Week before last, via Kijiji, I bought this slightly scruffy Raleigh Twenty folder for the very fair price of $160:
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).
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.
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 Bike, Chicargobike’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.)
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?