| I have tried this in the past and met with no responses, but I thought I would try again and see if anybody can help. I have a thirties Raleigh Record Ace, which I bought with many parts missing. Over the years, I have found most of the rare stuff I need to make a complete machine out of it, but I don't know when it was made. Naturally, the infamous Raleigh serial number charts are not useful; the club bikes had their own numbering system that does not coincide with the chart, which is not 100% infallible anyway. So, my question is, does anybody out there have an RRA of known vintage, so we can compare serial numbers? Then, perhaps I can estimate when mine was built. If you're nervous about sharing numbers, you could tell me yours is 51XXX or something similar. Mine, for whatever it's worth, is 52108. I think it's mid-thirties, but that's just a guess. The fork is not chrome and it has no mudguard braze-ons (although it does have them on the seat stays, so maybe the fork was changed? It's a club fork with very thin, round tubes) or a headlamp braze-on. It is definitely prewar, with the oval gold "HM tubing" transfer on the seat post, headclip fixing, and chain peg on one chain stay.|
Any advice would be appreciated!
| Hmmm... sounds awfully like the fork is not original. No catalogue I have shows an RRA without mudguard eyes front and rear. Indeed, no Raleigh was built without 'em during this era or indeed into the 1970s! Except the Team Pros. Apparently there was some nonsense about regular Pros in the 1970s having their eyelets sawed off before they were shipped to the USA because Americans don't mudguards from beans. |
And, without checking every year, I am pretty certain RRA forks were chromed. This was not even an option I think but standard.
Any clue as to the frame geometry? The RRA c. 1933-37 had very slack geometry, like the Raleigh Super Sports mentioned below. This was common then; slack angles suited the variety of road surfaces and make for easier hill climbing. In 1937-38 or thereabouts, Raleigh stiffened the angles.. in the brochure this was called "continental" or "upright" frames... to what you have essentially on the 1948 pattern RRA frames.
Another clue: what is the frame size of your RRA? I covet a 23" inch one yet that was only offered c. 1933-34 and c. 1939-40.
Finally, since RRA's didn't have their own serial numbers, maybe folks here with ANY pre-war Raleigh can provide their numbers. Indeed, e-mail the seller of the aforementioned Super Sports (which we are pretty sure is c. 1937-8) and get its serial number. Dating a roadster with a hub gear that's original is facile; most RRA's and I assume yours, had single-speed fixed-free freewheels. Gears were for sissies it seems!
| Have you had the fork out? Does it have a serial number on it?|
| Rather an interesting machine! And quite pricey, but still.... You don't see many of these around.|
| Hardly a "track bike", this is rather a 1938 Raleigh no. 43 Special Club Sports "specially designed for fast club riding". |
As for the price and relative value, it seems to be worth two run-of-the-mill 1970s Superbes given the prices one of the recently fetched on eBay.
I would suggest this is rather more special and practically unheard of in this country given that Raleighs were only first distributed here starting around this time.
But not my auction as they say...
| Cool old prewar machine it is, track bike or no. One of the responses in the auction points this out, as the dropouts are wrong. Does anybody know the name of the bars on this machine? I have a lady's Dawes of about that vintage with nearly identical bars. The seller says they're Art Deco; maybe they are. The frame and fork seem to have quite a rake, more like a roadster. Is that the right stuff for a club bike? My thirties RRA is not this relaxed, nor is the Dawes. Note the radial spoking ont he front wheel, like the RRAs of the time. There's nothing new under the sun, I guess, but what is the purpose of the radial spokes?|
Check out the auction for a 50's Raleigh Roadster on now. The seller used the text of my auction for my '50 Superbe which I sold a couple of weeks ago (he adjusted it a bit, but much of it is lifted)! Oh, well. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I suppose. I told him it is okay with me, by the way.
| I hope I spell this correctly, the bars are called Lauterwaser. I have seen them on several old British bikes.|
| I'm overhauling an AW for a friend and discovered I cannot find my stash of NOS clutches, only the newer design, without the steps I've never trusted and never used. Can those be installed alone or would I need to change those parts that are installed with the clutch - I can't remember what they are called I haven't done this in a year - that form the "clutch assembly" if you want to call it that. |
I noticed that sun gear is a bit loose on the axle, I'd never noticed that before or I forgot about it, the only other open hub I have right now is a Styria so I have nothing to compare it too. Should this be a concern?
