Raleigh Twenty winter bike-to-be

Raleigh Twenty winter bike-to-be

Week before last, via Kijiji, I bought this slightly scruffy Raleigh Twenty folder for the very fair price of $160:

Grande Mocha

I believe it’s already made an appearance on the Raving Bike Field’s blog this spring, when he did work for its prior owner – I suspect he’s behind the sensible addition of KoolStop brake pads at the rear. It rides very nicely, with only the usual complaints that come with vintage steel three-speeds (weight, brake mushiness).

DSCF2693
Poor rusty lamp-bracket. This is *after* treatment with rust remover; clearly I need to break out the lemon juice and aluminum foil.

I read somewhere that the metallic root-beer-brown paint colour was actually called Coffee in Raleigh’s marketing pamphlets – so I’ve decided to name this feisty little bike “Grande Mocha”. Because, you know, irony. 

steel rims - you can read the SA factory stamp pretty clearly in this shot
steel rims – you can read the SA factory stamp pretty clearly in this shot
rear hub, Sturmey-Archer AW stamped 75 6
rear hub, Sturmey-Archer AW stamped 75 6 = June of 1975 manufacture
Most decals are as sun-faded as this one on the rear fender.
Most decals are as sun-faded as this one on the rear fender.
Alberta Cycle sticker and "Made In England" ghost image
Alberta Cycle sticker and “Made In England” ghost image
A perfectly preserved patent decal behind the chainwheel.
A perfectly preserved patent decal behind the chainwheel.

You’ll remember that I was originally thinking of getting a modern Twenty-clone (the lovely Bobbin Shopper, which now comes with a very useful-looking front porteur rack and basket), and Marathon Winter studded tyres to swap on for winter riding – since in my neighborhood the sidewalks and MUPs are much better maintained than the roads in winter. In addition to local winter R20 posts from Raving Bike Fiend, and Coreen’s posts about the Polar Porta BikeChicargobike’s R20 post now notes in comments that he’s fitted Marathon Winters and finds it ideal for winter conditions. So, I’m sold on the idea of using this R20 as my winter ride. 

From the looks of the paint and decals, and the rust on the chrome, I’d say Grande has spent a little too much time outside soaking up the rays – but that’s perfect, since I’d feel like I need to treat a pristine R20 too nicely for winter use.

It’ll also make a great riding partner for the Dawes that RBF is rebuilding for my daughter (which I’m sure he’ll write about in detail sooner or later). Meanwhile, when we went for a ride around our neighborhood today, my daughter rode the R20 with the seat in the lowest position, and really enjoyed it. (I rode my DL-1 Eliza.)

On the MUP just west of Rabbit Hill Road
On the MUP just west of Rabbit Hill Road
photo (38)
They’re nearly done building the new spray park in South Terwillegar.photo (39) photo (40) photo (41) 

Here’s what Grande Mocha will need to become my winter grocery-getter: lights and reflectors; front/rear racks/panniers/baskets for cargo; Marathon Winter studded tyres (20 x 1.6); likely a comfier seat, since it still has the original Brooks vinyl mattress saddle; and replacement handles, because the original white rubber ones are so hard (maybe Velo Orange’s cork ones?). Depending on how I feel about the braking, I might decide to upgrade wheels and brakes down the road, but for now I think I’ll leave them as-is. I’ll also need replacement summer tyres soon, since the rear tyre is starting to crack.

Question for my fellow Raleigh Twenty owners: do you have aftermarket rack recommendations for me?

One thought on “Raleigh Twenty winter bike-to-be

  1. A rear rack for a 26 inch mountain bike fits well and allows for modern panniers and lacing up new alloy hoops to the stock hubs will improve the braking a good deal (you should take my wheel building class). Will be getting the colour samples from the powder-coater today too… 🙂

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