The Chainlink

I am very sad today as I think I have to put my bicycle out of its misery.  Its a 28 year old Raleigh Aleyseka.   It has shown great service.  I purchased it new and had many years of great riding.   Last night, I hit a pot hole.   Then it suddenly felt "loose".  I thought I had hurt a wheel.   I looked back and saw when I pushed on the peddle, the wheel wobbled.  Okay.  A Wheel.  So I got off and looked at the wheel.  It looked fine.  Then I saw the problem.   The right chainstay right at the drop out had broken.  

I assume, at this point, that the bicycle is "dead" as all of my research says this is not easily fixable (and certainly not worth fixing on a 28 year old Reynolds Steel Frame with old components).

So, what do I do.   Should I take it to working bikes?    Should I strip off some components and take it to working bikes (likely very little is usable....   the derailleurs are old, the brakes are cantilever, the handlebars are an "out-of-date" road shape. )  Should I strip off some of the components and put it in the alley?  Should I find a way to keep it?    Should I fix it?

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I'm doing that with a broken Cannondale frame I got here.

Well, I'm 6'0". If it's too big for you, it's too big for me. Good luck, and since you never got on it without a struggle, the best thing for you to do is to find a new bike.

BUUUUT....Could you at least find a measuring tape and measure from the top of the seat tube to the middle of your crank spindle?


Crazy David 84 Furlongs said:

Its the largest size that was made.  I forget the exact size number (its not a metric size).  I am a little over 6 feet and barely straddle the top tube...in other words it is the "right size" from an old school perspective.   Yes.  It was a cool bike with touring geometry (a bit longer than other bikes of the period.).   It was Reynolds tubing.  Frame has never been repainted.

I never said it was too hard to get on.  I said it was hard to easily straddle.   It has about an inch or so of clearance.  Back in the 1970's, this was considered to be the "right" size for a bicycle and it is the size that I am used to. (See Sheldon Brown  http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html)    As I understand it, with steel frames, this was viewed as providing the strongest frame.  I hate riding new bicycles with the saddles up in the air and the top tube down low.  But it is a matter of taste.   Lots of people swear by this style.  

Which, comes around to why I hate to lose this one.   I am likely to find that my replacement is going to have a "normal" or "modern" height and that will take adjustment.


It takes some skill to do the brazing, and the parts have to be rigged to hold the frame while you're heating it, but you can get a brazing kit from the hardware store.  You can also look around for a new set of lugs and chainstay.  But brazing is alot like soldering copper pipes for plumbing, I've found, only quite a bit hotter.


Crazy David 84 Furlongs said:

I never said it was too hard to get on.  I said it was hard to easily straddle.   It has about an inch or so of clearance.  Back in the 1970's, this was considered to be the "right" size for a bicycle and it is the size that I am used to. (See Sheldon Brown  http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html)    As I understand it, with steel frames, this was viewed as providing the strongest frame.  I hate riding new bicycles with the saddles up in the air and the top tube down low.  But it is a matter of taste.   Lots of people swear by this style.  

Which, comes around to why I hate to lose this one.   I am likely to find that my replacement is going to have a "normal" or "modern" height and that will take adjustment.

The Alyeska came in 19, 21, 23, and 25" sizes according to Sheldon's Retro-Raleigh page.

The frame is 555-Reynolds and double-butted in the main triangle.  The Fork is Hi-Ten but has low-rider braze-ons. 

I agree with Matt that this frame is worth fixing and re-finishing for a rebuild.  I don't know about putting it back vintage stock but it would be a good base for project bike.  Unfortunately it came stock with 27" wheels and often a 700c conversion can be tricky to get cantis to work really well again when the pivots are set for 27" rims.  There are still some decent 27x1-1/4 tires out there though, so a 27-er isn't out of the question as long as you don't plan on an international tour out of the USA where you won't find tires available.  

You can't get a lugged frame like this today outside of a custom build that would be $1000+, although something like the VO Campeur at $500 would be it's modern retail equivalent IMHO,  although still welded mass-produced blech. But I'm a lugged snob I admit it.  If it cost $300 to get this frame re-brazed and powder coated I'd say you were $200 ahead of the game at the least.  Don't toss out this bike.  It has value to someone out there. 

VO Campeur

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/frames/campeur/vo-campeur-fr...

This guy switched your Raleigh to 700C, and it looks great:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=25438

...and the Rivendell, with the $2300 price tag. AND DOES IT LOOK FAMILIAR TO YOU???? I mean, damn, $200 to fix the chainstay doesn't sound bad at all!

http://www.rivbike.com/Rivendell-Atlantis-p/f-atlantis.htm



Crazy David 84 Furlongs said:

Which, comes around to why I hate to lose this one.   I am likely to find that my replacement is going to have a "normal" or "modern" height and that will take adjustment.

