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.