Raleigh Royal 1986

Last night I picked up what looks to be a very nice and original 1986 ish Raleigh Royal from the early 80’s.

Upon quick inspection it looks like it just needs a good lube service along with some new cables and brake pads to go along with the already replaced tyres which were good tread wise but the front side wall was a bit too cracked for my liking . My initial 4+ mile return commute seems to confirm the above statement .

Raleigh Royal

The paintwork is very clean and tidy for a bike that is around 30 years old and looks to be of a standard showroom specification. This will be a work at it as I go along project I think for the vast majority of the required work, starting with a clean and re grease of the headset bearings. Whilst the forks are out they will get a good thorough polishing on the paintwork and chrome work . The front wheel spokes will get a light rubbing down with some wire wool to remove the tarnishing that has taken place on the galvanized items, once that has been done the hub will get a bit of attention along with some cleaning and fresh grease .

Raleigh Royal ForkP

Next up will be the brake cables as they feel a bit slow on the return at the moment, once they are done new brake pads will also be fitted to give the bike a bit more stopping power . Next up will be the drive train, first of all the chain will get a bit of a cleaning to see what it looks like although in the long run I might just fit a new chain and give the rear gear block and jockey wheels a bit more of a clean . The rear wheel spokes also need a bit of de-tarnishing whilst both rims could do with some polish and elbow grease .

Raleigh Royal Rear Wheel

By the time all the above has been done it should be ready to roll. All it will need is someone to take ownership and use accordingly, it would make an ideal bike for the 2015 L’erioca

My Carlton Pro Am

Aprox 18 months ago I swapped a nice little Swinnerton road bike for a completely stripped Carlton pro am12.


It was initially pushed to one side to wait its turn amongst my other current projects , well a couple of weeks ago it finally reached the top of the pile , and the rebuild started .



The paintwork was left untouched along with all its original patina from over 30 years of use , which I feel is the best approach rather than going for a complete repaint and losing all its originality in one fell swoop . I wanted to try and keep it as near as standard as possible so retained original gear mechanisms and levers along with brake calipers and levers , handlebars , stem and seat post .

The original crank set had long gone so the nearest one I had in my parts box was used , this being a slightly more modern stronglight set that I feel does not look out of place . The original wheels were used on a much earlier project of mine so a hunt through my stock of wheels gave me a choice of sprint & tub wheels or a mixed age set of clincher style wheels , I have decided at the moment to use the clinchers but might change my mind yet .

The build included new bottom bracket , 7 speed block , chain , cables all round , a pair of Vittorio Zaffiro tyres , cleaned and re greased wheel and headset bearings along with both wheels being re trued where required . I am afraid to say the vast majority of this work was carried out by local bike shop C E Adkins and then I finished it all off .

Its initial test ride was a successful one with the only issues being found were the front mechanism stops wanting a slight tweak and a very noisy rear brake which squealed rather loudly when applied , but then what can you expect as when removed the pads looked like they were the original pads !


At the moment I have covered a grand total of 12 miles so it is early days but I can say it rides very nicely and I am looking forward to putting a few more miles on it .

This was sold aprox 1 year ago but thought i would share it again


Is it me or are there a shortage of smaller sized Vintage road bikes ?

All I have seen for sale over the last few weeks on the internet, that I like the look of have either been 23” or 58cm sized frames or above.

For whatever reason I know from experience that I can normally get away with just being able to ride up to 23.5” or 59cm sized framed bikes more so if 27” wheeled machines .

My 2nd Ian May

My buying and selling of a bike is normally limited to retro road bikes from the 70’s & 80’s with the occasional newer machine joining the stock list , so that limits my choice for fresh stock to start with never mind being limited to size restrictions as well .

In an ideal world I think a 21.5” or 22.5” framed bike would be best for me , out of my current collection of bikes both of my Soens fall in to that size area and I find both of those machine extremely comfy and pleasurable to ride . The inch difference can make a huge difference in level of comfort for the rider , some people are always saying to me buy smaller sized frames and bring saddle stem up to compensate along with a longer stem to push the bars away to help with the reach issue . These are both true and I have tried them both a couple of times and yes it does work , but sometimes they can make the bike look a bit silly .


I can understand why bikes built to an individual customers needs are a lot more expensive when compared to an off the peg machine. However, I am guessing that the extra costs are offset in terms of comfort level in riding a bike that is built to suit rather than riding a bike that is adjusted to suit . I would also think that a lot of these made to measure machines change hands a lot cheaper than on the 2nd hand market than they should do as well . It must be nice being able to specify what levels of equipment you want fitted never mind choosing colour schemes .

