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Old Raleigh Grand Prix for Touring?

Old 03-13-16, 04:47 PM
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Chili Cheesy
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Old Raleigh Grand Prix for Touring?

Hey all,

I have obtained a 1974 Raleigh Grand Prix. I've stripped it down to only the frame, fork, headset, stem and handlebars. I am in the process of building it into a touring bike, kind of for the cool factor in addition to the money it saves me. The frame is steal of course, but it was intended back then to be a racing type frame, not touring. I know they built things tough back then too and wonder if this is plenty sturdy enough for front and rear loads on big tours.

Just some extra details to prevent unnecessary questions:
I've cold set the rear triangle to fit a 130mm hub and aligned the dropouts. the frame and fork are nice and straight. It's gonna' be a 9-speed drivetrain setup. I've already got the compatibility issues with mounting racks solved.

Parts:
Rear Derailleur - Shimano Deore long cage 9-speed
Front Derailleur - Shimano Sora for wide tooth range (same that now comes on Surly LHT, but it's the 9-speed version)
Crankset and BB - Shimano Alivio 22,32,44t and Shimano UN-55 square taper
Cassette - Shimano SLX 34-11t 9-speed
Wheels - Alex Ace19 Rims and Schwalbe Marathon 35c tires (on the narrow side to fit in the rear triangle on this lil' racer)
Brake Levers and Shifters - Cane Creek SCR-5 (Tektro R200) and microSHIFT 9-speed bar-end shifters
Saddle - Brooks of course

I'd appreciate any wisdom on this matter, especially if it comes from real experience with a similar situation. I just want to feel secure about this... or to know the inconvenient truth that will save me from being stranded on a back road with a busted bike.

The picture is something I found on Google. It's exactly the bike I intend to mutate.

,Ryan
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Last edited by Chili Cheesy; 03-14-16 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 03-13-16, 05:22 PM
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What size is this frame?
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Old 03-13-16, 05:31 PM
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You've done a good job of selecting a very useful parts mix for a touring bike. There are two potential issues you will have on any frame when building up a touring bike. (1) The first is whether the tires you want will fit. It looks like you've done our homework and the 700 x 35c (which is a good size for touring) will work. As a general rule, a bike built for center pull brakes should have plenty of space for a fairly big tire. (2) The second is ideally you don't want short chain stays so that you have heel clearance. Again an older bike built around center pull brakes is likely to have longish chain stays.

You're plan seems sound; I'd wouldn't hesitate in building a touring bike around a frame like this.
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Old 03-13-16, 06:08 PM
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Looks like you have really covered your bases since the frame has already been adjusted to fit the new hubs and all.
Cool component selection too.

35s are hardly narrow, if they fit be happy and dont apologize for going too narrow. That size is great.

Toss up pics of the build when complete. The c&v forum could be another good spot for pics as there are plenty of older frames dressed up with modern components on that forum.
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Old 03-13-16, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
Hey all,

I have obtained a 1974 Raleigh Grand Prix. I've stripped it down to only the frame, fork, headset, stem and handlebars. I am in the process of building it into a touring bike, kind of for the cool factor in addition to the money it saves me. The frame is steal of course, but it was intended back then to be a racing type frame, not touring. I know they built things tough back then too and wonder if this is plenty sturdy enough for front and rear loads on big tours.

Just some extra details to prevent unnecessary questions:
I've cold set the rear triangle to fit a 130mm hub and aligned the dropouts. the frame and fork are nice and straight. It's gonna' be a 9-speed drivetrain setup. I've already got the compatibility issues with mounting racks solved.

Parts:
Rear Derailleur - Shimano Deore long cage 9-speed
Front Derailleur - Shimano Sora for wide tooth range (same that now comes on Surly LHT, only the 9-speed version)
Crankset and BB - Shimano Alivio 22,32,44t and Shimano UN-55 square taper
Cassette - Shimano SLX 34-11t 9-speed
Wheels - Alex Ace19 Rims and Schwalbe Marathon 35c tires (on the narrow side to fit in the rear triangle on the lil' racer)
Brake Levers and Shifters - Cane Creek SCR-5 (Tektro R200) and microSHIFT 9-speed bar-end shifters
Saddle - Brooks of course

I'd appreciate any wisdom on this matter, especially if it comes from real experience with a similar situation. I just want to feel secure about this... or to know the inconvenient truth that will save me from being stranded on a back road with a busted bike.

The picture is something I found on Google. It's exactly the bike I intend to mutate.

