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Vintage Raleighs, which is the better bike?

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Vintage Raleighs, which is the better bike?

Old 06-23-22, 02:38 PM
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Vintage Raleighs, which is the better bike?

Firstly, new to this forum, so apologies if this has been discusses somewhere deep in the threads. Secondly, I've had my sights on a '69 Raleigh Sports, 3-speed, (step-through) at our local bike co-op. It looks to be all original, the metallic brown paint and decals are in great shape. The rear internal hub needs some work.

While I've been working on this bike at the co-op, I found another vintage Raleigh on our local FB marketplace. I checked it out and ultimately ended up purchasing it, with the intent to flip it. It's a '79 Raleigh Record Ace, all original parts and I actually purchased from the original owner. It was stored indoors, so it is really in great condition for its age. I'm in the process of stripping it down to re-grease most of the parts that articulate (e.g., headset, hubs, seatpost, etc), and re-do all the cabling for the brakes and shifters. After working on this bike, I am really liking it and I'm not sure I want to flip it now.

What I am interested in, is your opinions on which bike is more valuable. In my research, it would seem the Record Ace would be the better model based on components and some old Raleigh price sheets I've come across. I'm curious what your thoughts are between the two models.
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Old 06-23-22, 02:41 PM
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Ride the Record Ace before you decide to sell it. You may not decide to sell it.

Both bikes are good quality, but are targeted to different types of riding. If you really want to fit in here, you'll probably end up keeping both.
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Old 06-23-22, 02:55 PM
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I agree, I plan to ride it once I have it all restored and functioning properly again. I like the double top tube on the Record Ace as it is a little more unique, IMO. I understand they are bother targeted for different riding too. It's hard to compare a 3-speed with a 10-speed. We'll see what happens, I do have problem hoarding bicycles, just like most in this forum
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Old 06-23-22, 03:07 PM
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It's rare for an aw hub to have any significant problems that a flush and relube plus cable adjustment won't fix. Both bikes are cool.
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Old 06-23-22, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
It's rare for an aw hub to have any significant problems that a flush and relube plus cable adjustment won't fix. Both bikes are cool.
Yea, for sure. The gal that runs the co-op was working on the hub. I honestly don't know why it has taken her so long. It's typically a simple job like you mentioned. I've dealt with internal hubs before. Anyway, this Record Ace is pretty cool. I've purchased a new stem and wider drop bars for it, plus the new cables/housing. I was hoping to post pictures of it, but looks like I need to hit a minimum number of posts before i can.
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Old 06-23-22, 03:53 PM
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Market value really isn't the issue.

Originally Posted by Tiny_Valkyrie View Post
I've had my sights on a '69 Raleigh Sports, 3-speed, (step-through) at our local bike co-op. It looks to be all original, the metallic brown paint and decals are in great shape. The rear internal hub needs some work. [break] [But] After working on [the Raleigh Record] bike, I am really liking it and I'm not sure I want to flip it now.

What I am interested in, is your opinions on which bike is more valuable. In my research, it would seem the Record Ace would be the better model based on components and some old Raleigh price sheets I've come across. I'm curious what your thoughts are between the two models.
OK, first of all, market value really isn't the issue. Neither bike will ever command much money; the Record was the entry-level derailleur/drop bar bike in the Raleigh lineup; the Sports was their meat and potatoes in England, and to a lesser state here in the States, for decades. Multiple decades.

They are two entirely different riding experiences. The Sports seats an upright rider, takes things slower, is much more comfortable over road and track. The Record puts the rider leaning forward, has a dreadful seat IIRC, and can be positively punishing on a really rough road. But you will certainly both feel and in reality be moving faster, hair in the wind, on the Record.

For my money I'd take the Sports and find another bike for the sporting ride. You will need more than one bike anyway, as others have pointed out. There are plenty of 10 - 12 - multi multi speed options out there, the majority of which will be lighter than the Record, with better components, and will cost not much more and perhaps less. You get a better version of that particular riding experience. OTOH the Sports was and is the apotheosis of the English touring/commuting bike experience. There's nothing else that gives that experience.

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Old 06-23-22, 04:12 PM
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...FWIW, Raleigh recycled the name "Record Ace" a few times, and I have no idea (prior to your pictures you intend to post) what the 1979 version was. At least one of them was pretty nice, with a Reynolds 531 frame, but I think that was much earlier than 1979. The Raleigh Sports it the Raleigh Sports.

I rode a series of them around town in D.C., Minneapolis, and Sacramento back when they were ubiquitous in thrift stores, because everyone wanted a ten speed. There's a spot out at the landfill here off Kiefer Blvd, where they used to toss all the ones they got into a big pile, and then grade dirt over them every couple of years. That was where I got all of my hub repair parts, until they closed the place down. *sigh* But it's probably a mistake to try to do a direct comparison with anything else.


