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The Raleigh

December 10th, 2009

2004 Raleigh CompetitionHere is my latest project, although whether it will become a build or not remains to be seen.

I picked up this frame on eBay. the seller (thanks Richie) lives on the lower east side, and my son and I set out on a freezing Sunday morning to pick it up. Initial inspection showed some marks, most of which just turned out to be rubber cement of some kind. These all came off on the subway ride home.

There’s one scratch on the upper rear stay (a nice carbon composite wishbone), one on the “Competition” decal (top tube, right side) and one on the left side of the fork. This was my greatest concern as this is my first foray into anything carbon. Two local bike shops took a look and said they believed it was purely surface abrasion – no fibers visible. That was a big relief. The frame is in amazing condition. It’ll just take time to see what kind of a ride it is.

The bike seems to have originated from The Old Bike Shop in Hermosa Beach, Ca. (I have Hermosa Beach stories, but that’s for a different forum). The tale Richie told was that he picked it up from a guy on Long Island who had received it (the complete bike) as a present from his girlfriend. But as a mountain biker, he didn’t get along with it and put it up for sale. Richie bought it for parts – the frame (62cm) was too large for him, and that’s how it ended up in my hands.

A tangent. I owned a 62cm “Alan” aluminium frame in the 70s. This bike was enormous, with a 62cm top tube to go with the 62cm seat tube. It was gold, garish and a great machine to ride – as long as I stayed in a straight line. Perfect for out-and-back time trials, way too spongy on hill climbs. My neighbor had a 54 or 56cm version of that same frame and it responded much better, much tighter. It’s going to be interesting to see how this new frame acts. One thing that’s interesting is that, even though it’s a bigger frame, the standover height is actually lower than the Condor or the Schwinn.

I guess I’ll be building it up. I just don’t know when, or with what!

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