1973 Raleigh Professional

I picked up this Pro as it had low mileage and was a good deal for a complete bike. A few tings I noticed when I received it were that it had been "upraded" to the first generation of Shimano Dura Ace brakes with very nice Shimano 600 non-aero brake levers. The rear rim was pretty much toasted and the original GB bars had been replaced with Cinelli. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get the larger Cinelli bars into a 3TTT record stem, so the bars were quite scarfed up on one side. The bike had the original Brooks Pro saddle, but it was the standard Pro, not the large-rivet Team Pro, as called for in the specifications. I have seen this saddle as original equipment on another Pro of this year, so I guess it was a common substitution. Perhaps Brooks had trouble delivering the Team Pro, due to the extra handwork of peening the rivets. At any rate, I replaced the above mentioned parts with period-correct replacements. I had another AVA rim, so I relaced the rear wheel with it. I had picked up a rare NOS 3TTT Record stem in the 85 mm length, which is perfect for me on this bike. I matched it to a set of 3TTT bars that have been hanging up in the basement for 20 years or so. Now I know why I had hung onto them for so long!

The bike rides like a dream. Like the trailer trash that it is, it's been kicked around some and generally poorly used for such a diamond in the rough. It is nicely tarted up with gold pinstriping all around and my aging eyesight tends not to notice all those filemarks below the chrome. But it has that nice feel of a classic British road bike. It is an excellent climber, yet a predictable handler with its long fork rake and 73 degree angles. Frame builders will scoff, but that fastback Victor seat cluster really does seem to make the bike quite stiff in the rear triangle. Now if my butt can outlast the break-in period of that Brooks saddle, I'll be all set.

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Last edited 4/20/2004