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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 11:12 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:32 pm
Posts: 1601
Location: Southport, UK Member No:411
If I rewind the clocks back to 1990 for the beginning of this project. I was 18, studying A levels, and riding more than I should have been. My enthusiasm for the sport had really taken hold, and I was feverishly absorbing as much information about what would make me faster and allow me to last longer in the saddle. Naturally, my love of the mechanical forced me to aim high when choosing a bike. I'd been gathering a C Record groupset, and gradually placing the parts on my 531c frame like I was fitting jewels on a crown - although I knew the crown was very outclassed by the jewels! I'd been unable to afford the Colnago Master that came up for sale locally, so my desires for a new frame had to take a back seat.

At the time, Greg Lemond was on his winning streak using some fairly innovative, and sometimes questionable technology to achieve it. He really made me take note - here was a guy that was testing disguised Merlin Titanium frames on the pro circuit, and winning. That was it, steel was dead and Titanium was the new king! I had to have some if this, so I did some digging and was quickly horrified to discover the price of a Merlin Titanium frame was in the many thousands. I would spend hours staring at pictures of Greg's bikes in Cycling weekly, or repeatedly reading over the occasional Merlin advert.

Sometime after, my friend pointed me towards the new line up of Raleigh Dyna Tech frames that were being produced as they were including a titanium bike in their range. The catologue was pretty enough, but it told me very little really, plus the pictures were tiny. My local Raleigh dealer at the time was Shalcross in Southport (long since gone now), and he said that he could order one in but he didn't stock them as they were special order. If I wanted to see one then I'd have to go to a dealer in Chester who had one in stock. I literally went straight there on the train, fondled the frame for 5 mins (God only knows what that must have looked like), had a bag of chips in a chippy, then got the train home. Shalcross was surprised to see me back so soon, especially as I was loaded with a suitable deposit to place an order. Now, at this point I had really underestimated just how long it would take to pay the total £649 that he was asking - in my mind it was irrelevant too, as I just needed a Titanium frame and in my mind this was the only way to get one. Thousands of pounds for a Merlin, or a third of the price for a Cronos was no-brainer maths. He gave me a savings book and told me to keep topping it up as and when I could, and he'd stamp the book accordingly each time. My naive and thoughtless payment planning left me struggling to donate even £50 a month to the cause, and I found myself 6 months in and only at £300. Christmas had hit me at the start of the plan, and we were now into mid 1991. I asked him at what point he'd order the bike, and how long it would take. He said that I need to be at 75% capital before placing the order, and that it would take up to 12 weeks to arrive. This news fell hard on me, and I struggled on with the toll of monthly payments - some of which were as low as £30. Finally, sometime early 1992 I think, he ordered the bike, and I asked if they could spray the front and rear forks in Black rather than the pale Grey which came as standard. He processed the order, and everything seemed amicable.

Months passed and finally the phone rang - it was in! My excitement was very quickly dampened with an apology and a story. Raleigh had discontinued the Cronos, and had supplied me with a Dyna Tech Titanium Pro. I wasn't as happy, as it wasn't the frameset I'd ordered, and the spec had changed quite a bit from the model I thought I was buying. The Titanium wasn't even 3/2.5 either, as I think they'd sourced some pure grade Titanium tubes from a Russian manufacturer for their new model. This was a time was Raleigh had used Reynolds to set up Dyna Tech frames, and then went and sourced the frame materials from somewhere else, likely to keep the costs low. My complaints fell on deaf ears, and he wasn't keen to support me on getting what I really wanted from Raleigh. I took the frame, and gradually accepted that I wasn't getting the Cronos or a refund.

The following week was spent carefully building the bike with my C Record delta groupset, and I even managed to buy some first edition Ergopower levers for it, as the Syncro down tube levers were awful. I seem to remember being one of the first people in the bike shop to buy Ergopower. It was a classy and futuristic looking bike, and many people would stop me to admire it, and ask about all the unusual features. However, it didn't ride as great as I'd expected, and my mate in the club who also had one was pretty critical of his too. In fact, I really started to dislike it, and saw it as a waste of money, probably still marred by the fact that it wasn't what I ordered in the first place. Pretty swiftly the bike was foolishly swapped for my first car, a 1974 VW Beetle. The 'Cal look' VW scene took a hold, and I was off in another direction...

