Posts Tagged ‘531’

Essential item No.2. 1976 SBDU Team Raleigh Track.

August 3, 2011

3 years ago I saw an ad for a steel track frameset, my size, within my budget and looking good. So off I went to Bristol to pick it up. I arrived, checked the frame and agreed to make the transaction. It was a mid 70s silver enamelled Carlton, badged as a Marcarini, lovely it was, Fischer crown and everything. Yes please. But before I swapped my cash for the merchandise he offered to show me another frameset. “OK” I said. He then brought this out: A 1976 Team Raleigh track SB969 in ‘the’ colourway.

Dilemma. I’d always wanted one of these and this was again my size. It looked a bit tatty and the fork was rusted to within an inch of it’s life but then it’s not everyday someone presents you with one of these in your size. Even though the Raleigh was in much poorer condition to the Carlton he wanted more money for it. More than my budget. I got him to put wheels in both, stand them up side by side and I stared at them for a bit. The mental tussle went on for half an hour and then Bang! it finally happened. I saw the potential in that Red, yellow and black, I had chosen to burn the budget and I had bought the Raleigh.

Three years later and I still use it daily, rain or shine. It is scratched, battered and bruised but continuing to work like a beautifully oiled machine, hell it is a beautifully oiled machine! I love it and I can’t see it leaving my hands anytime soon. I’v had many bikes since this has been around but they’ve all gone to new homes, all except one.

I want to live in southern France one day and when I do I want this in the lounge.

Previous Raleigh posts.
The awesome Recollections of Ilkeston.
Classic lightweights on Raleigh SBDU.

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Lomo for iPhone. Raleigh travellin’.

July 5, 2011

Ronson TT Hardness.

April 4, 2011

This is Brigand Doom’s latest acquisition and it’s a mighty fine one.

He says: “The steerer tube is extensively drilled inside the headtube, the fork crown race is ‘golfballed’, the headtube is relieved either side and the lugs extensively ‘Bikini’d’ with hearts and windows. The brakes have to be built onto integral anchor bolts, brazed into the fork crown/rear bridge, to save weight, as far as i can tell no standard brake fits without being modified and i had to scratch make spring anchor washers and re-source thinner washers throughout! The fork crown has drillium all around and the steerer tube has been factory cut so that it wont accept a locking nut, i suppose the philosophy being that the bugger would come loose anyway, so get rid and save the weight, the BB shell has a massive heart cutout and lastly the short rear Campag’ ends are factory drilled”.

As you can see BD loves drilling stuff too and he’s done a grand job on this… DIY drillium – it’s the future!

Doom, you’re a boss.

Stall Holder Pass.

December 3, 2010

We headed up to the ‘tradesman’ entrance where the flurry of smug faces with badges on chests that read ‘stall holder’ entered empty handed and exited with frames slung over shoulders. Each time I turn up to a cycle jumble – normally an hour or so before official opening and for reasons I still do not know – I can’t help but look on in absolute envy at these men who trade goods before the curtain goes up.

One morning, this morning, the early rise had paid off. As my partner and I stood, watching the line of items enter and exit the building like leaves carried by an army of ants, there was an opportune gap. The man who had been standing there, guarding the door had gone for his flask of tea. My girl, now standing beyond the golden threshold gestures at me to enter also, me, being a softy, I shake my head from side to side, she grabbed my hand and pulled me along behind her. I was in and it was 8.30am, not the 10am advertised on the flyer, and all thanks to the wife.

Did I manage to grab the vintage cycling bargain of the century? Nope, not really. I actually spent 50p. Right before we were escorted from the beige leisure centre and consequently shamed by the stern organiser, I managed to pick up one of my most treasured possessions today; A book, the 1979 published TI Raleigh story, 52 pages of printed wonder and all featuring the magnificently dominant TI Raleigh team of the 70s. My favourite. Now, having been read, and the pictures ogled it now sits proudly on my bookshelf.