|A local antique dealer had a Rudge Aero on Ebay this week. I had a look at it before the auction ended and wanted it. I bid enough to get it and won it. I picked it up on Friday and imidiatly started to clean it. The bike is a 1948 Rudge Aero with all original transfers except the Reynolds transfer but you can see where it was. The bike is silver and I thought it was silver originally. I emailed PC Kohler and he tells me the bike would have been orange in 1948. I saw on the fork and around the BB there is some what I thought was orange overspray. I took the cable clamps off and found orange there also. The bike has silver under the orange. It is strange how the bike fades that much and the transfers stayed in great shape. The antique dealer got it from the original owner and he says he bought it new in 48. I will get the owners name this week and talk to him. The bike has a fixed/fixed 14/16 tooth hub with no makers marks. The front is also no name. The bars are nice early track style with adjustable lenght, Major Taylor style. The saddle was sold to someone else. I put my restored Bristol Swallow on it. The rims are Dunlop 26 x 1 1/4", tires were from my old stuff Dunlop Gold Seal. I found some others that I will get this week. The crank is not original, Raleigh fluted but not 5 pin style. I will see where the original one went. This bike was a great buy and will be my finest ride so far.|
| Great bike. I think the original cranks would also have been 3 pin as seen on the early Lenton Clubmans and Lenton Sports.|
Have a look at this ebay auction if you want a perfect substitute crankset...#6568817477. These are sweet club bike cranks although you can get 1/8 teeth as well.
| Yes,should be 3 pin but they differ from the williams in the diamater of the hole pattern.And should be the rudge men pattern ring,hope you find it|
The silver is the base coat of the poly-chromatic paint/must have been a real head turner when new/I've never seen this paint hold up.At best it's silver/worst only rust color---sam
| Nope, sorry, no Rudge "hand" chainrings on Aero Clubmans! This was only used on roadsters and "sports" machine, never club bikes. at least after Raleigh bought them out. Only Raleigh had distinctive chainrings for their Clubmans. |
Paint. These early post-war "polychromatic" paints were, to put it bluntly: crap. Very unstable and chalky. Even if you have a near mint example, like my '51 Clubman, the finish turns dull and muddy. Worse still, Raleigh still insisted on "dipping" everything they made in that glorious British Black enamel. Then they just sprayed the colour coat over it. Lousy paint AND lousy adhesion.
This orange was the first polychromatic colour for Raleigh and was first used on the very rare Raleigh Lenton Sports of 1947 which was made for one year only. I've seen a restored version in the UK and yep, it's brilliant ORANGE and yep must have been a headturner in drab, pre-war Britain. Interestingly, it was so soon after the war that most of the fitments are still wartime economy black instead of chrome.
| I've seen the 3 pin rings not only in rudge but also norman.I though they were for club bikes and the one piece bradded on rings were for roadster and sports?---The rudge catalog I have 1959 or 60 I think shows only the one I call "williams" pattern.---sam|
| MY MISTAKE! I've never seen a rudge 3 pin hand ring---sorry.I have seen the Humber and the Norman 3 pin ring.---sam |
| One could write an entire treatise on Raleigh Industries' chainrings!|
The Raleigh Clubmans used the "small heron" three-pin chainring which was like that used pre-war on RRA. Pre-war (and post-war on that rare Lenton Clubman of '47) club and sports machines other than the RRA used the "big heron" 3-pin ring which looked just like the one we are all familiar with. This usually had fluted cranks.
