Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vinyl Ribbon Handlebar Tape!! Don't Ignore it!!

Upon looking at these Raleighs and for example, this one that was just on display from Ebay, I think it is important to say if the buyer receives it, to not say, now I am going to "classicize" it even more and put on Elkhide, Brooks Leather or Shellacked cotton (handle) bar tape. There really is too much of a hurry to do away with the old.

Now in the case of your Hunt Wilde or Cello styled plastic handlebar or ribbon tape, perhaps it is not soft for the hands, that is a point but nothing really could look better than the ribbon tape on this Raleigh Grand Prix, leather? please! One might try it, I have one set of handlebars with bare tape and it may cause less hand and nerve pains than some others that are padded better.

All I'm saying is people owe it to themselves not to be that much in a hurry to make the handlebars look like something on a Randonneur pre-war bike to give it that "classy look." If I'm not mistaken a lot of Schwinns used tape like this as well.

I'm not sure if Raleigh strictly used Hunt Wilde ribbon, a company that still exists but they did use something similar.

Likewise, there is real no need to cut foam off of handlebars either and the rubber Hutchinson covers found on some Motobecanes? They sell those at auctions, I shellacked a pair of them and then covered them with some red handlebar tape and shellacked it again. Rather comfortable.

Those components are classic too and may merit being kept. Perhaps these new hand cushions could be placed underneath. Furthermore, the plastic ribbon can in all likelihood be taken off gently and used again.

Alternatives can always be had, there has to be a better way to track down this handlebar tape but if it is already on there, one might consider keeping it on there.

Foam would not really look that bad if ribbon tape can not be found. Foam is even available in colors now though who knows if it would be as comfortable as the traditional ones. Fair reference to see what is available. Tressostar Cotton Bar tape and just Cotton bar tape in general really, ever try hockey stick tape? Is very useful.

Top tube black band design, White vs. Blue

It appears on a precursory check of Raleigh Grand Prixs that a white model never came out that had a "black band" on the top tube. This would date any white models to being post 1975. Of course, the model in the picture has the Carlton hoods as well which likewise seemed to be out of use by this time period.

Compare to a Raleigh GP with the black band on top tube:

Likewise, in 1968, it would appear there were not blue models being manufactured according to the Retro Raleighs site.

Likewise, a note for the 1977 listing, few bronze colored GPs have been sighted.

Also, though "white" Grand Prixs seem to be rare, is it any wonder that with the "Bike Boom" popularity of Peugeots and their famous white models such as the AO-8, Raleigh might come out with some white framed bicycles. Only things to be thought of while blogging I guess. If one observes the vintage bikes for sale out there, it seems obvious that white came out by many producers in the mid-seventies and it is highly likely they were likely emulating the success of Peugeot as shown by this example of a Belgian made bike. Looks a lot like a Peugeot at first.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Red Raleigh Grand Prix with Carlton White Hoods.

First, the below showed photograph is of a Raleigh Super Course, next up in the line of Raleighs after the Grand Prix and is shown for illustrative purposes.

I will only provide the link on this:

The owner writes he was able to buy the bike unassembled so that is why it looks so minty, got to put the pedals on though. Some of these Raleighs do indeed look brand spanking new. Good man this Rosencranz fellow, has a weak place in his heart for a Grand Prix.

Notice, the first wave of Raleigh Grand Prixs to hit the states for all intents and purposes have that style, the black banded area on the 3 tubes of the triangle, down, top and seat tube giving a distinctive look it be the frame being colored Blue, Red, White or Green (I said maybe yellow, I would need confirmation. White ones seem to be rare and are very attractive bikes too). Other bike makers still produced fine bikes but being mostly the same color as say a blue Motobecane Mirage for example made the Grand Prix instantly recognizable.

For comparison as to how the Grand Prixs looked, note this Super Course model by Raleigh, very handsome as well is this green and white bike but not as recognizable as a Gran Prix.

