Yet another raleigh - Part II

Continuing on from the previous story of the Raleigh Carlton Super course that I picked up off fleabay, I decided to do something a little different from my other bikes.  I took off the Shimano 600 gear and I decided to make it fixed gear.  When I say fixie I mean not necessarily fixed gear, but rather the trend of the appearance of a fixed gear track bike which has become popular in the last few years.

This is my first fixed bike, I'm well aware that the fixie craze reached saturation point a year or two ago.   The vast majority are used for commuting in the city and will never be ridden fixed or see within 10km of a velodrome, in the last few years practical things like mudguards and racks have been appearing on fixies.  It's a regression because it appears that most of these bikes are evolving to being what a Chinese peasant bike already does very well.  Cheap transportation. I simply don't get why you'd bother to go all the trouble to achieve the track bike look and then slap a freewheel on it and never ride it fixed - riding fixed is rather fun and rewarding.

  I'd always loved the look of Path racers.  The exact meaning of this has been debated since the beginning of time on cycling oriented forums around the world.  What I take it to mean is an older style bike - preferably pre WWII meant for racing on the track, what used to be known as path.  Most of these paths were quite rough and unsealed so relaxed seat and head angles and long wheelbases were predominant.  Also things like bolt-on seatstays, 7 shaped seatposts, big frames (by todays standards), ridiculous amounts of fork rake and wood rims are characteristic of this style.

I was partially inspired by the Pashley G'uvnor as well as the lads at Bishops cycles in NZ and the traditional British club bike.  Sadly I gave away the 50's roadster frame I did have, dammit I should have kept it and bent back the rear stays.  Still the Super course I had was reasonably old, but still had modernish geometry.  The head/seat angles are at 72/73º– or thereabouts.

These are the Sugino Super Mighty track cranks I found in the back of a dumpster truck, they have a little bit of wear from pedal rub...  Other than that they are pretty nice, 144BCD, 165 length perfect for this application.  The gearing is 44x18, which I find is perfect for commuting.  I haven't had any trouble climbing up any hills yet, although I have a 17t cog on order as I find I spin out the 18t on the flats when I'm going over 30km/h or so.

The bars I used are steel north road bars that I had lying around, they are the type which has the grips nearly parallel so they are not too dissimilar from albatross or moustache bars.  I quite like the grip they give you, it's a bit like riding in the drops all the time.

I previously had MAFAC centrepulls on it, however out of curiosity (and also because it's a Raleigh) I stuck a Weinmann 610 centrepull on it.  After riding with it for about 2 weeks I can certainly say they are a hell of a lot stiffer than the MAFACs.  The arms don't flex anywhere near as much because they are much thicker, the bridge is thicker and stronger too.  This means they don't need to be toed in anywhere near as much and you can pull on them harder to get stronger braking.  Also the arms take standard road brake pads which are easier to setup than the smooth post canti-style pads.

 So far the Brooks B17N that came with it hasn't broken, however I'm expecting it to do so soon.  I really enjoy riding this bike, however I know it's not the most practical or fast bike in my quiver.  It's really just a fun project.  I have ridden it with a Carradice Nelson bag on the back which made it a whole lot more practical.  If I was going to use this day to day, I definitely would leave the bag on there permanently and also fit mudguards and a rear brake.  However I already have three other bikes which can perform this role so it's probably better to keep this one as a fun bike.

Anyway that's all for now :)


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