You can make up the money you lose on individual bike flips by increasing your sales volume.
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Old 06-23-22, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Zumkopf View Post
OK, first of all, market value really isn't the issue. Neither bike will ever command much money; the Record was the entry-level derailleur/drop bar bike in the Raleigh lineup; the Sports was their meat and potatoes in England, and to a lesser state here in the States, for decades. Multiple decades.
They are two entirely different riding experiences. The Sports seats an upright rider, takes things slower, is much more comfortable over road and track. The Record puts the rider leaning forward, has a dreadful seat IIRC, and can be positively punishing on a really rough road. But you will certainly both feel and in reality be moving faster, hair in the wind, on the Record.
For my money I'd take the Sports and find another bike for the sporting ride. You will need more than one bike anyway, as others have pointed out. There are plenty of 10 - 12 - multi multi speed options out there, the majority of which will be lighter than the Record, with better components, and will cost not much more and perhaps less. You get a better version of that particular riding experience. OTOH the Sports was and is the apotheosis of the English touring/commuting bike experience. There's nothing else that gives that experience.
I will be interested in riding them side-by-side for sure. I've always taken a liking to Raleigh's, which is why I recently wanted to get a vintage one for those in-town errand commutes. I have some really nice bikes and I just want something that doesn't scream for attention when it parked outside a shop/grocery store. I've been needing a home project, which is why I am enjoying restoring this Raleigh and hopefully not putting too much money into it (hard not to). The upside, I know the Record was built in England based on the serial number. I'd have to check the serial on the Sports to get more information on it. Both are solid rigs though, like you mentioned. I'd thinks the Sports would be a heavier bike that the Record, just by nature of the Record being a faster road bike. If I do sell this Record Ace, maybe I could break even with it, unless of course I just enjoy riding it too much and hold on to it for myself
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Old 06-23-22, 04:25 PM
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Just to clarify for the OP:

Zumkopf is, I think, under the impression that you're talking about a Raleigh Record, which was usually Raleigh's lowest-level 10-speed. Occasionally it was the second-to-lowest model.

3alarmer is talking about the Record Ace, which came and went in Raleigh's lineup over the years but was always a few tiers above the Record. It's closer to the Supercourse, Grand Sport, and maybe the International in quality than to the Record.
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Old 06-23-22, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
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...FWIW, Raleigh recycled the name "Record Ace" a few times, and I have no idea (prior to your pictures you intend to post) what the 1979 version was. At least one of them was pretty nice, with a Reynolds 531 frame, but I think that was much earlier than 1979. The Raleigh Sports it the Raleigh Sports.

I rode a series of them around town in D.C., Minneapolis, and Sacramento back when they were ubiquitous in thrift stores, because everyone wanted a ten speed. There's a spot out at the landfill here off Kiefer Blvd, where they used to toss all the ones they got into a big pile, and then grade dirt over them every couple of years. That was where I got all of my hub repair parts, until they closed the place down. *sigh* But it's probably a mistake to try to do a direct comparison with anything else.


You can make up the money you lose on individual bike flips by increasing your sales volume.
Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Just to clarify for the OP:

Zumkopf is, I think, under the impression that you're talking about a Raleigh Record, which was usually Raleigh's lowest-level 10-speed. Occasionally it was the second-to-lowest model.

3alarmer is talking about the Record Ace, which came and went in Raleigh's lineup over the years but was always a few tiers above the Record. It's closer to the Supercourse, Grand Sport, and maybe the International in quality than to the Record.
Yes, I understand the Record Ace was one of those models Raleigh put out from time to time, like mentioned by 3alarmer. It has been harder to find information about their step-through model of the Record Ace. The derailleur on it is a Raleigh brand and the shifting is Sun Tour, which I think is a collaboration between the two companies at the time? I know this was in an era where Raleigh was doing a lot or replicating of Campy components. Hopefully, I am able to post pictures of it soon.
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Old 06-23-22, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tiny_Valkyrie View Post
I agree, I plan to ride it once I have it all restored and functioning properly again. I like the double top tube on the Record Ace as it is a little more unique, IMO. I understand they are bother targeted for different riding too. It's hard to compare a 3-speed with a 10-speed. We'll see what happens, I do have problem hoarding bicycles, just like most in this forum
Is it a mixte frame? Like in this picture?
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Old 06-23-22, 05:48 PM
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...link to the 1978 catalog, where the Record Ace Mixte specs are listed on the final page. I can't seem to access the Bulgier.net catalogs any more without a user name. But it's probably not much different from 1978. Yes, they used a lot of Suntour componentry in those years, because they were cheaper and worked better than the other guys' stuff at the time.

