Friday, March 2, 2012

Stringer Fleet: 1979 Raleigh Record

Despite the elegance and style of Ginger's 1972 Raleigh Sports, it is a relatively heavy bicycle with a limited gear range.  For long trips, windy conditions, or when she just feels like riding a more lightweight bicycle, she also has a 1979 Raleigh Record road bike.  This bike is set up as a twelve-speed and has an alloy frame and aluminum wheels, crankset, handlebars, etc.

My father had this bike collecting dust in his garage.  So when I told him I was considering starting another project for Ginger, he offered it to me as a gift.  The bike was in exceptionally good mechanical and cosmetic condition, so it was a speedy and inexpensive rebuild.  The frame is slightly too small for Ginger, so I added a longer seatpost and an upward-angled stem, both of which seemed to make the bike a bit more comfortable for her.  I ran chrome-colored cable housing for both the brake and shift cables, which added a bit of flash.  I also opted for cyclocross tires over traditional road tires, allowing the bike to easily hit the Katy Trail.  Recent additions include a set of rear pannier-style wire baskets and a Nashbar Bedford Vintage Saddle.  Initially, I taped the bars in white, which looked fantastic but the tape dirtied and started looking kind of gross after only a few months.  When she couldn't stand the look of the not-so-white tape anymore, I re-taped the bars in black.

Overall, I've been pretty impressed with this bike.  With the exception of a couple of incidents that were totally my fault, this machine has taken Ginger to and from her destinations without fail.  It's not quite as head-turning as her Sports, but it's awfully chic nonetheless.  I'm not sure that I could ever pull off riding a lavender-colored bicycle, but when my wife is in the saddle, it's an exquisite sight.

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