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Bert The Bike: 1976 Canadian-built Raleigh

Bert The Bike: 1976 Canadian-built Raleigh

(Actually written a week or so ago, but I had some trouble uploading the photos so held off posting it…)
While I was away in Nova Scotia for the past three weeks, something finally made its way to our garage. Yay!
Bert-the-Bike after a little TLC!

It was a gorgeous day today so I brought Bert out into the sunshine for some cleaning, installing bits and bobs, and documentation. I took the photo above at the end of the afternoon, after the addition of a black bell, a coffee holder (very important), the rear rack and the front rack. (Yes, the Wald front rack still needs to be attached to the front forks – I wasn’t brave enough to unscrew the nuts holding the front wheel on so I could finish the job.)

I had suspected that Bert was made in Canada based on the big white downtube sticker similar to Orange Gino’s – that hunch turns out have been correct. The serial number is RL6—–, which this excellent article at The Headbadge says corresponds to Canadian manufacture in August 1976 (or 1986?), and there’s also this nifty decal:

It reads, “MANUFACTURED IN CANADA BY RALEIGH INDUSTRIES OF CANADA LIMITED UNDER LICENCE FROM RALEIGH INDUSTRIES LIMITED”. This also might help to narrow down the date further – does anyone know when this language was used? Was it when TI or Derby owned Raleigh?

As you can see, I’ll need to do a little rust removal around the spokes, but not too much – the chrome is in pretty good shape. Both rims say:
26 x 1 3/8, MADE IN FRANCE, <>RIGIDA<> , CHROMAGE SUPERCHROMIX, <81>  45   26
Both tires say:
26 x 1 3/8 (inches), NYLON, IRC GUARANTY ROADSTER, INFLATE TO 55 PSI

Rear 3-speed hub after a rudimentary wipe-down: (in logo) 3S (stamped below) SHIMANO JAPAN F1. I’m so relieved it’s not a Shimano 333, which have a reputation for catastrophic failure, according to Sheldon Brown. I haven’t been able to find anything about pulling a date of manufacture off the 3S hub…
[update: although it appears that the hub isn’t original anyway, read on…]

The hub is not attached to the shifter at the moment; the threads on the little connectors (actually called a bell crank and cable adapter, according to what I found by comparing photos on eBay with what I have) appear to be stripped. Hubby is convinced that he can fix it by trimming off the stripped part of the bell crank; let’s say I’m skeptical. =) Park Tools have posted a good article on how to maintain and adjust Shimano hubs, but the shifter on Bert looks quite different from  the one in their photos (more like a metal Sturmey-Archer shifter), so I think Bert will need to make a visit to the LBS to get that looked at.


[Update: one trip to EBC (my local bike kitchen) later, we’ve figured out that that’s a Shimano male end (on a probably-not-original hub) and a Sturmey female end (probably original from the rust on the cord) in the photo above. No wonder they weren’t playing nicely. One of the mechanics (Alex, you’re wonderful!) macgyvered a Shimano end onto the shifter cord. Now we just need to repack the bottom bracket before we can ride.]

Some more beauty shots, and other details that may help to date the bike or distinguish it from its’ British and American cousins:

Raleigh heron chainwheel and cottered cranks with R nuts, obviously before I cleaned it.

These are Union pedals with yellow reflectors and the Raleigh symbol impressed into the treads; what you see here is the Union logo and Made In Germany stamped near the crank.

The Norco kickstand Bert came with. This might be original or a replacement. There are a zillion of these things in the parts room at EBC, and I strongly suspect that they were Canadian-made.


Raleigh-logo-stamped handbrakes, classic black (Dare?) handgrips, unmarked black vinyl metal pan saddle, silver United Cycle Sales & Service sticker above the big white R decal on the seat-tube.

The headbadge, which was missing a rivet, is just a flat bit of stamped metal, not the lovely brass of early years. I wonder if Canada was the only Raleigh plant that used the lines instead of location on the headbadge?

 Closeup of a decal. You can also see the gold pinstriping on the front fender.

Closeup of decal on rear fender. Nottingham, eh? Liars.

The replacement NOS Sturmey-Archer rear reflector after installation. This was a little finicky to screw on without removing the tire, but not too tricky for an amateur like me to handle.

The NOS 1960s English chromed rear rack after I installed it. Having the right wrench (a Raleigh/Phillips one, with all the English sizing) made this a fairly simple proposition. This rack was originally meant for Mary Poppins, but the shape of the attachments meant it fits much more securely on Bert’s fender stays. The brass screws are replacements for missing ones from the package, bought at a normal hardware store.

[20 June 2010 Edit: I got mine via eBay, but I just ran across a UK shop that also sells these NOS Steco chrome racks – and their photos include a good photo of the connectors if anyone is curious. I think they could be replaced with a different connector so you can connect to the frame for bigger loads.]

