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Help me understand this 50's Raleigh bike...and help me find a part..

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Help me understand this 50's Raleigh bike...and help me find a part..

Old 01-19-15, 08:50 PM
  #1  
sosogo
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Help me understand this 50's Raleigh bike...and help me find a part..

Hi

I bought this bike late last year and the seller described it as a "1957 Gentlemens Roadster". I thought it looked cool and I wanted a project to restore so I bought it.

It has balloon tyres and balloon mudguards (tyres are 26 x 2 x 1 3/8)

It has drum brakes front and rear that were cable operated and a Sturney "AB" hub.

The gear roller is steel but not brazed on.

It has the Bottom Bracket oil cap on the drive side (right hand side)

The serial number on the seat tube is CN 44620 which doesn't match any of the conventions I can find online. The front hub is dated "3 52" and the rear is "52 9" so I'm fairly confident that it is a 1952.

Is this a DL-1 Export? (I am in New Zealand) It has really fat rear chain stays and straight dropouts at the rear with a tensioner (not the angled type I have seen on some Raleighs)

It has the holes predrilled for the "rockers" (fulcrums? - I'm not sure what they are called) for rod brakes so I have ordered the parts to convert her back to rod brakes. Someone had blocked these holes with self tapping screws.



So far I've stripped and repainted all the steel parts and I have parts at the chromeplaters now (rims, cranks, seatpost) - I'll post some "after" photos shortly.

The only part I am missing for the rod brake conversion is this part in the pics below. I'm not sure what it's called. Anyone know where I can get one? It's the part that is fixed to one side of the fork and and pivots when you operate the front brake


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Old 01-20-15, 08:38 AM
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With 26" wheels, it's not a DL-1, but something more like a Dawn Tourist, but that had conventional EA3 wheels, and you have something else (and I'm not sure what). As you suggest, what was imported to NZ may differ from other markets.



If it originally had rod brakes (which I don't doubt) and it now has drum brake hubs, then those hubs are not original; so that throws your 1952 date out the window (sorry!). So there is also no need to consider the rims original; it could well have been a Dawn Tourist with EA3 wheels.
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Old 01-20-15, 09:45 AM
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I also wonder if those are the 26 x 1 3/4 " rims found on delivery and trade bikes, irrespective of the markings. (571 mm bead) It might be hard to source new tires.
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Old 01-20-15, 07:42 PM
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I find this bike intriguing. But more so after reading clubman's 26 X 1 3/4 rim hypothesis. At second glance, those balloon tires do appear to be much larger than the typical 26 X 1-3/8 tire and there is still a substantial space left between the fender. This would also explain the need for drum brakes as the normal rod brake would not reach the rim. Regarding new tires, a Schwinn S7 balloon tire also has a 571mm bead and might fit. I believe Kenda still makes this tire.

I am looking forward to the after photos and any more information you uncover about this bike.
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Old 01-20-15, 08:12 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Here are some more pictures before diassembly (apologies that some of them are of the bike upside down which I took mainly for reference of where fastenings and cables were located for when I put it back together).

You can see how wide the chainstay is compared to most Raleigh roadsters. It looks about twice the normal width.




The tires are 54-571

I plan to use rod actuation onto the exisiting hubs
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Old 01-20-15, 08:40 PM
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I too like @clubman 's delivery bike hypothesis: Intriguing indeed.
Perhaps @PatrickZ is on to something too - those drum brakes may be original!

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Old 01-21-15, 07:04 AM
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I agree. Usually when we hear the words "rod brakes" we assume the kind of brake where the rod activates a stirrup that pushes the pads onto the inner edge of the rim, rather than the sides of the rim like a caliper brake. On your bike the rods activated the drum brakes. If that's the case, your hubs (and your whole wheels) are probably original.
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Old 01-21-15, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by sosogo View Post
The tires are 54-571
Thanks for confirming the mystery wheel size. I seem to recall some 1930s English roadsters being fitted with 26 X 1 1/2 (650B) wheels - SirMike's Hercules roadster comes to mind - but this is the first Raleigh roadster I have seen with 26 X 1 3/4 (650C) wheels. It should give a nice, smooth ride.
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Old 01-21-15, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickZ View Post
Thanks for confirming the mystery wheel size. I seem to recall some 1930s English roadsters being fitted with 26 X 1 1/2 (650B) wheels - SirMike's Hercules roadster comes to mind - but this is the first Raleigh roadster I have seen with 26 X 1 3/4 (650C) wheels. It should give a nice, smooth ride.
So this bike is a "roadster"? I'm not even sure what that means although it was sold to me as a "Gentlemens Roadster".

The rims are at the chrome-platers now but I will measure the width when they come back. Is the 1 3/4 simply the width from edge to edge (44mm)?

I was able to pick up some CST tires locally in 54-571 size. They are not ideal aesthetically because they have a kind of hard "shoulder" to them rather than being round and balloon like. They will however allow me to get it back together and find the ideal tires later.

The bearings and crank went it in last night together with the headset cups and the bolt-in seat stay. A new B66 black saddle arrived in the post yesterday. I'm really just waiting for the chromed parts and the rod brake parts before any real further progress can be made.

I noticed last night that on the top of the front fender where it is recessed to fit between the fork legs there is a stamped "B". I assume this indicated "balloon" but I'm not sure.

The luggage rack has "Midlands England" stamped on it

Does anyone know what that finned thing at the front hub in the photo above is? It was held onto the spokes at 4 points with very small nuts and bolts. My first thought was something to do with electrics but the dynamo is on the back wheel. My second thought was that maybe it's something to do with disipating heat from the front hub? Any guesses?