For years now I've regretted the haste with which I swapped it, and have longed to find the original bike I wanted and ordered. Cycling forums and eBay have always had my eye, waiting for the 'right' sized bike to show up. Then, two weeks ago I saw this on eBay, and knew I had to have it. My time had finally come...

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Looking very sorry for itself. The seller had recognised its potential and rescued it locally on Gumtree. He'd started to remove some of the rattle can black paint that someone had 'treated' it to, and surprisingly it was ok underneath.

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It will clearly need quite a bit of restoration work, but I'm confident this will come up good. I played around with the idea of passing on the Dura Ace 7400 groupset, but whilst in my hands it's grown on me. I've always been strictly Campagnolo on the road, but the functionality of this Dura Ace has lured me to it. Campagnolo had some real functionality issues in the late 80's early 90's, and I was thankful when they were over them. But Shimano had really cracked a decent group when they introduced the 7400 to the market. A group designed exclusively to beat Campagnolo, and it did so on every level other than aesthetics - a fact I have hated admitting for most of my adult life! Oddly, the Dura Ace component that I always secretly admired the most was the stem - what a thing that was, and way cooler than Cinelli too. So, the Dura Ace is staying; a decision that was cemented this week with the extravagant purchase of the correct 110mm sized 7400 stem.

The bike has come at a time when I've just started restoring my 1991 Marin Team Titanium, so it will have to wait its turn. In the meantime, I thought I'd start this story.


Last edited by Benandemu on Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 9:43 pm 
rBoTM Winner
rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:28 pm
Posts: 3192
Location: Mansfield Woodhouse, Nott's.
tick tock!


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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 10:16 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:32 pm
Posts: 1601
Location: Southport, UK Member No:411
Now updated


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:40 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:32 pm
Posts: 1601
Location: Southport, UK Member No:411
I was right to announce this as a slow burn - but there is an update to share.
After stripping all the components down, and assessing each one, it became apparent that I'd be able to restore and keep almost everything from the original purchase. Some of the anodising is heavily worn, and as such it lends itself to being polished, which better suits me too as I prefer working with and maintaining polished parts.
The seat post was the first up for polishing, and I gradually worked my way through the wet and dry paper to get a smooth dull finish before the monotony of tiny circles with Duraglit! The first attempt at hand polishing at home wasn't bad, but I may well get them professionally done in the future.

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Then I gave the newly purchased stem a once over. These are amazing pieces of art...

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Before I got heavily involved with the frame and forks, which will always take centre stage in terms of sheer time and effort to bring back to standard, I investigated the seat bolt arrangement. Raleigh saw fit to whack a chromed steel affair in their alloy lug, and bond it in there with some sort of glue. Not only was the original part really shabby in terms of finish, it was always pretty messed up with rust, not forgetting that it was bonded into the lug. Once the seat bolt was removed I could take some accurate measurements and pass them on to Dan Chambers (Danson on here) and see if he could make an aluminium copy for me. I'd been waiting on Dan to take receipt of his new lathe, and this was one of the first jobs he put through it. If you've had the pleasure of dealing with Dan, then you'll understand what a great bloke he is, and I would recommend his skills should you need them. Here's the before and after...

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After much consultation on the best way to approach the frame, I decided on maintaining the original paint on the main tubes, retaining the original anodising on the lug work, but fully repainting the steel work in its original colour. The difficulty in managing this part of the project is because the steel work is so badly rusted, and it literally runs into the alloy lugs, so stripping the paint will be a real challenge. I went to see several people about the best way to remove the old paint and rust, and they all gave the same advice; use P80 sandpaper by hand and don't stop rubbing until every little bit of rust is gone. Any other mechanical means is too aggressive, or won't be effective at getting into the detail of removing the rust pitting precisely. At first I started by hand, then I came across the little P80 Dremel sanding wheels. These were perfect for the job, and could be applied with the just the right amount of pressure, so as not to damage alloy lug work, or the steel itself. Let me tell you though, it doesn't save much time - it takes forever to get the finish back to bare smooth metal, with zero rust pitting. Here are the forks so far...

