I’m going to use a term that my 13 year old daughter Lauren uses… “Oh My Gosh!”, it’s finished! Christmas has come early, I have a complete Raleigh Team 753!!!!
December started on a bit of a low as I finally decided to sell my SB track frame SB447. This track frame went to a very good home and will be built into a brilliant bike instead of gathering dust in my spare room.
So here it is…
So, since my last post, as you can see, I’ve built the wheels. I’ll add another blog post in the new year about those. I tried to stick to a customer build spec written by Gerald O’Donovan to a customer in 1982, describing the kit being used by the road team. As my bike was 1980, I thought this was close enough, but maybe the 1980 spec was slightly different? I just don’t know.
That letter stated 32H for normal roads (or 28H for ‘decent’ roads). It also spec’d Mavic SSC and Clement tubs. My problem is that I wanted as much of this build to be New Old Stock (NOS) parts. There were some SSC rims up for sale, but they were used and showed it on the walls of the rims. Finally, I found some NOS Mavic SSC but in 36H. I already had the 32H Record Hubs but thought that I may never get another chance to wait for NOS 32H rims, so I snapped these up. I now had 36H rims and 32H hubs – the only thing I could do was get 36H Record hubs instead!
The original SSC stickers are peeling slightly but are ok for now. The original white M.A.V.I.C stickers had almost all gone, so these were replaced. But most importantly, the rims have never been built so no brake rub.
Raleigh spec’d chrome berg union spokes. This is one of the only areas that I didn’t want to stick to spec. From the mid 80’s to the end of the 90’s, all my wheels have been built with Swiss DT Stainless DB spokes. They look great, build great, keep tension and stay looking good over the years. I’ve seen so many pairs of quality wheels come through the workshop with rusted and brittle chrome spokes that were cut out and replaced with stainless. I’ve simply gone to stainless sooner.
Finally for the wheels, the spec listed several different types of Clement tub. I couldn’t find any that wouldn’t break the bank, so decided on some NOS Clement Criterium Seta. An absolutely fantastic wheel set.
Also since my last post, I’ve found some cable ferrules for the divers helmet stops that enabled my to fit the rear brake cable. I also, thanks to Steve Kurt, got some genuine white Benotto tape. This has been wrapped around the NOS set of Cinelli bars with a 66 bend and 44 width (nice and wide). These are held with a NOS Cinelli 1A stem – all as per spec.
I had to decide between finishing the tape with either red or yellow tape. After looking through the Raleigh 125 Year book, there were loads of images of red tape – but some of Joop in his yellow jersey in 1980 with yellow tape. As mine is a 1980 frame, I decided on yellow. That colour goes well with the yellow on both the frame decals and yellow clement name on the tubs.
I was lucky enough to buy a NOS brake set which included the cables. The hoods were in perfect condition, and as it was NOS, there is not a mark on the brake shoes and cables are uncut. Everybody has a preference on which side they fit the front brake. A really old and ‘silly’ British Standard from the bike shop days is that the front brake must be fitted to the right hand. I fit my front brake to the left hand. It is the natural curve that the cable needs to take to find it’s way to the caliper. My cables loop out nicely from the top of the levers, cross over just behind the stem and follow on to the calipers.
A part that I thought would be relatively easy to source were toe straps. Strangely, these were the hardest to get. G o’Ds spec was for Nouvo Record steel axle pedals with Sturmey Archer clips and straps. The pedals were not a problem, although I didn’t buy NOS – people just want too much money. I have some very nice mint unmarked used examples. I’ve seen maybe a couple of examples of Sturmey Archer clips and never found any straps, so I’ve had to go for some lovely NOS alloy Campagnolo clips and eventually, some NOS Alfredo Binda leather straps. After months and months of looking, I finally found a pair of straps for less than £1oo.
These pedals are attached to mint cranks (with the all important 1980 date mark on the reverse). A NOS front mech and a NOS Pat 80 Rear mech complete this.
I’ve really enjoyed building this bike over the last 2 years and don’t intend for this to be the end of the blog just because the bike is complete. Starting in the new year, I will be doing individual posts about all the major components, breaking them down into sizes, weights, specs, threading, fittings and assembly etc, plus a post on building these wheels, including measuring for spokes, lacing, adding tension, truing and dishing.
I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas 2013 and New Year. Looking forward to 2014 so I can finally ride my bike! That’s what it is all about!