Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vintage Raleigh Comes Home

My nice Co-Habitant picked up the Raleigh from my parents' house! He reports that the bicycle is in operational condition: It is structurally sound. The tires hold air. The brakes work well. The hub is fine, and only the shifter requires adjustment. The saddle needs some care and the chain is rusty, but otherwise all is in great shape. This bike is about 40 years old and had been lying in the garage abandoned for the past 20. Amazing! You can read more about it here.

My only concern now, is the size. You can see in the photo how small the bike looks next to a 6'1" male body. I am 5'7" -- will it be a good fit? It will be a little sad if after all this excitement, the Raleigh will be too small for me.

14 comments:

  1. Lovely bike, like the color. Hope it will fit you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it's sized similar to a modern medium of the range regular ladies' frame bicycle. It only looks small here because I am standing on the pedals and leaning forward. The wheel base is adult-sized. Once we get the seat adjusted and handle bar raised, it will fit just fine!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is a truly lovely bike. I love the color. I love how there's a bit of white on the rear fender. You might need to raise the seat post and handlebars, no big deal.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Odds are good it will fit. They typically came in 19" and 21" in the step through design. My bride is all of 5'-1" and a bit. Finding ANY bike to fit is a challenge. But we did luck up on a Raleigh Colt. We also just picked up an odd little "folding" bike for her too.

    Aaron

    ReplyDelete
  5. The white end on the fender was British law for years, designed to make bicycles more visible in the blackout, and on rural roads. This is so familiar to so many of us, that when we found a vintage Raleigh with out the addition of the splash of white, we all examined the fender to be sure it was original. The white fender tip and the rear reflector (also white) almost define British bicycles. Bronze green, Black and Metallic brown - all great colors for a British bike.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Make your adjustments to the seat post and handlebars and give it a try. My vintage 3 speed seemed small at first but I think it's because I was used to my other bikes and I'm more stretched out on them. After a few rides, it's fine.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I forgot to mention that I love the color. British racing green is a classic.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow - I just got almost the exact same bike a few weeks ago!! Mine is an old 5 speed Sprite (sans herons, head badge and Brooks saddle, unfortunately) - but the same awesome green, compact handlebar, beautiful fenders, plus an original rack in back. My brakes need work, but everything else seems fine.

    Congrats on a great find! I think it'll fit once you adjust everything to your specifications. (I'm pretty in love with mine!)

    - Kristin

    ReplyDelete
  9. @ Cathy,
    The white blaze on the rear fender was required by law in the UK at one point. It definitely sets the British bikes apart and is a quick visual clue.

    Aaron

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the encouraging comments regarding the size. I know that I can raise the saddle and handle-bars -- but I understood that frame size itself matters as well, and if the frame is off it might be uncomfortable no matter what? At least with road bikes, I know that sometimes people simply cannot ride them in the wrong frame size. It's still a few weeks until I get back to the US and find out for myself, so the anticipation is killing me!

    The fenders... Oh gosh. I love the white-ended fenders with a passion that is hard to put into words! Previously I had assumed it was a Dutch design element, and only recently learned that it was due to English regulations. Very interesting to explore the history behind bicycle design.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The bike will fit fine. You may have to raise the seat a little. If you can't get it high enough, you can order a new seatpost from Niagara Cycle for about $10 shipped that will give you some extra range on the size. I bet you'll be fine as is though.

    It's a great looking bike! Enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. My husband measured the seating tube and it is 21". Seems it is not so small after all!

    ReplyDelete
  13. OOH I am just seeing this bike. Glad it looks like it will fit. I perosnally Love the color and am glad you will keep it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks MamaVee, I am very excited about it.

    Note though, that this is not the bike I was complaining about on your blog. In addition to this one, my parents also gave me back my old 90s mountain bike, and that's the useless one. Will probably end up donating that one after taking some nostalgic photos.

    ReplyDelete