Frank's Raleigh Twenty build

Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
So here we go, this is not a restoration by any means, just an attempt at turning an old, unwanted Raleigh icon into something useful - an itch that needed scratching. Here's what I brought over from the UK:

It's from a 1977 Raleigh Shopper, a Solitaire model to be exact, and this is the year I left school to begin my engineering apprenticeship.
It shows the new BB cartridge already installed, and i chose this as the first mod as it was the trickiest and most likely to go wrong.
Raleigh in their wisdom used 26tpi threads for both BB shells and on the fork, the industry standard being 24tpi. The story I heard is they thought themselves too big to be dictated to in any way. Some choose to keep everything original, but I have another one back in UK which will stay as is. This one seemed ripe for some tinkering, and it only cost a fiver.

My cunning plan was to convert the BB to 24tpi, but not buying taps - how can do?

Some cup and ball parts off a 24tpi bike are easily hacked into taps, and although a bit brutal they re-threaded a treat, and deeper as well. They need to be deeper as the BB shell is 76mm wide, instead of 68mm - what were Raleigh thinking? So, after rethreading, I sliced off a few mm from the drive side, and tried the new BB cartridge for fit - perfect. The plastic non drive side collar had too many threads on it, but used a steel one from another old cartridge BB - good to keep stuff eh. Here it is close up:

Notice too the built in kick stand - nice feature - they got something right.

If this didn't go right, plan B was to fit a threadless BB, this would also require getting the BB shell length down to 68mm, and beveling the inside to accomodate the shoulder part where they mate up. Cartridge BBs are a bit less fussy on BB shell length, the non-drive side collar caters for some variation.
The tap hack is useful for cleaning out BB threads, they seem to me a magnet for all sorts of crud, so are a handy addition to the toolbox. More later.....
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
Was hoping to use the original fork, but looks like cannot. I'm a fan of balloon type tyres, and the ones I plan to use here are 2.1" wide - the fork will take 1.75" I think, but only just. Shame - it's an elegant looking fork. Pondered trying to cold set it to give more clearance, but think I'd only end up wrecking it, so I'll keep it for something else. Anyhow's - this one will do for now, left over from another project - a cut down 26" fork with V-brake bosses. Might be able to get some rattle can paint same colour to match, if not Matt black as contrast:

Next, the dropouts needed a little filing, Raleigh used the old 3/8" axles:

I thought internal cable routing was a fairly new thing, but Raleigh were doing it on this one - brake, gear and rear dynamo cable all routed through the frame:


I've added a new headset, the old one was loose bearings on the lower, and a nylon bush on the upper - saved Raleigh a ha'penny I expect. The locally bought headsets look very similar to those replaced, and have caged bearings - much easier to service.
Here's how it looks thus far:

Pleased that the chain line was spot on without any fiddling, just spoke adjustment to centre the wheel. The crankset was bought locally for around 12 quid new - quite a bargain. I like the spider ones with detachable rings - give you more options on chain line. The wheels are just spare ones that are lying around. The pedals were for a different project, but they'll do for now. Seatpost I brought over from UK - came off an old bike back there. The seatpost clamp........Shhhh - swiped from Mrs Crank's bike.........that she never uses.........
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
Oh dear, more nonconformity, and this time I can't blame Raleigh. The fork I was gonna use to replace the original one has a weird steerer tube internal diameter. Have tried 3 different stems and none will fit - the hole is too small. Came off one of Halfords own brand clunkers as I recall, the stem is probably kicking around in the shed back in UK. Will pick up another fork in BKK Chinatown, got a favourite bike shop there and I'm due a visit, will have to weld some brakes studs to it most likely. Not to worry, it was all going a bit too easy I suppose. Picked up some tyres at Decathlon today, they're the same as the ones in UK, but half the price, being as they're made in Thailand. Got a couple of tubes as well, local brand that are the best I've come across for holding air............
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
Managed to get the rear tyre on today, and it fits, but only just, about 2mm of frame clearance each side.
Luckily this tyre runs fairly true, a lot seem to run wonky no matter what you try and do:

The wheels it came with were classed as 20", but had 451 rims (with skinny tyres) instead of the more common 406.
A conversion to 406 rims with chunky BMX tyres gives you much the same overall diameter, so it stands at the same height more or less.
I found a different seat post and clamp amongst the spares bin - gonna run with silver rather than black, in keeping with all the chromed steel that was originally on the bike.

