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Old Raleigh Dumpster Find...Worth Restoring?

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Old Raleigh Dumpster Find...Worth Restoring?

Old 07-05-20, 05:54 PM
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Old Raleigh Dumpster Find...Worth Restoring?

Found this leaning against a dumpster. Any ideas what model and year it's from?

3-speeds aren't my thing but if it's rare, I would consider restoring it.




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Old 07-05-20, 06:01 PM
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What a find - looks to be a pre-1951 DL-1, given the Bakelite dynohub. The real deal too, not the later 1960's-1970's production that just doesn't cut it. Check the Sturmey hubs for date codes.

That shifter looks mint too. I also see quite a bit of wartime-era blackout parts here, even though it's probably post-war parts bin leftovers given the chrome handlebar. I wouldn't much more than give it a mechanical servicing, tires, tubes, and a proper polishing with Meguiars #7 and some wax (taking care around that original pinstriping, which may easily polish off). It'd look brand new.

Pretty sure it's missing the seatpost binder bolt (in this case, structural to the bike - note the bolt-on rear stays - and the rear chaincase cover. Otherwise, pretty perfect looking.

-Kurt

P.S.: I'd classify this as a candidate for refurbishing, rather than a "restoration." To me, the latter has always implied a repaint - which, in this case, would be absolutely sacrilegious.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:02 PM
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Oh man, who would think of throwing that away?? Gem find. I know little about the bike but can tell you it is an oldie. Lever/rod brakes?? Dude.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
What a find - looks to be a pre-1951 DL-1, given the Bakelite dynohub. The real deal too, not the later 1960's-1970's production that just doesn't cut it. Check the Sturmey hubs for date codes.

That shifter looks mint too. I also see quite a bit of wartime-era blackout parts here, even though it's probably post-war parts bin leftovers given the chrome handlebar. I wouldn't do much more than give it a mechanical servicing, tires, tubes, and a proper polishing with Meguiars #7 and some wax (taking care around that original pinstriping, which may easily polish off). It'd look brand new.

Pretty sure it's missing the seatpost binder bolt (in this case, structural to the bike - note the bolt-on rear stays - and the rear chaincase cover. Otherwise, pretty perfect looking.

-Kurt
Yes, that binder bolt will need to go. I have the rear end of the chain cover in my workshop. I think this could be a nice winter project.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:10 PM
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Break out the brass wheels to treat the rims. That's a sweet find that might not net you a fortune, but it's still a treasure.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Oh man, who would think of throwing that away?? Gem find. I know little about the bike but can tell you it is an oldie. Lever/rod brakes?? Dude.
Maintenance guys were cleaning out the basement of a University of Chicago building. I was too enamored with the bike otherwise I would have been neck deep in that dumpster...
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Old 07-05-20, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
Break out the brass wheels to treat the rims. That's a sweet find that might not net you a fortune, but it's still a treasure.
It would be nice to restore it and donate it to a worthy cause. I can't see myself riding it much through urban streets.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:21 PM
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Old 07-05-20, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Maintenance guys were cleaning out the basement of a University of Chicago building. I was too enamored with the bike otherwise I would have been neck deep in that dumpster...
It's in such good shape that I'd venture to say that it's the first light it's seen since the 1960's.

Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
It would be nice to restore it and donate it to a worthy cause. I can't see myself riding it much through urban streets.
Depends. It's like nothing else, but the enjoyment of a DL-1 is all dependent on whether you can fit it or not and how abused the rims are. The slack geometry requires perfect fit or you'll have knee clearance issues, while braking performance is dependent on those rims.

I have one of the later ones - a 1979 Rudge DL-1. It's a 22", and it is both too small for me and despite being well kept, the nipple seats have been abused on the rims, and one wheel has three replacement spokes laced to the wrong cross as the rest of the rim. It's a knee-banging, rough-stopping affair, and I've ridden the thing less than 15 times in the 12 years or so I've owned it (this photo is dated April 2008, and there was a massive bent fork issue to sort out, so I might have had it 13 years). If it wasn't for being an oddball export model made 7 years after the Rudge brand was dropped everywhere else, it'd be entirely unremarkable.




However, in your case, life has pretty much put a brand-new 1950's DL-1 in your hands. This is from the era when they were the absolute best. I think you'd find it a lot more sublime than the experiences I've had with my fudged Rudge.