I've only seen (in person) one Raleigh production step through, made from 531 frame tubing. It was a bike that came through the co-op once. It was sold to some smaller woman down in the San Francisco Bay area, who drove all the way up to Sacramento to get it. As a smaller (shorter) person, it was that valuable to her.
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Old 06-23-22, 06:14 PM
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I could be wrong but I don't think so.

Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Just to clarify for the OP:

Zumkopf is, I think, under the impression that you're talking about a Raleigh Record, which was usually Raleigh's lowest-level 10-speed. Occasionally it was the second-to-lowest model.

3alarmer is talking about the Record Ace, which came and went in Raleigh's lineup over the years but was always a few tiers above the Record. It's closer to the Supercourse, Grand Sport, and maybe the International in quality than to the Record.
Assuming the OP is correct as to the year, I'm correct as to my analysis. The 1979 catalog is available online. Here is the Technical Specs page. The Record Ace was one step below the Grand Prix, and over only the Rampar models. Steel rims, steel seatpost, vinyl-plastic seat. 20-30 steel frame. Weighs 30 lbs (the GP clocks in at 29 lbs).

My opinion is based on experience, not snobbery. I've literally been there. My very first serious bicycle was a 1974 Raleigh Grand Prix, with cottered cranks, steel seatpost and rims, horrible saddle, plastic derailleur -- actually optioned a little worse than the '79 Record Ace. I loved that GP and rode it everywhere. It felt like... freedom.

But it's a big world and it moves fast and there's a ton more bicycles available on the used market. Take my MKM Dominator. Built by top British builders, 531DB throughout, great components (Dura-Ace except for Campy Record hubs, tubulars)... and listed for $100 on eBay, and even at that couldn't find a buyer. Ended up getting it for $50. And that wasn't a fluke -- I picked up two more over time, equally low-priced and market-scorned, fixed them up a bit, and gave them to son and his fiance. 21 - 22 lb bikes even with sizeable frames.

Were I starting from scratch I'd simply look for the cheapest decent condition Reynolds 531 double-butted lugged frame bike I could find in my size. I wouldn't worry too much about bike brand. 531 was expensive steel, so tended to be used exclusively on expensive bikes -- of good to excellent quality. And Reynolds 531 gives an excellent ride, confident and lively. There are lighter materials developed since, but at best save only a few pounds, and at the cost of ride quality. [Columbus made good tubing also. I would go Reynolds 531 mainly because it's an easy demarcator and was very popular in the top market through the 1980s.] Chances are a 531 frame will also have decent components, and even if it doesn't those can be changed out as funds permit. They can be found, with a little patience, for bargain prices.

That does assume that you can tolerate a men's frame, of which there are far, far more and better examples out there. If you insist on Ladies' or Mixte frames, choices are considerably fewer, and the Record might be one of the better ones for little money. There are better Mixte bikes out there, but they tend to command a price premium.
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Old 06-23-22, 06:56 PM
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...I'm presuming that the username "Tiny Valkyrie" means that we are talking about someone smaller in stature (but large in spirit.)
I've spoken to such people over the years, many of them women, and they tell me there are fewer options for them in the classic bike marketplace.

Thus mixte frames and better quality step through frames are kinda what they end up riding. Like I said, that woman drove all the way from San Francisco to Sacramento and back, just to buy our mixte at the co-op. And she was very happy to get it. It's not so much insisting on these frames if you are a shorter woman, it's just what you can fit on.
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Old 06-23-22, 11:22 PM
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If it is a 79 Record Ace, the RRA is actually about even with a Gran Sports. Both are 531 and decent components. I recently sold my 80 RRA and while it was a nice bike, it did not appeal to me.
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Old 06-24-22, 03:43 PM
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gna I apparently hit the max number of posts yesterday. The one in my garage is the top left
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Old 06-24-22, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
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...I'm presuming that the username "Tiny Valkyrie" means that we are talking about someone smaller in stature (but large in spirit.)
I've spoken to such people over the years, many of them women, and they tell me there are fewer options for them in the classic bike marketplace.

Thus mixte frames and better quality step through frames are kinda what they end up riding. Like I said, that woman drove all the way from San Francisco to Sacramento and back, just to buy our mixte at the co-op. And she was very happy to get it. It's not so much insisting on these frames if you are a shorter woman, it's just what you can fit on.
3alarmer you are correct =). I am 5' 1", petite, but mighty person, haha. Probably not too many women on the forums. I am a master tinkerer and experienced bike mechanic that just enjoys working on bikes. I just like the look of the retro mixte frames much better than "beach cruiser" step-throughs, plus the overall quality seems better. Mixte's are classically elegant, IMO.

