Vintage Bikes from Days Gone By

I’ve enjoyed riding, restoring, and selling many vintage bicycles.  Some of them are not as well known as the more popular marques or models.  Here are a few of those examples.

Austro Daimler:

1976 Austro Daimler Mixte with BCM lugs

This nice A-D mixte came with a Suntour drive train, SR cranks, and a Regina freewheel. It weighed in at 26 lbs.

Centurion:

1976 Centurion Super Le Mans mixte, with Shimano Arabesque shifters and derailleurs.

The Centurion mixte, with its iconic orange paint, is one of my favorite restorations. I sold the bike a number of years ago, but miss it now.

Schwinn:

Huret Duo Par rear derailleur

1986 Schwinn Passage Touring bike – Columbus double butted tubing, forged drop outs, and lots of braze-ons. A very nice touring machine.

Trek:

A beautiful 1984 Trek 830 “mountain bike” which I converted to a city commuter. Reynolds 501 frame with lovely lugs and fork crown.

This Trek was really fun to ride, with its long wheelbase and stable geometry.

Davidson:

1984 Davidson with Campagnolo dropouts

I toured on this Davidson all over Oregon. This photo is from a trip to the cranberry bogs in Bandon, on the Oregon coast. The frame is made with Tange Champion tubing.

Rudge:

The iconic Raleigh Rudge headbadge.

This early 1960’s Raleigh Rudge 3 speed was in excellent condition. I donated it to a charity auction and I hope its new owner is having fun with it.

Peugeot:

I have worked on many Peugeots dating from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. This is an especially nice looking 1985 mixte. It is built with Carbolite 103 using internal brazing- a technique mastered by Peugeot which eliminated external lugs and brazes, for a clean appearing joint.

Peugeot Crank with built in chain guard.

Raleigh:

This 1974 Raleigh Sprite was  fun to ride – very “sprightly”.

While this bike looks like a non-performer, I found myself keeping up with road bike cyclists while commuting. The bike is a conundrum, having a relatively heavy frame and components, but feeling responsive while riding.

Nishiki:

Nishiki headbadge, Dia Compe centerpulls

This Nishiki International touring bike included a SunTour drivetrain and Sugino cranks, as well as other quality components of this era.

There are more bikes that are equally worth considering for restoration, but I hope the examples above serve as inspiration for the cyclists and restorers who want to preserve and ride these quality machines.

Theresa’s New (Old) Raleigh

1976 Raleigh Gran Sport

1976 Raleigh Gran Sport

My partner in all things, Theresa, has been riding a Raleigh Alyeska touring bike for the last decade or so.  While it is a great bike, it is a touring bike and relatively heavy.  So, when we ride together I often feel that I am cheating by zipping around on one of my nimbler machines.  And, the Alyeska’s top tube is just a bit shorter than she prefers, so I decided to build up this Raleigh Gran Sport, which has a longer top tube, into a lighter weight iteration of its original self.

The early 60’s version of the Gran Sport was something of a sought after machine, with Sheldon Brown describing his lust for its Campagnolo components, even though at this time the frame was built with standard tubing.  This model, which I have dated to approximately 1976, is built with Reynolds 531 tubing for both the frame and fork, and it sports a Carlton logo as well.  However, some of its original components left something to be desired, such as the low end plastic Simplex derailleurs and shifters.

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I admit to a great fondness for this beautiful sky blue color scheme.  It is reminiscent of my 1976 Centurion Pro Tour.  With the white accents, I decided it was really necessary to use white cable housing.  I set up the drivetrain using Suntour components.  I had a NOS Suntour V-GT rear derailleur that I mated to a single bar end shifter.  I used a vintage Sugino crank with an SR drilled 42 tooth ring.  The freewheel is an early index version 6 speed 14/30 Shimano.  Index freewheels actually work better with friction shifters than non-index versions.

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I wanted to keep this bike very light and simple, so there is no front derailleur or extra shifter.  To add to its elegance and feathery weight, I decided to use my treasured Campagnolo/Mavic wheelset.  This was one of the first sets I built, using smooth as butter vintage Campy hubs laced to new Mavic Open Pro 36 hole rims.  That meant a conversion to 700c, from the bike’s original 27 inch wheel diameter – not a problem at all.

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The blue color in the Mavic logo nicely accents the sky blue frame.  For the riding position, Theresa expressed a preference to be more stretched out as well as upright enough to make city riding safe and enjoyable.  I was thinking of using these big ol’ Soma bars, but I knew I would need a pretty long reach for the stem.  I found this Nitto stem with a whopping 130 mm of reach, but it had to be shipped from Japan!

Soma Oxford bars Cardiff saddle

I also ordered this very pretty Cardiff saddle, a brand which I have come to love (one is installed on my Meral), and I will be curious to see how she likes this compared to the Brooks on her current bike.  I used Mafac Racer centerpull brakes, and installed a small TA randonneur rack to mount to the front calipers.  Probably we will add a minimalist rear rack at some point, as well as some fenders.  These 35 mm Panaracer Paselas will be perfect for the kind of riding we do.  One of the very nice features on this frame is the elegant cable stop for the rear brake.

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I found some light blue cloth bar tape from Velox that matches the frame perfectly.  To keep with the vintage appearance I used Velo Orange’s City brake levers.  Now this nice old Raleigh has a new look and a new lease on life.  I am looking forward to Theresa’s first test ride!

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Pdx Commute: 1950 Raleigh 3 Speed!

Brooks roll up bags

Today’s golden sunrise gave impetus to my desire for a leisurely ride to work on my 1950 Raleigh Sports Tourist.  Since it was a Saturday, the commute would be less stressful, with fewer high speed competitive riders about.  In fact, maybe the commute would be…relaxing!

1953

It was a wonderful promise-of-spring day, cool but dry, and very welcome after weeks of bad weather.  This Raleigh is one of the first bikes I purchased as I was beginning my bike restoration business.  It’s a Raleigh Sports Tourist “C” model, and weighing in at around 45 lbs., it is a bike I reserve for special occasions.  Since I live in a hilly neighborhood, riding this bike requires a certain mental preparation before I am ready to conquer the steep inclines awaiting me.  Fortunately, even though the bike is geared very high (I have left it all original and haven’t changed the gearing – what’s good enough for the Brits is good enough for me), I was able to make it up my hills without walking the bike, and I was rewarded with wonderful descents, especially enjoyable  because of the bike’s long wheelbase and amazing ability to absorb road shock.

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The Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub, combined with the 46 tooth chainring, has a gear inch range of 42 – 75.  The AW 3 speed hub is still going strong. In fact, I did nothing to restore it but add a few drops of oil to the oil port and a bit of lubrication to the spindle.  I did have to adjust the cable tension until I finally hit the sweet spot, where the shifting is just right, and there is no unpleasant and scary “free wheeling” in the middle (neutral) gear.

julie andrews bicycle

If Julie Andrews is happy, then so am I!  Riding this bike today restored my faith in Portland drivers.  I was politely waved through 4 way stops, and given the right of way at intersections, all with a happy (and proper?) wave and nod.  I can assure you, this never happens when I am riding my more performance oriented bicycles.

Brooks roll up bags

With this pleasant riding experience and fantastic work-out from pushing up the hills, I am feeling like the Brits know something that we don’t – that it is not always necessary to get where you are going in the fastest way possible.  Instead, get on your 3 speed and relax…