You can also see in this shot that Bert came with hardware for attaching a hockey-stick chainguard (there’s also a braze-on for it on the frame). Unfortunately the gorgeous chrome chainguard I got for Bert is actually for a 28″ bike, not a 26″ one. Grrrr.


Looking at all the above, I’m drawn to the conclusion that Bert was made in 1976, not 1986 – there are just too many standard Raleigh-UK parts there for him to be a child of the Eighties. What do you think?


I also had Mary Poppins out for some loving and a beauty shot. I gave her some new jewelry and a wipe-down, then took these photos:

With her saddlebag. Unfortunately the saddle springs are still borked.

Such a pretty girl! Her rear tire is completely flat and likely needs a new tube (at minimum).

1950s made-in-England chrome Miller bell, with patina intact and a wonderful sound.
Do Not Open Until Xmas

Do Not Open Until Xmas

(Written 20Nov09, but not posted until the wee hours of Christmas morning in the interest of keeping it a surprise…)

So, I got another vintage Raleigh on Kijiji, as a Christmas gift for my husband from our kids (it was actually their idea. Honest!). It’s in hiding in a friend’s garage, so I can’t check serial numbers (the article at The Headbadge and this scanned Raleigh 1970s serial numbers memo should be really useful when I do) or take further photos, but I can show you the ones I downloaded from Gord’s sales listing:

Mid-to-Late-1970s-era (based on the decal style) Raleigh 3-speed with two 36-spoke wheels. The rear hub is actually a Shimano, not a Sturmey-Archer. (Strange, yes? So, the wheels are possibly not original – although at some point (1990s?) Raleigh was no longer exclusively using Sturmey-Archer hubs according to this history by Tony Hadland.) The trigger shifter is unmarked, so likely came with the Shimano hub. There aren’t any braze-ons for a frame pump.

Is this a Tourist, Sports, Superbe, or Ltd frame? How does one tell?
Nice shot of the headbadge (missing a rivet, and with two lines at the bottom instead of a Nottingham or America location – anyone know if that tells me something about date or where it was made?) and the chrome nose on the front mudguard. The silver sticker above the white R decal says that at some point long-time local institution United Cycle had this one come through their shop.
The chrome will need a little work, but it’s in pretty good shape. The shifter cable needs to be reconnected to the 3-speed hub, and there’s a little rubbing noise from somewhere when you turn the crank. If those problems are beyond me, I’m told the fellows at RedBike are the men for the job, but I do want to do what I can myself first.

Boy, does that chain need cleaning. You can’t tell from this photo, but the cotterpins have R nuts on them, the pedals have the Raleigh crest, and that’s a Pletscher kickstand (which is going to get replaced with a Y kickstand that came off a 1970s Raleigh, for better stability when parked). I looove the heron chainwheel – so elegant. A replacement chromed NOS chainguard is en route (thanks to eBay), now if only I can source the clips to attach it:

Needs a replacement reflector, and I wonder if it’s possible to replace the Wrights plate (based on the 1973 Brooks-Wrights saddle catalogue I mentioned a few posts back, this is a Wrights pan saddle – page 48 – and they must have switched production from white PVC to black) that was torn off the saddle? 26-inch wheels mean it’ll be easier to fit a Wald 135 front rack and child seat on this bike than on my Mary Poppins. (My preference is for a Bobike Junior, with lap belt, footrests, jacket protector, and seat spring cover. Naturally, that will cost more than the entire rest of the bike combined. Sigh.)
As for a date, perhaps this nearly-identical ladies’ Raleigh being sold by an eBayer in Saskatchewan (a scant province away for you non-Canadians) can help: its Sturmey Archer hub dates it to 1979 or so.
Now taking nominations for names. Bert, perhaps, since it’s a consort for Mary? All the black bits *are* a bit chimney-sweep-ish…
[Update: Merry Christmas! So it wasn’t even close to being a surprise, thanks to some hints dropped by me and the kids – hubby’s a pretty smart cookie and had figured it out ages ago. It’s possible that I’m more excited than he is – but he is pleased. Waiting for the bike to be dropped off by our kind friend who’s been hosting it in his garage…]
[7 Jan, Update 2: Bert-the-Bike is still in our friend’s garage, but my husband has gone to visit and seen it in the flesh. It reminds him of his first bike (FTW!), and fits him perfectly (we’re close to the same height so that wasn’t much of a gamble). He says the tires are totally flat and it’s stuck in third gear, so hard to say how it rides. I am waiting anxiously to get at it with a camera and find out all the serial numbers and the specifics of the mystery hub, and making myself nervous about which hub it has and whether I’ll need a whole new-old wheelset for the restoration…]