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Spotted at the LBS: 1954 Raleigh Sports

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Spotted at the LBS: 1954 Raleigh Sports

Old 09-11-19, 06:46 PM
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Spotted at the LBS: 1954 Raleigh Sports

Miami isn’t Massachusetts, so finding any pre-1967 Raleigh down here is next to impossible. Yet, this time capsule was sitting at one of the local shops, next to a few 1970s examples and a cute Space Rider.

"Barely ridden" is probably the best way to describe it. Not even the pinstriping has faded away, and the paint looks like a Scratch-X job away from a nice shine. Too bad about the grips; wonder what made the originals (presumably) disintegrate.

Too bad it wasn’t a men’s 23”, but they were halfway on the fence between a ridiculous price and “we don’t want to get rid of it.” Fair enough.










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Old 09-11-19, 06:50 PM
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1954 is my grail year.
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Old 09-11-19, 06:56 PM
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atmospheric ozone and possibly UV exposure kills most plastics, especially older ones.

Mark Petry
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Old 09-11-19, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mpetry912 View Post
atmospheric ozone and possibly UV exposure kills most plastics, especially older ones.
Were the old grips a plastic? Thought they were rubber-based.

Note that the remaining plastic bits on the bike are remarkably well preserved - including the headlamp lens.

-Kurt
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Old 09-11-19, 07:11 PM
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Beautiful bike. This would be the Mediterranean Blue mentioned in the catalog. These older roadsters are getting harder to find all the time. Funny that, at least here in New England, they don't command higher prices than 70s Raleighs in good condition. To me, they are far more valuable. This is a good one.

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Old 09-11-19, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Were the old grips a plastic? Thought they were rubber-based.

Note that the remaining plastic bits on the bike are remarkably well preserved - including the headlamp lens.

-Kurt
Yes, they were rubber or celluloid. They don't hold up like the modern plastics. Now, they have become super rare. From what I can see in the catalog picture those repro torpedo grips you see on eBay would make a close replacement. Also notice in this 54 catalog picture the saddle bag that fits neatly around the rear sprung saddle. Nobody makes these anymore. Too bad, they look great.
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Old 09-11-19, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief View Post
Beautiful bike. This would be the Mediterranean Blue mentioned in the catalog. These older roadsters are getting harder to find all the time. Funny that, at least here in New England, they don't command higher prices than 70s Raleighs in good condition. To me, they are far more valuable. This is a good one.
Originally Posted by BigChief View Post
Yes, they were rubber or celluloid. They don't hold up like the modern plastics. Now, they have become super rare. From what I can see in the catalog picture those repro torpedo grips you see on eBay would make a close replacement.
Thanks for the catalog pic. Which year catalog is that? I'm behind the times and have only seen the US and Canadian '54 catalogs.

I've noticed that about pricing up in the Northeast there; there's little distinction between the heavy - but well built - pre-TI models and the pub-built 1970's stuff (with the early '60s models sitting in the middle as poorly-documented oddities, as they always have been).

I'd love to find an early 1950's 23" example in green...I've got a green chaincase waiting for one.

I've never had a truly proper look at the original grips. I've seen the Thai repops with an "R" in the center, and an "R" at the ends (pics below) and have heard that the real originals are marked "RI" for Raleigh Industries.

The "R" font on these looks pretty close to the one used on the raised "RI" outline on the reflectors of these pre-TI bikes, so I'm assuming the originals would have had the RI logo from the reflector.



Here are the front "R" grips. They're actually really nice looking - much nicer casts than the TTC's. Too bad they're only available in black and tan; no gray.



There are also these horrific things that look like the masters were carved in clay and then turned into a mold:



Back in 2007 or 2008 - before the "R" reproduction grips hit the shelves - I bought a pair of soft rubber (they feel like a rubbery foam) repop grips from the one and only Peter C. Kohler.

They're a lot fatter and chunkier than the originals and have no lettering on them at all, but they've held up close to 11 years now. Though there are obvious rot spots on the ends today, they haven't split open...yet...and have been very comfortable. I doubt any of the other grips would have matched these for comfort.



-Kurt
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Old 09-11-19, 09:08 PM
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Oh...I like those gray grips. Wish they were still available. I suppose we have to be happy with the R imports now though. I did my best researching grips, but there's not much information out there. I've saved images from ads, eBay and such of any close ups of the few early bikes with original grips still intact. What I've found is that early rod brake bikes used short grips. No idea why, but they were only about 3 1/4" long. On caliper brake bikes they used regular length. Sometimes they were quite fat and other times slim. Sometimes they would carry the bikes logo, sometimes the grip manufacturer would be cast into them. I have seen Apex made in England, John Bull or just made in England. That catalog is from the VCC library which is no longer available.
from the 1948 parts catalog:regular grips and below, the rod brake grips..