I recently visited Tuscany for Le Coq Sportif’s L’Eroica and, while I was there to ride the race, I was mostly looking forward to the jumble. I wanted to see how the Italians do things and, well, it was mostly the same as here in the U.K but in another language, and outdoors, and hot, with more good stuff. I wandered around, a few paper Euros in my pocket, eyeing up Delta brakes, boxed gruppos and complete bikes dripping in Campagnolo but I found myself, after a few rounds, settling at one stall.

He had, as well as the obligatory sea of componentry, a large and fruitful selection of golden era magazines, badges, bunting, stickers, catalogues, mascots and postcards. Dandy. He wore an oil stained blue jumper, sleeves rolled up, with grey hair and chunky fingers and he chatted with his apple-eating friend. I leafed through a section of Pink Cyclisme cards. On the cover, Maertens, Thévenet, Poulidor, Hinault, to name but a few and all with penned signatures. I pick them up and enquired as to the price of said items. Then, after a lesson, shouted in Italian and pointed out with sausage fingers about the greatest cyclists of all time we agreed on €1 each. I bought ten.

I love a cycle jumble, me, I think they are great. All of that goodness under one roof, the hardware going for an asking price and not to the highest bidder, where you can handle the items and not just be reliant on jpegs on screens, the folks you meet have knowledge and enthusiasm dribbling off of their tongues and relish any opportunity to inform you of the origin of any item sat on their wooden wallpaper pasting table, you can slice their delight with a knife. It is also a social gathering where friends meet, you’ll most likely come across many unmanned stalls as Barry will be over there chatting with Pete. Unfortunately for me there won’t be one around these parts for a good few months as they only seem to spring up in the warmer months, but I suppose that leaves me with plenty of time to garner one of those ‘stall holder’ passes.

Spinwell visits Reynolds.

October 19, 2010

Think of Reynolds and most will instantly think of 531, the tube of choice for racing bikes over countless years and not to mention the numerous tour wins that were gained aboard this cro-moly steel pipe. Since 1958 up until the modern day, the Reynolds butted tubeset has dominated the roads, Anquetil, Merckx, and Hinault all used Reynolds exclusively in their Tour victories. Now there’s an accolade.

I was recently lucky enough to be offered a bit of time to walk around the Reynolds factory and to have a quick chat with the MD about all things Reynolds and what came clear at my 45 minute mini tour was that Reynolds are still as passionate about the metal tube as they have always been. I may sound surprised at this but I really was, I honestly thought I’d be greeted by super high tech billion pound machines churning out carbon for motorbikes but what I actually saw looked like it hadn’t changed since Reynolds began in 1898. (more…)

Raleigh Snaps.

May 11, 2010

So, remember last week I mentioned that I planned to fit some tubular tyres onto my newly purchased wheels? Well, I have only gone and done it! I can also report that: Yes, it is a right bast**d fitting them but I can also report that it is a lot less of a pain in the ass than I first thought.

Happy as Larry I am now, happy as Larry.

Raleigh Greatness.

April 19, 2010

Aaaah, the warm feeling I get when I spot the livery of a Professional Raleigh… Magnificent!

Mo Gazelle.

April 8, 2010

Gazelle track hotness! Seen.

Gazelle Champion AB 1986.

April 7, 2010

Very nice build. Spotted.
The same guy also has this, a lovely Gazelle Champion Mondial Track.

Raleigh got a new Fork.

March 23, 2010

Yup, after over a year of looking I managed to find what I was looking for: An undrilled fischer crown track fork with a long enough steerer that was good enough to chrome.

Result.

Recollections of Ilkeston.

March 19, 2010

I remembered this, as I glanced at it on my desktop this morning so I thought, lengthy as it is, I should post it. So anyone interested in the ins and outs of working for Raleigh Ilkeston’s SBDU should read on.

Words by Mike Mullet.

30 years ago, but here goes.

