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1971 Raleigh Competition - in Lilac

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1971 Raleigh Competition - in Lilac

Old 05-15-17, 08:55 PM
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1971 Raleigh Competition - in Lilac

I've done various flavors of "after the project" threads, but I thought I'd try one that goes along with the progress of the project.

This one started the day that Gordo Trek posted about finding his Holdsworth, and the other bicycle that was a bit too small for him. He posted pictures, and I was fortunate to see them and negotiate a deal before other interested parties beat me to it. This one had a bit of special appeal to me for a few reasons. Gordo Trek lives in/near my ancestral hometown of Rochester, NY. In 1971, my Uncle had a bicycle shop in Rochester, and I believe he was the only Raleigh dealer in the area. While there's no definitive provenance, I can plausibly imagine that this may have been one that he originally sold. I do have his 1974 Superbe, but it's a size or two large for me. This is a perfect size for me, so I will ride it considerably more.

It also appeals to me because 1971 Raleighs are a bit of a mystery, and are "different". The Competition in particular has differences in colors from other years. The color of this machine could be described as lavender, but since it's from Rochester - a city with a very longstanding tradition of holding an annual lilac festival, I'm going with "lilac".

The fact that 1971 Raleigh USA catalogs seem to not exist, means that I can build this up however I want, and nobody can call me for being wrong. Not that that has ever stopped me before. I've also found very little online about this year/model, and I've noticed some curious things that I feel a bit of an obligation to document.

At any rate, like too many of my projects, this one might stretch out a bit. I have it completely disassembled, and mostly cleaned, There has been a bit of harsh treatment of this frame in the past which has resulted in scratching and some light surface rust, and some spots where paint is absent. Part of me would love to send it for a repaint, but I am determined to see how far back I can bring this using various compounds, a soft cloth and hours of elbow grease. The early stages of the effort have been encouraging, but the degree of success in some spots remains greatly in doubt.

As someone once noted here, threads are worthless without pictures, so here are some of my "befores". Actually, I did give most of the frame a once-over before taking these, but here goes.

A considerable amount of the frame was coated with crud. Mixed blessing, since it likely helped preserve the frame, even though it is a pain to remove.



Here's a shot that shows the scheme of contrasting paint on the seat tube, as well as the characteristic Raleigh arced brake cable stop.



Showing the head tube is a must.



I found it interesting that the serial number does not follow any of the published numbering schemes for Raleighs that I have seen previously attributed to full 531 models. I would have expected an F with four trailing numbers, but it looks like the Grand Prix/Super Course serial convention was followed. Also note that the dropout is not forged, and is actually stamped "US COMPETITION".



The dropout on the fork is also stamped "US COMPETITION"



and, yes, here's a decal also confirming the identity of the model.



More to come as the project grinds along. I do also have a 1974 Competition (black with Capella lugs) that I have recently built up as a fixed gear, so I'm more inclined to build this as a drop-bar geared bicycle with 10 or 12 speeds. Will probably be a bit of a "dog's breakfast" of a build, as I lack what I think are wheels, crankset and possibly the derailleurs/shifters that I would consider "appropriate", but those may be concerns to address months or years, rather than weeks down the road.
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Old 05-15-17, 09:28 PM
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I'm really confused by the Raleigh serial numbers. I built up an alley find frame into what I think is a 1973 Super Course. The problem is that I can't find any reference to the serial number I have. It has the Capella lugs, which should make it a 531 frame. The reference sites all talk about letter prefix, and all I have is numbers, similar to yours.
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Old 05-15-17, 09:34 PM
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Zeus Competition dropouts. That may help.

DD
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Old 05-15-17, 10:34 PM
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Hello,

My first "real" bike was one of the lilac competitions. Most likely a 71 that I purchased in 72. For-what's-it's-worth, it came equipped with sew ups, Normandy hubs (don't remember the type of rim), Weinmann center pull brakes, Huret gear changers, GB bars and stem, Stronglight 49D crankset (sans chain guard), and a Brooks saddle, which I still use. Although it was way too big for me, I loved that bike and rode the hell out of it until I could afford a correct size frame.

Good luck with the builds and enjoy the ride.

Cheers,

Van
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Old 05-16-17, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Zeus Competition dropouts. That may help.

DD

Wow. I sure had some tunnel vision going on.

Thanks.
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Old 05-16-17, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Senior Ryder 00 View Post
Hello,

My first "real" bike was one of the lilac competitions. Most likely a 71 that I purchased in 72. For-what's-it's-worth, it came equipped with sew ups, Normandy hubs (don't remember the type of rim), Weinmann center pull brakes, Huret gear changers, GB bars and stem, Stronglight 49D crankset (sans chain guard), and a Brooks saddle, which I still use. Although it was way too big for me, I loved that bike and rode the hell out of it until I could afford a correct size frame.

Good luck with the builds and enjoy the ride.