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Old 09-11-19, 09:46 PM
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Nice. That's an exact copy of the one my mom rode to work in the early 1960s when we lived in England. She bought hers used so it was definitely a 1950s era model.
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Old 09-12-19, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief View Post
Oh...I like those gray grips. Wish they were still available. I suppose we have to be happy with the R imports now though. I did my best researching grips, but there's not much information out there. I've saved images from ads, eBay and such of any close ups of the few early bikes with original grips still intact. What I've found is that early rod brake bikes used short grips. No idea why, but they were only about 3 1/4" long. On caliper brake bikes they used regular length. Sometimes they were quite fat and other times slim. Sometimes they would carry the bikes logo, sometimes the grip manufacturer would be cast into them. I have seen Apex made in England, John Bull or just made in England. That catalog is from the VCC library which is no longer available.
from the 1948 parts catalog:regular grips and below, the rod brake grips..
Peter's grips? I checked a while ago, and he still had some available - send him an email.

Funny, I've seen the rod grips, but not the others, and it seems the R/RI-grips aren't in there at all.

I feel as if I've missed a heck of a lot in those 6 years I've been gone. Have been trying to update the Headbadge in the process too, but until it is, I can't really suggest expanding any of the pages I already have

-Kurt
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Old 09-12-19, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Peter's grips? I checked a while ago, and he still had some available - send him an email.

Funny, I've seen the rod grips, but not the others, and it seems the R/RI-grips aren't in there at all.

I feel as if I've missed a heck of a lot in those 6 years I've been gone. Have been trying to update the Headbadge in the process too, but until it is, I can't really suggest expanding any of the pages I already have

-Kurt
It's good to see you back. The HB is an excellent site and it's great to have your catalog scans available. I'd be more than happy to share the reference material I've collected if you think it might be useful. That parts catalog image is from 1948 and may predate the RI grips.
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Old 09-12-19, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief View Post
It's good to see you back. The HB is an excellent site and it's great to have your catalog scans available. I'd be more than happy to share the reference material I've collected if you think it might be useful. That parts catalog image is from 1948 and may predate the RI grips.
Thanks for the offer, but I'm holding off on accepting anything until I've paid the $60 or so for the Gravity Forms license that'll run the automated Schwinn Paramount and Raleigh Carlton registries. I keep blowing it on bike parts, so its a vicious circle.

Until then, I won't work on the rest of the site, though it's 70% done. The catalog pages do look great now though...

-Kurt
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Old 09-12-19, 07:18 PM
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Well, I'll be darned:



-Kurt
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Old 09-12-19, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Well, I'll be darned:



-Kurt
Ahhh those look to be the same plain ribbed torpedo grips shown on the 1954 catalog page above. These seem to be common on light roadster Sports models from the mid to late 50s. Just after that, by the early 60s the fashion turned to white grips along with white cable housings. The higher end bikes had thicker white grips with finger notches while the lesser models and off brands got thin white grips without notches like the grips used on twist grip shifters. Into the "grips" folder this image goes...thanks
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Old 09-12-19, 07:50 PM
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Here's a shot of the fat grips shown in the 1948 parts catalog.

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Old 09-12-19, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief View Post
Beautiful bike. This would be the Mediterranean Blue mentioned in the catalog. These older roadsters are getting harder to find all the time. Funny that, at least here in New England, they don't command higher prices than 70s Raleighs in good condition. To me, they are far more valuable. This is a good one.

As a youngster who rode Raleighs (every one but the first and the last with Sturmey-Archer AW3 3 speed hub gears) with physical challenges to get around, this thread makes me happy to see such an earlier example so well preserved. My last Raleigh with SA hub gears was the smallest frame version of the Sport (late 1960's trade in). I loved and cherished this first "Grown Up" bike until quite a bit past I outgrew it, it represented independence, freedom, and fun. I went from this last Sport to an International, from Sturmey-Archer to Campagnolo Record disraeli gears. And again smallest frame available. My last Raleigh and 5 years, and over 60,000 miles of pure bliss on a bike to Schwinns and (funny thing, I have my eye on a Raleigh mixte) and it's late Worksop. And hopefully mine tomorrow.
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Old 09-12-19, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief View Post
Ahhh those look to be the same plain ribbed torpedo grips shown on the 1954 catalog page above. These seem to be common on light roadster Sports models from the mid to late 50s. Just after that, by the early 60s the fashion turned to white grips along with white cable housings. The higher end bikes had thicker white grips with finger notches while the lesser models and off brands got thin white grips without notches like the grips used on twist grip shifters. Into the "grips" folder this image goes...thanks
Here's a shot of the fat grips shown in the 1948 parts catalog.[/QUOTE]