In the closing years of my Army career (1969 to 1976) I managed and mechaniced for the Combined Service cycling teams which led me to doing the same tasks for the British Cycling Federation at National and International events. This led to an invite from the Raleigh UK team to mechanic for the team on a freelance basis. This I was very happy to do, particularly for such a famous team.
On leaving the service I started framebuilding under my own name but still freelancing for Raleigh and writing a technical column for the UK magazine “Cycling”. The editor at that time was Ken Evans, sadly deceased at an early age.

In 1978 I rang Gerald and asked to visit Ilkeston, the base for the UK team which was managed by George Shaw an ex Raleigh UK based pro. The upshot of the visit was Gerald asked if I would like to work at Ilkeston with a view to taking over from him when he retired.
Would I. Why me? Evidently my freelance work for the team and my weekly column in Cycling had paid off.
Gerald told me I would have to have a formal job interview with his boss, the Design Director of Raleigh – Alan Oakley. Raleigh Chopper fans will be aware of Alan, a revered figure having designed the Chopper on the back of an envelope on a fight to the USA. What a gentleman. The job interview took place one lunch time (and well into the afternoon) at one of the most elite dining establishments in Nottingham with Gerald present. It was one of the most civilised job interviews I have ever had. Happy to say I was offered the appointment of Workshop Manager.

(more…)

To Renovate…

February 22, 2010

Or not to renovate? That is the question.

You see, my bicycle, lovely as it is, just doesn’t have the lustre it had 34 years ago when it was wheeled out of the Ilkeston cycle works. The blemishes it has dotted all over it mar it’s appeal to some degree and it is for that very reason I have this mental tussle.

But why would you want to paint out all of that history? Sure it has a few scratches here and there but those scratches allude to it’s racing career and it’s time before me and to paint it would seem like I would be erasing it all. Like the hypnotist in the 2003 film Oldboy removing Dae-Su’s memory for the better. Or is it actually for the better? A friend recently said it would be “like buying the Mona Lisa and having her smile adjusted because you liked it better that way”.

That said, the owner of the previously mentioned Mona Lisa painting would be the owner so that individual could do with that paining as they saw fit. Right?

Wrong. A part of me believes that something of history, a classic item ( so long as it is not completely and utterly in need of renovation with blemishes that are of detriment to itself ) should not be tampered with and the possessor of such an item has somewhat of a responsibility of ensuring this. If not for the sake of him/herself then for the sake of the future because once that original paint and original decals are removed, they are gone, for eternity.

But then would a renovation not become part of the frame’s history in itself or would it devalue the item in another 34 years when it is discovered that the frame’s enamel jacket is less like a tube television and more like 30″ plasma screen? In viewing terms the tube worked just fine, showed TV programs, videos no problem but now we need plasma because it ‘looks’ better.

I think if I were to paint my 1976 Raleigh track frame ( SB numbered 969 ) I would completely regret it. It would ‘look’ better, I know it would but I would feel like I have wronged the earth in some way, like I had just removed a facet of it’s workings. I would also ( knowing my love for tradition ) grow to dislike the bicycle and end up selling it. This because in my eyes without it’s o.g jacket it would just be like most other resprayed professional racing frames out there: Void of any sort of credibilty of racing history or heritage.

And is racing history and heritage not the very reason we all love these classic, vintage bicycles in the first place?

Indeed it is and for that reason my bicycle, as it stands gets to live another day in it’s original condition. So like the very 19th century wooden framed windows that I peer out of on this cloudy day, history remains.

For the love of Raleigh.

January 29, 2010

Bromwich Snaps.

January 26, 2010

Raleigh Snap.

January 12, 2010

6th December.

December 6, 2009

Mo Reynolds Lovers.

October 30, 2009

001reynolds80brochure

Reynolds Lovers.

October 30, 2009

Reynolds-tubing-sizes

Tour de Ville.

June 18, 2009

“Die a thousand and deaths and s*ck a thousand c*cks” were the exact words that exited my mouth in the direction of a London underground signpost yesterday after having the most horrific two days worth of traveling on London’s poor underground service.

