ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by: Ted on 4/19/2005 at 4:50:00 PM
There has been a lot of discussion lately concerning paint and chrome on 50's VS 70's Raleigh 3 speeds. I haven't read much about ridability of these bicycles. I love my 1953 Raleigh Superbe and my Raleigh 20 foldable from 1972. Soon as Raleigh started to farm out their parts in the later 70's(Raleigh Sports from late 70's) the ride became poor, in my opinion.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by Geoff Rogers on 4/19/2005 at 8:39:35 PM
I struggle with this one a lot. On the one hand, I think it is fairly undisputed that the very finest products from English bicycle factories were produced from the late forties through about 1962 or so (with some exceptions from the thirties). P.C. is right on the money about the Rhodesian chrome. Not only is it a deep, subtly bluish surface, the preparation of the metal that it was attached to was superior. Older English bikes had beautifully made chromed parts, but it is easy to see a general decline in the quality of the metalwoirk as the bicycles become newer. I have several from the 70s with appalling metalwork, rough and unfinished-looking beneath the inferior chrome plating. They don't look a bit better than the modern Indian and Chinese copies people complain so much about. Similarly, the quality of just about everything else suffered in later years, at least compared with those gorgeous fifties machines. This was true with most things made in the seventies, however! I can't think of a single car from that unfortunate decade, collectible or otherwise, that I would wish to own.
Anyway, having said all that, I cannot in honesty say that a Raleigh Sports fom the early 70s is not still a fine bicycle, nor could I say that it has an inferior ride to the earlier ones. It looks far less well made, true enough, and the decals and even some of the colors are a real travesty, compared to the old stuff, but they do ride fine. In fact, since the stays are a bit thinner than the machines of the fifties, one could argue that a Sports of the late sixties of early seventies is actually a bit lighter than the "built forever" machines of the fifties, and therefore a bit easier to pedal? Or maybe that is my imagination. Endrick rims might make a difference over the Raleigh Patent Westricks, and of course, rod brakes are a bit heavy as well.
But I still love the fifties bikes best.

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by P.C. Kohler on 4/19/2005 at 9:30:46 PM
Depends. I think the Raleigh frames were good quality throughout with some obvious exceptions during the mania surrounding the bike book when some lugwork was shockingly bad. Of course, I had a frame fracture on my '78 DL-1! Then again they air freighted a replacement within two weeks, paid all the labour etc.

The chrome was so-so in the '70s. The worse thing were the cheap non-rebuildable pedals and those simply horrible brazed on stays with the huge dimples on the mudguards.. yuck!! The lining remained first class and so old-fashioned.. Raleigh were the last cycle company to even have this I think. But the decals could be crooked and wrinkled and the lack of a topcoat made them all get ruined in short order. Geoff has a point about the rims... Endricks were so much lighter, the classic Raleigh "Westricks" weighed a ton. And we also faced the terrible end of Dunlop tyres in the 1970s... they never quite got a decent replacement although the Semperit Austrian-made ones in 28" were good.

But yes towards the end, the Sports was a sorry sight in that sickening metallic cherry red with the big mattress saddle and festooned with reflectors. At least the DL-1 went out with some dignity. In the end, they were even supplying them stock with enclosed gearcases.

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by P.C. Kohler on 4/19/2005 at 9:46:44 PM
Blue Pencil: "Mania surrounding the bike BOOM" not book!

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: 50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by James on 4/20/2005 at 7:29:41 AM
It's been my experience that pre-60 bikes are mechanically perfect, even if they look a bit worn, I guess I've been lucky to get well maintained bikes. I've had no such luck with the later bikes, even the ones that look like they came out of the box, bad front hubs, mysterious deep pitting on the rims that don't have much rust elsewhere, bad pressed crown races. And the brazing wasn't as good. That said, I just started riding a shiny new green 72 Sports with the Alu wheels from my robin hood - the original hub was trashed even though the bike appears to have been ridden 8 times - and it's the best one I've ever ridden, it feels lighter and more stable than the early ones, it feels more solid. Even with sloppy brazing a barely used bike feels like a barely used bike. It's the one mint condition bike I can actually ride.

