So - the wife has finally.... (and Q about steel raleighs..)

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by gkerr4, 5 Sep 2007.

  1. gkerr4

    gkerr4 New Member

    had a go at cycling!!


    she went out tonight with some friends who have been going out for a few weeks (in the name of losing a couple of pounds) and are enjoying it. She has an old MTB in the garage which I cleaned up a few weeks back which was like a death trap! - it was a 'universal' something or other and is around 20yrs old - no really.. (I spent ages cleaning it up and she never even touched it - although in fairness I don't think I'd have let her!!)

    so...she has borrowed her mums old bike - a steel raleigh commuter thing - to have a go on. She brought it round last night and I cleaned it up, re-greased and oiled where needed - it fits her quite well. I was hoping to a little service would make her first adult cycling experience a bit better so whe might carry on.

    anyway - stripped it down and the frame is lovely! - a nice proper, lugged steel 'made in england' raleigh frame probably about 12-15yrs old.
    But the components are atrocious!
    each of the wheels weigh more than the frame - they are steel rims, chromed but flaking and rusting a bit. the bearings feel ok though.
    and the rear mech is and old non-series shimano part and brakes are weinemann side pulls that were probably crap 15yrs ago and are awful now.

    so finally - my question is - am I flogging a dead horse trying to re-vitalise this bike? I was thinking of a cheap set of shimano R500 wheels (£50?) with an 8sp cassette and a new 8sp flat bar shifter - this along wth some new brakes would be an amazing upgrade to the old dog.

    or should I not bother and if she likes it, put the money towards something like a spesh sirrus?

    any thoughts??
  2. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    i bought an old (but tidy) steel frameset for £50. even though i already had a spare groupset and wheel, the whole thing still cost more than a cheap decathlon alu bike.

    i defo wanted steel for the winter bike, but if you are after spending as little as poss, see what your lbs has.
  3. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    To be honest, unless the frame is say 531, then I'd not throw a lot of money at it as alecstilleyedye says,it gets expensive real quick.
    There are some good bikes around these days for reasonable money.
  4. Mrs wrx had a Raleigh Pioneer that sounds exactly like what you're describing.

    My answer to your question is that she now has the Sirrus !
  5. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    Was it a fixie with downtube shifters?
  6. Why would a fixie have D/T shifters ?
  7. OP

    gkerr4 New Member

    thats exactly what it is - and yes, that exactly answers my question!!

    I tried putting some costs together, wheels, shifter, cassette, cables, chain - it all mounts up and at the end of the day - it's still an old bike - cute lugged frame or otherwise.
  8. OP

    gkerr4 New Member



    Perhaps 'death trap' was a bit strong - but it was awful.

    it weight a couple of ton but had no brakes to speak of whatsoever, the BB was shot and the wheels rusted - as an intro to cycling it wouldn't exactly have been a good intro (return) to cycling for her!!
  9. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    Like a Death Trap.........................

    Is she insured?

    One suggestion is to use this machine as a test bed to see what she wants. Pick up the good and bad points and then aply this knowleddge to tyhe new steed.

    I often end up buying parts twice.

    I buy something and fit it...

    My Wife likes the mod and "wants to try it on her bike"

    Stays on her bike and I have to replace.
  10. twowheelsgood

    twowheelsgood Senior Member

    Zurich Switzerland
    I disagree it CAN be worth it but don't expect to do it all at once and shop around.

    I have seen things like NOS STX 8 speed shifters for a fiver (I have one you can have for nothing but you'll have to ship it from Switzerland). Bike shops often have a load of old bits hanging about either swaped over from new (my girlfriends v-brakes and levers were done this way £15 complete with cables) or from customers (my ITM bars were £3).

    Try and re-use as much as possible. You probably wouldn't recognise those "crap" brakes with nothing more than new, quality brake blocks (go for cool stop salmons). The problem with all these old bikes isn't really the brakes (although newer ones are better), it is the steel rims are notoriously awful braking surfaces, practically useless when wet, the alloy rimmed wheels solve this - do be careful with wheel sizes though. Can the brakes reach 700c rims compared to the 26" rims you probably have? Similarly, you'll probably need to re-space the rear.

    The major investment will be the wheels but even the R500s will be a revelation compare to the (rigida?) wheels you currently have and will probably be much better than the Chinese generics what comes on a new cheap bike.

    I reckon you could make a useable bike for £100. That's half the entry level for anything worth having and if you and your girlfriend like the look of it and want something unique compared to a new bike then go for it. A retro looking bike is also less appealing to thieves than anything new, shiny and easy to sell-on.
  11. OP

    gkerr4 New Member

    You make a good argument there!

    It does have 70c wheels at the moment actually - they are, as you say, crappy steel (rusted) rims and weigh a LOT

    the brakes are well past their best - centre pivot BMX'y looking things. I'd probably change for a set of deep drop dual pivots.

    hm - i'l have a look at it again tonight and see if it might be possible...


  12. Twenty Inch

    Twenty Inch New Member

    Behind a desk
    Upgrading is good if you are on limited income and want to spread the cost by doing a little every month or so, and can wait until the part you need comes up at a price you can afford on Ebay, or you can negotiate with the LBS.

    Otherwise, forget it and buy a Subway or something. You'll never beat the manufacturers' prices - the get the components at way below trade wholesale prices.
  13. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    Of course the thing with upgrading is that it is a bit like the "old broom".

    Sooner or later you will simply have upgraded everything, including the frame!
  14. I do know how you feel.

    Mrs wrx's bike had been her pride and joy, she'd used it as her only transport and for a short commute to work for a few years, had looked after it, lubed it and kept it clean, never abused it.

    It had no paint scratches, the Raleigh and even the shop decals were unmarked, just a bit of rust on the wheels but the chrome would shine up, etc.
    With not very much TLC it looked almost new.

    And yes (although the metallic bluey-green colour wasn't to my taste), it was a 'proper' lugged steel frame like bikes 'should be' (i.e. looked like my first several bikes as a kid/teenager/student)

    But it weighed a ton, all the bits like bars and seatpost were either steel or indestructibly thick and heavy alu, had simple bottom-of-range Shimano SIS and all the other transmission parts were really crude, the side-pull Weinmann calipers were dire, and it had steel 700c Rigida wheels which would be useless in the wet.

    She got more into cycling because of me, wanted a newer, lighter, faster bike and so bought a Sirrus about this time last year, in the this-years-model-25%-off-to-make-way-for-next-years-models sale.

    And gave the Raleigh to a colleague who's somewhat overweight and was talking about getting a bike to do some exercise and losing some weight.
    - who's used it maybe once or twice and it's probably now rusing in her garage or shed...

    It's a serious shame. I still feel that that bike deserved better, it was too good to do that with.
  15. Pottsy

    Pottsy ...

    SW London
    I suggest buying her a new bike and convert the old one to a fixie and sell it to bonj.
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