Roy Thame

Ok most new off the peg bikes offer a couple of choices in colour schemes and associated finishing kit , firms like Trek offer the choice of being able to customize a complete bike build but only on a limited range of top end models . I have had a couple of plays on the Trek systems, and boy, you can have some weird colour schemes that would certainly make your bike more individual .It wasn’t long ago that the only choice you had on tyres were black or tan side walls and tread pattern was always black across the complete area. Whereas now you can have complete coloured tyres or just coloured side walls , loads of different styles of handlebar tape and coloured saddles which can all make your bike more individual than the one next door.

Trekking Bike

I Sold a nice Raleigh Royal frameset a couple of weeks ago made with Reynolds 708 tubing , my main reason for selling it was the fact it was only a small sized frame and the market is not always strong for small sized frames so when somebody offered me a good price it just had to go .

I am now left with all the components I took off it as the new owner only wanted the frameset. After using the bike for commuting on for a week I can vouch for all the components being in working order . My first thought is to keep an eye open for a nice Dawes Galaxy frameset from the mid 80’s with canti brake bosses or in fact any other suitable frameset at a very good price and in nice clean condition but it has to take 700c wheels and have a 130mm rear spacing .


In the past I have managed to source some very nicely made Italian road bike frames and my understanding is the same firm do offer a suitable frame to take all the above componentry , so I am awaiting to see what other frames they have to offer me and I might take one of them to build up myself and see what it is like as a day to day “ tough” commuting bike or trekking bike .

1980's Dawes Galaxy

My normal love as I think most are aware are retro steel road bikes and ideally either Reynolds or Columbus tubing to give them a nice positive feeling ride , the other alternative is a “ Tange” tubed frame . So that is my plan reality could be totally different , depending on what is out there on the open market at a good price in nice condition .

It is to be built with either a 3 x 7 or 8 speed set up and possibly controlled by brifters rather than Sti’s mounted on either flat or butterfly bars , a nice pair of 28” wheels with smooth road tyres of a medium (28 )width rather than a wider (42) width with a more chunky tyre tread .

So watch this space and see what happens

Makes You Realise

Not sure how many people are aware but 1 week in 3 , i start at 9 am instead of 8 am and on that week I normally try and get out for a ride before going in to work .

Well this week is my “late” week and so far I have not done an early am ride at all , Mondays excuse was I needed to finish off swapping lights , saddle and guards from one bike to another one , so I had just under the hour in the garage doing the above tasks .

Pink Mercian

This morning’s plan was to get up just after 6am and go and do a 11 mile loop ride before coming home again and then going off to work for 9 am , well ok I was awake just before 6 am no issue . I looked out the bedroom window to get an instant on the spot weather forecast and I could see it was drizzling just enough and at that I decided to get back into bed and have a cuddle rather than go for a ride on the bike .


And then the next thing it is just after 7 am and the last hour had passed whilst I snoozed , looking outwards from my lying down position in bed I could see the sky was starting to look a bit lighter , upon getting out of bed and walking round to the bedroom window I could see the drizzle had stopped yes it was damp but not raining . The annoying thing is if I went out for my ride then I would struggle to get to work by 9 am if there was any problem on my ride although if no problem struck then I would should have been home just after 8.15 and that would give me ample time for a shower and some breakfast before trundling off to work .

I know the above is a very lame excuse but it’s the only one I have to offer , it just means my monthly miles are at a low level compared to where I would like them to have been . I will just have to try and get a few rides in as often as I can for the rest of the week and over the weekend and do as many miles as I can .

A cyclist called Steve Abrahams has set out to break Tommy Simpsons record of covering 75,065 miles in 365 days and has to cover on average over 205 miles per day , now that in itself is no mean feat but to do it every day for a whole year seems crazy . I now a lot of cyclist cover over 200 miles a month but to do it every day leaves me full of admiration for him . With just over 61 days covered he has covered a total of 11482 Miles where as Simpson had covered 9542 Miles in the same time span .

Below is a link to Steve’s web site which gives a lot more detail of this challenge , its well worth a look and it made me realise how little miles I actually do !

Progress So Far

Well its nearly the end of February and so far this year I have recorded a total of 364 cycling miles.

Although this is no great amount , I am more than happy with this figure considering it’s only early in the year and it’s a big improvement on last year’s figure of 232 miles for same time period . My target for this year is a simple one , it’s to improve on last year’s total of 2266 miles yet still enjoy those extra miles . The back bone of my miles are commuting ones at just over 6 miles a day for 4 days a week on average any extra miles are normally done whilst the rest of ours and many other households are still in bed .


