Winner of last month’s coveted OTSOTM, Mark D, has offered another early 80s beauty for our enjoyment. In addition to the sweet OTS, Mark also enlightened me we his home-brew-chain-lube.
Found this nice 1983 Raleigh Super Course mixte on CL for my wife as a Christmas gift. She wanted something vintage (like me), and she likes Raleighs.
The serial number on the bottom bracket indicates it was made in 1983, and the ’83 Raleigh catalog description confirms this. The Raleigh Cycle Company of America made it during the brief time they manufactured bikes in Japan exclusively for the US market (about 1982-1987). The label says, “Designed and Engineered in the USA – Made in Japan.” These bikes were produced under license by Bridgestone and were outfitted with quality Japanese parts. Later, manufacturing was shifted to other parts of the Far East, notably Taiwan and China.
The bike color is metallic black and champagne (gold). It has fairly ornate lugs and cool engraving on the seat stays and fork tops. The paint and decals are in excellent condition.
It appears to be all original, right down to the plastic pie plate. All it needed was a thorough overhaul and new tires and tubes. The foam grips were dry and torn, but the seller included a old replacement set, still in its 1986 packaging, which claimed they were the, “Official grips of the Ride Across America.” Foam grips are often derided, but they are in fact very comfortable.
When I got it, the old freewheel wouldn’t spin at all. I assumed that it was dirty or rusted or worse, and I thought I would have to find a replacement. However, I took it off, wiped it down, laid it on some sheets of newspaper, and gave it a thorough drenching with my homemade chain lube, a 50/50 mixture of 30W motor oil and mineral spirits. A rust-red river of gunk ran out. I flushed it a few more times until the mixture came out clear and then let it drain overnight. Voila! It looks and spins like new.
This bike rides super smooth and quiet.
Frameset: Raleigh 555sl full chrome moly with full braze-ons, double-butted main tubes
Brakes: Diacompe side-pull
Handlebars: Raleigh USA alloy
Grips: Johar of California foam grips
Crankset: Aero alloy, 52-42T
Derailers: SunTour ARX
Shifters: SunTour Power Shifters
Freewheel: SunTour gold 13-30T
Pedals: SR SP-152 alloy quill
Rims: Araya alloy
Tires: CST General Style 27×1-1/4″ gum wall
Saddle: KashiMax Sports padded vinyl, Osaka, Japan
Color: Metallic black and champagne
Cooper City, Florida