Saturday, November 13, 2010

Give a little to get a little

After an exchange with a guy on BikeForums we realized that I had a 1987 Schwinn Prelude with a 23" frame that was just a bit too small for me and he had a 1983 Raleigh Super Course with a 25" frame that was too big for him. He lives in the DFW area so we arranged a meeting to swap bikes, and did exactly that yesterday morning.

Here is what I gave up:

Here is what I got:

They are actually pretty similar bikes. I believe the Super Course is a little higher in the 1983 Raleigh lineup than the Prelude was in the 1987 Schwinn line, but the Schwinn was 4 years newer at a time when bikes were rapidly advancing. The biggest difference is that the Schwinn had indexed shifting (click-click from one gear to the next), while the Raleigh has the older style friction shifters, where you have to just move the lever until the gear changes (and maybe trim it back a bit once it changes to make everything smooth and quiet).

Here are a few more details of the Super Course

I think the history of Raleigh bikes from this time period are kind of interesting. In the 1980s, British bicycle maker Raleigh raised money by licensing the Raleigh name to American cycle maker Huffy. Raleigh was short of cash and Huffy was interested in penetrating the higher end bicycle market. So Raleigh USA bikes of the mid-1980s were bikes spec'ed out by Huffy and built (mostly) by Japanese and Taiwanese bike builders. I think some of the very high end stuff still came from England. More history can be found here.

I found online catalogs from that era, including a 1983 Raleigh catalog (pdf file), an a later 1985 Raleigh catalog.

According to the '83 catalog, the Super Course came with Suntour aRX derailleurs. The original rear derailleur on this particular bike had been damaged and replaced with a Suntour aR, but I happened to have an aRX derailleur laying around, and put it on so now the derailleurs match again.

So now I just to put some miles on it and see if it needs any changes. I may put aero brake levers on it, and maybe even get some parts to put indexed shifting on the bike. But for now I'm gonna just ride and enjoy it for a while.


Big Oak said...

That's a good looking bike. I know you put a great deal of consideration into the deal and I'd say the swap was equal and fair to both parties.

Those Raleigh headbadges are cool, aren't they?

Steve A said...

Doohickie writes: "I happened to have an aRX derailleur laying around"

And THAT statement says an awful lot!

Doohickie said...

Still haven't taken the bike out for anything more than a quick trip to the Walgreens on the corner. It has that ungainly feel that I always get when I first get on a bike, especially a drop bar bike. I can remember that feeling with the Prelude. Eventually I tweaked things in and got used to the "balance" of the bike and it felt quite comfortable. On the ride to Walgreens tonight, I started to get that feeling of the balance. I need to take this bike on a much longer ride to really get used to it, but I think it's gonna be great.

Apertome said...

What a great idea! I does look like a fair trade to both of you. I like the Raleigh better, at least aesthetically, but of course fit is the most important thing.

Doohickie said...

It wasn't my idea; it was the other guy's. I'm glad he had it though.

Both bikes were rather nice. I didn't have a lot of money invested in the Prelude, but I did convert it from friction shifting back to indexed shifting (as it was originally sold). That was kind of satisfying. It's a good bike; it was just a little small for me.

Avus said...

Nice bike! I think better than the Schwinn - but as a Raleigh fan I am biased.