Posts Tagged ‘raleigh caprice’

caprice, with new bars and stem

caprice, with new bars and stem

Due to the complete lack of carrying capacity on my wife’s refurbished Raleigh Caprice, I was asked to get a front basket for it. The Rixen Kaul seemed well made and reasonably priced, with a clever quick release stem fitting – but Oh ! – what an ugly chunk of black plastic that “Klickfix” stem bracket is !

Otherwise very practical, the bracket as it comes is an unsuitable style for a classic bike such as this.

the dreaded bracket

the dreaded bracket

Wicker baskets can be a bit of a cliche these days, I know, but they are also functional and useful things too.

Anyway, thinking there are ways and means, I decided to give it the twined treatment to visually break up the enormous black lump. First step was to wrap the arms in sticky double sided tape. This doesn’t have to be perfect as it only serves to hold the twine in place for shellacking.

twine and sticky

twine and sticky

There are two methods I use to fix the ends of the twine, one is to start the wrap so that the first length of twine goes onto the tape to lie perpendicular under the later windings of twine  – you can’t do this at the end of your string, of course !

in tis case i went from the ends to the centre

in this case i went from the ends to the centre

So in that case I will either wedge the twine tightly within the last turns of itself ( though the sticky can often ‘let go’ when wet shellacking ) or more usually, I use a tiny drop of cyanoacrylate (superglue) to fix it in place.

Once that’s done, I check that the twine windings ( twinedings ?! ) are all tight and fairly close together and, if not, I squeeze them together or may even rewind them. Then I “first coat”  them with shellac, allow to dry and repeat till satisfied with the colour.

first coat

first coat

Amber shellac is a good match for the honey coloured saddle on this bike, which now has its bars changed from riser to swept back, requiring a ‘new-old’ stem to take them, and new cork grips were added, these changes made to improve hand comfort.

the finished bracket installed

the finished bracket installed

I would note that with a decent classic bike like this, I carefully keep the old parts together so that it may be returned to original later on.

You’re never going to get a perfect appearance with a big bracket such as this, but I think it’s a definite visual improvement. The twine could be made to cover more but there would always be some plastic showing.

The job would then be much more messy and less enjoyable, also  giving a ‘forced’ look to things .

That red quick release button is clashing-ly bright. It would look much better on a red bike.

all done !

all done !

The wicker basket appears well made and strong, though the metal support ring woven into it is visually somewhat heavy-handed. It also sits quite high, potentially obscuring the ground view directly in front. There are handlebar and head tube bracket options if  these would be more appropriate to your bike.

it's quite large

Picnic ready !

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A couple of views from a recent ride – first outing for the Raleigh Caprice since its rebuild.

the raleigh with its new b66 saddle

gathering lilies on the speedwell

tuggerah lake view from wooden bridge

from the same spot

Suffice to say, this is a very easy and enjoyable path from The Entrance to Wyong, skirting the lake. If you live anywhere near here , check it out !





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unfinished but not bad, hey ?

Since the last post the bike has been mostly reassembled – the frame has been spot-rust converted and clear coated with no attempt to hide any scratches. The wheels were scraped back and rust converted and the rims trued a little – I was surprised how rust free the hubs and spokes were compared with the dreadfully rusted rims – I can only assume that the original plating was not the highest grade.

They are now rust free at least, and as it’s unlikely I will find a better set of this old redundant size rim any time soon, will have to stay mottled as they are. The front hub was overhauled, and the rear sturmey archer 3-hub speed merely cleaned externally and fed some light oil through the oiler cap.

i had to straighten the little shift chain

The cotter pins were the biggest drama in this overhaul, in desperation I had to drill them out carefully as they would not budge even with much penetrating fluid applied. The fixed BB cup was also locked tight and I decided to clean and grease it in situ, as there was no point risking the whole venture to try and remove it.

that nightmare bottom end …

The bike was given a new 1/8″  single speed chain, and the cranks refitted to the axle with new cotter pins once the wheels and stand were refitted. I used some copper-eze compound on the pins, to aid in any future removal. The chain wheel still has some imperfections in the chrome that are hard to remove.

