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10 Reasons Why I Like Early 1970's Raleigh Grand Prix

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10 Reasons Why I Like Early 1970's Raleigh Grand Prix

Old 08-09-22, 05:57 AM
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branko_76 
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10 Reasons Why I Like Early 1970's Raleigh Grand Prix

1) they have hard to service cottered cranks
2) headsets are difficult to adjust
3) frames are never aligned at the factory
4) bearing grease is dried up
5) they have chrome steel rims
6) aluminum components are not anodized
7) spokes are plated steel
8) frame tubes are heavy low carbon steel
9) bb & fork threading is non-standard
10) they are usually over-priced

I've owned and restored about a dozen GP's over the years. They are not highly regarded but are fun to work on simply because of the flaws mentioned above. I have taken liberties with them that I would not have done with nicer bikes. I once crushed a GP head tube by trying to reinstall the headset cups with a home-made press. As a result of my experimentation, I have become a fairly proficient amateur bike mechanic. I find a great deal of satisfaction taking a neglected GP which was never great to begin with and turning it into a lighter, better riding and easier to service bicycle.


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Old 08-09-22, 06:28 AM
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You have forgot to mention how every one was/is a suprise, due to the highly variable workmanship and poor quality control. Of course, the same can be said of many European brands from this era.
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Old 08-09-22, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
not highly regarded but are fun to work on
A lot of bikes I think fall into that category and I too enjoy them. In my area it is unlikely I will ever come across a hand built, high end bike. And I don't know that having an expensive bike is important enough to me to pursue one on eBay or other means. But I sure get a kick out of preserving my old boomers.
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Old 08-09-22, 07:01 AM
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I love old gas pipe too. It's generally free or close to it and I have friends who need bikes. Also those frames are tough stuff.
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Old 08-09-22, 10:56 AM
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I commuted on a Grand Prix for several years, though I will admit to borrowing a pair of aluminum-rimmed wheels off another bike so there was at least a pretense of braking in the rain. It was a comfortable and trusty companion in its faded green glory and, thankfully, no-one else seemed to want it more than I did. I eventually loaned it to a neighbor who moved away without returning it so perhaps I should put it in the "stolen" category after all.
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Old 08-09-22, 07:22 PM
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Old 08-09-22, 07:26 PM
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So what is your opinion of later made in Japan Grand Prix's?
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Old 08-09-22, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Desert Ryder View Post
So what is your opinion of later made in Japan Grand Prix's?
They are better built than the 70's European GP's but since one of my first bikes as a teenager was a 1974 Grand Prix, I am drawn to their styling
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Old 08-09-22, 08:27 PM
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...and they come with the cool red R cotter pin nut



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Old 08-10-22, 12:19 PM
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The craftsmanship is actually decent-looking and with good alignment, but only on what I would say is most of them.

Many of them having nearly as bad craftsmanship and alignment as my two Grand Sports models from a year or two apart.
Honestly, I think that the Carlton production models had the more egregious faults than the G.P.'s..

Early Japanese examples are really nice while preserving much of the earlier aesthetic.

I think of the Grand Prix as a poorer man's/woman's Super Course, pleasant bikes all.

Refurbishing them, as long as the precious, hardened, original cotters are preserved (I use a torch to help ease them out), it should be smooth sailing going forward if the frame/fork alignment situation is playing nice.

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Old 08-10-22, 12:25 PM
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And that red is perfect. Just absolutely perfect.
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Old 08-10-22, 05:20 PM
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1976 Grand Prix.




No cotter pins, but I think still made in England.
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Old 08-10-22, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
You have forgot to mention how every one was/is a suprise, due to the highly variable workmanship and poor quality control. Of course, the same can be said of many European brands from this era.
Gitane comes to mind first.
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Old 08-10-22, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by albrt View Post
1976 Grand Prix.