,Ryan
Not a bad build though I would try and get handbuilt wheels for sure (even if with cheaper components, Velocity has a great wheel building program or if your shop has a QBP account they also hand build wheels) and personally would go with a Sugino crank and maybe a IRD Defiant BB on that (a little nicer quality especially on the BB, ATMO) but everything else seems like a solid choice assuming it will all work together on the frame. I might consider some newer brakes or nicer pads for the old ones. Paul Components makes some high quality canti and centerpull brakes.
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Old 03-13-16, 08:38 PM
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I don't think a Grand Prix is remotely worth the effort and money, but it'll work, after a fashion. There are zillions of much better old steel bikes/frames you could pick up for a song. The Grand Prix wasn't even a good bike in its day. Now, they're basically junk. Like I said, it'll work. And you'll learn a lot. You'll have to, cause there will be lots of fiddling with it.

Edit: to be clear. I speak from the pain of my own experience. I don't mean to dissuade you from this sort of project in general. But I can't endorse fixing up a Grand Prix in this way. It's not worth it.

Last edited by grolby; 03-13-16 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 03-13-16, 09:11 PM
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In the 1970's I did some loaded touring on my Gran Prix. The weight was all on a Pletscher rack on the back, we didn't know about low-riders back then. This setup would get to shimmying something fierce on steep downhills, like Rabbit Ears Pass going down into Steamboat Springs. I think what I'm trying to say, is, "get some lowriders". The frame is fairly flexible and you want the load pretty stable and low.
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Old 03-14-16, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by randallr View Post
In the 1970's I did some loaded touring on my Gran Prix. The weight was all on a Pletscher rack on the back, we didn't know about low-riders back then. This setup would get to shimmying something fierce on steep downhills, like Rabbit Ears Pass going down into Steamboat Springs. I think what I'm trying to say, is, "get some lowriders". The frame is fairly flexible and you want the load pretty stable and low.
In 1985, I did a long self contained tour with a friend who rode my sister's 70 something Grand Prix, likewise with everything on the Pletscher. No problems or complaints from him at all. It's a great bike, and should serve you fine. BTW, we did nothing to change it from stock 10 speed with 27 X 1.25 tires, but having said that, I think that your modifications to accommodate more modern and readily available wheelsets and components is a good idea.
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Old 03-14-16, 08:20 AM
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I was a mechanic in a Raleigh shop in 1973 and have a 72 Gran Prix in the basement. I assume the 1974 is pretty similar.

Before you do ANYTHING, make sure that your bottom bracket plans will work. There is a high probability that it has the Raleigh Nottingham thread pattern, not British thread.

Threading/interchangeability Issues for Older Raleigh Bicycles

Some of the later Nottingham bikes had a square taper bottom bracket that fit in those threads, but if yours was cottered, you might be out of luck. There are shops that can re-thread the bottom bracket, but it generally is not worth the effort on that frame.

If you get the bottom bracket issue worked out and want to continue, let us know.
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Old 03-14-16, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Teamdarb View Post
What size is this frame?
The frame is a 55cm. After measuring the thing when I found it, I realized it was the perfect size for touring, for me. Another reason I became interested in this weird project.

Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
You've done a good job of selecting a very useful parts mix for a touring bike. There are two potential issues you will have on any frame when building up a touring bike. (1) The first is whether the tires you want will fit. It looks like you've done our homework and the 700 x 35c (which is a good size for touring) will work. As a general rule, a bike built for center pull brakes should have plenty of space for a fairly big tire. (2) The second is ideally you don't want short chain stays so that you have heel clearance. Again an older bike built around center pull brakes is likely to have longish chain stays.

You're plan seems sound; I'd wouldn't hesitate in building a touring bike around a frame like this.
Right. The 35c tires will have to do. I know it's a common touring size, just better suited for mostly road touring. 35c is definitely the biggest I'm gettin' on there. 38c may work, but there'd be like 1mm between the chainstays and the tire. The chainstays are actually pretty long. 45mm roughly.

Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Not a bad build though I would try and get handbuilt wheels for sure (even if with cheaper components, Velocity has a great wheel building program or if your shop has a QBP account they also hand build wheels) and personally would go with a Sugino crank and maybe a IRD Defiant BB on that (a little nicer quality especially on the BB, ATMO) but everything else seems like a solid choice assuming it will all work together on the frame. I might consider some newer brakes or nicer pads for the old ones. Paul Components makes some high quality canti and centerpull brakes.
Wheels... I was at my local bikeshop in Morgantown, WV deciding what to do about wheels. I know they are the most important part of a touring bike. The mechanic and I were finally deciding between two options, the Alex Ace19 with DT Swiss spokes and the Shimano Claris hub (the cheaper option of the two, and money Is an object in my situation) or a similar Alex rim with the same spokes and a better hub that I would be able to keep building wheels on down the road instead of replacing the entire wheel set eventually. The mechanic understood well my intentions for this bike and felt confident in these wheels, just mentioning to me that I can invest more into some solid hubs later on when I'm ready to.

