remember that he's working on his brazing skills too. Maybe he'll build one of these in the future. I wouldn't put it past him!
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Old 12-11-12, 07:51 PM
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Very cool, I just love those old bikes
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Old 12-11-12, 08:17 PM
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Meh, not like it's a Record Ace or anything... Ok, ok, I'm not known for my humour.
Great looking old race bike for sure!! Thanks for the write up, can't wait to see photos of it once you've cleaned it up a bit. And let us know how it rides!
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Old 12-11-12, 08:35 PM
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Good history lesson. Amazing find.
Hurry, get it cleaned and shining and post more photos.

Why did it take two years to get two miles? Reluctant seller?
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Old 12-11-12, 08:41 PM
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Great introduction to a cool old bike! Do folks ride bikes this old or is the fear of a crashing a piece of history too great?
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Old 12-11-12, 08:55 PM
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I knew this was coming, but man oh man, Frank! Such a gasser! Worth the wait.
What a fine hunk of British cycling history.

BTW - What rear hub is that?
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Old 12-11-12, 09:05 PM
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Wonderful writing and a wonderful find.
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Old 12-11-12, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by blilrat View Post
Great introduction to a cool old bike! Do folks ride bikes this old or is the fear of a crashing a piece of history too great?
I can't specifically say anything about "that old" as I've got nothing older than the 1950's in my stable, but yes, you ride them. And you don't worry about crashing them, you just ride them sanely. Why else go to all the bother of fixing them up? Besides, 50+ year old bikes ride a bit differently than something from the last 20 years. It's a worthwhile experience.
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Old 12-11-12, 09:28 PM
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Oh man, this one is wonderful! Keep posting as you clean 'er up!
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Old 12-11-12, 09:30 PM
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That's fantastic! If you're planning on making it a rider, are you going to swap the brakes so you don't have the proprietary "double ended" brake cables? Also, are those the original wheels? They almost look alloy, but I didn't think that alloy wheels came about for another decade or so after this. My '51 Lenton Sports has alloy rims, but I understand that it was a rather rare thing, and it wouldn't have been touted as the "all steel bicycle" then, I'd think...
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Old 12-11-12, 09:37 PM
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Fantastic bike and a superb piece of writing!
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Old 12-11-12, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
Hell, Frank is so talented that he built his own replica of a Lauterwasser! I seem to remember that he's working on his brazing skills too. Maybe he'll build one of these in the future. I wouldn't put it past him!
Didn't I see that handlebar on one of RHM's bikes? Amazing! I would buy one of Frank's frames with that geometry if he can figure out how to execute it in a 64-65cm frame! It seems to me it would either have cargo bike-length chainstays or I would be sitting directly above the rear wheel axle!
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Old 12-11-12, 11:26 PM
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Great find. Thanks for sharing it with us.

It is a little surprising that 531 was avialable for us in bicycles when the UK was busy trying to rearm and retool for the coming war. After all. 531 was pretty much the "cutting edge" aerospace stuff of the day. I know it was used in Spitfires for low weight and high strength compared to what came before. I would be surprised if 531 was not also used in other British wartime applications, but those I don't know about.
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Old 12-11-12, 11:53 PM
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I can't put my finger on it, but for some reason, that bike looks fast. You can tell it was meant to be.
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Old 12-11-12, 11:58 PM
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Great bike Frank! I especially like the rear hub and wing nuts. Also, thanks to your tutorial... Relaxed headtube + large offset = low trail Raleigh silver record. Did I remember correctly?
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