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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Lets talk bikes.

I'm a bit of a hoarder though my wife says I'm a lot of a hoarder. Yea right. Oh, that another parcel I have to sign for that's not for me? Whose are these shoes I keep falling over?
No I'm a collector. Trouble is it's bikes, I'm collecting too much and I'm trying to stop. I've got to wean myself off e-bay.
However I like my bikes. Looking at them. Cleaning them and sometimes maintaining them but I admit that it evenings spent in a cold wet garage is getting too much.
Last year I sold three bikes that I enjoyed riding but I needed the room and the money. First one to go was this Edinburgh Cycle Revolution Sport. Nice bike and I used to tour with it as you can see but I've got the steel bug and this is aluminium, with a steel fork though, which makes it as heavy as a quality steel bike.
 Though it was comfortable enough, due I suppose to that curved fork. I've now sold this bike as I was running out of space and I needed the cash for something else.
Edinburgh Cycle Revolution Sport.
German train
 I also sold this Giant SCR LTD. I built this up from a frame. A really nice bike but not good enough IMO for all day comfort.

That gave me enough money to buy this 1985 Harry Hall. The paint scheme is a bit dodgy though. The seller told me he had done it himself to copy the Discovery teams colours during the TDF. Don't ask me why. I mean, why would you?
Harry hall before respray
Any way it was a bike that rode beautifully and I modernised it with 9speed STIs, wider modern bars and wheels.
Until I could not bear the sight of that colour scheme anymore. It had to go and off the bike went to the LBS for a powdercoat for £50. That went well. Not! Five weeks later the frame came back with a dent in the downtube and a big splash of black paint on the toptube. LBS says that's ok, just put a sticker on it. Er no. FIXXXXX  ITTT!!! was my mild mannered response.
So [you bored yet?] off it goes again to a proper bike sprayer for a full repaint, no powdercoat and the result is below
Harry Hall resprayed frame.
What do you think?
Now while all this was going on with the Harry Hall I needed what I regard as a Clubmans bike. One I can use for all my casual rides around the are and for the Clubs Sunday runs. It has now to be steel as aluminium beats me up too much on a long run. Either that or I'm too soft.
I manage to aquire a mint condition raleigh Sprint for £49. It was not mint when the guy pulled it out of the garage where it had stood for twenty years, but I thought it would do for the bits.
When I washed all the crud off the next day and, Wow! I found a new bike nestling underneath it all. Totally unused mint. The seat post was stuck though so I left it overnight to soak in oil and some brute force worked it's magic. So, I have all these bits knocking around from the Harry Hall so on they go. Another modernised old bike, but I keep the old wheels. Compact chainset, Sora rear mech and a Megarange freewheel for the old knees. STIs up front. Bluemel guards. I changed the brakes for some more modern stuff but I didn't need to as the Wienmann single sidepulls worked pretty well so I may put them back on. This is it.
Modernised 1991 Raleigh Sprint
Those wheels are pretty good. Alesi. No wear on the rims so worth keeping though could do with being respoked. I'm pretty heavy so 36 spokes work for me. The LBS tells me they were a decent wheel in the day and I find they are no heavier then the average double rimmed modern stuff. However I've had problems with the galvanised spokes breaking. I've just fitted four new spokes on the rear wheel. Luckily being 36 spoke you can continue to ride with a couple missing. I don't think I've had enough tension in them so I've tightened them right up and retrued the wheel {I'm rubbish at trueing] so we'll see.
                            I've rebuilt my Harry Hall but it sits unused as I can't get the headset to seat properly and there is movement in it. Can't figure out whats wrong with that one. Took it to the LBS and it came back worse. He just tightened it down so the forks were that stiff it was unrideable. What's wrong with these people? Update. I have now sorted that and it's all fine.

I recently came upon this beauty and could not resist buying
1985 Raleigh Royal
 Yes I know the saddle needs altering. But it rides beautifully on it's 27" wheels. They seem to roll much better than 700c. Don't know why. I was wary about the standard brakes as Centrepull seem to have a lot of detracters but they've excellent up to now even with the original pads. I do notice that you have to grip those non aero levers a bit harder than non-aero ones. However.
                                     Before I was as crazy as I am now, I had only one bike. I took it to Mallorca several times and toured the Island on it as well as using it for Club rides in the UK. I never ever thought about a lack of braking or uncomfortable levers. This is it below.
Raleigh Sprint in Palma mallorca.

I suppose I'm spoilt. I guess if you just drove a Morris Minor all your life and never had a go in a Mondeo you would be perfectly happy. I eventually brought this lovely bike back to the UK. I sold it for a very good price as it was in beautiful condition. I sent it by courier and the couriers broke the frame. Very sad. They paid the buyer out in full. I've since bought another of these earlier models for silly money. For the quality of bike they go far too cheap at the moment. 501 frame but only main tunbes. They still weigh in lighter than my 531 framed bikes and ride very well. I like them a lot. There is quite a lot about and they were not that cheap in their day, so that says a lot about them. Popular with clubmen evidently.
   