As the year rolls on and the weather improves I would like to think I will be out doing more early morning rides than I have been doing just lately . I would like to think a weekly average of 60 – 70 miles a week is well within my grasp especially as the mornings get lighter . At the moment I tend to be riding the same route on most rides but then saying that there are a couple of extensions I can add to the route that would increase it up to 20 miles easily . I have another route ready but waiting till I can ride it in daylight to see where all the potholes are , so I can try and remember their location when I trundle around the next time in the dark .

So far this year I have used the following bikes Ian May the 2nd , Jim Soens , Raleigh Royal , Olmo and the recently sold Hardisty . Well as of this weekend the Olmo will sprout a set of SKS race blades to help winterize it ready to be used as the main stay commuter of the fleet till I either sell it or decide to have the seized seat post surgically removed . With the recent decision that Ian May the 2nd is too big to warrant being kept just for the sake of it along with the re arrival of the Blue Soens back in the fleet with some extra gears to help my weary legs push it along .


The main reason I enjoy commuting by bike and doing some short leisure rides is to help with my fitness level , save money by not using the car as much and also it gives me a good chance to test my bikes before I put them up for sale . After all, I cannot expect to sell a used bike if I can’t say it has been proven and tested . All of the bikes I offer for sale have normally been tested for a minimum of 100 miles by myself over a mixture of short daily commutes and longer early am rides .

Why do I test my bikes before offering them for sale I hear you ask ? Well simple answer is I want my customers to get a product that I know I would be happy to purchase , the majority of any mechanical work that is required on my sales bikes is carried out by Local Bike Shop C E Adkins in Wellingborough who I have a very good working relationship with .

The below Carlton Corsair was taken into them for the bottom bracket , wheel bearings , headset and a general once over before I did the more mundane fitting of new tyres and brake pads and cables where required . It was then used by me during November and December as my main commuting bike . It’s an ideal bike for using as a commuting machine or even retro touring and would be ideal for Erioca Britannia 2015 .

Carlton corsair & Apollo 002

If the above bike is what you are looking for please feel free to contact me on biggs682@hotmail.com or if not please feel free to advise me of your needs and I will see what I can offer you.

To B17 Or Not To B17

For some strange reason or another the word Brooks can have the same effect on cyclists as Marmite does on a lot of people .

I know I don’t like Marmite but on the other hand I don’t ever remember trying it !

I have tried Brooks saddles a few times mainly B17’S and B67’S the strange sensation of riding on a saddle that moved on the springs as I rode was one sensation I didn’t enjoy at all . The various B17’s have been comfy enough and look the part on the vast majority of bikes but also on the other hand I have felt they looked a bit too big and cumbersome against the svelte lines of some road bikes .

Brooks b17

About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with having an enlarged prostate , so began searching what if any saddles were recommended with this condition as quite a lot of articles warned about the danger of cycling with this condition . I contacted a few saddle company’s to see what there view was and what options they offered . Charge came back saying they were aware of the issue but as of then none of the saddles they offered were deemed to be Prostate friendly , I also got a similar answer from Brooks although they did offer a B17 with a channel cut out to alleviate pressure for long distance cyclists . The only company who offered a full range seem to have been Selle Smp and looking at their website it showed that a lot of research had been done by them on this issue .

I also found a few other companies were offering totally nose-less saddles but these all seemed to be aimed at the “ time trial” market rather than the leisure cyclist that I classify myself as . Plus in all fairness the general appearance of these just looked a bit strange to me .

Rido Saddle

I finally decided that a Selle Smp product was the way forward but just what model was the next hard decision , my partner and I decided that it was worth paying for whichever one I decided on as they vary in price from £40 to well over £150 each depending on what model I chose . Some of the more basic versions offered a more padded saddle than some others but seeing as I liked a firm saddle they were straight out of the question . I finally decided on the Lite 209 model but seeing the price of these I contacted the UK importers as they offered a free trial period . Due to the weather this trial period was extended and I soon decided this was a comfy saddle and ideal for my needs , so ordered two of them , one in red and one in black .


The only hurdle I have come against in using these saddle is the normal little saddle bags that attach to the seat rails would not on these, but hey I can live with that problem . One of these saddle’s have been ridden almost every day since they were fitted as I try to use my bike every day for commuting duties and leisure rides and at the weekend .

I would quite happily recommend the Selle smp range to anybody that asks about what saddle to use no matter if they have enlarged prostate or not . I have been well and truly impressed with the comfort and durability offered by these fantastic saddles . They still look as good as the day I took them out of the box