Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's Old and Green with Herons All Over?

... and made in Nottingham? Why yes, it's a vintage Raleigh!

There was an old dusty bicycle lying around in my parents' garage when I was growing up. I had nearly forgotten it until they mentioned it recently. I asked my father to take some photos, not expecting anything special. Well, these are the photos he sent!

I don't want to get my hopes up, but from the pictures the bicycle appears to be restorable. Look at that beautiful head badge!

The brakes and the 3-speed gear shift (which I hope is the original Sturmey-Archer) look like they might be functional.

The chain ring with the herons design! Of course the rusted out chain will need to be replaced.

Decals are largely intact. The model can be identified as the Lady's Sports. Going by the information here, I am thinking it is late 60's-early'70s.

Saddle is the Brooks B72, most likely original.

So... It looks like I have a vintage bicycle to restore! And just over a week ago, I was commenting on how much I loved green vintage Raleighs on Chic Cyclist's blog. Coincidence?... Or the universe smiling upon my bicycle obsession? Hmmm!...

29 comments:

  1. I think this was meant to be!

    I wonder if there was a subconscious thought in your mind that bikes should be green, the whisper of this Raleigh influencing your Pashley decision?

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  2. I am beginning to think so as well! It is funny that I had no conscious memory of this bicycle, but was constantly attracted to bikes that resemble it -- including subtle elements, like that white strip on the back fender. Oh the complexities of the human mind : )

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  3. That's a beautiful bike!!! I wish I could be so blessed with my parent's garage,but looks like I'll get a pair of Hyundai's instead =/.

    If you haven't,might I recommend checking out the Old Bike Blog,by a gent named Thom. He's very knowledgable and passionate about restoring older bikes (he's the one that got me into it). It's at oldbikeblog.blogspot.com .

    There's most likely some relative info,this being a Raliegh,and even if not,some definately inspiring posts on rebuilding.

    Have fun with it,she's a beauty!
    Steve

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  4. Early 70's, with the gold rings on the frame. Mine has them too, slightly better preserved. Yours is a close sister of my own (black w gold pinstriping) 71-73 Ladies Raleigh Sport, built in Malaysia. Same head badge, same chain ring, same rusty chain, same trigger shifter (I bet if you have the plastic "fulcrum" pulley, you need to replace it.) Same steel label, too. The easiest place to find the pulley is Amazon, though shipping eats a bunch of money, also Shifter cable and brake cables, and the salmon colored brake pads from Kool Stop.

    Walmart has the tires/tubes in the proper size, cheap.

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  5. Are there ways of determining the exact year? For instance, how do we know that it is not the '68 green Lady's Sport, and what do the gold rings on the frame signify?

    Mine has "made in England" stickers and engravings all over it, so definitely is not Malaysian. There is also a frame number, but it does not match any of the numbers on Sheldon Brown's website.

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  6. Great first pic. Have fun with that bike.

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  7. I'm so excited for you. It's perfect and it's going to be so much fun.

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  8. Generally you use the hub to determine the age, they're rarely replaced so it's a pretty good indicator.

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  9. Pretty! I imagine most people value these bikes at about $50, but I wonder what is the real value of such a timeless, durable bicycle.

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  10. > Christa said...
    >
    > I imagine most people value these bikes at
    > about $50, but I wonder what is the real
    > value of such a timeless, durable bicycle.

    Yeah, if I wanted to sell it, I probably could not get much more than $50 for it. On the other hand, to buy one is working condition would be more like $200.

    Either way, there is something so special about this bike having been at my parents' house all along, neglected and unnoticed -- now being appreciated for what it is, reclaimed, and taken care of. This was essentially destined to be my bike all along, I just didn't know it!

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  11. The customary way to date these is by looking for the date code on the rear axle. There should be two digits, indicating the month and year of the rear hub, usually corresponding to the date of the frame, but the Malaysian Raleighs do not have a date code. So the only reason I can figure the year out is by the production dates for Malaysia (only three years), matching catalog photos, and a list on Sheldon Brown's site that lists different features by the years they were used. (Pin striping was continued in Malaysia after it ended in Nottingham-cost cutting?). By the way, don't be to sure you know where yours was made, mine says Nottingham on the head badge, and the heron decal on the frame, but down on the seat tube is a gold decal that says it was made in Malaysia.

