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Raliegh Rapide

This one was fun.

A well preserved 70s road machine which was once a striking red colour but has evenly faded (where exposed to light) to a fabulous orangey colour.

It wasn’t a high end bike in its day and was originally equipped with steel cottered cranks, steel stem and bars, steel wheel rims and hubs and pressed steel brakes and levers. Performance was lacking, even for a casual-use bike.

It turns out to have had the Raleigh peculiar sizing for the bottom bracket width and threads (unique to Raleigh), headset cups and threads and handlebar sizing. As a modern double crankset was the main reason for the update, the bottom bracket threads had to be re-cut and the ends ground down so it more closely resembles a typical 68mm BSC bottom bracket shell! Apparently most bikes with this “unique” system were three speeds, so this road machine is very unusual. Thanks to Sheldon Brown’s page on Retro Raleighs for clearing up the mysteries.

New (cheap) wheels and nice 28c tyres. Tektro extra-long drop brakes. Nitto Randonneur bars. GB alloy stem. Classic-styled double compact chainset. 7-sp freewheel. Shimano 105 and A11 derailleurs. Simplex shifters. The headset, pedals, seatpost and saddle remain original.

It doesn’t set the world on fire but is incredibly comfortable and easy to ride, even on quite rough road surfaces. A full day riding would be a pleasure.