Anyone who's ever lifted one of these bikes in it's original spec will know how unbelievably heavy they are! Watched a promotional video made in the Raleigh factory in the forties, and the catch phrase was 'Raleigh, the all steel bike' - and they weren't kidding. When I stripped this one down to the frame there was not one alluminium part.

Some models did come with a Pletscher rear rack, which was ally, but mine had a steel one unfortunately. Will try and track one down some time.

The R20's came in so many variants as well, it's as though they were going through the parts store and just using up whatever came to hand. Despite the heft, and crudeness of build, they do have a certain naive charm about them.

Will head into BKK tomorrow and get a fork and some brake parts.........
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,080
Location
Nottinghamshire England
Anyone who's ever lifted one of these bikes in it's original spec will know how unbelievably heavy they are! Watched a promotional video made in the Raleigh factory in the forties, and the catch phrase was 'Raleigh, the all steel bike' - and they weren't kidding. When I stripped this one down to the frame there was not one alluminium part.
You missed the point Frank....

All steel was telling you there was no cast iron it it ! I am not joking :)

Anyway you are doing a sterling job and it will both pretty and useful when done :)

I assume you have seen the God's page on the Twenty ? Sheldons take on the R20

regards Paul
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
Yes indeed Paul, have perused what the oracle and countless others have to say on R20's. I'm sure some here might have owned old Minis in the past, I had two of them, and that's what I liken the R20 to. Both the Mini and R20 are perfect blank canvases waiting to be customized, renovated, pimped or blinged - everything you do to them is an improvement! The other thing I like (R20 that is) is they're not a precious antique that you'd be afraid to tamper with - but something that's cheap as chips. The one I'm working on over here was a fiver, the one back in UK was twenty quid. Heh heh - you get a lot of steel for your money......
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
Got myself another fork, first thing is to add some V-brake bosses. Hacked the ones of the old fork (no use with odd sized steerer) :


Next, position them for welding on the new fork:


And welding complete:


A spray over with matt black and job done:


The completed bike thus far, ready for some test rides:


And a couple of close-ups:




Will run it with just the front brake for now, fine for round these parts. May later add V-brake bosses to rear, or may go for coaster so as not to spoil the paintwork. Had to chop about 1.5" off the head tube to get the fork to fit, but the extra long gooseneck is just the right height at full extension - was a bit worried about that one. Had a quick ride around the block already, and those fat tyres sure give a plush ride. Might fetch over the colour-coded mudguards from UK, if shortened a bit would look good I think. That's it for now.....
 

Twinkle

Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
3,560
Location
Peacehaven nr Brighton, Sussex ,UK
Looking good Frank , 3 speed coaster hub would really make it, but not needed where you are as it's so flat.
Nice alternative to the junkers sold in the supermarkets today and proof as these have already stood the test of time.

Regards Emma
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
You're right there Emma, they've certainly stood the test of time. OK, I've been mocking Raleigh quite a bit in this thread, but it was tongue in cheek (mostly). This Twenty is from '77, and to me it's a reflection of what was going on with British engineering at that time. When I started my apprenticeship this same year, the writing was already on the wall for which way it was all heading, and the glory days were all long gone. British Leyland are another example of how bad things had got. I think Raleigh took their eye off the ball, it happens when you become too complacent and unable to keep up with the times, and ultimately the threat from the far east.

