Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Raleigh "Marathon" Bike
Back in early August I rolled into the Glenn Ave. Junk Man's Barn--and just as predicted--I found a diamond in the rough. Among several hundred other bikes and other junk, this bike was in a pile of of old Huffys, Sears girls bikes, and knock-off mtn bikes.
This Raleigh "Marathon" probably dates from between 1984 to 1986. From What I can tell its either been taken very good care of, or hardly ridden. Saddly, its looks like its been sitting in that old dude's barn for well over 10 years. The striking thing about this bike is that the frame is quite large. My guess would be at least 67 centemeters--only very tall, big fellows much like myself can ride a large frame like this--and being all steel--these large frame bikes are soft riding and have a certain feel on the road that I can't describe; sturdy, secure, powerful might be a few words that come to mind.
This emblem is the Raleigh Heron and although it reads, "Cycle Company of America" it is not made in the United States. From some blogs and discussion lists on the web, its most certainly not made in England either--but Japan, or possibly even Taiwan. From what I read, Japanese-made frames, like my 1977 Raleigh Super Grand Prix, are supposedly of superior quality. If this bike (the frame) I aquired for a mere $50.00 is Japanese made, then I am in luck--Taiwanese are said to be hit or miss. On a bike discussion list, someone said they bought a bike like this in 1984 for $350.00, which he said was quite a bit of money at the time.
The large ring here looks a little worn but the frame has almost no scratches--and no cracks, so its not been crashed or smashed by the other bikes while stored in the barn. Anyway, I have a good feeling about this bike and since its not made in England (I've now found from my research on the web that Nottingham-made Raleigh frames are very desireable) I'm not opposed to converting it into a single speed/fixed gear bike. This means stripping it down to frame and wheels. I believe when done it will be a work of art.
All this will go, however when Phil looked this bike over briefly at Pima Street Bikes (I dragged it into the shop right before they were closing on a Friday late afternoon) He noticed the wheels were made by a Belguim company. Since he builds wheels, they may be the only thing of value on this bike as far as he's concerned.
"Sport Touring Geometry, 12 Speed 39-100" Not sure exactly what they're boasting about here exactly--so if you know, get word to me.