What is it about we humans imbuing inanimate objects with “personality”. We give objects importance. We have favorites, (bikes, guns, fishing rods, bats, gloves…” that seem to us to perform better than others for us. So we give them names and character and feelings.
I am currently working to restore, modify, so restomod is the word I suppose, a 1968 Raleigh Super Course. What’s that you say, you were not aware that the Super Course was made in ’68? Well according to the good folks at Bike Forums and my own research. It is likely the first year that it was made and furthermore this frame appears to be a Carlton Grand Prix rebadged as a Raleigh.
This was taken shortly after I got her. That saddle was from another bike and has since torn beyond repair, (sigh) it was a Wrights 34.
This bike is now forty years old and now that I have her (see, I did it there) back on the road I seem to get this “feeling” of joy, of happiness at being ridden again. This is the point I am trying to get at. I know with my “logical mind” that this is impossible. But logic has little to do with the emotions involved with riding.
On Sheldon Brown’s Retro Raleighs web site. (from which I got the images) There are catalogs (catalogues) from 1968 and 1969 that show this bike. The ’68 catalog lists the parts accurately with the exception of the crankset which is a Stronglight Model 93 and was either a shop upgrade or done by a previous owner. I lean toward the in shop scenario. It is also interesting to see that in ’69 the Super Course cost $110.00. The 1970 catalog lists different derailleur’s than mine has. One of the reasons that I believe that she is a rebadged Carlton is that the serial number #110536 is on the left rear dropout. Carlton is reported to do this but at that time Raleigh did not.
My plan for her is a “randonneur” type of kit. With full fenders and bags, she came to me with a little rack attached to the front brake that is for keeping a very large handlebar bag off of the wheel and or fender, which is what, gave me the randonneur idea. The paint is really rough. She seems to have been stored outside for at least some of her 40 years. Still there are some areas that the original coffee color can be seen. I am still trying to sort out how (or if) I will repaint her. It appears that the method used was transparent brown over a copper or bronze metallic.
As for the decals, they caused quite a stir on another forum. I did receive a graphic for the down tube Raleigh and I think I can make one for the seat tube from a picture of the headbadge. The top tube has Super Course in a script of some kind I might try to do a rubbing and see if I can get close. I’ll also need some sliver tape for the seat tube striping.
I am really excited about this project. I think that the beauty and grace that this bike displays is of the era it is from and something that some manufacturers are doing again, and either saying that it’s “new” or that they’re getting back some “nostalgia”.