Will see if I can answer the questions.
I will definitely be weighing this when I give it a full clean (hopefully this weekend).
It was an '89 offering as It was specced with XCD6000 which changed to plain old XCD in 1990, so I think it pre dates the other two reps as they both used XCT parts (the gaspipe model just the gears, the 501 model the whole setup as it was a painted montage basically) so this would point to them being 1990 bikes, so mine would be a year older.
The frame is (I believe) the same as the Chinook/Cajun, Ozark/Thunderroad and Applachian, with what appears to be a slightly different fork to them all, which means it's fully lugged and brazed 531 mains with something else unknown for the stays. The Avanti got full 531 with a lugged 531 fork and it had a slightly different design (straight chainstays with no bridge vs. bridged S-bend ones and a different geo setup according to the catalogue).
I always believed this bike was a re-painted '89 Thunder Road but I maybe wrong as a couple of details on mine are different (the canti hanger is very different in a good way to the one on the Appalachian I have seen and the fork is different to the Chinook fork at the dropouts too), so still a couple of questions there.
The only other one in this size I ever saw was the one hung on the wall of Fleet Cycles in 1989. I have seen two others, one for sale on STW (http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/fs-1989-raleigh-team-mtb
) and the other on ebay a couple of years ago, both are big sizes though but as the one on STW has pictures it refreshed my memory over the colour scheme, meaning I have to get a stem and bar painted to match now. Also shows the Raleigh team riding similar bikes in 1989 but my guess is they would have got Avanti frames repainted with higher spec Suntour parts.
As for the build, I think the team bikes would have used XC9000 which is a bit like rocking horse poo and catalogue spec XCD6000 is much the same, it will be Suntour but unless I can find some XC9000 or XCD6000 in the next few weeks it will be the XC Comp/Pro set I already have.