One journey from Heathrow to Oxford circus I estimated at a little over an hour to complete, people it took the best part of four hours and that was after countless service cancellations and numerous tube hops. The other journey took three hours to get ( again ) from Heathrow but this time traveling to Bethnal Green Road, three hours! I estimated no more than half of that and furthermore this particular three hour tube journey not only put me at the end of my tether where London’s tube service is concerned but it also took me way past my estimated time of arrival at quite possible the finest vintage cycle outlet in London. Tour de Ville.

At 7.15pm which for your information is beyond the closing time of TDV I finally arrived and to my pleasant surprise a pre-made phonecall half an hour earlier secured my entry into the store.

I was greeted at the gate by Jos one of the proprietors and I was lead in. I must add at this point that I was still utterly fuming from the ordeal that is traveling on London’s public transport, I say “Traveling on” it was more like ‘Battling with’ than “traveling on” but soon after my anger was quickly calmed and my sunny disposition restored.

I entered TDV and upon first glance I noticed the place looked quite a bit smaller than it does on photographs I have seen but that in no way detracts from the sheer goodness contained therein.

My eyes quickly wondered and whilst doing so I noticed such marques as Gazelle, Bianchi, Duell, this particular Duell would sit just lovely in my possession, the paint job is completely something else and I gazed longingly at it contemplating the thought of… but it is too small so no! I saw Moser, Rossin, Chesini and Plum to name but a few. All perfectly beautiful vintage steel road and track, frames and bikes in an assortment of colours and sizes.

Now I was once wholly guilty of getting into the colourcoding, neon, ‘fixie’, ‘hipster’ thing and it was fun to express myself that way and there is still nothing wrong with that but these days I pretty much just like old fashioned track and racing bikes and it just so happens that TDV specialize in just that. I said to my girl upon arriving home last night “Tour de Ville is much like the best cycle jumble I have ever been to minus the junk and with ten times more hotness”

Procured dark wooden glass cabinets were graced with all types of pristine Campagnolo and Dura Ace components, hubs, cranks, shifters, derailleurs, rings all very lovely and all clearly labeled and priced using my favourite method – the small brown cardboard tag hung by a piece of string. Simple effective and very classy.

I saw a plethora of rims while perusing, Mavic, Campagnolo, Rigida, FIR, Ambrosio, everything, all brand new unused and all absolutely ready to bless some lucky fellows cherished hubset.

I saw tyres, I especially had my eye on some real nice NOS Red / Tan wall Vredestein Ricorso’s that would look totally at home on my Raleigh but I am saving! Saddles old and new, jerseys, shoes and even a healthy selection of cycling publications for the keen readers among us.

My time spent in TDV was quite short as I had to catch my 8.23 back to the Ham but it was definitely the best time I had spent in a London bike store to date. I usually come out feeling abused or spoken down to, you guys know what I am talking about right? but anyway. The hospitality extended to me by Keith and Jos was an absolute breath of fresh air especially after my day of hell on London’s public toilet, ahem! I mean transport. Most store owners and staff would not even let you through the door out of hours never mind cups of coffee and cycle related chatter.

Keith, Jos it was a pleasure to meet you yesterday and to see your store you are doing a grand job and may you continue to do so and to anyone planning a trip to London you must go down to the store and check it out, it is the exact way a store of this nature should look and run. Perfect. Next time when I am sans luggage I am leaving with a frame!

Raleigh Professional Track.

May 27, 2009

DSCF6179
DSCF6183

I was looking for one of these in my size for quite some time and to my amazement just recently I managed to snag one and here it is, just completed, my 1974 Ilkeston Built, 531, Raleigh professional track bike. It wasn’t in the best of conditions to begin with but after a bit of tender love and care and a trip the the chromers for the forks it is back on the road and in full effect!

I need to grip an original Headbadge for it and a set of Campy cranks but apart from that I reckon it’s done. Boom, Here is to a great summer!


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