Well, after it sitting in the barn for too long, and me discovering this forum I think I have found the enthusiasm to rebuild a ride from my youth. The story so far..
About 14 or so years old I was quite proud of my bike, a Raleigh Mtb, team banana I think. 531 steel frame, as was the fashion in the late 80s. It was quite good compared to the boat anchor I had before. Unfortunately I was t boned on it by a teacher on their way to school, which bent the frame but left the components undamaged. I knew of this old guy that made good frames out of a tiny and packed workshop in slough, and I'd always liked the look of them, a bit old fashioned but good. It's a hand made british 531 frame, bought from the guy that made it, in the way so little is available these days.
So, with the perfect excuse to get one I didn't waste time, and built it up with the bits from the crashed one, which were mid range suntour (not the best I know, but I was a kid, and they worked) and spent the next few years riding it everywhere. It proved almost indestructible, light and was a better bike than a lot of fancier stuff. I'd reckon it better than my modern alloy trek bike.
As is the way over a number of years bits got changed, and as eBay wasn't about then got left in a box. Eventually it was mostly stripped to make other things.. I was too fond of it to get rid, and having a barn storage was not a problem..
Fast forward to last week, I was introduced to this forum, and decided that it deserves to live, and seeing as I probably have the makings of it I should get I it back together. I have dragged it out of the barn, and have found the wheels, and indeed a possibly usable panaracer smoke back tyre.. Once my little fella goes to sleep I shall get back out there and look for more of the bits of it. The memories flood back.. When I work out how to get pics on here I shall post them up. Is there a section on hand made British stuff?
I am still debating with myself a few questions about it-
Do I repaint? It's a bit scruffy now, but it's original. I'd loose the stickers, but it would be smart again? Otherwise I reckon I should carefully clean it up and maybe lacquer it?
Do I go as I originally built it? Or do I throw whatever bits I find onto it? I have boxes of mostly working bits from various eras, and it had had a fair few of then on it over the years.. But do I go for extra retro points and put canti's back on it?
I have done a little looking about and Dave Russell frames have a small but strong following, so I think I need to do a good job of it.. Apparently he was well known as a builder from the old school, more known for his racing and lightweight road bikes than Mtbs. I'd forgotten how much this bike meant to me at the time, but it's been 20 years or more since it was my main bike..