Cheers,

Van
Thanks for the info and the wishes. I have brakes, bar, stem and seatpost covered. I have a ridiculous number of derailleurs in the stash, but the only Huret I have is one of those horrid Allvits. No matter though, I have parts enough to get it on the road without being a complete atrocity - and the rubdown its getting could take another 8 or 9, hour-long sessions like it's been getting.
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Old 05-16-17, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
I'm really confused by the Raleigh serial numbers. I built up an alley find frame into what I think is a 1973 Super Course. The problem is that I can't find any reference to the serial number I have. It has the Capella lugs, which should make it a 531 frame. The reference sites all talk about letter prefix, and all I have is numbers, similar to yours.
Super Courses were always made of 531 straight gauge tubing in the main triangle. I do have to ask if you are certain that you don't have a Carlton model. They were made in the same facility, and share a lot of common features with Raleighs.
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Old 05-16-17, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
... Also note that the dropout is not forged, and is actually stamped "US COMPETITION".



The dropout on the fork is also stamped "US COMPETITION"



...
Through the 1960s and into the early 1970s, stamped dropouts were very common on midgrade frames, and even on some high-end ones, like the Capo Sieger. There is nothing wrong with your Zeus units, which look similar to my Agratis.
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Old 05-16-17, 06:26 AM
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Neat color. Got any pics of the whole bike before the disassembly?
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Old 05-16-17, 06:56 AM
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Sweet! I was anxiously waiting to see when you would post a thread about building this beauty up. This frame came into our coop a few years ago, I recognized the model right away, and saved it from a recycling pile. It has been hanging up in our storage facility waiting for the moment to be built up. But over the winter we had to move all of our bikes into a much smaller storage area and decisions had to be made about projects. The senior ups knew I saved this frame, so they asked me if I wanted it. So of course I said yes, the day I went to pick it up, I saved my Holdsworth frame from certain death as well.

Can't wait to see how this turns out, and who cares what parts go on it. Just make it rideable, you can always upgrade as you go!
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Old 05-16-17, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Schwinn me View Post
Neat color. Got any pics of the whole bike before the disassembly?
Sadly, I don't. Perhaps Gordo Trek still has his. If so, I'd be glad to copy and host it on my Flickr, with his permission, of course.
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Old 05-16-17, 07:53 AM
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I like the color!
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Old 05-16-17, 09:12 AM
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That's a cool backstory and frame! Will be nice to see full pics as the project gathers steam.

I know of the hours spent cleaning, scrubbing and polishing the frames.
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Old 05-16-17, 09:32 AM
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Eager to see more - this year and color is my favorite variant of the Raleigh Competition.
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Old 05-16-17, 09:36 AM
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Man, you undersold this. It's not just lilac. It's TWO-TONE lilac with a contrasting head tube.
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Old 05-16-17, 11:07 AM
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It came to me as only a frame, If it was built up chances are it would have been sold by the coop.

Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
Sadly, I don't. Perhaps Gordo Trek still has his. If so, I'd be glad to copy and host it on my Flickr, with his permission, of course.
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Old 05-16-17, 11:23 AM
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Sweet frame. Definitely worth some love and sweat equity to save it and get it back a'rolling. I doubt that I could have resisted the mystical attractiveness that is inherent in all lilac colored bicycles.
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Old 05-16-17, 11:31 AM
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Beauty, love the color(s)! It should be fun deciding on a color for the bar tape.
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Old 05-16-17, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by GordoTrek View Post
It came to me as only a frame, If it was built up chances are it would have been sold by the coop.
Understood. I didn't state it well - if you have any of the pictures you originally posted still (the "before" state), I'd like to include it/them in the project documentation.

Thanks
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Old 05-16-17, 12:27 PM
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sure, here is the link for the album
preview:
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Old 05-16-17, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GordoTrek View Post
sure, here is the link for the album
preview:
Thank You!!!
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Old 05-16-17, 01:15 PM
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I like projects like these. Subscribing!
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Old 05-16-17, 01:33 PM
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That's a great project, John, and a rare find. I had one of the early 70s Competitions in Gran Sport blue/white finish (which also isn't in the catalog), and that had Zeus dropouts (forged, not stamped) and kind of the usual kit for that era: Weinmann cp brakes and Weinmann levers, Simplex Prestige derailleurs, Stronglight 93 crankset, straight pin alloy post and Brooks saddle, GB bars and stem. What size seat post does your lilac Raleigh take?
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Old 05-16-17, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
That's a great project, John, and a rare find. I had one of the early 70s Competitions in Gran Sport blue/white finish (which also isn't in the catalog), and that had Zeus dropouts (forged, not stamped) and kind of the usual kit for that era: Weinmann cp brakes and Weinmann levers, Simplex Prestige derailleurs, Stronglight 93 crankset, straight pin alloy post and Brooks saddle, GB bars and stem. What size seat post does your lilac Raleigh take?
That blue/white sounds like the other 1971 color scheme I recall hearing about for the Competitions. The seat post that came out of mine is a straight pin alloy 27.2.

Just went through my rims. I guess I'll be fitting this out with tubulars, and likely using some of my reconditioned Gyromaster hubs.
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Old 05-16-17, 03:21 PM
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-----

Fixed cup appears to be T.A.

Since chainset in GordoTrek photo is not T.A. perhaps T.A. was the machine's original chainset. Headset is Brampton Aletet.

This will be fun to follow.

Here is the catalogue page for the frame's ends set -



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