Immediately after we signed up for Eroica Britannia, the hunt for an appropriate bike started. One big issue for both me and Ale was to find a large enough frame (we are both around 190cm tall). Apparently in the 70s and 80s people were a bit shorter than nowadays.
As usual, Ebay is your friend when looking for old stuff (we tried Gumtree but with little success). As I mentioned in my previous post, we are on a budget so we decided to buy an old, crappy bike, fix it, ride it and then sell it afterwards (or at least that’s what we promissed our wives). I was keen to find a 70s bike, but eventually settled for a 1983 Raleigh Record Sprint 12 (the catalogue where it is described can be found here). It wasn’t a particularly good bike at the time (it is made of Reynolds 501 butted tubes, not the lightest, and pretty average components), but the fact that it has a Campagnolo groupset (only the 1983 model mounts Campy, from 1984 on they switched to Shimano or Suntour) and “gold” details made it rare and quirky enough to attract my attention. The rear derailleur is Campagnolo 980, where “980” stands for September 1980, the month it was introduced and also the month and year I was born, so it seemed to be a reason good enough to buy it! So 125£ and a train trip to Kent on a cold Saturday morning and there it was, my Eroica ride ready for some (a lot of…) TLC.
First step in the renovation process was to take the bike apart and decide what to keep and what to change. I wanted to keep it as original as possible, and also spend as little as possible to make it road worthy. Surprisingly I found very little rust on the frame itself, which was a good reason not to spend a lot of money to repaint it (although it did cross my mind). Stickers are in a very poor state, so I might look into replacing them, but I still haven’t found them (I could only find stickers for later models which are different).
Bottle cage, mudguards, cables, chain, tyres and the horrible 90s saddle all went. I decided to keep the outer cables because they are “gold” and I couldn’t find anything like it.
Probably the most disgusting part was the spongy-foamy stuff they put on the handlebar instead of proper tape, took me a while to remove it since it was very sticky.
There were also a couple stickers on the frame that showed it was used in the BHF London to Brigthon 1985 and probably 1984, further proof it is old enough for the Eroica.
All in all, a lot of stubborn dirt everywhere, but nothing some elbow grease and Muc-off bike cleaner couldn’t remove. The conditions of the bike were good considering it must have been stored in a barn for quite some time. All bolts were freed from most of the rust by leaving them in vinegar overnight, and components brushed and cleaned.
In the next post, rebuilding starts.