1974 Raleigh Sprite Update

Since I last wrote about it in this space, I’ve had the fenders restored and improved; original seatpost, gooseneck, and handlebars powdercoated; had a Campy Record headset professionally installed (because I can never forget how badly I fared trying to get the Tange Levin bashed into place on that Bridgestone MB-4 I used to have); got as a Christmas gift new handlebars for the old bike.

Those fenders are GMC Freightliner Yellow.  I wish I’d got the frame and fork done a darker gray, but I think the colors still look okay together.

Also I’m including a photo of the original Brooks saddle that came with the bike.  It weighs almost as much as the bare frame does.  Dunno whether I’ll keep it or not.

The new handlebars are more porteur-like than the originals and I think I’ll like them better.  They’re Soma Oxford Sweptback bars.  Yes, I know that Soma branded products have the same reputation for preciousness that Rivendell stuff’s got, but they were black and the Nito bars were chrome and I hate chrome on cars and bikes.  Even if I liked chrome, it would’ve clashed with my color scheme.

My father-in-law purchased the bike in 1974 while living in Honolulu and serving as a medical officer aboard an aircraft carrier.  He reports he used to ride the bike from the family’s home to his duty station.  He said the bike never shifted very well and I’d guess the problem had to do with the odd combination of Suntour, Sturmey-Archer, and Huret drivetrain components OR whoever assembled the bike didn’t adjust them correctly.  All that to say I chose a utilitarian color scheme – a naval gray, a blinding ‘safety’ yellow, and flat black – reminiscent of the bike’s origins.

Here are some photos I took this afternoon in the yard:

Headset Fork Fender

Original vs Replacement Bars

Original Brooks Saddle

Inside Fender Treatment

Completed Parts

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