If you're willing to hunt around for awhile (use Divvy in the meantime?), there are tons of used bikes similar to your Raleigh out there. I let the IFTTT do the heavy lifting. I set up a recipe that checks this URL periodically:

http://chicago.craigslist.org/search/bia?query=59cm%7c60cm%7c61cm%7...

and sends me an email whenever new bikes are posted.

There are also a number of people who appear to make a living selling bikes on CL. For example, try searching the bikes category for "Carpentersville". There's a guy out there named Mike who must have about a bajillion bikes for sale. Some of them seem fairly interesting. You might find something you like that you can negotiate on. Perhaps he (or someone like him) would give you a few bucks for the parts on your Raleigh. (No affiliation. His stuff just turns up so often and lives in an unusual (for me) city that I remember him.)

Matt, it looks like that guy in your link eventually gave up on the canti brakes and went with centerpulls in the end.  Centerpulls like the old Dia Compe 610/750's are fine brakes, especially if you can make a brake booster out of an old arch to firm them up so they don't flex at the pivots.   

If someone like Tektro would come out with a 27/700c conversion canti brake that was designed from the ground-up geometrically to work on 700c rims for the non-standard offset to where 27" canti-posts are mounted they would CLEAN UP.  I'd buy two sets of them the day they came on the market. 

It's just math and lever arms and building a non-standard canti brake that would account for all this.  There are so  SO MANY nice vintage 27" frames out there with their canti studs "not quite right" which could be easily converted to 700 with such a brake.  It would be Glorious!  

AH-  got me not reading the post.  Center pull brakes.  I like 'em.

James BlackHeron said:

Matt, it looks like that guy in your link eventually gave up on the canti brakes and went with centerpulls in the end.  Centerpulls like the old Dia Compe 610/750's are fine brakes, especially if you can make a brake booster out of an old arch to firm them up so they don't flex at the pivots.   

If someone like Tektro would come out with a 27/700c conversion canti brake that was designed from the ground-up geometrically to work on 700c rims for the non-standard offset to where 27" canti-posts are mounted they would CLEAN UP.  I'd buy two sets of them the day they came on the market. 

It's just math and lever arms and building a non-standard canti brake that would account for all this.  There are so  SO MANY nice vintage 27" frames out there with their canti studs "not quite right" which could be easily converted to 700 with such a brake.  It would be Glorious!  

Me too.

This is a little project I've been noodling around with on my testbed bike this week.

Dia Compe 610 with home-made brakebooster arch on 27" road fork (1974 Raleigh Competition 531-Reynolds) with 700x35c tire (Pana Pasela) and a fender with plenty of clearance.  I'm planning on using an SKS P45 but right now experimenting with a scrap piece of Planet Bike fender to proof the concept.  7mm of tire/fender clearance.  This seems like it is going to work.  The braking is phenomenal with KoolStop pads.  Equal to the Ultegra dual-pivots I have on this fork's twin on my "good bike."  I'm limited to 28mm tires with that so I'm trying out this setup to see if I want to swap to centerpulls.  So far so good.  I've got to test the rear for clearances at the chainstay and brake bridges but they look promising so far. 

27/700 conversions are kool. 

Next phase:  Velo Orange ENE mini-rack mounted to the booster arch. 

If the Alyeska in the OP were my size I'd snap it up myself.  I'm a Raleighphile by nature. 

Matt M. 18.5KM said:

AH-  got me not reading the post.  Center pull brakes.  I like 'em.


Crazy David, OK, you may find this silly, but I think it might be helpful.

Let's say someone comes along with a bike very similar to yours, same size, same level, same vintage, similarly worn components but a solid frame, and offers you his bike for $200 and tells you he can fix your bike for $200. Would you take either offer?  What if he can fix your bike for $150, would that change your decision?  What if he can fix it for $250?

If I were you, I would go get a quote from someone like Owen Lloyd.

the second post in this thread = reduce reuse recycle.  3R's.  

ilter said:

Crazy David, OK, you may find this silly, but I think it might be helpful.

Let's say someone comes along with a bike very similar to yours, same size, same level, same vintage, similarly worn components but a solid frame, and offers you his bike for $200 and tells you he can fix your bike for $200. Would you take either offer?  What if he can fix your bike for $150, would that change your decision?  What if he can fix it for $250?

If I were you, I would go get a quote from someone like Owen Lloyd.

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