As to the build it self, would definitely do another, a really fun little project, and a useful relic to treasure and enjoy..........
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
2,457
Location
Apple Valley, California, USA
Your use of TIG keeps the desire alive, to get into TIG welding myself.

I have a need to get 'indoors' to weld.....just too much wind going on here.

A reminder please.

What welder are you using?

How long has it been now ?
Pro's and Con's..Likes & Dislikes
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
Hi Ed,

It's a very basic TIG box, Chinese made and bought locally, unlikely you'd find the same brand over your way?
It does 160 amps, no pulsing, no foot pedal, about as basic as it gets. You can do stick welding also, think most TIG boxes do both.
Some find it difficult to coordinate two hands, others take to it. I couldn't do my projects any other way, and have the box a few years now.
Can you have a try first to see if you like it? My neighbour bought a TIG box a couple of years back and hardly ever uses it - he prefers stick.
The main plus is complete control of the weld, no dislikes that I can think of, but in UK the cost would of argon would be a downer.......
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
2,457
Location
Apple Valley, California, USA
Hi Ed,

It's a very basic TIG box, Chinese made and bought locally, unlikely you'd find the same brand over your way?
It does 160 amps, no pulsing, no foot pedal, about as basic as it gets. You can do stick welding also, think most TIG boxes do both.
Some find it difficult to coordinate two hands, others take to it. I couldn't do my projects any other way, and have the box a few years now.
Can you have a try first to see if you like it? My neighbour bought a TIG box a couple of years back and hardly ever uses it - he prefers stick.
The main plus is complete control of the weld, no dislikes that I can think of, but in UK the cost would of argon would be a downer.......
Thanks Frank

Trying it first, is how I got hooked on MIG, thanks to Bruce aka. Darnthedog. He lent me his MIG welder.

Before his passing, I talked with him about his welder, but found that it had been stolen.

I really would like to have a go, with one.
I'll have to check around, maybe someone I know has one, or knows who does.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,080
Location
Nottinghamshire England
It's a very basic TIG box, Chinese made and bought locally, unlikely you'd find the same brand over your way?
It does 160 amps, no pulsing, no foot pedal, about as basic as it gets. You can do stick welding also, think most TIG boxes do both.
Same as mine R-Tech 160




Some find it difficult to coordinate two hands, others take to it.
Easy not having to learn foot pedal as well :) also foot pedal hard to use when kneeling etc

The main plus is complete control of the weld, no dislikes that I can think of,
Amen to that
but in UK the cost would of argon would be a downer.......
No dead cheap no rental and about £28 for a 10 litre refill with IIRC £80 bottle deposit returnable if you hand a within date bottle in
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
...here's a pic of mine:


It is in fact a 200A, the brand is Rilon, and most I've used is around 70A.

R-Tech have a good reputation, worth checking out if have in the States.

Rilon have a main distribution place half hours drive from my house, they stock all the spares, and friendly staff. Spares availability might be a consideration. Mine needed one spare part in the 6 years or so of ownership.

I have 2 auto helmets that don't work with TIG, one being a 4 sensor fairly expensive one, specific for TIG, both flash the whole time. They work fine for stick, and expect MIG also. Could be cos of the ambient light being higher in the tropics, but don't really know - tried lots of things but no joy. Would suggest you try out a helmet before purchase to make sure it works. I now use a basic 'noddy' and no issues with that :)

Another plus with TIG is being able to weld thin stuff - have done 0.85mm tubes with mine.

One issue I had a couple of years back was rats chewing the cables - the buggers. You may or may not suffer from rats!

Shame you didn't inherit DTD's old kit - he'd be smiling down now knowing it was being put to good use.........
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,080
Location
Nottinghamshire England
...here's a pic of mine:


It is in fact a 200A, the brand is Rilon, and most I've used is around 70A.
In the UK my machine @ 160 amps is the biggest you can plug into a domestic 13 amp socket , houses here can have feeds up to 45 amps however they tend to be devices permanently wired in like cookers/showers and not sockets ?

regards Paul
 
Top