Saturday, December 18, 2010
A treasure found
After seeing hundreds of them on blogs and not one in person, I finally had my first encounter with a full chaincase Raleigh Sports. This gorgeous bike belongs to Rick, who holds the special distinction of being an accomplished racer and a first-class vintage roadster fan at the same time.
The Raleigh rides as smoothly as you'd expect from a bike owned by an accomplished mechanic. It shifts smoothly through its four gears, the top two of which are remarkably steep. It's hard to imagine when you'd use fourth gear on this bike, unless you live at the top of a steep hill.
The green paint is well-preserved and a darker green than the color I normally associate with Raleighs. I imagined it as a transitional color from the blackout bikes of the war years, but I could be miles off on that musing.
Among the features I hadn't before seen was the headlamp, which was chromed only at the outer edge; the rest is steel painted the color as the bike. I actually like this design better than the all-chrome one that would dominate in the years that followed.