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Old 06-24-22, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Tiny_Valkyrie View Post
... Mixte's are classically elegant, IMO.
...IIRC, there are a couple of dedicated mixte threads, that go on at some length. I'm a larger person, and I used to choose 3 speed, step through frames to use as commuter bikes, because they get no respect from thieves, so you can lock them up and have some hope of riding them home at the end of the day.

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...ppy-place.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...our-mixte.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...ggestions.html
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Old 06-24-22, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Tiny_Valkyrie View Post
gna I apparently hit the max number of posts yesterday. The one in my garage is the top left
OK, mixte frame 1979 RRA. Per the catalog on Kurt's Headbadge page, here is the spec sheet:

So 20-30 Hi ten steel, steel rims. Could still be a nice bike. If it were me I would get a new wheelset with aluminum rims. If the brakes have enough reach 700c may work.
Are you still considering the 3-speed sports? The feel is different , but they can be fun.
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Old 06-24-22, 06:48 PM
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3alarmer thanks for the thread links, I'll have to check those out. My thinking is spot on with yours. My intention was to use this vintage rig as a commuter, so I can leave my much pricier builds at home when I run errands. I wanted something I could more safely lock up, that doesn't scream "take me" like the other bikes in my quiver.

gna That's a great spec sheet. I agree on the wheelset. I was thinking if I keep it, I'd re build the wheels to aluminum rims. I've planned to modernize the cockpit with a Velo Orange quill stem adapter to a regular stem and 44cm drop bars. Still considering the 3-speed Sports. Having 10-speed is kinda nice in our hilly area, but doesn't mean I'm sold on it, as I've also ridden single speed.
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Old 06-25-22, 08:22 AM
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I might be coming in a little late to this thread. I can understand you r interest in the Raleigh's. I owned a 1980 Record ace and have restored a few Raleigh sports as well. The record ace I owned (64 cm) weighed in at 30 lbs with aluminum rims. At 280 lbs and 6'5" I found it to be a very satisfactory ride. The 20/40 hi ten tubing is lighter than gas pipe and sturdier than Cromo so you don't have to worry about denting it. I put a 14-34 tooth freewheel on it for the steep hills here in silicon valley and it worked great. after a while I swapped the bars for north roads and never regretted it.

My Raleigh sport projects were mostly cosmetic. stripping the bike down, deep cleaning, rubbing out with white polishing compound, then clear coating the often really nice paint work . the results were spectacular.
If possible I replaced the front wheel with an aluminum version to save a little weight and also help braking which was further enhanced with Koolstop Salmon pads. . The rear was cleaned , treated with naval jelly, rubbed with aluminum foil and then clear coated to prevent rusting.
One thing I would recommend on the sport is to replace the rear cog wit a 24 tooth version, available on amazon for under $10. It lowers the gearing which I think is way too high from the factory and gives you some climbing ability


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Old 06-25-22, 09:06 AM
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IF I were a bike thief (I certainly am not), I would consider a mixte as a "mark" long before I'd even think about a ladies' 3-speed. Granted, I have a bit of bias (would love to acquire a mixte to put on my trainer), but thought I'd put it out there as a fwiw.
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Old 06-25-22, 09:23 AM
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capnjonny Both of those bikes are in fantastic shape! They look great. The Sports I've been eyeing is exactly that one. I actually know the owner who brought it into the co-op, so I know it's in great condition. Just waiting for the gal who runs the ship to bring in the rear wheel, she gets so busy she forgets to bring it.
I'd definitely switch that rear cog as well to help with the hills here and like you said, switching to aluminum rims. Velocity wheels actually makes 26" and 27" aluminum rims, so I can keep either bike periodic specific with the wheel size.
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Old 06-25-22, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
IF I were a bike thief (I certainly am not), I would consider a mixte as a "mark" long before I'd even think about a ladies' 3-speed. Granted, I have a bit of bias (would love to acquire a mixte to put on my trainer), but thought I'd put it out there as a fwiw.
That's a good point too. I was just excited to find a complete Raleigh mixte here locally and in such good condition. I know I won't be able to keep both. They are both great finds, IMO which makes it hard to decide what to ultimately hold on too. One could argue that I already have bikes great for commuting, but how could you overlook to opportunity to add a nice vintage ride to the stable?
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Old 06-25-22, 12:18 PM
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Cool you're a bit of a wrench. It makes all things bicycle possible. 3 speeds, aluminium rims and lower gears make for a terrific city bike. This is my thusly prepared 1973 supercourse.
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