After the war, Raleigh adopted a rather prosaic 3-pin chainring, with no neat trademarks, and this is that was used on the Lenton series and also every club machine sold as a Humber or a Rudge. The Triumph version of the Lenton was a cheaper spec'd one and had the wonderful solid (i.e. non detachable) Triumph badged chainring used on their roadsters and sports. The post-war RRA, of course, had its own lovely chainring (a version of the Williams 1200 and rumoured to have been made by them as the serial number is so similar to Williams) which weighed no more than later alloy ones. This had little herons of course. A Raleigh, after all, is still a Raleigh. Especially an RRA!
| That sounds like a find! Your experience with the paint is similar to my own. I bought a 1956 Raleigh Super Lenton last year, a pretty much original bike with some paint scratches. The paint layer underneath the polychromatic blue was indeed silver. I think that was to make the thin metallic paint look brighter, or more metallic. They would have been better off painting it right over the bare steel, as it does seem to have trouble sticking to that silver! When I visited a friend at a LBS who collects old cycles to show him the Lenton, he led me downstairs to his collection, and there was another Super Lenton, but in silver. Oddly enough, upon close examination, we found traces of polychromatic blue paint under the cable guides, around the bottom bracket, and, remarkably, under the transfers. Perhaps UV from sunlight degrades the paint and it all comes off unless it is protected? Amazing that a decal could keep the paint in place! It sure looks like a silver bike now.|
I hope you enjoy that Rudge.
| I suspect your stem is an Accles & Pollack...seems like many of them found their way into Canada.|
| 1948 Clubmans were normally fitted with the old pre-war style Raleigh stem and alloy Maes bend 'bars. The 1949 model introduced the rather more handsome post-war pattern stem which was used to the end of production. This was also used on the Lentons, Pathfinders and Clippers. |
RetroRaleighs has two articles I wrote awhile back on the Clubmans and Lentons which have the full specs over the years:
| The paint on my 51 Clubman is "well aged" with a good deal of it worn off the top tube. The transfer are nearly perfect. One really can't re-paint a bike like that. |
I really need more of these bikes, I imagine I will have to place an ad in the VCC magazine, seeking a Rudge Pathfinder.
Hey. P.C. did you ever put together your Lenton Tourist even with the incorrect paint? I really would like to see a photo.
| Say, P.C., if you do ever decide to sell that Lenton Tourist instead of building it up...I'd appriciate it if you'd send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.|
| Thanks guys for the info on the Aero. I had a chance to ride it on Sunday and it rides great. I will have to get a pair of tyres for it. The Dunlops on it are not great but do hold air. I have a friend who can get me a pair of gumwall tyres. They will have to do. The bike will stay silver as I cannot ruin that old patina. Also those transfers are great looking. I will be talking to the original owner soon. He should have some great stories about it. Maybe he has the original crank. Tom|
| Just a word of caution Tom - if those gumwalls you make mention of are the Kenda "S-6" size, they're the incorrect Schwinn size. Sure, they'll fit the rim, but it'll look ridiculous. |
You might want to look into the Schwalbe tyres that Harris Cyclery has:
| Yes.. grab those Schwalbes whilst you can! Apparently they have ceased production of these great tyres. This leaves very few choices for 26 x 1 1/4" tyres; Raleigh (UK) still makes them and I got a pair in a cycle shop in Exeter. I think they are still on the Raleigh UK website (along with Raleigh Cycle Oil by the way!). As Kurt says the Schwinn tyres fit in dimension only.. they look 'orrible and balloonish on British rims. The Schwalbes ride like a dream and are high pressure (85 psi) too. I suspect you can still get these from European/UK dealers whilst stocks hold out but Sheldon Brown says he can't get anymore. |
|I have not been too active in the bike searching this summer. I did more riding and less looking. A few weeks ago my daughters best friends mother told me to come down and take these old ugly bikes out of her garage. I picked up a ladies mountain bike that was in very nice shape, nedded a little cleaning but was complete. I also got a 12 speed cheapy racer that I got ridable and gave to some kids on my street. The 3rd bike was a Skyline 3 speed ladies bike. It was in pieces but looked complete. I attached a pic of it. The bike has 70's Sturmey AW hub, nice green and white paint. The chainguard was missing so I added the white one. The mudguards are alloy and in nice shape. It has a alloy rack and basket in front. The saddle looks like a Brooks cheapy matress with no tag. I found on the frame a transfer that says Made In Hungary. It is a very nice bike. I got these for free. I hope the pic shows up. In another post I will post another bike I got this week.|
| SHARP! And the white chaingaurd offsets the white headstock very nicely!|
Larry "Boneman" Bone