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: 50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by James on 4/20/2005 at 8:04:34 AM
I meant to say that this "new" Raleigh feels lighter and nimble than older bikes I've used with the same CR18 wheelset.

   RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: 50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by Kurt K. on 4/20/2005 at 7:07:42 PM
Curious, James - does this '72 Sports have it's original fenders? I've found that they do appear to add some weight to the ride...

Saddles make a difference too - a plain-jane Brooks B72 is a heck of a lot lighter then one of those Brooks "butt-buster" vinyl saddles of the late '60s (a-la Raleigh Twenty). I haven't had any experience with those repulsive plastic mattress saddles from post-1977, so I can't give any feedback on those.

I have no idea as to how the older frames ride, however, as I've never ridden anything older then '65. What I've mentioned above is from the experience I have had with my '69 Robin Hood, the '71 and '73 Sports, and a '65 Superbe.

Just for laughs, I thought I'd mention that I've also ridden a 23" 1969 Superbe. Fellow had it set up with one of those 'newfangled' (read = "useless") gel/fabric seats. Seatpost was two inches too high for me, plus an additional two inches added by the damn high-profile seatrails. The machine was topped off with a steerhorn handlebar and half a ton of modern halogen light fixtures and dry-cell units. I've never been more uncomfortable on a bike then the day I rode that thing!

I've hijacked this thread too much already with my babbling...time for me to stop.


   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by Matthew on 4/20/2005 at 9:01:32 PM
The non-rebuildable platform pedals were hideous to look at and hard work to turn. I should know, my silver '75 Triumph Trafficmaster (Raliegh 20 in disguise) had them until I saved up my pocket money and replaced them with ball bearing Union pedals. My '54 Superbe rides like a dream but the '80 Triumph my Mum had and passed to me was a bad ride. If you real belted along on it you could watch the headstock wriggle. (lateral twist in frame). Probably the best ride in my fleet is a single speed Hercules from the '30s which is currently on eBay (sorry blatant advert).

Back to the '70s. I would happily drive a '78 Reliant Scimitar GTE or TVR Tasmin & I do drive a mini, which was in production right through the 60's, 70's 80's & 90's, the design of a master mind - Sir Alec Issigonis. Sorry this isn't cycling but it is 70's.

In a nutshell, Raleigh products took a dive when accountants ran the firm. You only have to look at the tell tale signs, as we all do, chrome, paint, and accessories. TI were so confident in frame build quality that they gave a ten year guarantee on the quality of their frames. I've only known of one fracture, mentioned earlier, and boy oh boy did some of my pals give their frames some hard work.

My money is on the older Raleighs.

Enjoy a wheel on Nottingham Steel.


   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   50's VS 70's Raleigh 3-speeds posted by Ralph on 4/22/2005 at 2:11:04 PM
I rescued a red 1975 Raleigh LTD last year from the City of Cleveland's confiscated bikes warehouse. It was dumpster bound and I just had to have it. While it was kind of a mess due to the neglect and other indignities it suffered over the years, it cleaned up just fine. The project took me back to the days when I worked for a Raleigh dealer.

The year was 1978 and the joke around the shop was who gets to assemble the next junk pile from Raleigh. You never knew what you might get, except you were in for an adventure.

You might find casings cut too short to reach the rear brake because they were fitted with the brake completely open and the nitwit at the factory never considered that you might actually pull the lever.

Maybe it would be un-tapped crank arms. That was always good for a laugh. Especially when the customer was coming in an hour to pick up that 19" frame the owner sold still packed in the box.

Raleigh was good for un-tapped front brake fixing bolts too. I used to throw them in a parts drawer and I still have a couple of them around (to reminisce).

