Orbit Gold Medal


Retro Newbie
Another project began during a visit to the MiL over the weekend. Something came up on eBay and after a bit of offer ping pong I bought it, collected it and got it home.

It’s an Orbit Gold Medal from the late 80s. Apparently made in Sheffield 58cm in 531c throughout (according to the seat tube decal).

It felt a bit heavy and draggy when I first rode it and it weighed in at about 11.3kg. Not that bad but still room for improvement so I looked first at the wheels - nutted hubs 700c with 28mm touring tyres. Out of curiosity I had a Mavic Aksium with a 25mm road tyre and slotted that in at the front as shown in the pic. Immediately down to 10.8kg. Nice, and clearly more to come from the rear wheel and maybe better quality brakes, saddle, stem, bars etc.

More curiosity (and a new hanging scale) so I weighed the others for comparison:
Raleigh Record Ace - bigger 61cm 531c frame in 1x7 with downtube shifters - 10.7kg
Claud Butler Criterium - 60cm in standard 531 in 3x9 with downtube shifters - also 10.7kg

That is really interesting because both the Raleigh and the Claud have decent wheel sets on and yet the Orbit matches up with some savings still to be made. I'm thinking of getting to 10kg and seeing how I get on with the more compact frame - the Raleigh has always felt just a bit too big.

Initial research suggests the Orbit is a touring geometry, for some reason made in 531c and then down-specced with lesser components, perhaps to meet a price point. That sounds like a great project recipe to me so here goes. It has a six speed freewheel with a huge long-cage Shimano RD.

Also it has a nice looking Stronglight 48/36 chainset - not quite a compact but could be interesting.

The brakes are shocking so will go very soon. I have some 600 Tricolor parts in the box and may snipe on eBay for some more to make the set.

There's a bit of surface rust so I may strip and powder coat, but that's a decision for another day. The frame has some nice details like the embossed seat stays so I'm looking forward to seeing how this comes up.

Exciting times - if anyone has more info on Orbit and the Gold Medal model then please share as I haven't found too much out there. Thanks for reading this far, I'll be back with more as the project rolls on.


Retrobike Rider
BoTM Winner
rBoTM Triple Crown
rBotM Winner
Claud Butler Fan
Just tagging along for the ride, nice to see another build thread on the road section..