Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raleigh Tourist

OK, here is the surprise...

I've been falling more and more into the habit of reading LovelyBike, 2Whls3Spds, and, of course, Sheldon's sites amongst many others.  After finding and re-habbing the Twenties, I realized that they would not be bikes that I would ride for any kind of distance or back roads touring.  They are beach bikes and tootling around bikes.  I needed a roadster!  My wife had her Raleigh Sport from 1980, I needed a mate to it.

The Raleigh Tourist that was on eBay all last week is now in my garage!!!

After the bidding ended, I was the high bidder but didn't clear the reserve price set by the seller.  I immediately contacted them, informed him/her that I was the high bidder, lived about an hour away and could stop by and take a look.  Dick (the seller) had a reserve set at $550 for the bike.  We negotiated a lower price (still much more than I usually pay for a bike, but this one was truly worth it, IMHO), right around $400.  This was all on Tuesday.  I had to wait all week to drive down to Gig Harbor.  THAT was the hardest part!!

I got up at 5:30AM this morning, filled the tank on our minivan, mounted a bike rack and took off.  It was a drizzly, wet morning, but there was very light traffic heading south on I-5.  It had been forever since I drove across the Tacoma Narrows bridge.  The mental images I have of it are only the classic movie of Galloping Gertie breaking apart in the wind.  You can't help but think of this as you drive across it now.  It is a spectacular crossing and I'd love to try it on a bike someday.

After getting a little lost, I finally made it to Dick's house.  He was an elderly gentleman in his upper 70's (I'm guessing).  We chatted for a bit.  He was a bike collector, and at one time he had over 40 bicycles, many of them from prior to the turn of the century!  Penny Farthings and the like!!  This was his last bike.  A 1980 Raleigh Tourist... in STUNNING condition.

As I walked up to the bike, I could tell it been well taken care of, possibly not even ridden.  Every decal was intact, no paint scratches on the frame - none.  The only detectable flaw I could find was a small dent in the front fender - looks like a BB struck it, but the paint is still intact in the impression.  The Brooks saddle is a leather B-66, with the modern steel rivets.  The saddle is in great condition, the black color is slightly worn through in a few spots.  Nothing a fresh coat of Proofhide won't nourish.

It has the original Raleigh bell.  Bright and clean it rings, not a speck of rust.  The central medallion has a frosted metal look that is striking against the chrome of the bell.  Looks like a vintage coin...
The thumb shifter validates the dating on this roadster.  It's a 1980 (see hub below). I'm not sure when Raleigh stopped shipping Tourist's to the US, but this must've been near the end.  Dick was the original owner.  He purchased her in Seattle, near Green Lake.


One interesting thing is the front wheel.  I believe it is a replacement.  It does NOT have the Raleigh-red hub nuts.  It also has a dyno-hub!  Not hooked up to any wiring or lighting, but there it is.  I wonder if at some point there was work being done and the wheels were accidentally interchanged with a Superbe.  Dick told me he had an extra wheel in the attic.  It may be the stock wheel.  He was going to check on it and, if it is, I will pick it up sometime in the future. The Westwood rims are in stellar condition, no dents and arrow true.  The tyres are original Raleigh Roadsters 40-635 28 x 1.5 with plenty of tread left.  I so admire Velouria and the "co-inhabitant's" bikes with the Schwalbe cream colored tyres on LovelyBike, I wanted to convert these.  I probably still will just to preserve these stock tyres in their original condition.

The hub clearly says "80" indicating the age.  It's her 30th birthday.  I think the month is "1"  More to come as I clean her up.

Here is the last picture for now... the chain guard is in great shape. The overall color scheme is the black with red and gold pin striping and decal sets.  Even has original aluminum air pump.

So... that's it for now.  Some questions I have... did this originally have a Pletscher rack on it?  Could the dyno-hub be stock?  The rod brakes appear to work fine, but the front need adjusting and possibly new pads.  Are rod brake pads "special" or can you use any set of brake pads with a central bolt fitting, something like a Koolstop Continental?

Thanks for getting me hooked everyone!



  1. Sorry to be such a "bad" influence on you ;-)

    Looks like a great find, I am guessing this will have to go down as the Summer of the Roadsters. LOL

    IIRC the Roadsters aka Tourist were discontinued in 1984. The dynohub should have a date on it also, the bakelite center makes me think it may be an older wheel. Yes roadsters did come with dynohubs and lights. For the roadster application I prefer a rear mount dynohub like I have on my Twenty. Another slick trick is to get an FG hub (four speed with dyno) and convert it to a five speed for help with the hills.

    I don't know what kind of racks were used on the Tourist, but Yellow Jersey Cycles in Madison, WI has a very nice looking twisted chrome steel one that looks good and works. Brake pads are roadster specific get the Fibrax SH144 from Harris Cyclery. They take a bit of tweaking to fit but give you more braking surface than the SH70 model.


  2. Aaron,

    Thanks again for the insights. You are THE MAN when it comes to these bikes! I have a set of the Fibrax SH144's on order. Seems like braking is the trickiest part. I see some people out there really throwing rod braking under the bus. The rear ones on this one are passable. The front are shot. I'll just need to plan ahead.

    I'll check out the hub on the front for dating. Like your Tourist, I'm planning on keeping this one stock as much as possible. I have asked the guy I got it from to set aside the extra wheel he has in his attic for me. It may be the original with the "R" nuts. The current wheel is missing these.

    Too bad we live on opposite sides of the country. Be nice day to get a ride in...


  3. We may get a ride in one day. My daughter is headed back to the Seattle area this fall for grad school...I will bring my saddle and seat post and ride one of the Twentys. LOL


  4. Now that sounds like a deal. I'll start mapping out trails suitable for a jaunty country ride.

    Have a great rest of the weekend.


  5. Hi there, I'm just surfing the internet and noticed on another blog that you were looking for a source for a Raleigh Twenty frame pump, I think I've found a similar vintage similar (same?) sized one on ebay, the price is reasonable (compared to a recent ebay one that went for over $60 ) on but I personally can't justify paying more than I paid for my folder (at a garage sale $20, wahoo!) for the pump, anyways hope it's of some use to you

  6. @durrdeedurr

    Thanks for the link. FWIW one of my Twenty's came with a pump, it was the aluminum one similar to what is on my Superbe and Tourist. They are two different sizes, the longer one is around 16" and the smaller one 12.5". Here is a size comparison.

  7. @durrdeedurr Thanks so much for tracking me down on this. I have since been able to acquire the exact same pump from a guy in the UK. I ended up paying about $25 for it and another $15 for shipping from the UK. I was too desperate on that one... My folders (I have two) both have pumps now, one is plastic and the other in aluminum, both 12" As you can see on the Tourist, it came with the stock frame pump as well, in aluminum.

    I cleaned up the Tourist the other day and used a product called Wenol on the frame pump. Aluminum can shine up real nice! It is shiny in a rich way where chrome is really bright.

    We use Wenol on our stainless steel kitchen ware. It shines up stainless very well, and after reading the directions on it, it said it was for aluminum as well.



Let me know what you think!