So, as I ponder the LTD, back in original shape, I look at the REALLY crooked decal proudly proclaiming "RALEIGH" I think of the good days. I actually miss that job.

MISC:   Best Chrome Cut-Off? posted by: P.C. Kohler on 4/18/2005 at 4:21:05 PM
The best chrome was Rhodesia chrome. This had a distinctive but subtle blue-tint to it. Nothing like it. Supplies of this were embargoed in 1965 thanks to British sanctions against Rhodesia. The replacement chrome for British bikes, cars etc. then had to be quickly sourced elsewhere and I think a lot came from the Soviet Union (sanctions against Rhodesia but imports from Red Russia.. don't get me started on British policy!!) and it was crap. So generally speaking, pre-1965 Raleighs are the best. Personally, I think the quality and finish of the Raleigh Sports peaked in 1962 but I am biased as my first real bike was a used Carmine Red Sports of that year.

Chrome work on Raleighs from 1965 is hit or miss; some of it is pretty good but none of it has that lovely colour. Rhodesia chrome is just as coveted on veteran cars of the same era.

Did you all know that the largest chromium plating works in all Europe was.... in Lenton Rd, Nottingham, England?!! Yep, Raleigh did all of their own work and obviously did a lot of it.

P.C. Kohler

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Those little Humber guys........ posted by: Geoff Rogers on 4/18/2005 at 2:11:13 PM
Pray pardon this thinly-disguised commercial announcement. I have a really nice, really original 1960 Humber lady's Sports on ebay right now. Amid the flurry of emails I have received from ebay trawlers, one tells me that the chaiwnheel is wrong, and that why, if the bike is so original, has the chainring been changed? The fellow does not accuse me of harvesting it to hang on the wall, although it would be tempting, I suppose! But I am getting ahead of myself.
As you Humber people all know, some Humbers have a neat chainwheel design with a row of little guys (who ARE those little guys, anyhow?) holding up the ring. In the fifties and before, the chainwheel was often a signature for the cycle maker. We've all seen BSA and the Rudge hand and R I N (Raleigh Industries, Nottingham--they ommitted the comma), and of course the Raleigh herons. Well, Humber had those little guys. The question is, why aren't they on this very original machine? The bike has original pedals, grips, Dunlop Sports tires and Airseal tubes, even the original British valve caps, and it came with all that stuff intact; I did not "enhance" its orginality (although I did install a nice NOS Japanese saddlebag, which I note in the auction description)! I did clean it up, and the results are pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. But had Humber dropped the little guys on its lower end models by 1960 (hub is dated 11-60, and the oil port in the bottom bracket dates it as pre-64)? I have also owned a '62 Humber Pegasus and a '69 Humber Supreme, none of which had the guys on the chainwheel, and all of which were very original. Come to think of it, the Supreme was not a lower-end machine, either. It was the fancy one with Dynohub and crhome lights (I forget if it had a locking fork) etc.
I would love to know if this machine has been altered. In case anybody wants a look, it's ebay item 7150101176.
Thanks for looking, as they say in ebay land!
By the way, Copake was a hoot. I sold a couple of machines and, well, didn't buy any actual cycles, although I did get some cool goodies, including a pair of NOS Sprite tires with the double pinstrip whitewalls. Not sure if they are for sale yet.
I also got a load of NOS Westwood rims, mostly ridiculous sizes like 22 X 1-3/8" and even some tiny ones, maybe 12"? Let me know if anybody needs these or knows what they fit. Winkie tricycles, maybe?

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Those little Humber guys........ posted by Warren on 4/18/2005 at 6:23:55 PM
That is the official Raleigh chainring for their alternate marques. Maybe they just ran out of the original dancing ring guys...I figure they're Druids at Stonehenge, and didn't bother making anymore.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Those little Humber guys........ posted by sam on 4/18/2005 at 11:11:16 PM
The humber trade mark has 5 men and says"The Humber Trade Mark"(under)Humber & Co America ltd. New York,London,Paris.---sam

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Those little Humber guys........ posted by sam on 4/18/2005 at 11:12:46 PM
The humber trade mark has 5 men and says"The Humber Trade Mark"(under)Humber & Co America ltd. New York,London,Paris.---sam

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Those little Humber guys........ posted by kim on 4/19/2005 at 2:03:30 PM
I've seen original Humbers without the classic Humber chairing as well as Rudge models without the 'hand' chainring.


   RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Those little Humber guys........ posted by P.C. Kohler on 4/19/2005 at 2:39:41 PM
The distinctive chainrings for Humbers and Rudges (it's argueable which was more wonderful... the "little men" or "the hand") were phased out c. 1960-62 when British Cycle Co. (Tube Investments) bought Raleigh. At the same time, their own BCC brands (Hercules, Phillips etc.) lost their distinctive chainrings, too and you wound up with "that" boring standard chainring on everything. The only make to keep its trademark ring was Raleigh.

Again, this is Raleigh people so all of this happened over time but by the early sixties Humbers had lost the two things that set them apart: the split fork (which was found only on rod-braked machines in the UK) and the little men chainring. Rudges, Raleighs and Humbers all had different fork caps at least until the 1970s.

P.C. Kohler

AGE / VALUE:   Humber Riviera 10 Speed posted by: Morris Rosenthal on 4/18/2005 at 1:05:00 AM
I have a Humber Riviera 10 speed with a Brooks saddle (B.15) that I'm trying to decide whether to restore for riding or sell. Most of the hardware on the bike is Humber, the shift levers were made in France, I have no idea of the age and couldn't find anything about the bike on the web. The handlebars are aluminum, frame is lug construction, assume it's steel. I've read the Raleigh acquired Humber at some point, but the Raleigh name doesn't appear anywhere on this bike.

Thanks for any feedback,


   RE:AGE / VALUE: Humber Riviera 10 Speed posted by sam on 4/18/2005 at 1:48:50 PM
Being a 10 speed would strongly hint at being Raleigh built!
What's important is tubing & bits.Is it a low end bike boom 10 speed or a high end club bike?I'd start by telling about the bars--are they drops? engraved? have "GB" stamped on the bar end?Then the placement of shifters--on the down tube or on the stem?Does it have a tubing sticker?---sam

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE: Humber Riviera 10 Speed posted by Morris Rosenthal on 4/18/2005 at 9:18:36 PM

Thank you for the questions, afraid I'm not up on the terminology but I'll try to answer. I'm certain it's a Raleigh despite all the labeling being Humber, as I put more time in on the web, it looks exactly like a Raleigh Supercourse to me (circa 1972), similar equipment (Weinmans 750 Vanqueur 999 brakes), Nirvar pedals, Huret shifter and derailleur), Brooks Narroe B.15 saddle. It can't be all original, back rim is a RigidA Superchromix (France) with an Atom BTE SGDG sprocket, front is an Ormey Archer (England). The bars are drops, original looking white tape on them, sort of engraving on the head with an A A in diamond shapes. I thought they were aluminum, but must be an alloy, they don't show any oxidation as aluminum would. I didn't see any engraving on the tubes, just a fancy Humber decal on the front tube and the seat tube, plus Riviera across the top tube. Truth is my eyes don't work real great at short range so I might be missing something. Shifters are on the down tube, just like the Raleigh photos. If you can point be to a picture with all the parts and stamping locations, I'll try again. It just surprises me that "Humber Riviera" doesn't get any mentions on the web.

AGE / VALUE:   Best cycling web site posted by: sam on 4/16/2005 at 1:24:18 AM
A poll of readers of the british site(and mag)Cycling Plus gave SheldonBrown.com 38%
Top place(at 58%) went to there site www.cyclingplus.co.uk (It was a poll of THEIR readers!)----sam

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Best cycling web site posted by kim on 4/19/2005 at 2:01:26 PM
Interesting, and only 24 people voted, and minx-girl.co.uk pulled 4% !