I picked this Raleigh type 8806 up in about June this year , and on initial inspection I was a bit disappointed due to its poor original condition and the amount of poor quality touching up that had been done by the previous owners .
But once I started looking past and beyond that I saw a Reynolds frame with 531 main tubes , a mixture of golden arrow . 105 and 600 gears , 600 tricolour hubs laced to Ma40 rims , nice Miche aero seat post and the longest Cinelli stem I have even seen at 140 mm . I had a couple of short rides on it just to make sure it was working ok , which it was . And more of a surprise was the way it rode and felt which I was well impressed with .
This gave me a few tough decisions as initially I was tempted to remove all the components and sell the frame on . It seemed such a shame to leave such a nice frame in this way. Finally I removed all the components and used them on various other projects whilst I decided what to do with the frame . I had a few quotes to get it refinished but I am against destroying a bikes previous life and history by removing all that patina and replacing it with shiny new paint, plus the quotes I got were all over the £200 area by the time I shipped it to and from chosen company , which I could not justify .
So the frame has sat in the far corner of the garage since then awaiting to be given a new life or a new owner . I wanted to keep it so at the end of last month I decided to start collecting all the bits from around the garage to convert it in to a winterized single speed bike . These framesets were originally sold as winter training frames by Raleigh and this one finally has the chance of being somebody’s winter bike .
A single 48 toothed “custom” crankset with 165mm arms were fitted along with a set of low mileage “Specialized” black rimmed wheels that had an 18 toothed single speed conversion kit fitted ,that gives me a gearing of aprox 70”. A set of Shimano 105 calipers take care of the slowing down department operated by a set of Shimano exage levers on a set of Cinelli alloy drop bars along with the ugliest stem I have ever seen but it was the only one I had that put the bars in the right place for me comfort wise , the “ Miche” aero seat post was long gone and has been replaced by a “Charge” chopstick unit that I find are great to use as they give such a fine range of saddle angle adjustment .
The paintwork is best described as original with patina and is just at the stage that a lot of people would call scruffy but to me it’s not quite at that stage yet , and some of the poor touching up has been softened down with some careful cleaning but there is still a lot of cleaning to be done and if it comes up a bit better then it will have been worth doing .
The first test ride was a short mile and half gentle poodle around the estate I live on, this proved satisfactory . Since that ride I have used the bike as my commuting machine and made a few small adjustments to the set up so we are not far away from spot on for me .It still rides as well as it did the first time I rode it and on one of my early morning jaunts I averaged just over 16.5 mph on a 12 mile loop which I was impressed with as that is almost the same as a good day in a geared bike , so with a bit more man and machine bonding it might actually prove to be quicker as well as giving me a good work out on the uphill bits .