    My serial number begins with RRnnnnn,(on the side of the seat post) apparently all Malaysian Raleighs do. This is a recent addition to serial number lore. Pooling knowledge with other Malysian Raleigh owners...

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  12. Thank you for this info. Once I get the bike from my parents, I will inspect the real axle and the seat tube.

    The last digits of the frame number are 68.

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  13. Forget dating them with serial numbers, the rear hub and the details are the best way to go. I wager around 1970-73 will be what the hub date will reveal. I have a couple of Raleigh Sports and Superbes in that age range including on built in Malaysia. Great durable bikes as built and even better with some choice upgrades. Worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it ;-)

    Aaron

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  14. You had to burst my bubble : )

    Okay, okay, waiting to examine the bike it is!

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  15. There is also a frame number, but it does not match any of the numbers on Sheldon Brown's website.

    My frame serial number doesn't match or even come close. It's simple 427. No other letters or numbers, but 427 is very distinct. The hub was built in December, 1965, based on the 65 12 date code, so I consider mine a 1966 model.

    Based on the italic RALEIGH on the chain guard, I would expect this to be a post-1970 bike as well (mine has straight vertical block letters).

    That Brooks saddle is in near-perfect condition. I wouldn't do much to it unless you see cracking near the rivets. My 1966 is in only slightly worse condition. The Brooks saddle alone, in that kind of condition, could fetch $80-120 on ebay (not that you would sell it, of course).

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  16. From what I understand, the italic "Raleigh" appeared in 1968, at least on some models?

    The frame on mine is dated 68, the hub is dated 70. Various other parts are stamped with one of those two dates as well, but nothing later. So I am guessing it was assembled in 1970.

    There are no "Malaysia" labels on any of the parts 2whls3spds suggested to look at, so my working hypothesis is still that it was made in Nottingham. Plenty of England/Nottingham stickers and engravings all over the bike.

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  17. Very nice! A classic for sure!

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  18. I have the identical bike. mine is a ;71 same color everything except mine is a mens frame. appropriate. If you reach into the rear spokes to the hub, and clean it underneath where it says sterny archer, there will be a number crudely stamped into the steel. this will will the year of the bike. or at @ chrisjones1967@yahoo.com

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  19. Anon -- Yup, that part is '70. I really love these bikes and wanted my husband to get the male version of the green Sports, so that we'd have matching bicycles. But even the largest frame it came in was too small for him, so he picked up a black Roadster instead.

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  20. I enjoyed seeing your pictures. I bought a ladies Raleigh Sport yesterday for $125. It is in very nice condition---even has the original frame pump, though it doesn't work. I am thrilled to have found this bike. My first Raleigh was a birthday present 50 years ago this month.

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  21. I JUST GOT THIS SAME BIKE WITH SEAT POUCH ,TOOL,PUMP,OWNERS MANUAL AND A DATA SHEET FOR THE HUB....FOR $39 JUST NORTH OF BOSTON, LIKELY A 1971 BUILT IN nOTTINGHAM, I AM SO EXCITED!

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  22. great!!!!
    and greet from www.solokomunitas.wordpress.com

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  23. I actually just bought a every similar bike at a garage sale a few days ago for 5 dollars! Mine is a sky blue though, with a seat pouch, and I believe the chain guard is a tad bit different. So it looks like we both have some vintage bikes to restore. Good luck, and I can't wait to see the result!

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  24. Becca - Great find! See here for the restored bike.

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  25. I just picked up a slightly older version of this bike for $65 at an estate sale. Now I'm trying to figure out how to improve the output of the lights so I can ride it work.

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  26. i have a his and hers pair of 1970 models in good and riding condition for sale.dajudge_1969@yahoo.com

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  27. Have you read the book The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, the main character rides a bike similar to this. I hope it's ok that I borrowed your pic for my review of the book and have given you credit for the photo. Will post the review later today. Thanks in advance.

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  28. hi a have the same bike if you want let me know how much you can pay ok my email is oscaralvarez1978@hotmail.com thanks

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  29. welcome to the world of the green ...Happy new year every one ...
    I am one more excited person that writes about this beautiful bike . the funny thing about the 70's sports bikes is that the 39's Railegh's catalog
    pictures look the same for this bike. I have the same exact one with the original everything but no pump . Does any one want to buy it? its beautiful... contact me at : emsconstruction2003@gmail.com.

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