Saturday, January 5, 2013

1974 Raleigh Grand Prix (Nov 2011)

I got this bike, along with a white Peugeot U0-8, from my favorite bike finding location Bike Works the local bike co-op.  They do good work for the community, they have great prices on project bikes and they usually have a good variety -whats not to like?  Little did I know when I selected this Bronze Green beauty that I would be in for some major education.
It was your typical musty dusty 70's 10 speed and I figured hey "how hard can this be"  the cotters on the Takara were no problem so this should be a breeze..... WRONG.
I started as normal with taking the bike apart down to the frame and fork.  When I got to the crank that is when the problems began.  My use-a-big-C-clamp method with a socket over the threaded end of the cotter method which had worked great on the Takara totally failed.  The process devolved into bitter feud with me a hammer and a punch on one side and the cotter on the other.  Long story short I effectively wrecked the crank removing the cotter.  I went to a bad place, fortunately no pictures exist of that fateful day.  In the end I spent more $$$ on a bike tool than ever before and got a Bikesmith design cotter press and in subsequent rehabs of cottered cranks it has served flawlessly.

Here's a shot of just how grimy an old 10 speed can get also notice the cool, proprietary brake cable holder on the Gran Prix.  Word to the wise do NOT lose the small cable bolt that screws into that bridge.
So I destroyed the cottered crank, no big deal I had a spare 3 piece bottom bracket and I picked up a vintage 3 piece crank set so problem solved....WRONG.  Raleigh in their infinite wisdom had their own threading on some of the early 70s bikes, not British standard noooo they used a Raleigh proprietary threading so my British bottom bracket cups for the 3 piece crank did not work with the Grand Prix bb.  At that point I walked away from this bike and worked on other projects for a few months.  When I came back to it I ended up using the original cottered crank BB cups, that I had saved thank goodness!, and got a used cottered bb spindle and yes another freaking cottered crank.  Oh the irony.  To top it off I realized on getting home that the crankset I had selected was a 52/45 set up.  In hilly Seattle a 45-28 low gear ain't gonna cut it so I had to scrouge around to swap the 45t inner  for a more manageable 40t chain ring.  Finally the crankset all came together.
After the *&^%$#@ crank situation the rest of the bike went together fairly easily.  I did some white accents that I think turned out well
It  ended up being a pretty nice bike when finished, that sold to a friend of a friend who wanted to start bike commuting.  So that whole thing about avoiding cottered cranks if you are a first timer in my last post- this is why ;-)




11 comments:

  1. Any time I find myself reaching for the hammer while working on my bike I stop for the day.

    That proprietary crap is maddening. Trying to find the information is dreadful. St. Sheldon has comprehensive lists that might as well be in Sanskrit. But now I know I can just ask you.

    That green bike is sharp. Very nice.

    BTW: What's up with Cameron? Should we send out a search party?

    tj

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    1. Tim Joe, thanks I was happy, after all the issues, with how the ol' Grand Prix turned out in the end. Good advice re the hammer, that is why I walked away from this bike for a couple months I was about to reach for the Hammer...again. Proprietary threads aren't such a bummer if you expect them AND have all the parts you need but if you are trying to source/upgrade parts and are unaware of weird threading that can ruin your day.

      I think what is up with Cameron is a brand new baby, so I am going to cut him some slack, thinking back to about 10 years ago and how it was having a new born in the house. I do miss updates to the OTSG though.

      Cheers

      RR

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  2. Ryan, This post made me remember a time in High School. One of my friends that we rode together to get to school everyday had a Grand Prix. I was always envious. I rode a Peugeot that I had to buy with hard earned lawn mowing money and could not be patient to save the extra $100 bucks to jump up to the Raleigh.
    My bike mechanic m.o. is : do it the first time, it is wrong, be frustrated, have to walk away, then return and figure out how to do it right! But I am learning.

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    1. Hey Jim I have a number of Peugeots that I need to write up for the blog maybe you will see an old friend.

      I think the most important think I ever learned when working with tools be it on a car, house, bike is when to walk away. As the wise Tim Joe says of working on bikes "When you feel like reaching for the hammer its time to walk away". I am constantly amazed that upon coming back to a problem after walking away the solution seems so obvious and easy. Cheers.

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  3. I have had a Raleigh Grand Prix 25 1/2 inch frame since mid-70s that I bought new in Vancouver. It had cottered cranks and a 52-42 front chainrings. I have never had a problem removing the spindle - Perhaps I just did it correctly the first time (50/50). It now has a 5T cotterless crank spindle that came from (I think) a Raleigh Princess mixte that I picked up at the tip. It's my ride. Every time I think of replacing it I just go for a ride and put the idea of swapping it away.

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    1. I should add that the original was blue, when I bent the frame I replaced it with a green frame just like the one here, and then when I bent that I bought a black frame. Same bike, I just keep changing the frame, and nowadays I try not to run into the back of parked cars.

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    2. Avoiding running into parked cars is always a good way to go ;-) Its great you keep using the bike and swapping out the frame as needed not sure I have heard of a bike on its 3rd frame before- cool.

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  4. I’m picking up a 1969 Grand Prix in a couple of days. I hope I don’t need to, but would it be possible to swap out the stock bottom bracket for a threadless one from VeloOrange, like you did with your Motobecane?

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    1. Hey Mark thanks for stopping by, I haven't done the thread-less BB swap on the MB yet so I am not the voice of authority but yes in theory that should work. Since the older Raleigh's have the weird proprietary threading going thread-less is a good option if you don't want to use the existing cottered crank. Good Luck with your project, the Grand Prix is a great bike. Here is another post you might find helpful http://johns-recycled-bicycle.blogspot.com/2012/06/craigs-raleigh-grand-prix-restoration.html

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  5. Hey Ryan, Any idea what size frame you are working with? Nice job BTW. I am trying to figure out what the paint measurements would be on a '74 23.5" frame.

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  6. I can't say for sure as this was about 4 years ago and I have long since sold this bike but I think it was a 23.5" frame.

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