Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bike sale score 1980 Raleigh Rapide Ladies (Mixte)

I don't know about you but I have a tough time walking away from a used bike sale and bike works is a cool non profit I love to support, many of the bikes that grace these pages originated there, so of course I had to go.  I failed to get a picture of the selection but there were probably about 100 bikes out for sale, mostly old 10 speeds but some mountain bikes and maybe 30 frame only options.  I immediately gravitated to the 10 speed rack and I looked over a couple Peugeots but surface rust or lack or parts turned me away, I almost picked up a Peugeot just for the non standard but very nice Sun Tour power ratchet bar end shifters it sported but decided to move on.  I had also noticed that many of the bikes had 25-50% off tags on them and they were already fairly reasonably priced -a least by Craigslist standards.
my prize the Raleigh Rapide Mixte
After making a few rounds I zero'd on on a Raleigh Rapide Mixte as my top prospect.  Why among lots of bikes did I pick this one you ask?  Well let my take you through my thought process;

  • Sporting a 50% off tag Check - so this $65 bike was $32.50
  • Paint and decals in very good condition Check- the paint actually sparkled
  • No obvious issues Check - frame and fork appeared straight, it had all its parts, no surface rust
  • Extras? Fenders, Rack and Kickstand Check - nice for a city bike
  • Classic split tube mixte and not a single down-tube? Check

In addition to checking all the boxes above all the things I did not like about the bike are easy to change.  The bell is trashed - pretty sure I have a brass bell in the parts bin.
how do bells get this trashed!?
Saddle is faded and torn no worries I have a new WTB saddle in my parts bin I have been meaning to use on a project.
straight to the garbage with you
The foam grips are all dried out and I have never like that style, problem solved by the faux leather grips they were selling at check out for $1
out with the old
In with the new
The thing that bothered me most about this bike, and perhaps why no one else snatched it up, are the high rise bars.  I am sure they were much more functional than the original drops for the previous owner but to me they just don't look right, maybe its the deer antler quality but I know the bars are going.
that ain't right 
Fortunately I have done two previous mixte road drop bar to city bar conversions and I know exactly the bar I want.  It's cheap, made in the USA and is more in the "north road" style of the Raleigh 3-speed.
Wald 2.5 inch rise bar
I am not sure what it is about me and used bike swaps and semi-obscure Raleigh's.  When I went to the University of Washington's year end clear out two years ago I came away with a Raleigh Reliant for $5.  And todays it's a Raleigh Rapide, I did a little digging and found out it was the entry level 10 speed in their line up in 1980, nothing special but solids parts.
1980 Rapide Mixte Catalog shot
As I looked closer after deciding this bike was the one I noticed the nice mix  of Sun Tour drive train parts.
Power ratchet Stem shifters
Raleigh Branded rear derailleur
And even the fenders and rack were a cut above, the rack was Pletchser and even though the frame is made in Taiwan the fenders come from England.

This project won't be a frame up rehab and it also won't be a pump up the tires and wipe down the frame flip but something in-between.  I have been posting like a crazy man of late, hopefully my next post will actually be some bike work getting done.  

Until next time, Ride.Smile and repeat.


  1. I am sure you will put your touch on this and turn it for a nice bike for someone and a few beer coins in your pocket. Good Choice!!

  2. Thanks Jim its in my work-stand right now with the wheels, stem and seat-post removed and should be ready for a follow up post soon