'94 Raleigh USA MT700 RSI inspection

foxb13

Retro Guru
Dear RBers,

Please find in the following posts the inspection of my 100% original condition (including the tyres!) '94 Raleigh USA John Tomac Design Series MT700 RSI MTB. As usual, since English is not my mother tongue, feel free to correct my sentences, spelling, grammar, etc. Thanks!

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Frame: Raleigh USA Technium (7005 aluminum, Tange Prestige chromoly), 20" size

Fork: Rock Shox Mag 21, 200mm 1 1/8" threadless steerer, 60mm "long travel" kit

Headset: Tioga Alchemy, 1 1/8"
Stem: Tioga Alchemy OS-NSS-AL, 135mm 10.1° rise
Handlebar: Tioga DL2000, 22"
Grips: Ritchey True Grip WCS
Barends: Tioga PowerStuds

Brakes: Shimano Deore LX Hyperdrive-C BR-M560
Brake Pads: Shimano M System M70/T2
Brake Cables: Shimano M System
Cantilever cable hangers: Shimano A/73 (front), Shimano B/82 (rear)
Brake Levers: Shimano Deore XT ST-M737

Shifters: Shimano Deore XT ST-M737 Rapidfire Plus
Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore LX Hyperdrive-C FD-M563-T, 34.9mm
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT RD-M737-SGS (Super Long Cage)
Derailleur Cables: Shimano SIS
Cassette: Shimano Deore XT CS-M737-8R (8-Speed, R-Group, 11-28 teeth)
Chain: Shimano Deore XT CN-HG90, 106 links
Cranks: Shimano Deore LX Hyperdrive-C FC-M563-S, 175mm
Crank Bolts: Shimano Deore LX Hyperdrive-C FC-M563
Chainrings: Shimano Hyperdrive-C SG J-22/32/42
Chainring bolts: Shimano Deore LX Hyperdrive-C FC-M563
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Deore XT BB-UN71, 68 x 107mm English thread
Pedals: Shimano Deore LX Hyperdrive-C PD-M535

Hub Skewers: Shimano Deore XT M737
Rims: Mavic M231, 32 holes
Hubs: Shimano Deore XT HB-M737 (front), Shimano Deore XT FH-M737 (rear), 32 holes
Nipples: Gold alloy
Spokes: Stainless, double-butted 15/17g
Tyres: Tioga Psycho-K/S butterscotch, 26 x 1.95
Tubes: ?

Saddle: Vetta SL, manganese rails
Seatpost: Tioga DL2000 29.8 x 350mm
Seatpost Binder: N/A

Weight: 11.8kg, including pedals
 
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foxb13

Retro Guru
While chasing the remaining parts to complete the rebuild of my Raleigh USA MTi1000, I stumbled across an ad for this MT700 in the same 20" frame size. From the '94 Raleigh USA catalog below, the MT700 and MTi1000 were sharing the exact same equipment. Sadly, the bike was located in Germany, 700km away from me. Several weeks later, I went to the North-East of France, bringing down the distance to the MT700 to a mere ~200km. A few hours later, the bike was mine with the intent to strip it down and fit the components on my MTi1000. As the bike stood unused for the past 15 years, a good service and TLC of the parts were welcome. The more I was disassembling and cleaning the parts, the more the overall great condition of the bike was obvious. My mind thus changed: rather than stripping it down (well, at least ATM), I finally opted to fully restore it. Or at least, restore the bike in its original condition, as I've been provided with the original invoice from February of 1995, with some changes from the Raleigh USA catalog specs.

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foxb13

Retro Guru
The MT700 was manufactured in the USA in 1994 by the Derby Cycle Compagny (of Kent, WA) in the Seattle (WA) facility and sold under the brand Raleigh USA.

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The MT700 is one of the only two models (with the MTi1000) falling under the John Tomac Design Series umbrella. From the information I was able to gather, this only means that the geometry of the frame has been approved by John Tomac. And indeed, a prototype of what will become the MTi1000 (that share its geometry with the MT700) was promoted by John Tomac during the '92 Australian National Downhill Championship [1][2]. John Tomac even won the race but I don't think he was riding the prototype MTi1000 for the event.

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Sporting a Technium frame, the MT700 is also one of the last truly "made in America" Raleigh USA bikes, as the Kent factory building the Technium frames since 1988 was closed by Derby Cycle in 1994. From 1995, all Raleigh USA parts and frames were outsourced to Asia.

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Looking at the bottom bracket and with the help of Sheldown Brown [3], the serial number R932030120 reads as follows:
- R is Raleigh;
- digits 1 and 5 are year, that is 9 and 3 so 1993;
- digits 2-4 are day (001-365), that is 320th day of 1993, so Tuesday, Nov. 16 of 1993;
- digits 6-9 are sequential, so 120th frame built that shift.
Letter code for the shift (A for morning, B for evening) is missing. As outlined by Sheldown Brown, it may or may not be present, depending on production schedule.

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What puzzles me are the other two S/N (9307 and 0608 ) from/for the Seattle facility? I can imagine that 9307 stands for July of 1993 and 0608 is some sequential number. But how could then July of 1993 being stamped on a frame built in November of 1993?
 
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foxb13

Retro Guru
The Technium frames are made of heterogeneous materials bonded together using a Boeing-proprietary developed epoxy. In the case of the MT700, TIG-welded oversized 7005 aluminum main tubes are bonded to TIG-welded Tange Prestige chromoly seat tube and rear triangle.

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foxb13

Retro Guru
At the time, the most achieved MTB fork was undoubtedly the Mag 21, Rock Shox being also one of John Tomac's sponsors. Acclaimed since its introduction in 1993, the Mag 21 internals were further refined in 1994 and remained unchanged till the end (in 1996). The Mag 21 of my MT700 still compresses and holds air fine after all these years. The steerer tube was slightly corroded, something quickly fixed with the appropriate tooling :LOL:

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A full service couldn't harm and since I had to disassemble everything, I took this opportunity to install a "long travel" kit to increase the travel from 46mm to 60mm.

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foxb13

Retro Guru
The Shimano XTR group didn't gained the improved Parallax hubs and Hyperdrive-C drivetrain before 1996 (1995 for the Parallax hubs). In 1994, the most advanced Shimano MTB group was thus the Deore XT. To lower the costs, Raleigh fits the MT700 with a mix of the newly introduced Deore LX Hyperdrive-C and XT groups, the components from the latter being reserved to the more challenged ones.
 

foxb13

Retro Guru
A complete disassembly and cleaning of the rear drivetrain revealed that the bike was hardly ridden. There's barely a mark on the freewheel body of the Deore XT FH-M737 rear hub and the cogs of the Deore XT CS-M737 cassette are still in excellent condition. They're stamped with Shimano date code RI, so manufactured in September of 1993.

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foxb13

Retro Guru
Nothing wrong with the Deore XT RD-M737 rear derailleur, thoroughly cleaned and lubed.

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foxb13

Retro Guru
On the front drivetrain, the Deore XT BB-UN71 bottom bracket still runs smoothly. Also stamped with Shimano date code RI, so manufactured in September of 1993.

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foxb13

Retro Guru
Out of the Deore LX Hyperdrive-C group is the FC-M563 crankset. Still stamped with Shimano date code RI, so manufactured in September of 1993.

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