No cotter pins, but I think still made in England.
during the gasoline crisis of 1979 those flew out of the store. Shifted well.
would have been a world beater with aluminum rims.
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Old 08-11-22, 12:58 AM
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I have a 74 Gazelle built Grand Prix, it is the bike that brought me here.

As given to me, almost original

After a few upgrades

Changed top 8 speed 105

Then now as a Single Speed.

I plan to take it back to a 105 8 speed when I get back to the states.
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Old 08-11-22, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
They are better built than the 70's European GP's but since one of my first bikes as a teenager was a 1974 Grand Prix, I am drawn to their styling
If thee covet boom era Raleigh Grand Prix styling but lust after superior Japanese workmanship (and SunTour shifting performance), get thee a Centurion LeMans of the same era. After all, the LeMans was born out of a failed attempt to source a Japanese manufactured Grand Prix.
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Old 08-11-22, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Gitane comes to mind first.
The shop where I wrenched (and later managed), carried both Gitane and Peugeot. My recollection is that the Peugeot workmanship was worse. Gitane's foil decals imparted a cheaper appearance but the bicycles were better built.
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Old 08-11-22, 06:16 AM
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My wife still has her 1973/4 GP. I have been trying to upgrade it with Simplex replacement and indexing. Nearly there. At least I have AL rims for it. Braking with the stock brakes is nearly non-existent. One of the reasons she won't ride it.
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Old 08-11-22, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The shop where I wrenched (and later managed), carried both Gitane and Peugeot. My recollection is that the Peugeot workmanship was worse. Gitane's foil decals imparted a cheaper appearance but the bicycles were better built.
huh. Gitane almost always required frame adjustment. The foil stickers were just something to stock and avoid clamping over.
chainrings often needed truing.
The Peugeots ( UO8 especially) came in that heavy plastic wrap- hard to cut off but the bikes assembled predictably. Almost all ended up being retrofitted with dual position brake levers.
raleighs were a blind date, sometimes good, sometimes horrid.
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Old 08-12-22, 10:37 AM
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Reason #11 - Raleigh Grand Prix was really good for just getting a work out or building stamina. They are especially good for that in the hills and mountains.

They suck the life out of your legs, refusing to respond to inputs from the pedals. Instead, they deflect and deform, soaking up the input and dissipating it in their deflection.

If you want to climb or accelerate, you have to really work for it. So, yeah, they are really good for that, surpassed only by the Raleigh Record in that regard..
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Old 08-12-22, 11:57 AM
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Reason 12. Positive comment. In Canada they grow on trees and are everywhere. They were made here as well as imported so they are often very cheap.
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Old 08-12-22, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
I have a 74 Gazelle built Grand Prix, it is the bike that brought me here.

As given to me, almost original

After a few upgrades

Changed top 8 speed 105

Then now as a Single Speed.

I plan to take it back to a 105 8 speed when I get back to the states.
I like the green
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Old 08-12-22, 07:03 PM
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That Green GP changes components like my wife selects shoes
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Old 08-12-22, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Gitane comes to mind first.
My top-of-the-line '73 Raleigh Pro and '71 Gitane Super Corsa both exhibit workmanship flaws.
The Raleigh is straight, but they got lazy with the finish and final touches. Low mileage bike in my stable.
The Gitane rear dropouts do not align, but I cannot tell by riding it. Some blems in spots, but nothing to get excited about.
So both manufacturers got sloppy, even on their best framesets.
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Old 08-12-22, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Reason #11 - Raleigh Grand Prix was really good for just getting a work out or building stamina. They are especially good for that in the hills and mountains.

They suck the life out of your legs, refusing to respond to inputs from the pedals. Instead, they deflect and deform, soaking up the input and dissipating it in their deflection.

If you want to climb or accelerate, you have to really work for it. So, yeah, they are really good for that, surpassed only by the Raleigh Record in that regard..
I wonder if that is due to the spindly seat stays? The Super Course of the same era has much beefier seat stays, although the overall frame geometry of the two are almost identical.
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