I've a titanium X-lite / Raleigh that has turned into a XC project which I thought might be interesting to fellow retrofans.
I bought the bike in 1996, while still a student. It was second-hand and was as far as my student loan stretched. I’m not sure if it was originally bought by the first owner as a frame and built up, or if it came as new with the mix of XT and LX parts. First to go after I bought it on was a set of Pace forks. This was back in the day when rigids were still the norm. I worked all summer (might have been 1997) while a student and saved for some state-of-the-art Pace RC36 EVO 2 forks. These were one of the lightest forks on the market at the time, and even today are considered pretty light. They look great too, with carbon legs and a magnesium brace. By today’s standards they don’t feel the plushest on the market, but they’ve served well and are definitely retro.
Next on the list was a new Flite titanium seat and X-lite post. The original post was a nasty alu thing, and the original WTB saddle was ripped after a fall. The FSA cranks broke too, so on went some extra strong downhill Middleburns and zero components bottom bracket. Over the next few years various bits were changed and improved as I used the bike for XC days while at university.
After graduating my hobbies gradually changed, and the bike was eventually relegated to the garage. Last year I rediscovered cycling when I dusted off the old X-lite and found it still great fun to ride. I also like the retro admiration it gets. Old is once again cool.
I’ve decided to see how modern I can take the bike. I’m sure there are a few gasps, some would undoubtedly like to see the bike restored to 1990’s glory. But for me, I’d like to see it brought into the 21st century with style. The frame itself is fantastic, so with the right parts it should be possible to turn it into a modern day XC weapon that can still keep up with the best at race days. The weight goal is comfortably sub 10kg from a starting point of exactly 12kg. Durability and longevity are important in the build spec too. It is no good racing with the lightest bike if things keep breaking.
Original Spec / starting point:
X-Lite / Raleigh titanium medium frame, unpainted
Pace RC36 EVO 2 forks
Flite Ti saddle
X-Lite 27.2mm seatpost
Pace 0 degree stem
Richey XC bars
XT Levers and XT Vee brakes
LX 8-speed shifters
XT rear mech
XT Front mech
Middleburn RS-DH cranks
XT 8-speed cassette
Pace 42t outer chainring, XT inner and middle
Zero components bottom bracket
X-lite bar ends and stem plug
Odyssey brake booster
FSA Orbit headset
Mavic X221 rims on LX hubs
WTB Velocoraptor rear, Maxxis 1.9 front tyres
Total weight at start, exactly 12kg
To bring the frame up to today’s standards and reach the dream of a modern day XC race winner it needs a rear disc brake mount. The frame is very well built and it seems a shame to weld on a titanium brake mount, so I’m in the process of building a bolt-on custom brake mount. You can read more about it here: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=197265
Many of the parts will be changed. The parts I don’t need are up for sale to re-home them to new loving owners or are being given away free of charge in a flurry of bike karma:
To start the build I stripped the frame back to bare, and will gradually add the new parts. I’m a bit of a weight weenie, so every part, old or new is weighed. The first shock is the frame is surprisingly heavy for titanium. Mine is a medium size and comes in at 1680g. was8v has a large which he’s weighed at just under 1.7kg too: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewto ... c&start=15
I’ve seen modern Lightspeeds half a kilo or more lighter than mine. But then, my frame is 16 years old, and perhaps the reason why so many of these Raleigh / X-lites are still going is because they were built with durability in mind. Who knows, but in the Zen of this retro build, it doesn’t seem right to change the frame for something new, even if it would be lighter.
I’ve a few pictures of the bike in the late 90’s which I will dig out and post, along with updates on how the build progresses.