The last of the off-the-peg brazed / lugged steel framed Raleighs..?

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
As per my other thread on the mystery ebay Raleigh, I've been looking at late Raleigh "Lightweights" recently which led me to wonder what the last models were that were produced with proper brazed and lugged frames.

The latest lightweight documentation I can find is this 1990 catalogue, which shows the bonded, aluminium-lugged Dyna-tech models at the top of the tree with the more traditionally constructed brazed Reynolds 531 Volant, Veloce and Vitesse making up the entry-point to the lightweight range:

1990-Raleigh-Catalogue-8-9-1024x718.jpg





1990-Raleigh-Catalogue-10-11-1024x720.jpg



In later years it seems Raleigh moved away from lugged Reynolds tubing toward more basic unbutted and unbranded chrome-moly and TIG-welded construction; presumably to cut costs as steel moved out of favour for top-end products and because reserved for mid-range-at-best offerings before being phased out completely on road bikes :sad:

I'm kind of on the lookout for a tatty late frame to refinish as a non-standard project, however in looking I've become really intrigued by the last of the traditional steel frames from Raleigh and am interested to learn more.. unfortunately online availability of "lightweight" catalogues seems to dry up post-1990 (perhaps this line of marketing died with the brazed frames..?) while my ebay trawls don't seem to throw up anything more modern than the uncompromisingly '90s aesthetic of the bikes pictured above.

As pressed as I am for space and money I can really feel the irrational pull of one of these '90s machines; especially since variants of the models above rarely seem to command more than £100-150 on ebay, which seems like a real steal tbh.

Can anyone shed any more light / point to any resources on Raleigh road bikes of the early '90s please, or maybe hazard a guess as to what their last mainstream lugged and brazed model was..?

Ta :smile:
 
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wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
I found an interesting read on the history of Raleigh here, if anyone's interested. Doesn't tell me all I want to know but is fascinating none the less :smile:
 
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wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
I can't answer your query @wafter, but here's a gratuitous shot of my Volant complete with the patina of three decades.

View attachment 546887
Thanks - I'm suitably envious and that looks in really nice nick - kudos for maintaining it so well. How long have you had it?

IMO the skinny modern saddle looks so much better than the fat, awkward original. I think if i had one the old-skool bars with their massive reach and drop would have to go in favour of some more modern compact bars on both ergonomic and aesthetic grounds :smile:
 

Hardrock93

Über Member
Location
Stirling
Thanks - I'm suitably envious and that looks in really nice nick - kudos for maintaining it so well. How long have you had it?

IMO the skinny modern saddle looks so much better than the fat, awkward original. I think if i had one the old-skool bars with their massive reach and drop would have to go in favour of some more modern compact bars on both ergonomic and aesthetic grounds :smile:
Thanks. The paintwork has picked up many scratches and areas of wear over the years, so the photo flatters its condition. I was given the bike in 2016 and since then it's travelled less than 2000 fair weather miles. I do enjoy taking it out, but it is usually neglected in favour of the Croix de Fer. To lower the old school gearing, without changing the look too much, I've replaced the 42T inner chainring with a 38T and swapped out the 13-23T cassette for a 12-28T.
 
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wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Nowt wrong with a bit of character as long as it's wear rather than neglect or abuse :smile:

Nice work with the gears; the original setup sounds pretty horrific tbh ! Incidentally, what doesn't get neglected in favour of a CdF? Since I got mine it's done about 25 times the mileage of my road bike.

How do you find the "Biopace" chainring? Can you even differentiate it from a normal one?
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
It would appear that lugged steel Raleighs finally ceased production at the end of 1999, with possibly just a few high end frames lingering into 2000.
The mass-produced hi-tensile and lower spec Reynolds tubes appear to have ceased production using lugged & brazed fabrication by 1996, leaving just the low volume 531 etc spec road racing & touring frames to soldier on for a few more years.
The decline of lugged frames was the result of the shift from 3-speed roadsters to MTB's. All Raleigh's 3-speeds were brazed, but the vast majority of their MTB frames were welded, so as mass market MTB sales boomed in the late 80's and traditional roadsters declined, the proportion of Raleighs built with lugged frames fell dramatically during the 80's and 90's until the point was reached where only the tubesets unsuitable for welding continued to be brazed. Reynolds 500 and 501 cro-moly was displaced by generic 4130 grade steel by 1996, in the mid-price range, with lugged construction then surviving only on the high end products.
 
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wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
It would appear that lugged steel Raleighs finally ceased production at the end of 1999, with possibly just a few high end frames lingering into 2000.
The mass-produced hi-tensile and lower spec Reynolds tubes appear to have ceased production using lugged & brazed fabrication by 1996, leaving just the low volume 531 etc spec road racing & touring frames to soldier on for a few more years.
The decline of lugged frames was the result of the shift from 3-speed roadsters to MTB's. All Raleigh's 3-speeds were brazed, but the vast majority of their MTB frames were welded, so as mass market MTB sales boomed in the late 80's and traditional roadsters declined, the proportion of Raleighs built with lugged frames fell dramatically during the 80's and 90's until the point was reached where only the tubesets unsuitable for welding continued to be brazed. Reynolds 500 and 501 cro-moly was displaced by generic 4130 grade steel by 1996, in the mid-price range, with lugged construction then surviving only on the high end products.
Thanks - interesting stuff indeed :smile:
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
There's an informative thread over on the Cycling UK Forum ATM, concerning the very last of the lugged & brazed Raleigh tourers. Primarily about the Travelogue trekking bikes using Reynolds 708, but the Randonneur and Royal also get mentioned and a catalogue has been posted with the specs and geometry of the last generation of canti-braked lugged Raleigh frames.
 
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wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
There's an informative thread over on the Cycling UK Forum ATM, concerning the very last of the lugged & brazed Raleigh tourers. Primarily about the Travelogue trekking bikes using Reynolds 708, but the Randonneur and Royal also get mentioned and a catalogue has been posted with the specs and geometry of the last generation of canti-braked lugged Raleigh frames.
Thanks - I'll take a look :smile:
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
That looks fascinating. I wonder if I can source a public library copy?

I was going to go out for a spin on a hack bike this afternoon, I think I'll make the effort to get the Royal out now and take that instead. I don't need much reminding how well those 531 frames ride.
 
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