As for the other parts... I forgot to mention I got some new Tektro dual-pivot extra long reach brakes and good new pads of course. The crankset I have now came from a long search for a very specific crankset I was set on. It needed to be a 22/32/44t 170mm 9-speed crankset. I'm very picky. This was literally the only one I could find... period. The Shimano Alivio is perfectly good quality. A better BB doesn't ever sound like a bad thing, but not necessary here either. the UN-55 is solid and I can always carry an entire extra BB with me if I want.

So, why exactly is it so important to have hand-built wheels? I do accept that it is the way to go. I hear the same thing from everyone. Just, why?

Originally Posted by grolby View Post
I don't think a Grand Prix is remotely worth the effort and money, but it'll work, after a fashion. There are zillions of much better old steel bikes/frames you could pick up for a song. The Grand Prix wasn't even a good bike in its day. Now, they're basically junk. Like I said, it'll work. And you'll learn a lot. You'll have to, cause there will be lots of fiddling with it.

Edit: to be clear. I speak from the pain of my own experience. I don't mean to dissuade you from this sort of project in general. But I can't endorse fixing up a Grand Prix in this way. It's not worth it.
Yea, I understand your point. If I were starting from scratch and looking on eBay or wherever for a frame to start with, I'd never have chosen this. I stumbled upon this bike, that fits me perfectly (the French fit or touring fit) and got it for $75. Eventually in a year or two, or three, I will take all the parts from this frame and and have a half-way finished project for a new and better, most likely LHT frame. The money isn't simply being wasted on an unworthy bike. You see?
...and you're right about being after a fashion. I'm definitely going for the cool factor here, and the funky style of this mutant bike.
...and yes, I'll be learning and growing as a touring cyclist. (:

Originally Posted by randallr View Post
In the 1970's I did some loaded touring on my Gran Prix. The weight was all on a Pletscher rack on the back, we didn't know about low-riders back then. This setup would get to shimmying something fierce on steep downhills, like Rabbit Ears Pass going down into Steamboat Springs. I think what I'm trying to say, is, "get some lowriders". The frame is fairly flexible and you want the load pretty stable and low.
Thank you for sharing that wisdom. That's perfect and exactly what I'm looking for. You were doing exactly what I'm doing and learned some case specific lessons.
I did plan on using low-rider panniers on a rack that's ready for them, but not for this reason. I was just doing it for a lower center of gravity. This is very good to know. Thank you again!
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Old 03-14-16, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by mantelclock View Post
In 1985, I did a long self contained tour with a friend who rode my sister's 70 something Grand Prix, likewise with everything on the Pletscher. No problems or complaints from him at all. It's a great bike, and should serve you fine. BTW, we did nothing to change it from stock 10 speed with 27 X 1.25 tires, but having said that, I think that your modifications to accommodate more modern and readily available wheelsets and components is a good idea.
That's good news and exactly what I wanna' hear. I'm becoming more and more confident.

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I was a mechanic in a Raleigh shop in 1973 and have a 72 Gran Prix in the basement. I assume the 1974 is pretty similar.

Before you do ANYTHING, make sure that your bottom bracket plans will work. There is a high probability that it has the Raleigh Nottingham thread pattern, not British thread.

Threading/interchangeability Issues for Older Raleigh Bicycles

Some of the later Nottingham bikes had a square taper bottom bracket that fit in those threads, but if yours was cottered, you might be out of luck. There are shops that can re-thread the bottom bracket, but it generally is not worth the effort on that frame.

If you get the bottom bracket issue worked out and want to continue, let us know.
It was old Nottingham threading with cottered cranks. The BB is already refaced. It's ready for the standard, common BB's of today.

Last edited by Chili Cheesy; 03-14-16 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 03-14-16, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Looks like you have really covered your bases since the frame has already been adjusted to fit the new hubs and all.
Cool component selection too.

35s are hardly narrow, if they fit be happy and dont apologize for going too narrow. That size is great.

Toss up pics of the build when complete. The c&v forum could be another good spot for pics as there are plenty of older frames dressed up with modern components on that forum.
I will be posting a picture of the final product. It should only be a week, or two at most.