If all goes well (especially thank to @pastorbobnlnh) I should be able to provide you as many photos of those plain grips as you want. The bike in the pic is a '53.

I'm familiar with the thin white grips without finger notches - those things lasted at least until 1972 on the Sports S22 with its matching twist-shifter (which I believe was copied by Shimano for the 3.3.3 too).

Originally Posted by Kent T View Post
As a youngster who rode Raleighs (every one but the first and the last with Sturmey-Archer AW3 3 speed hub gears) with physical challenges to get around, this thread makes me happy to see such an earlier example so well preserved. My last Raleigh with SA hub gears was the smallest frame version of the Sport (late 1960's trade in). I loved and cherished this first "Grown Up" bike until quite a bit past I outgrew it, it represented independence, freedom, and fun. I went from this last Sport to an International, from Sturmey-Archer to Campagnolo Record disraeli gears. And again smallest frame available. My last Raleigh and 5 years, and over 60,000 miles of pure bliss on a bike to Schwinns and (funny thing, I have my eye on a Raleigh mixte) and it's late Worksop. And hopefully mine tomorrow.
I wish this one was as loved as it is preserved (it is not maintained; it just sits there), but it's nice to see that it survived this well.

I've run the gamut from the AW (also my first geared hub) to Nuovo and Super Record. I'm starting to crawl my way back to IGH's now, including the installation of a SRAM G9 in a 1980 Sports, along with aluminum Rigida rims. Should be interesting. I like the freedom of shifting while stopped.

Good luck on your mixte find - post up some photos if/when you get it.

-Kurt
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Old 09-13-19, 03:52 PM
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1953 sports on CL

For anyone in the market for something similar, there’s a 1953 Sports on Cincinnati CL that claims to be all original. Only $130.

https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bi...970966449.html

“1953 Raleigh Sports bicycle. All steel. Made in Nottingham England. Has leather Brooks saddle. Sturmey Archer three speed hub and shifter. Headlight and taillight. All original and in good condition. Has rare Humber chain guard. 513-205-4623”
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Old 09-13-19, 03:55 PM
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^ Rare Humber chainguard?! Yeah, it’s a rare substitution for the real thing.
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Old 09-13-19, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
^ Rare Humber chainguard?! Yeah, it’s a rare substitution for the real thing.
Yup, all original except...the 70s crank, pedals, front wheel, handlebar and chainguard and that's just what I can see in the small pictures. Still a cool bike, but "all original" it ain't.
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Old 09-13-19, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
- I bought a pair of soft rubber (they feel like a rubbery foam) repop grips from the one and only Peter C. Kohler.

They're a lot fatter and chunkier than the originals and have no lettering on them at all, but they've held up close to 11 years now. Though there are obvious rot spots on the ends today, they haven't split open...yet...and have been very comfortable. I doubt any of the other grips would have matched these for comfort.

-Kurt
Ditto on Peters grips, fabulous comfort. The only other grip that comes close, imo, is the Schwinn grips from the 90's. Look like 70's Raleighs but they have big phat phoam like Mr Kohler's repros. Just keep your hands on the bars and no one sees the Schwinn logo.
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Old 09-13-19, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Ditto on Peters grips, fabulous comfort. The only other grip that comes close, imo, is the Schwinn grips from the 90's. Look like 70's Raleighs but they have big phat phoam like Mr Kohler's repros. Just keep your hands on the bars and no one sees the Schwinn logo.
Luckily, the 1970's Dare grips are reproduced in a slightly softer compound under the Drive wheelchair brand (P/N D25-4181), but they're $27.99 - not cheap: https://www.monsterscooterparts.com/...ml#description.

Be careful not to get confused with the Hunt-Wilde grip copy which is also under the Drive brand (D25-4189)

Here are the Drive grips on a green 1970 Raleigh Twenty. You can't tell them apart from the originals:




-Kurt
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