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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:03 pm 
Devout Dirtbag

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:49 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Washington DC USA
I have extensively re-written and expanded my previously published article on the Raleigh Lentons 1948-60 including the Rudge Pathfinder, Humber Clipper, Triumph Torrington and the Lenton Grand Prix models.

https://on-the-drops.blogspot.com/2016/ ... -1960.html

Peter Kohler
Washington, DC USA


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Raleigh Lenton cover smaller.jpg
Raleigh Lenton cover smaller.jpg [ 69.45 KiB | Viewed 796 times ]
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:05 pm 
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
Posts: 22111
Location: Northest North Yorkshire. whippet real good...
Thank you. Will read with added interest as I’ve just picked up a 1955 lenton sports.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:41 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:07 pm
Posts: 1705
Location: Cotswolds
Hello Peter,

You have put a lot of important work into the catalogue history of these Raleighs.

If you look at the mono pictures of Reg with his training bike you will see that the handlebar, stem and brakes are nothing like production lentons. Also he is equipped with 27 inch tubulars, has a single speed hub and brazed on brake cable stops on the top tube.

To a racer training on a standard Lenton would have felt like riding a lump of lead.

In the post war years his name was known and associated with anyone seen riding with dropped handlbars. He was employed by Raleigh and certainly would not have chosen a stock Lenton for training, but just for publicity pictures.

If someone joined a cycle club with one of these Raleighs it would have been replaced at the first opportunity.

As you know I was there and a Raleigh retailer.

Keith


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:42 am 
Devout Dirtbag

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:49 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Washington DC USA
Many thanks, Keith for the additional details on Reg Harris' Lenton. These "Picture Post" photos are the only reasonably detailed ones I've found and whilst I did point out the replacement brakeset, I will update with the other amendments.

I do appreciate the utter disdain these Raleighs are held by so many among the British cycling community then and now. Indeed, I suspect that Raleigh are held in more esteem abroad and certainly in America. I have always valued and loved my own Raleighs, including my first "real" bicycle, a used 1962 Reg Harris Carmine Red "Sports". But I don't think my personal affection for the marque has clouded my historical perspective. Reg Harris was indeed under contract with Raleigh and this included the indignity of riding a Lenton Sports, made worse by the fact his original road training machine was a lovely 1948 RRA but those, too, are often sneered at.

One of the interesting aspects of all this is that when Reg actually started his own cycle company, the machines he designed and built were distinctly "middle of the road" as well... better than a Lenton Sports but hardly the stuff to satisfy the club snobs.

But the man did his job on and off the track. One photo I've seen and am trying to get a good copy of is Reg riding a Lenton Sports in Lagos, Nigeria followed by an admiring throng on Raleigh no. 1 Populars in 1957. Raleigh sent him there during Nigeria's Independence celebrations and yes, they did export Lentons there for a spell. Until all those lovely British roads went to pot that is..

Thanks again for your comments

Peter Kohler
Washington, DC USA


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:53 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:58 pm
Posts: 1129
Location: Highlands, Scotland
kohl57@yahoo.com wrote:
...I do appreciate the utter disdain these Raleighs are held by so many among the British cycling community then and now. Indeed, I suspect that Raleigh are held in more esteem abroad and certainly in America...

I remember that well and it still colours my thinking (unreasonably) because I've turned down the offer a free Lenton in the past.

Yet there is no doubt there are well made bikes with decent materials and built to last.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:13 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:07 pm
Posts: 1705
Location: Cotswolds
Hello Peter,

Like the Raleigh Carltons later the Lentons were a schoolboy/teenager bike. The market for true lightweights was much smaller than can be imagined today. Simply not possible to maintain a large factory on the income from enthusiast cyclists then.

Back in 1949 on my ride to work on my BSA Gold Column I was frequently accompanied by a Raleigh RRA, which I always regarded as a top class lightweight. In those days all main manufacturers listed a prestige model, in many cases these were rarely sold, but the RRA was, and well accepted as a club bike.

In the 1950s Raleigh still drilled and taper pinned frame joints before brazing, where BSA for example just whacked a big dent in the lug to hold the tube in place. Also Raleigh finished hub cones with a ground surface, most other cheap hubs just had the ridges from the machining for the ball track.

One thing most UK manufacturers got wrong was the hub flanges were too thin and the spoke holes too large. This caused the spoke bend to straighten out, eventually causing breakage, so heavier spokes were the answer.

Keith


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