Hello - I've just bought this 1986 Raleigh Competition
off eBay as what is hopefully a fairly cheap foray into retro road cycling, with half an idea towards upgrading it a bit if necessary and learning how to do the mechanics myself - bicycle maintenance has always been something I've paid other people to do in the past - and any advice anyone can provide will be gratefully accepted!
Hopefully I've bought a good 'un in terms of the frame. I was after a proper lightweight job (I have an old Peugeot 3-speed that is probably made of pig-iron and is *very* heavy) and attracted by the Reynolds tubing (from what I'd read in my research I was expecting 531 but it's actually 501) and certainly compared to the Peugeot that I'm used to, I've not been disappointed.
As I understand it the Competition was a fairly high-end Raleigh in its day, so was expecting a fairly decent old-school set of components on it. But as it turns out the chap who sold it to me is an old guy who does up bikes as a hobby, and he was given the frame, and built it up with parts that he had to hand. Including straight handlebars and friction gear shifters moved up from the downtube to the stem. So I'm not sure how good these components are, or whether they're better or worse than what the bike originally came with.
I've looked up the frame number on the internet - WN6001004 - and worked out that it must be a 1986 model, made in Nottingham, and the 1004th frame off the production line in October.
Kurt Kaminer's website has the the specification from the 1987 Raleigh Catalogue
along with the page for the Competition 12
which looks identical to the frame I've bought - and it seems the 1987 Competition 12 had mainly Shimano 105 equipment on it. Would the gears have been indexed?
What it currently has on it are:
Weinmann side-pull brakes - looks like the front are type 500 and the rear type 600 but it's quite hard to read the stamp on the metal. Both could be 600. Or 500...
The brake levers are Weinmann ones that look fairly cheap and simple.
Rear derailleur - Exage 400EX with 5 cogs (although there appears to be space for 1 or 2 more)
Front derailleur - Exage 300EX with 2 cogs
The front chainrings appeared to be unbranded until I spotted 'SR' stamped on one in very small letters.
The cranks say 'Custom' on the outside and are stamped SR 165 on the inside.
The pedals say 'Lyotard, made in France' on them.
Both wheels are 700c and required a little detective work:
Rear wheel - Maillard hub with Weinmann 716 alloy rim
Front wheel - hub says 'Atom 27 80' and the man who sold it me thought it (or the rim) was a Mavic but the sticker wore off years ago. It feels similar to the back wheel. Both are 700C.
Is any of that any good? I'm not that bothered about restoring it to having the original equipment, but I would like what's on it to be as good as it had when new... or an improvement on it.
Basically I'm hopeful of buying good retro components on the cheap on eBay, and learning how to fit them myself - so advice from people who actually know what they're doing would be invaluable! The main thing I want to change straight away is to put drop handlebars back on it which presumably would entail buying new brake levers etc as well?
And does anything else sound in need of an upgrade?
So many questions! Feel free to answer just one if you can - any help will be gratefully received with an open mind.