Thursday, December 01, 2022

Bikes Of 2022: Raleigh Gran Sport Fixie

 It's the end of the year and time to review what's up with the bikes I used over the course of 2022. You'll get a brief overview, any changes made, and what the future has in store for each bike listed. Enjoy!

Raleigh Gran Sport Fixie:

 Recently I was asked in the comments about the possibility of showing off every bike I own in a series or one post (!!!), which I can understand the appeal for that. However; to me that comes off as a bit of grandstanding and it just hits me a bit wrong. 

But this series kind of shows off most of my bikes, so it's serving a purpose, I suppose, in satisfying some of your curiosity out there. Of course, that means that some of my bicycles get overlooked (and unused, since they don't all appear in these End-Of-Year posts), which still leaves some of you wanting. Well, today I have one for you that typically hasn't been on the blog all that much. 

It's a bicycle I was gifted by my former boss at Europa Cycle and Ski. It was a trade-in on a new bike, but this was too old for the used bike category at Europa. It was a completely intact Raleigh Gran Sport 10 speed bike replete with a leather saddle and plastic Simplex bits. 

The hope was, from my boss' perspective, that I'd restore it, not that it needed much, and ride it as-is. Well, that wasn't going to happen! I immediately had the plan to turn this into a 'rat-rod fixie', the sort of bike we'd set up often back in the day for those few riders that eschewed the indoor scene of cycling, such as it was then, but would rather plug along all winter on a bike they'd not worry about exposing to the harsh Winter elements. 

I had that bike switched over lickety-split and rode it to work shortly afterword. My boss was dismayed! Ha! But this has been my "short-range" errand bike ever since. It hasn't changed much at all in the nearly 20 years since then. I installed fenders fairly early on, and the guitar-shaped pedals were installed early on since they were a gift from one of you blog readers out there back in the day. 

I did change the brake levers not long ago, and other than that, a change in bar tape here and there is really all I've done to this bike over the years. At the very beginning I swapped the original steel drop bar for a rare Origin 8 Gary Bar (version 1), and the 27" steel wheels were exchanged for some cast-off 700c wheels from Europa's refuse pile. The brakes, head set, bottom bracket, cottered crank set, and chain were retained. New cables and housings were installed on the brakes, since those old white vinyl housings the bike had come with were totally weather-checked. 

Interestingly, I still have the original leather saddle, (it's currently on another, unused bike I have), and the one shown here is a non-descript, stock GT branded saddle. However; this is a saddle that has a history. It was the saddle used by my old touring partner from the 1990's, Ryan, and he rode that saddle on a Schwinn Voyager for that 10 day, self-supported tour. (You can read about that HERE in my "Race Against Death Tour" stories if you want. It is a LONG read!) 

So, there ya go! One not seen often here, but I do use it fairly regularly. Stay tuned for more "Bikes Of 2022" coming up.


Phillip Cowan said...

I have an old Schwinn World Sport set up in a similar way with mustache bars. It's been a 1x6, a single speed and finally a fixie. I still ride it to work now and then. Everyone should have one of these old soldiers in the quiver.

Skidmark said...

Greets GT, that Raleigh should get a 50th anniversary party soon.

Guitar Ted said...

@Skidmark - I reckon you are correct! I hadn't thought about this bike being a half a century old!

Derek said...

That stem is wild! Was that intended for mtb use back in the day?

Also, I'm curious if the Gran Sport was a mid-range model in their lineup? Chromo main tubes, or all hi-ten tubing?

Guitar Ted said...

@Derek - Thanks! Yeah, that stem was off a Specialized of some sort. Man! It's been soooo long ago now, I may not recall this correctly, but I want to say that the stem was off a captain's tandem cockpit.

The frame is made in a lugged construction, but the frame sticker is mangled beyond recognition,. which is typical for the era this bike is from. I reckon it to be a mid-to lower tiered model as it has a steel cottered crank and the original derailleurs were the plastic Simplex type which was pretty unreliable and they typically broke. The down tube shifters were known as "Carrot Sticks" because of their propensity to break off.

Raleigh made a lot nicer bikes than this back in the 70's. So, I know it is no where near top of the range!