BTW, the other CycloFiend RGP is a white one and looks like it appeared on an earlier page; this link gives more pictures: Whattya know: it was originally blue and he painted it white! Okay, still on the lookout for the White RGP.

Green Classic, Carlton Brake Hoods...Wright Saddle

This one went for a low price... but you never know if someone is trying to pull the wool over one's eyes offering such products...

Here is a truly superb Raleigh Grand Prix..

For some reason, some of the best Vintage bikes indeed come from the Middle West, this Raleigh Grand Prix is so handsome, it would be difficult to call it a "lower end bike" in the Raleigh line. Bluemels Mudguard/Fenders to boot, a touch of a leather saddle, would make this a head turner. This is Ebay item: 140459959472

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Story of the Raleigh Cycle and other books

All Raleigh-ites and Roadsters fans owe it to themselves to read this book. My favorite parts personally are the early descriptions of racing to set the record from Land's End (Southernmost end of England) to John O'Groat's, the very top tip of Scotland in the North where across the waters a way is Iceland. This is now a big deal to travel in the UK for Cyclists, a sort of "I did it" adventure. It is often abbreviated to "LEJOG" or something similar. The book was published in 1976 by a relative of Lord Bowden who was instrumental in the business of Raleigh during the early years up until the 1930s.

I do think Raleigh may have made some mistakes along the way based on what I have heard Englanders say, perhaps the business got greedy according to them.

An author fans of British Cycling should read too is the highly acclaimed Alan Sillitoe whose books include "Loneliness of a long distance runner" which indeed is about a Runner training in prison, he gets some freedom from the Barstol (Barstol - A long the lines of a Reform School) to run in the country. Sillitoe grew up in Nottingham and he worked for Raleigh in fact. References to bicycles are plenty in his short stories which was about all I am aware of he wrote. His collections are well worth reading and all Raleigh fans owe it to themselves to do so. Also, some references to football/soccer abound as well. Very reflective of life in Great Britain in the post War era as well as the human condition. "Summat" or something to consider. Somewhat light reading, rather clean, excellent and at times, hysterically funny.<--- Er, perhaps, you only need to take 10 minutes to read one of his stories and decide, he's got a real edge to his style as well. Personally, some of the humour might be a tad dark.

Update on the Grand Prix given a modern day paint job.

I admire the creativity at work here.

It may well be that Raleigh Grand Prixs differed from other Raleigh road bikes in that it had a crowned fork and often, the Raleigh Road bikes like the Competition have sloping forks at the top.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dutch Made Raleigh Grand Prix, Gazzelle factory.

Raleigh Grand Prixs were manufactured in Holland and Ireland besides the Nottingham bikes. Later on into the late '70s and early '80s, perhaps some came from the Far East but I'm not positive about this. Grand Prixs were also made and continue to be a Mark name for the Raleigh USA company. Though rarer, Raleigh Grand Prixs in the early '90s used experimental aluminum tubing that the Technium model is known for. Latter day Raleigh Grand Prixs definitely were upgraded in to a Premium bike versus those shown largely in this blog which highlights the '70s era more.

A Vintage RGP given a Modern Day Paint Job!! Fantabulous!!

Wish I had more pictures of this one. Many people would not think a Raleigh Grand Prix merits being modernized and all dolled up as this owner did, many would hold out and do that for probably the higher end bikes, a Competition say. You get a feel for the bike. Perhaps I can find more photos. I would say the project was a success. Note, how the owner who did all of this himself did not actually chrome the fork (barely visible) or the back chain and seat stays which were not chromed to begin with I'd think but gives a bit of an illusion of those parts being chromed.


Edit: Please see a few postings up for another picture of the full frame.

An absolutely mint Raleigh Grand Prix went on sale on Ebay a few months ago.

Mint does not mean best but this one looked like it had been assembled out of the box this year. Check how perfect the chrome, the pedals, etc. all appear.