The plastic cable outers were cleaned with detergent and the hard plastic handgrips with fine steel wool. The “upside down” rear brake cable on step-throughs is vulnerable to water entry because the cable entry faces upward and has no protection from rain running down the cable into the inner. This one will need replacement. I replaced the spring steel cable clips with dia-compe ones that screw together, as these are less likely to mark the ( already sufficiently marked ) paint finish.


The saddle is not feasible for me to repair as I’m sure it will split at the slightest use after so many years of neglect. A pity Brooks don’t seem to make white leather B66 saddles, the only white leather ones I can find are sporty unsprung “bum-polishers” .

Oh well… So I’m waiting for a honey Brooks B66s on back order from “Pedal and Thread”, and in the meantime I still have some details to go on with. The tyres are Schwalbe Delta Cruiser gumwalls – I dearly wanted creams but they were not available when I ordered from Papillionaire…anyway, the bike did have gumwalls on it before – though I’m not sure if they were original they looked very old.

no cables, no cry

On the subject of cables again, how much nicer do I think the cable free look is ?

the speedwell frame angles are just a little more laid-back

Compare the bike with my old Speedwell popular and see if you agree. Nevertheless I am pleased with the look of this c.1980 Raleigh. Aesthetically a big improvement over my wife’s learner bike  below – an angular roadmaster cheapie refurb. – well, it did a job for a while. I must have had a premonition when I chose green for that one !

a fitting replacement

I’m also happy with the way the bike shows its age while still looking reasonably shiny. I think that was the effect I wanted !

Remember – it’s only original once…..

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progressing slowly

I find it useful to have a few jobs going at once when restoring/preserving, as I can get tired of monotonous work. So while having a break from the frame sanding I had a look at the wheels. I gave the wheels a spin and looked for warps first, to give me an idea how much truing is needed – the answer in this case is “a little”.

some of the worst affected

The steel front wheel has a Sturmey-Archer hub and a rim stamped “Raleigh England”. The luxurious old gumwall tyre has degraded and has no decipherable lettering. The Thai made Vee Rubber tube has a “94” stamp on it – so not original.

These cones have a raised flange on the outer that mates with the fork, so the fork must be spread to remove the wheel. There is a “semi-fixed” round cone and an adjustable one with flats for a cone spanner, and generally these wheels should be installed so the adjustable cone is on the left side and will not self-tighten in use, as there are no locknuts.

A tip for hub disassembly – run a stiff wire brush parallel to and over all exposed axle threads – you will find the cones and nuts much easier to remove. The exposed thread ends gather a lot of rust and dirt and possibly thread damage from various knocks over the years. When the cone is off, I brush the whole thread briskly then clean in kerosene to aid reassembly.

front rim scraped back (top), rear rim – hiding nasties (bottom)..

The silver paint on these rims obviously conceals some nasties underneath, so will be removed by hand ( knife, wire brush, rust converter, steel wool used ). They won’t be ultra shiny, that’s for sure …

The chrome is badly damaged, but the rim itself is sound. I like to leave the tyre on initially to protect the rim while working, but at some point it must come off along with the rim tape. Two reasons – to check for corrosion and to allow access to the spoke ends for truing. Corrosion often appears around the valve hole, spoke nipples under the tape and in the little holes on the inner rim (see pic). It needs to be wire brushed and neutralised.

Remember that rust converter may not penetrate thick rust – if you scrape it off and see red rust beneath you may need to repeat the process. Scraping off the converted rust and re-treating can often bring up more shine too.

On sensitive metals you need to be careful and wash it off quickly, but on heavily rusted chrome I let it dry and scrape it off then re-coat  – I once left a brush in rust converter a few days to find that the metal ferrule had completely dissolved !  I think it can remove galvanising quickly too …

removing bearings and axle

With loose ball bearings you need to be careful – support the axle so it doesn’t fall through the hub and lose the opposite bearings when unscrewing the cone.