-Kurt
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Old 07-05-20, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
It would be nice to restore it and donate it to a worthy cause. I can't see myself riding it much through urban streets.
I hear you. If I still lived in Rochester, NY, or Carlisle, PA. I could possibly make a case for keeping something like this (relatively flat and bike friendly). Honestly, I think that a hard-core collector or a museum would more properly appreciate this than an average Joe/Jane. Rod brakes are an anachronism, and finding replacement pads is a research exercise in and of itself. I think you're blessed and cursed here.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
I hear you. If I still lived in Rochester, NY, or Carlisle, PA. I could possibly make a case for keeping something like this (relatively flat and bike friendly). Honestly, I think that a hard-core collector or a museum would more properly appreciate this than an average Joe/Jane. Rod brakes are an anachronism, and finding replacement pads is a research exercise in and of itself. I think you're blessed and cursed here.
Agreed on that count. I could make the LBSes laugh at the engineering of the Rudge back when I got it in 2008 - to the point that they would call me up if a DL-1 would show up, asking for rod brake adjustment pointers, usually.

I can't speak for LBSes in cycling-friendly cities, but so much has changed in 10 years that I don't think that the local shops even take anything with cottered cranks seriously. Not before trying to send the owner out the door with a new bike, anyway.

On the note of donations...I PM'ed branko_76 to see how many Spin Gen 3's it'd take to convince him to send the DL-1 down here, given how donatable the Spins are . Having a bunch of bikes to give away has its good points (share the love) and bad (shipping costs and enabling)!

Oh, how do I get myself into these things

-Kurt
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Old 07-05-20, 07:08 PM
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I was expecting to see like, a cheapie late 80's ten speed with stemies, this is gorgeous!
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Old 07-05-20, 07:10 PM
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I commuted for a very short time in Boston on a lady's DL-1 that I found leaning against a dumpster and refurbished. The lack of braking power made me choose a different option!

The OP's DL-1 is an old one. Those front dyno hubs usually have a date code, as does the rear hub. I think those are the triggers that were only produced a couple of years in the late 1940s.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:12 PM
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Got a 51 Sports stepthrough a number of years ago and when I cleaned up the wheels it turned out to have stainless spokes and sor sort of steel alloy rims that are probably classified as some sort of stainless. Amazing difference in Raleigh's materials and workmanship just through the 50s. Great find and no light weight.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I commuted for a very short time in Boston on a lady's DL-1 that I found leaning against a dumpster and refurbished. The lack of braking power made me choose a different option!

The OP's DL-1 is an old one. Those front dyno hubs usually have a date code, as does the rear hub. I think those are the triggers that were only produced a couple of years in the late 1940s.
I'll check for date codes next week.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:59 PM
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@branko_76, that model has a big following. Some claim you can make the brakes work well. The bike is not to my taste, but some love it. And in good condition, the selling prices are surprisingly high.
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Old 07-05-20, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@branko_76, that model has a big following. Some claim you can make the brakes work well. The bike is not to my taste, but some love it. And in good condition, the selling prices are surprisingly high.
I hear you, I'm more of a hippie era 10 speed rider. I've restored enough neglected Raleigh's so I feel confident that I could do a good job on this one. I'd leave the paint alone, but would do a thorough mechanical restoration using ALL of the original parts, bearings, cables, tubes, spokes, nipples, etc. but obviously not the tires.
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Old 07-05-20, 08:36 PM
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That Raleigh paint is amazing. Give it a good bath & wax it & it will look like new. If you are man enough bring it to the Lake Pepin 3 Speed Tour next year (Google it) & you will get many admiring comments. Which of course depends on Covid 19 next year.
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Old 07-05-20, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by MeadMan2 View Post
That Raleigh paint is amazing. Give it a good bath & wax it & it will look like new. If you are man enough bring it to the Lake Pepin 3 Speed Tour next year (Google it) & you will get many admiring comments. Which of course depends on Covid 19 next year.
That looks like a fun time.....
https://3speedtour.com/

...the question is, am I man enough to restore it? Those hubs look like a nightmare...
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Old 07-05-20, 08:45 PM
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Old 07-05-20, 08:45 PM
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Old 07-05-20, 08:59 PM
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Keep and restore it! Don't let it get go!! RJ the Bike Guy on youtube is your friend with servicing the front Dynohub. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 07-05-20, 10:50 PM
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Crap, that's not a GH6 Dynohub, that's one of the earlier 8 volt GH8's. Looks like it hasn't been connected for a while.

Cable clip appears to be on the left side, but I'm not aware if the GH8's are meant to be directional in installation - the same way the standard front hubs are.

-Kurt
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Old 07-05-20, 11:16 PM
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That is a killer dumpster find!!!!!

I doubt I'll ever own a Raleigh 3 speed that old, but I do certainly daydream about it!
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Old 07-06-20, 05:27 AM
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Post it also to Classic Rendezvous. I'm confident folks there can also provide some (first hand) knowledge of what you have there and how to refurbish it. Nice find!

I would have been digging for any old vacuum tube electronics or audio gear.
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