                          You may have noticed that I do like to tour. I like to tour in France. I hate taking my bikes on planes. Apart from the hassle there is always this fear of the bike being damaged. I like my bikes to look as nice as possible but I know they will get bumped or scratched. fair enough. Well fair enough if it's done by me. If by somebody else, like baggage handlers then I'm not so happy.
My Edinburgh Cycles bike picked up a couple of scratches last time out. Nothing big deal [thankyou Munich] but there all the same.
So decision made I'm buying a frame and putting together something from my boxes of bits. I came across a Raleigh Royal Touring frame for £49. It's all 531 and in reasonable condition. The odd tiny scratch and a bit of rust on the headstock bearing cup. No rust on the frame.
A few runs on my spares box, a borrowed touring wheel off another bike and a front wheel I picked up for £2 gave me this Raleigh Tourer.
There are a few scratches around the headstock that really bother me but I'm wary of trying to touch them up. I suppose I could just rub it down and apply some gloss black from somewhere but then it's not oringinal. Oh well, I did build it to be a bike that I would not bother too much about. I also did the unthinkable by drilling the frame to fit Sidepull calipers. I can't get on with Cantilever brakes and I'm not going to fit a wider tyre than 28c. Thats a loaded tourer for me. Rear panniers and a barbag.
I get on fine with downtube shifters on tour and I don't have any comfort problems. Just as well I'm not too precious about it as it suffered a dent in the top tube on it's last flight.
My flyaway bike.

              I ride with a club sometimes.  Or do they ride with me. No. I ride with them. Usually in the middle or at the back of the group because I don't know where I'm going. I'm not a bad club rider but I do get beatan up on the hills. I'm heavy for a cyclist. I ride a large sized bike which is also heavy. So the young bloods on their small carbon bikes leave me for dead on the hills.
             I've sold my lightweight aluminium framed bikes, but in these curcumsatnces I missed really a lightweight bike. I managed to buy an 853 Raleigh MTRAX steel race frame for £70 in almost perfect condition and put together a 10kg bike for sunny day club rides. Good weight for a big steel frame and bog standard components. It's a really nice ride and I'm very pleased with it. It's sporting DT shifters at the moment which are a bit sensitive for a 9 speed cassette so may fit STIs this year or go down to 8 speed at the back.
Raleigh Mtrax 853
My latest aquistion is this Dawes Galaxy. They say that if you could only have one bike then this should be the one. It's certainly a nice ride. I've done a couple of hundred miles on it now and have no complaints. The bar end shifters were a bit strange at first but I'm used to them now. I'd fallen out with Cantilever brakes but these seem to be fine. Can stand the bike on end so alls good. I don't know if I'm keeping it yet though. I put a silly bid on it and didn't expect to win it.
Dawes Galaxy Tour.

In 2003 I walked into a bike shop through Idle curiosity and was looking at a nice immaculate touring bike. It was in my size too. Which is unusual. I wasn't particularly looking for another bike but the owner spotted my interest and started up a sales pitch. The bike had been bought a few weeks ago by the local postman.                         He'd rode it to work once and dedcided that he didn't like it as it was too big and done a deal with the shop for something else. The shop told me to take it up the road for a spin. Deadly. I really liked it. It rode really well. I put it back in the rack and told him I'd think about it. He wanted £450 for it which was £200 off the new price. Quite a lot on money in 2003. Dawes Galaxy money in fact! Too much for me. This was in August. I went back in October and it was still sat there.
                I cheekily offered him £250 for it as it was the end of the Touring season. After much face pulling he agreed if I paid there and then in cash. I rode away on a beautiful as new tourer. This is it on it's first tour.
A beautiful Saracen Skyline. 531 tubing, long comfy chainstays and STI gearing and Mavic touring rims. Saracen has since stopped producing bikes in the UK. This was evidently made by Dawes for Saracen. There is a similarity with the Galaxy. I had to change the brakes for sidepulls as I find cantilevers a niusance and I don't tour with tyres wider than 28C. Plus I fitted a shorter stem. I also run it on lighter wheels for local trips so it  looks like this at the moment.


I never did put a picture of my completed Harry Hall on here. Now it's all built up and modernised with it's Tiagra 9 speed STI's. Trouble is it's not moving over to the inner ring on the cassette. Looks like I've got the wrong rear mech fitted. It must be only an 8 speed so I've ordered a 9. We will have to see. I'm not sure whether the mudguards are right. I'm thinking maybe a black pair. Or none at all. What do you think?
Completed Harry Hall.


On Bike fit.
Somebody  posting today on a site about his problems with bikefit. So many opinions followed about what bike to buy and so on. It got me thinking.
I'm 6'2" and very long legged. I've been this size almost all of my cycling life. In my teens I had one bike. A five speed Sun something. It was not a cheap bike. However it was used for everything. Going to school, shopping, taking my mums towels to the laundry balanced on the crossbar [she had a hairdressers]. taking my sister somewhere balanced on the crossbar. later going to work, balancing girls on the crossbar. going on tour. Youth hostelling at weekends etc,etc. I never remember any discomfort or fit problems.
I think maybe with one bike you tend to mould yourself to the bike, if it is reasonably your size. Your body fits in. Youth and flexibilty has probably much to do with it.
These days I have a few bikes and am always tinkering with the fit. My body is never allowed to settle on one bike. I ride 23", 24" and 25" frames so different stems, seatpost, saddles etc. Even bar widths.
I read something interesting the other day. The author was looking at bike positioning in the past and now. He, I think was comparing different brake levers. He posted old and new pictures. The old pictures showed bars almost level with the seat on racing cycles. Therefore the rider spent a lot of time comfortably riding on the drops and found non-aero brakes plenty powerful for the job. These days the bars are much lower and we spend a lot of time on the tops or hoods. We therefore need the easier braking of the modern Aero or STI levers. Interesting stuff.
So today I ventured out on my original 1985 Raleigh Royal, after raising the bars and had a very nice comfy ride. Most of the time on the drops and it's true how powerful the old non aero brakes are when used in this position.
Good stuff. IMO.

Comments welcome.



2 comments:

Dave said...

I noticed your Raleigh Royal 10. I have just bought one but was wondering if you had any other pictures as I'm trying to replace a few of the parts. I particularly interested in the seat post pin and clamp. Thanks for any help. Dave

Guy Onabike said...

No,afraid not. It has the standard Raleigh pin and seatpost. Try the Bulgier catalouges for Raleigh royal.