A New-Old Bike

Last Sunday I went with my friend Whitney to take  a look at a vintage bike.

After a few saddle and stem adjustments, this 1972 Raleigh 3-speed was a perfect fit—a lighter, sportier complement to Whitney’s Jamis that should be able to cope with Nashville’s hills. This was my first time seeing/riding a Raleigh and I was amazed at how light and quick it was.

Whitney and her Raleigh

We celebrated with a brief vintage bike ride — brief because of intermittent rain and looming evening plans. Raleigh and Le Peug were a good match! Probably because they’re about the same age.

Vintage bike buddies

In other vintage bike news, I’ve suddenly become obsessed with getting an Ideale saddle for Le Peug. They seem to be very hard to come by—anyone have any tips?

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17 thoughts on “A New-Old Bike

    • Trisha says:

      Yeah, I’ve been keeping an eye out on eBay, but it seems like they’re either in really rough shape, really expensive (to the point where I think it would make more sense to just buy a new Brooks that I know will be in good shape) or have exorbitant shipping from France. Sigh. Maybe it will have to wait for my next overseas trip.

  1. cycler says:

    hmm, not sure I’d ever describe MY vintage Raleigh sports as “light” or “quick” I suppose it’s all relative…

    • Trisha says:

      I’m definitely talking relative. :) It was lighter than Le Peug (by a couple of pounds, not a massive amount) and MILES lighter than the Bat of course.

  2. GravelDoc says:

    I might suggest looking at the VeloOrange model 8 sprung leather saddle. This saddle has a very nice vintage look and is quite reasonable in price. I have one on my commuter bike and it is one of the most comfortable saddles I own.

    • dukiebiddle says:

      [Like] The VO #5 may (or may not) be better suited for the riding position on Le Peug. The VO website lists saddle widths, so it’d just be a matter of measuring the current saddle and choosing accordingly.

      I’m a strong proponent of suggesting people think twice before spending the money on a new Brooks. Yes, they’re excellent; but they’re top-of-the-line overkill for most bikes, especially if the majority (or all) of your riding is under 20 miles. I can understand overspending on one ‘if’ it historically accurate for the bicycle; but for a Peugeot it wouldn’t be. Even on my vintage Raleigh, the original saddle was a mattress saddle like the one Whitney’s above. It needed to be replaced, but going with a B-66 or B-67 would have been both historically inaccurate and absurd. I went with a Selle Royal Ondina instead, which is a much closer match to the original saddle and only costs ~$35.

      • Trisha says:

        Thanks DB. I’ve hesitated about the Brooks for both reasons you mentioned, though I think they’re gorgeous. Love my VO fenders so I’m glad to hear from you and GravelDoc that their saddles are also a good investment.

        • Trisha says:

          And…they’re on sale. Along with that front rack I’ve been eyeing. Very tempted!

          • dukiebiddle says:

            Yes, I almost got the VO #8 for my Raleigh; but since all of my rides on that bike are under 6 mile trips, I decided my butt could go even cheaper with a mattress saddle. ;) If Le Peug was my bike I think I’d go with the VO. It may not be a Brooks, but for the value I think it’s close enough.

  3. SM says:

    Congratulations to your friend for scoring the vintage Raleigh bike. I love mine as well. Though they are not the lightest bikes they certainly are not the heaviest even when loaded down with rack and panniers. I’m 5 1″ and have no probem with the handling. In regards to the VO saddles, I know someone who switched their Brooks B66 with a VO (not sure what model) for aesthetic reasons and they love it.

  4. Whitney says:

    The Raleigh is very photogenic. I, however, need a tan. Thanks for helping me out, Trisha!

    Halcyon is ordering me a new gear shifter, but soon we’ll have to go for a longer ride!

  5. Dottie says:

    I love the old Raleigh, so classy and timeless! This makes me want to get a vintage bike, but I’m so out of storage space. :)

  6. Sajendra says:

    I have a Raleigh sprite from that era (though in much rougher shape) and it rides great and is a lot of fun, even if it is a little heavy. Unfortunately a large pothole did enough damage to the wheels that I’m thinking to replace it and will look at something lighter and probably newer.
    That bike has definitely made me want to seek out more like it. I don’t know if it is the Raleigh build quality, or the bikes of that era.

  7. Matthew says:

    My ’69 Robin Hood (basically a Sports — same frame, wheels/Sturmey Archer hub, brakes, etc. — with a few lower-end parts and a cooler badge) is always my go-to bike for utilitarian town riding. Relatively light, nimble, and fast compared to their roadster and Dutch cousins, these bikes are also highly durable. I mean, my guy is 42 years-old and still behaves as if it were new. Another plus is that even though production of these bikes was stopped over 30 years ago, there’s a seemingly never ending supply of inexpensive, NOS parts for repairs. For example, I see her bike is missing a chain guard. She can find a vintage one for under 20 dollars, no problem. The US market was flooded with these bikes and their parts in the 60’s and 70’s. So for the price of a brand new cruiser out of a shop, you can buy a Raleigh-made three speed and fix it up with period correct parts — and it will last decades longer. As long as you keep the old AW hub oiled, it’s indestructible.

    As far as Ideale saddles are concerned, I think you can find a racing style (similar to a B-17) for a reasonable price, but anything appropriate for upright riding postures is going to be ridiculously expensive with no appreciable advantage over a Brooks. It’s going to be all about brand name and fashion, but there’s no point in not keeping an eye out. You never know, you might get lucky.

  8. Trisha says:

    Thanks. We’re keeping an eye out for a chain guard for Whit’s bike. I might end up going VO for my saddle though…

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