(Actually written a week or so ago, but I had some trouble uploading the photos so held off posting it...)
While I was away in Nova Scotia for the past three weeks, something finally made its way to our garage. Yay!
Bert-the-Bike after a little TLC!
It was a gorgeous day today so I brought Bert out into the sunshine for some cleaning, installing bits and bobs, and documentation. I took the photo above at the end of the afternoon, after the addition of a black bell, a coffee holder (very important), the rear rack and the front rack. (Yes, the Wald front rack still needs to be attached to the front forks - I wasn't brave enough to unscrew the nuts holding the front wheel on so I could finish the job.)
I had suspected that Bert was made in Canada based on the big white downtube sticker similar to Orange Gino's - that hunch turns out have been correct. The serial number is RL6-----, which this excellent article at The Headbadge says corresponds to Canadian manufacture in August 1976 (or 1986?), and there's also this nifty decal:
It reads, "MANUFACTURED IN CANADA BY RALEIGH INDUSTRIES OF CANADA LIMITED UNDER LICENCE FROM RALEIGH INDUSTRIES LIMITED". This also might help to narrow down the date further - does anyone know when this language was used? Was it when TI or Derby owned Raleigh?
As you can see, I'll need to do a little rust removal around the spokes, but not too much - the chrome is in pretty good shape. Both rims say:
26 x 1 3/8, MADE IN FRANCE, <>RIGIDA<> , CHROMAGE SUPERCHROMIX, <81> 45 26
Both tires say:
26 x 1 3/8 (inches), NYLON, IRC GUARANTY ROADSTER, INFLATE TO 55 PSI
Rear 3-speed hub after a rudimentary wipe-down: (in logo) 3S (stamped below) SHIMANO JAPAN F1. I'm so relieved it's not a Shimano 333, which have a reputation for catastrophic failure, according to Sheldon Brown. I haven't been able to find anything about pulling a date of manufacture off the 3S hub...
[update: although it appears that the hub isn't original anyway, read on...]
The hub is not attached to the shifter at the moment; the threads on the little connectors (actually called a bell crank and cable adapter, according to what I found by comparing photos on eBay with what I have) appear to be stripped. Hubby is convinced that he can fix it by trimming off the stripped part of the bell crank; let's say I'm skeptical. =) Park Tools have posted a good article on how to maintain and adjust Shimano hubs, but the shifter on Bert looks quite different from the one in their photos (more like a metal Sturmey-Archer shifter), so I think Bert will need to make a visit to the LBS to get that looked at.
[Update: one trip to EBC (my local bike kitchen) later, we've figured out that that's a Shimano male end (on a probably-not-original hub) and a Sturmey female end (probably original from the rust on the cord) in the photo above. No wonder they weren't playing nicely. One of the mechanics (Alex, you're wonderful!) macgyvered a Shimano end onto the shifter cord. Now we just need to repack the bottom bracket before we can ride.]
Some more beauty shots, and other details that may help to date the bike or distinguish it from its' British and American cousins:
Raleigh heron chainwheel and cottered cranks with R nuts, obviously before I cleaned it.
These are Union pedals with yellow reflectors and the Raleigh symbol impressed into the treads; what you see here is the Union logo and Made In Germany stamped near the crank.
The Norco kickstand Bert came with. This might be original or a replacement. There are a zillion of these things in the parts room at EBC, and I strongly suspect that they were Canadian-made.
Raleigh-logo-stamped handbrakes, classic black (Dare?) handgrips, unmarked black vinyl metal pan saddle, silver United Cycle Sales & Service sticker above the big white R decal on the seat-tube.
Closeup of a decal. You can also see the gold pinstriping on the front fender.
Closeup of decal on rear fender. Nottingham, eh? Liars.
The NOS 1960s English chromed rear rack after I installed it. Having the right wrench (a Raleigh/Phillips one, with all the English sizing) made this a fairly simple proposition. This rack was originally meant for Mary Poppins, but the shape of the attachments meant it fits much more securely on Bert's fender stays. The brass screws are replacements for missing ones from the package, bought at a normal hardware store.
[20 June 2010 Edit: I got mine via eBay, but I just ran across a UK shop that also sells these NOS Steco chrome racks - and their photos include a good photo of the connectors if anyone is curious. I think they could be replaced with a different connector so you can connect to the frame for bigger loads.]
You can also see in this shot that Bert came with hardware for attaching a hockey-stick chainguard (there's also a braze-on for it on the frame). Unfortunately the gorgeous chrome chainguard I got for Bert is actually for a 28" bike, not a 26" one. Grrrr.
Looking at all the above, I'm drawn to the conclusion that Bert was made in 1976, not 1986 - there are just too many standard Raleigh-UK parts there for him to be a child of the Eighties. What do you think?
I also had Mary Poppins out for some loving and a beauty shot. I gave her some new jewelry and a wipe-down, then took these photos:
With her saddlebag. Unfortunately the saddle springs are still borked.
Such a pretty girl! Her rear tire is completely flat and likely needs a new tube (at minimum).
1950s made-in-England chrome Miller bell, with patina intact and a wonderful sound.