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Old 01-21-15, 09:41 PM
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^^ The dynamo is on the front wheel- isn't it? There is a generator mounted on the rear as well.

The square thing looks like a heatsink and part of the mechanism for the front brake.

I doubt the "B" is for 'Balloon' unless the Brits had a completely different idea of what balloon tires were all about. Balloon tires were usually wider, but I am an American so balloon tires may have a special meaning here.
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Old 01-21-15, 09:57 PM
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My '80 DL-1 has those tires too, and some unusual features. I've been told it's an export model.

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Old 01-21-15, 10:11 PM
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Several points to consider here. Sosogo, the 26 X 1 3/4 is simply the old English method of describing the ISO 571 rim/tire size. The Sheldon Brown website has a wealth of information on tire sizing. Unlike today, the outside diameter was always nominally 26 inch (or 650 for the French) and as the tires progressed from narrow to wider/taller, the rim diameter became smaller to compensate. As Clubman has noted, I have only seen this wheel size mentioned in Raleigh catalogs for the rear wheel of a Raleigh delivery bike. Most every Raleigh Sports sold in the USA had 26 X 1 3/8 wheels/tires (EA3 or 37-590). Salubrious, while I agree that it is doubtful the "B" stands for "balloon," the OP's bike indeed has the same size tires as most Schwinn middleweights, which is why I find it unusual and interesting.
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Old 01-21-15, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
My '80 DL-1 has those tires too, and some unusual features. I've been told it's an export model.

Great bike! Thanks for sharing. This would seem to confirm sosogo has the original hub/wheels on his bike.
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Old 01-22-15, 06:55 AM
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I think the "heatsink" was an old school mileage counter that had a toothed mech. I'm sure I've seen that one before.
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Old 01-22-15, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
I think the "heatsink" was an old school mileage counter that had a toothed mech. I'm sure I've seen that one before.
I'm sure that's correct. There was a gear that meshed into that ring, which spun a cable which ran to the speedometer/odometer mounted to the handlebar.
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Old 01-22-15, 11:58 AM
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Cool, and cool bike; I was trying to sort out how how I could build something like this- didn't know they had actually made it...
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Old 01-22-15, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
My '80 DL-1 has those tires too, and some unusual features. I've been told it's an export model.

Every time this beautiful bike is posted, I feel the need to put up a picture of mine as well...




I still would like to know which model these bikes are. Yes, they are DL-1 variants but I'm sure they were designated their own name and model number. Now there are three on BF and the latest one has drum brakes!

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Old 01-22-15, 07:06 PM
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^ i got that light on my raleigh ..
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Old 01-22-15, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kingsting View Post
Every time this beautiful bike is posted, I feel the need to put up a picture of mine as well...




I still would like to know which model these bikes are. Yes, they are DL-1 variants but I'm sure they were designated their own name and model number. Now there are three on BF and the latest one has drum brakes!
Thanks kingsting! Yours is a "Boss Bike", right? I read somewhere those were made for the African market.
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Old 01-22-15, 10:19 PM
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It makes sense that the machines were built for a market that was marginal in the road department. These machines look like they might not be too bad on single track as long as it did not require a lot of steering.
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Old 01-22-15, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I'm sure that's correct. There was a gear that meshed into that ring, which spun a cable which ran to the speedometer/odometer mounted to the handlebar.
You can see it in the pic, the white cable has the little gear on it.

This is a cool bike. I know there's a distributor in Canada (babac) that sells 571mm tires too but I would imagine they are the same CST tires you found. A friend has an old CCM that has the same tires and they were the only ones I could find in that size that are anything close to balloon tires.
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Old 01-22-15, 11:14 PM
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the full 1951 Raleigh catalog can be viewed here: Raleigh Bicycle Catalog for 1951

For a front rod brake to rod activated drum brake conversion look here: Biking in Heels: Fixing it so it brakes, part 2
The blogger has her own bike shop these days: Bicycle Belle
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Old 01-22-15, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
You can see it in the pic, the white cable has the little gear on it.

This is a cool bike. I know there's a distributor in Canada (babac) that sells 571mm tires too but I would imagine they are the same CST tires you found. A friend has an old CCM that has the same tires and they were the only ones I could find in that size that are anything close to balloon tires.
That white cable is the disconnected front cable for the front drum but I think everyone is on the right track. I cleaned that ring and it has "Smiths Motor Accessories Limited" stamped into it. I think Smiths made car gauges so it would make perfect sense that it is some kind of odometer.

Also some pics of the bike as it currently is while I wait for the chromed bits
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Old 01-23-15, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by randomgear View Post
the full 1951 Raleigh catalog can be viewed here: Raleigh Bicycle Catalog for 1951

For a front rod brake to rod activated drum brake conversion look here: Biking in Heels: Fixing it so it brakes, part 2
The blogger has her own bike shop these days: Bicycle Belle
Excellent, thank you for the links. Strangely a lot of the specs of the "Carrier Model 41" look similar to mine except for the frame...deep fenders with removable stays (but they have 4 stays per fender not 2), wide rims, option of the AB hub,..

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Old 01-23-15, 10:39 PM
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Ummm, I really should have noticed this before, but are you ordering a rod-brake handlebar with the hardware already attached? I don't think that the normal levers that came with your bike will work with rod brakes.
The handlebar rods on mine (a '39 model Raleigh built for Sears Roebuck) don't appear to be removable and easily replaceable - it looks like once they come off, they will be very difficult to get back on, but, I admit to being too chicken to try on a hard to replace handlebar.
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