Monday, September 9, 2013

Mello Yellow - A 70s Raliegh Record FINALLY gets done.

Hey folks this is a special "Oh my god he actually finished a project" edition of the blog.  I feel like this project has been around so long it was almost old enough to vote.  It all started when I found the core of this project on a curbside in late 2011 waiting to be taken away with the trash.

And then after a closer inspection I realized the frame of the bike I found was compromised  so I had to canablize all the parts and find a new home for them.

Then I got started on it and made some progress but for a long time it sat like this.

This past weekend I finally got off my duff and decided to finish this project.  Along the way it got a spiffy new seat (it even has an R logo on it although its not Raleigh) and I used the wheel-set off the Schwinn Mixte I built for my sister in-law since I had upgraded her ride to new alloy wheels. The frame has been spec'd for a cottered crank which I swapped out for the more modern one from the curbside find.

It also got a sweet vintage Nitto "Olympiade" handlebar I scored off craigslist a while back.
The frame and fork got a  Meguiars Deep Crystal 3 step wax process I picked up from Hugh's blog, its still a 40 year old frame with its share of nicks and scrapes but the paint does look pretty darn good after the 3 coats of wax.  And somewhere in my time wasting  important internet research I came across a screaming deal on some yellow pedals.
In the final stages of assembly, of course, I ran into some difficulties with the rear derailleur.  The "high" adjustment screw had a pretty mashed up head so it was almost impossible to adjust and the chain kept coming of the small cog and getting stuck between the freewheel and the frame- not a feature.  The $5 ride came through with a RD I could cannibalize for a new screw that wasn't a whole lot better but at least it was adjustable so I could dial in the shifting.  I sometime lament the amount of space my project bikes and parts take up in the apartment but boy having a "bone yard" sure does come in handy!  Tim Joe suggested a post on my "stable" of bikes but the bone yard might be a more appropriate post...we'll see..
I never cease to be amazed that the difference a Dremel tool with brass brush makes on small parts and super fine steel wool makes on rusty looking chrome wheels.

All it needed was some Yellow bar tape from Bike Nashbar and it was ready for a late night posting to Craigslist to await some tallish rider in need of a solid vintage ride.  With all the "non factory" parts on this bike it could have been called Franken-Raleigh but I kind of like the sound of Mello Yellow.

As always ride, smile and repeat.


  1. I'll bet that melo-yellow gets snapped up pretty quick.
    That is an eye popping bike, nice job. Stark change/improvement on just some steel wool treatment on the rims.
    Actually getting a bike finished is sure to improve the cash flow for the next project.

    1. Thanks Jim, me and my wallet are hoping for a quick sale ;-). I have tried a number of different things on chrome rims but find that super fine steel wool gets the quickest most dramatic results, and following up with some Turtle Wax chrome polish and rust remover really makes 'em shine.

  2. It certainly is yellow. I have always liked yellow with black on bicycles and boats.It is an odd color, really...some allusion there, maybe, to magic...why was the yellow brick road yellow, on it's way to the Emerald City? The slippers wre red, ruby red...these are the kind of things I wonder about as I sit in my motel room bed at eight p.m. recovering from a day's work and preparing for tomorrow. Sorry it took me so long to comment, Roadie. I just now noticed the new post.

    As always, I am amazed and envious of your skill and luck at sourcing old steel. Have you ever seen thar guy's site in Orlando that I sometimes mention?

  3. Tim Joe,

    Thanks for stopping by Velo Brother, I hope the Benjamin's are stacking up in your bank account with all the work your doing. I'm glad you like the Yellow look because I have not one but two Yellow 10 speeds in the project qeue, a Motobecane and an Peugeot so I guess I will call them my "Jaune" bikes. I clicked on Robs link and WOW! - that's a lot of bikes, way more than I could fit on my balcony ;-). Is Rob the guy that you wrote about early on who was your "bike guru" and worked in a local bike shop???

    1. I wish. My original guru was Walter who was a retired airplane mechanic. Well, I mean my original bicycle guru...there have been others from other walks...but I would love to visit this guy Rob's shop. I suspect he is the reason for the scarcity of old lugged bicycles in the area.

      The benjamin's are stacking more slowly than I would like, but then again I was starting from a pretty deep hole. I have my eye on one of those new VO donkey bikes (carmargue)...the big tires with the beautiful fork are just what I have been thinking about as a perfect all rounder.

      Fat tires with drop bars just appeals to me, somehow. Alfine IG and Son hub and a general Zombie Apocalypse build. I was surprised they omitted the discs...

      Man, I love bicycles.


    2. I agree on the Carmargue - those biplane fork crowns are gorgeous. and it looks like it should take big fat rubber, that would be a very cool build I look forward to seeing it.

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    1. Hey John thanks for dropping by glad the post could help ya

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