Ensure that you have containers ready for the balls to fall into as you tip the wheel over – always some balls fall out while others remain stuck – then they gradually let go while you’re not looking and can drop everywhere !!  The remaining stuck balls can be picked out carefully with long nosed pliers.

Clean the hub races, axle and cones in kerosene using an old toothbrush and dry – clean the balls with a cloth after soaking in kero. Check bearing surfaces for pits and cracks which indicates replacement is needed – I store the balls with their original cones for re-assembly, unless they are to be replaced.

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downtubes – the left one is original paint and the right partly sanded back

This bike was purchased cheaply in run down condition and while appearing quite sound, it needs a service, some rust removal, and cosmetic detailing. So I will start by disassembling the bike to find any potential issues and to properly clean and service the bearings and components. The grease is sure to be crusty and dry by now, but if the bearing races are sound  it should be easy to get the bike working smoothly again. I would like to keep it looking original and don’t wish to spend a complete fortune on it, nor do I want it looking showroom new.

fork crown

As I have said somewhere before, I like to retain some patina to keep a bike looking authentic  so it’s only the signs of neglect  that I want to remove, e.g. rust, excessive oil and grease, and oxidation of paint and alloy surfaces.

a shame about the saddle plastics – i will try to preserve it

On a closer look the white vinyl mattress saddle is starting to fall apart, and I don’t know if I can save it, though I will attempt to. The only alternative is a leather saddle, but I did like the shape and colour of this one … it’s very Brooks-like in the suspension, with its B66 style double rail. A “honey” B66s might be a nice alternative saddle.

some paint work revealed and top plain bearing cup ok

Unusually for 1980, the head and bottom bracket bearings are all plain balls rather than caged ones, which I think are better mechanically anyway, because the races use a greater number of balls and that should give a better bearing spread of the loads, even if it means a fiddly service job.

old paint meets “new”

The over-painting of the frame in places means more work for me as well, because I have to rub back the new paint and its undercoat to reach the original colour ( which is much nicer ). A previous owner had tried to hide the scratches and chips by masking and spray painting over broad areas on the forks, loop tube and guards. The overpaint is more dull grey-green than the original turquoise metallic.

and again on the forks

Luckily the original paint is mostly still underneath and I have found that using fine steel wool balls and rubbing by hand is the gentlest way to remove the top layer without damage. The original paint surface is much harder to abrade, and this makes it relatively easy to save. The steel wool also helps remove any rough surface rust at the same time, making it easier to neutralise the rust spots after the overpaint has been removed.

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not quite a cameo !

A true bike recyclist knows very well to follow their nose — and so it was, when I saw a local sign “Cheap bikes all sizes”. You never know !

Becoming my latest acquisition is this smart semi-loop frame Raleigh – the Sturmey Archer AW hub dates it around 1980 manufacture ( thank you S.A. !)

three speed hub heaven !

It is English made with a quality feel, and is rideable as is, though badly in need of an overhaul and some detailing :

seat tube decals

head badge

The wheels are imperial 26″ (590mm) x 1 & 3/8″ , and the bike is quite complete and original looking.

There is some well meant overpainting of parts of the frame and guards, but thankfully a lot of the original colour has been left.

The bike has had some rain exposure, but should clean up very well.

The chain wheel has the traditional Raleigh herons and there are Raleigh insignias in a lot of other places.

cottered cranks and “heron” chainwheel

quill stem

headlamp bracket

made in england

I will be proud to refurbish this one, it holds a lot of promise as a classy user…

sturmey archer rear reflector

i would prefer swept back “gull wing” bars


Also from the same vendor, a ratty Jack Walsh 27″ step-through. This looks like a conversion from derailleurs to coaster, but needs some more research.

jack walsh step-through

It is an Australian bike brand that I will have to read up about, but even the alloy lever strike bell, old cateye red reflector, dia-compe brakes and various other parts were worth the asking price, if nothing else !

There’ll be more to follow on this one.

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