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I'll keep going with the rear forks and post up some pics before the paint process. The main tubes came up pretty good with some very fine emery paper to remove the rattle can black paint, and then some Meguires Polish to buff up the old paint and lacquer afterwards. The original decals have been removed and measured up, as I'll be getting those made up again, although with a slight twist as the original ones were awful, and always looked dated for such a progressive design. I won't stray too far from the original concept though.


Last edited by Benandemu on Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:15 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:04 pm
Posts: 371
I know nothing about Dyna Techs. What is titanium on that bike tubing wise. I take it its a bonded frame. Beautiful job with the polishing.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:45 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:32 pm
Posts: 1601
Location: Southport, UK Member No:411
The main 3 frame tubes are Reynolds 3 2.5 Titanium. These tubes are bonded into alloy lugs. The front forks are Reynolds 753 steel, as are the rear chainstays. The rear seat stays are a mixture of 753 steel bonded to alloy brake bridge and alloy bolt carrier for the attachment to the seat tube clamp. All pretty complicated when you try and explain it!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:43 pm 
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Thanks for the info. Sure does sound complicated. Keep us posted with the project.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:21 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:32 pm
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Location: Southport, UK Member No:411
So, the steelwork is free from paint and rust now, but it's cost a Dremel and a load of accessories to get there. I had to get pretty inventive with variations of sanding discs sandwiched with cardboard in order to get the paint removed around the seat stays without damaging the surrounding areas.

It all goes to the sprayer tomorrow, and I've just been to collect the paint I chose. I was stuck with the paint for quite a while as there are no records available on what colour Raleigh used. The other issue was that my original paint had faded, and become so badly tarnished with surface rust that it wasn't entirely clear what colour it even was. My memory is backed up by literature, which states the paint was simply light grey. The paint on this frame looked white, but that had been a victim of weathering. Trying to maintain the original colours, and vaguely British, I opted for a current Jaguar/Land Rover colour - Yulong White, which is actually light grey.

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You can just see the rear derailleur cable stop in this pic. I was really surprised to find that this was aluminium and not plastic. It took a bit of reshaping after the Dremel has cleared it of paint, although you wouldn't notice now.

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The complicated wishbone. Alloy, steel, alloy, steel, etc...

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You can see the hollowed out alloy brake bridge in this pic, plus the metallic blue sparkling in the light. I'm so glad I managed to keep that colour.

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The three main tubes aren't short of their scratches, but for the most part, they're good enough. It's good to retain a small degree of patina and honesty with the bike too.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:20 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:32 pm
Posts: 1601
Location: Southport, UK Member No:411
A quick turnaround on the frame and forks meant I collected it today. I'm really pleased with my choice of paint, as the balance in colour is just right.

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I had a little bit of time to prepare and fit some components. Remember that these are mostly the components that I bought the bike with, so they will be slightly more worn looking in places than I would have chosen if I'd been building from scratch.

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I'll put the Dura Ace bottom bracket away in my spares, as it's a bit rough on one side, and I have a plan to use a Titanium axle.

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I bought a 113mm floating Titanium axle a few months back; it's actually a McMahon one, which will be perfect for what I need. The original Shimano axle was a few mm off centre to accommodate the chainring side. Most of the available Titanium BB's use a central collar which always places the axle in the middle (and stops it from moving around), but with a floating axle you get to choose the chainline (but you still need something to hold it in place, hence the locking collars). So, here's the list of bits I've gathered from different sources, with which I'll make my own BB with...

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It's Royce cups and bearings, McMahon axle, and Action Tec collars to position the axle exactly where I want it to sit.

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Lovely, and about as fitting as I could get for a British bike...

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Headset was put back in place, and it's buttery smooth. Next up were the brakes. They were seized on one side, and covered in a lot of black paint underneath, so took quite a bit of time to get in the condition you see here.

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I'm aware that the front brake pads are the wrong way around, and the rears were suffering the same issue until I swapped them around.


Last edited by Benandemu on Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:37 am
Posts: 291
That is a cool bike and a great build 8)


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