Last edited by Chili Cheesy; 03-14-16 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 03-14-16, 08:48 AM
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Post some pics of the build; this will be a cool touring bike. I toured on two different hi-tensile steel bikes with center pull brakes; both were fine touring bikes. My first touring bike was a peugeot UO-10; my second a motobecane super mirage. I bought them because they were all I could afford and they did a fine job of carrying me and my gear on some great tours.
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Old 03-14-16, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
...
It was old Nottingham threading with cottered cranks. The BB is already refaced. It's ready for the standard, common BB's of today.
Ok, I wanted to make sure you did not go too far with your plans, only to have them dashed later. But you already got that problem fixed.

Some of teh Nottingham bottom bracket shells were wider than 68mm, but narrower than 73mm. If you find that it is too long to put a 68mm bottom bracket in, you might be able to use spacers to make a 73mm bottom bracket fit. But I would try the 68mm first as it might still work ok.

I can't imagine ever needing to carry an extra UN55, I have one on my expedition bike, it is adequate for long distance touring.
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Old 03-14-16, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Ok, I wanted to make sure you did not go too far with your plans, only to have them dashed later. But you already got that problem fixed.

Some of teh Nottingham bottom bracket shells were wider than 68mm, but narrower than 73mm. If you find that it is too long to put a 68mm bottom bracket in, you might be able to use spacers to make a 73mm bottom bracket fit. But I would try the 68mm first as it might still work ok.

I can't imagine ever needing to carry an extra UN55, I have one on my expedition bike, it is adequate for long distance touring.
It appears to be about 69mm ...and yea... I figured I was fine on BB choice, based on many shared opinions regarding the matter.
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Old 03-14-16, 09:14 AM
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I would reconsider. You're spending a fair bit on parts, for a little more you can get a complete bicycle with a better frame. Components are cheaper when the are on a complete bicycle. Just my opinion.
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Old 03-14-16, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
Wheels... I was at my local bikeshop in Morgantown, WV deciding what to do about wheels. I know they are the most important part of a touring bike. The mechanic and I were finally deciding between two options, the Alex Ace19 with DT Swiss spokes and the Shimano Claris hub (the cheaper option of the two, and money Is an object in my situation) or a similar Alex rim with the same spokes and a better hub that I would be able to keep building wheels on down the road instead of replacing the entire wheel set eventually. The mechanic understood well my intentions for this bike and felt confident in these wheels, just mentioning to me that I can invest more into some solid hubs later on when I'm ready to.

As for the other parts... I forgot to mention I got some new Tektro dual-pivot extra long reach brakes and good new pads of course. The crankset I have now came from a long search for a very specific crankset I was set on. It needed to be a 22/32/44t 170mm 9-speed crankset. I'm very picky. This was literally the only one I could find... period. The Shimano Alivio is perfectly good quality. A better BB doesn't ever sound like a bad thing, but not necessary here either. the UN-55 is solid and I can always carry an entire extra BB with me if I want.

So, why exactly is it so important to have hand-built wheels? I do accept that it is the way to go. I hear the same thing from everyone. Just, why?

Handbuilt wheels are nice because in the hands of a skilled craftsperson they will be properly tensioned nice and round and true. They should also last quite a bit longer and hold their true much longer. Machines cannot really put the care and attention into proper lacing and tensioning like a human can. They cannot feel the wheel as they are building it, it is just a program that is running in the machine. I would try and avoid Claris if possible but if you are doing it in a handbuilt wheel it will certainly be better than finding a machine built wheel with the same hub. If you can find something with sealed bearings like the Velo Orange or at least Deore level with double sealing you will be much better off with less maintenance.


Certainly don't carry an extra bottom bracket at that point you will probably be better off just buying something nicer and installing that. The UN-55 isn't bad so I wouldn't carry a spare because of quality because for its price it is perfectly fine. When you go up to something like the Defiant you are getting better seals (and sealed bearings) and that again would translate to less maintenance and worry over time. If you ride through wet conditions a lot having confidence in not getting so much water in your parts is a nice feeling. I am a big fan of Sugino and I think their stuff looks great especially with the retro crown logo. I love Shimano but they have mostly embraced the new fad BB styles and are trying to move away from the classic tried and true square taper.

Tektro brakes aren't bad for the price and a good set of pads will turn even some crappier brakes into better performers. The nicer compounds wear and brake/grip better.

I love WV, I wish I could live there again. A lot of great biking that I didn't take enough advantage of when I lived there.
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Old 03-14-16, 10:56 AM
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Before you do ANYTHING, make sure that your bottom bracket plans will work. There is a high probability that it has the Raleigh Nottingham thread pattern, not British thread.
You may be able to use the cups and find a square taper axle (replacing the cottered one),

given the Ball size for BB's has Been 1/4" for a Long Time.

length ? Depends on the crankarm you get ,

VO has a cartridge BB that Bypasses the threads made for damaged frames But Useful

if its Raleigh ie_1 3/8" x 26 tpi vs every other Brit, 1.370 x 24tpi ..
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Old 03-14-16, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
I would reconsider. You're spending a fair bit on parts, for a little more you can get a complete bicycle with a better frame. Components are cheaper when the are on a complete bicycle. Just my opinion.
Too late I'm afraid... Already have all the parts.

Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Handbuilt wheels are nice because in the hands of a skilled craftsperson they will be properly tensioned nice and round and true. They should also last quite a bit longer and hold their true much longer. Machines cannot really put the care and attention into proper lacing and tensioning like a human can. They cannot feel the wheel as they are building it, it is just a program that is running in the machine. I would try and avoid Claris if possible but if you are doing it in a handbuilt wheel it will certainly be better than finding a machine built wheel with the same hub. If you can find something with sealed bearings like the Velo Orange or at least Deore level with double sealing you will be much better off with less maintenance.


Certainly don't carry an extra bottom bracket at that point you will probably be better off just buying something nicer and installing that. The UN-55 isn't bad so I wouldn't carry a spare because of quality because for its price it is perfectly fine. When you go up to something like the Defiant you are getting better seals (and sealed bearings) and that again would translate to less maintenance and worry over time. If you ride through wet conditions a lot having confidence in not getting so much water in your parts is a nice feeling. I am a big fan of Sugino and I think their stuff looks great especially with the retro crown logo. I love Shimano but they have mostly embraced the new fad BB styles and are trying to move away from the classic tried and true square taper.

Tektro brakes aren't bad for the price and a good set of pads will turn even some crappier brakes into better performers. The nicer compounds wear and brake/grip better.

I love WV, I wish I could live there again. A lot of great biking that I didn't take enough advantage of when I lived there.
Thanks for your input. I'll be replacing anything that ever needs replaced with an upgrade. Eventually it will have hand-built wheels on better hubs and a better bottom bracket, all on a new frame at that. I believe I'll eventually (once I transfer all the touring components from the Raleigh to a Surly frame) turn this bike back into a lil' light road bike with a 2 ring Sugino crankset. Those Are sexy.
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Old 03-14-16, 11:16 AM
  #20  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
I would reconsider. You're spending a fair bit on parts, for a little more you can get a complete bicycle with a better frame. Components are cheaper when the are on a complete bicycle. Just my opinion.
Maybe you should have read his comment about what he's looking for in this build. It's not always about money to some people.

So...Where is your 920?
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Old 03-14-16, 11:22 AM
  #21  
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Too late I'm afraid... Already have all the parts.
this may still apply if its Raleigh ie_1 3/8" x 26 tpi vs every other Brit, 1.370 x 24tpi ..

Then the UN 55 wont fit .

But as I said, VO has a cartridge BB that Bypasses the threads made for damaged frames, But in this case Useful .

https://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...-brackets.html.
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Old 03-14-16, 11:31 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Post some pics of the build; this will be a cool touring bike. I toured on two different hi-tensile steel bikes with center pull brakes; both were fine touring bikes. My first touring bike was a peugeot UO-10; my second a motobecane super mirage. I bought them because they were all I could afford and they did a fine job of carrying me and my gear on some great tours.
Love it. More confidence boosting wisdom from experience that is super relevant. Thank you. (:
Pics will be up.

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
this may still apply if its Raleigh ie_1 3/8" x 26 tpi vs every other Brit, 1.370 x 24tpi ..

Then the UN 55 wont fit .

But as I said, VO has a cartridge BB that Bypasses the threads made for damaged frames, But in this case Useful .

Grand Cru Threadless Bottom Bracket.
As I have mentioned... My BB has already been refaced for 24tpi. Problem solved.
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Old 03-14-16, 11:33 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
So...Where is your 920?
Maybe I'll look dumb haha, but what does that mean?
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Old 03-14-16, 11:36 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
Maybe I'll look dumb haha, but what does that mean?
Nothing to do with you whatsoever and way too long of a story to get into.
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Old 03-14-16, 12:08 PM
  #25  
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This is still my favorite ride, a '75 Motobecane Grand Touring. Replaced the downtube shifters to barcons, replaced FD and RD, replaced the rear freewheel with a Shimano 6 speed mega range freewheel, replaced bottom bracket with sealed bearing BB, replaced quill stem with one that I made on my lathe, to convert to 1". Replaced drop bars with specialized drops, replaced wheelset with set from Harris Cyclery, replaced crankset with mountain triple. Replaced pedals with VO touring pedals. The frame, saddle, and Weinman center pulls are original. Purchased new in 1976.



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