Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nate's 1986 Raleigh Grand Prix Reynolds 531 Restoration

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Bicycle Finished
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Bicycle Before

Hello again!  This is Nate's 1986 Raleigh USA Grand Prix with Reynolds 531 tubing.  The bicycle is getting a full restoration.  The Raleigh is in good starting shape, I will be honest when I saw the colors I thought oh...80's colors, but after polishing the colors have really really grown on me!!

The plan is to restore the Raleigh.  The bike is pretty updated as it is so the plans is to replace the cables, cable housings, brake pads, handlebar tape, tubes, tires and saddle.  I am very surprised with the Grand Prix, it is light and nicely constructed, has descent wheels and looks like it is ready to fly.  The group set is one of the more pretty group sets, the Shimano Golden Arrow 105, very nice!!

In 1986 Raleigh made the Grand Prix out of the famous 531 steel tubing.  On this frame though only the main triangle is 531.  But still, very nice!!

I should have started the post a day or two ago but I got into such a rhythm working on it I just kept going on the bike.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle before - Rear Derailleur
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle Before- Front view
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle Before - 531 Sticker
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle Before - Golden Arrow Derailleur
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle before - Golden Arrow
Down Tube Shifters
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Bicycle Before
Drive Train view
I stripped the frame of the components.  The frame is in good shape, the paint is in good condition, there are some chips here and there and a lot of dried grease.  I cleaned the frame and a lot I thought was chips turned out to be dirt, the paint is better then I thought.  I then went into polishing, the frame polished beautifully, better then I could have hoped.  The paint did not polish deep like a solid red would have, the paint has a different type of sheen, but shines beautifully.  Very happy.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Frame Dirty
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Frame Dirty
Bottom Bracket - Can see clean nice paint under front derailleur
outline.
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Frame Dirty
Drop Outs
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Frame Polished
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Frame Polished
Bottom Bracket
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Frame Polished - 531 Decal
I have rearranged the way I do things, I recently set up a decreasing station, this has really improved my efficiency.  The bottom bracket bearings where caked in really sticky grease, that took some soaking in the crock pot, the same for the headset so while the bearings where soaking i got started on the derailleurs and brake calipers.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Components Before
Lined up Waiting for Restoration
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Golden Arrow 105 Derailleurs - Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Golden Arrow 105 - Front Derailleur Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Golden Arrow 105 - Rear Derailleur Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Front Derailleur
Polished
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Front Derailleur
Installed
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Derailleur
Exploded View
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Rear Derailleur
Polished
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Rear Derailleur
Installed
Next I worked on the brake calipers.  The brake calipers where pretty dirty.  I cleaned and disassembled the brake calipers one at a time.  I polished each piece and assembled each caliper with the proper lubrication and installed the new brake pads.  The Dia Comp G calipers look great polished and installed.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Brake Calipers
Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Brake Caliper - Exploded View
Polished
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Brake Calipers
Before & After
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Second Caliper
After
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Rear Caliper - Installed
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Front Brake Caliper - Installed
Later in the Restoration
Next came the polishing and installation of the headset.  The grease took a while to clean out.  The headset was polished and new grease packed in the bearing, the headset looks good and functions smooth.  very nice!

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Headset Componenets
Polished
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bear Cups Pressed
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Headset Complete - Fork Installed
The stem was tarnished and stained but in ok shape.  After cleaning and polishing the stem looks great.  The handlebars where also tarnished and covered in old tape.  I polished out the handle bars along the top and used a ton of Goo Gone to remove the tape.  I only polish the top and visible parts of the handlebars because I don't want to thin thin the metal where I don't have to.  The handlebars looks excellent now and the the stem and handlebars installed look incredible. Very happy!!

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Stem Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Handlebars Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Stem Polished & Installed
Love that Shine!
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Handlebars
Cleaned & Polished
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Stem & Handlebars - Polished & Complete
The brake levers where dirty and the brake levers hoods where dirty and greasy.  I polished the brake levers and cleaned the hoods.  I will not share my secret on cleaning brake lever hoods but they look good with no cracking.  I am very happy with the stem, handlebar and brake levers area, looks great.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Brake Levers - Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Brake Levers
Polished - Cleaned - Installed
The bottom bracket finally came next, the grease was stubborn.  I polished the components and packed the bearings in new grease.  The bottom bracket spins very smooth, one of the smoothest I have seen for this type of bracket.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bottom Bracket Components Polished
I guess I forgot more photos of the bottom bracket process.

The crank came next.  The crank is a pretty nice crank.. It was dirty and needed polishing.  I like the fan blade style to the crank design.  I disassembled the crank and polished all the pieces.  I am pleased with the results.  The crank looks good with all the other polished pieces on the bicycle.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Crank Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Crank
Disassembled
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Crank Components - Polished
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Crank Complete
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Crank Installed
The last of the components to go through is the seat post and the shift levers.  The seat post cleaned and polished nicely.  The shift levers are a whole new level of nice.  The Golden Arrow detail is amazing.  i cleaned all the components and then carefully polished the levers.  The shift levers turned out incredible, they are like tiny jewels for shift levers.  Now my all time favorite town-tube shift levers.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Shift Levers - Before
Exploded View
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Shift Levers - Complete
Shift Lever Jewels!!
The progress is really moving along on the Raleigh USA Grand Prix Reynolds 531.  I have now moved on to the wheels.  The wheels are tarnished, have a slight wobble and are in need soar replacement of the bearings and grease.  The wheels are fairly nice Wiennman rims if I remember right 19 mm wide.  The tires that are going on the bicycle are 25 mm wide, but could easily go down to 23 mm .  To this point I have the wheels disassembled and the front wheel hub and rim polished out.  The rear wheel I have the rim polished out.  After polishing the front hub looks great and the rims have almost a mirror finish with a few scratches here and there.  Got lucky on the rims that they polished so nice, they where tarnished but polished easy, I really do not like polishing the rims to much, I do not like to remove much material on the rims.  Below are a few photos, more to come.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Wheels - Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Rims - Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Front Hub - Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Rear Hub - Before
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Old Wheel Bearing
Grease

Sorry for the long delay between blog posts, this whole month has been extremely busy around the shop and since the blog is time consuming sometimes it gets pushed off.  So I hope I pick the post up with out to much of a gap.  i did miss a few photos of the wheels complete.

In the end the Wheels look beautiful and turn extremely smooth.  I am very pleased with the results.  I have recently come up with a way to polish aluminum alloy to a mirror finish very quickly and removing a very minimum of material. The hubs look wonderful and there was very little wear to the components.  The rims polished to better then new, although there is some tarnishing around the spoke nipples that is to deep to remove but not to bad at all.

Nate had Michelin 25 mm White wall slick tires ordered.  They look great on the wheels, will see in photos below.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Rim Polished - Bad Photo
The rest of the wheel photos from this stage where bad so the wheels will have to be seen as going.

The Freewheel and chain came next.  I cleaned the freewheel and flushed it with oil and then lubricated it.  The freewheel now spins very nice and the freewheel in general is a very nice quality freewheel.  I also cleaned the chain and then allowed it to sit in oil for a couple of days.  I check the chain for wear or stretch and there is none.  Either the bike was hardly rode or it was hardly rode after a new chain was installed.

At this time I also ran the brake cables and brake cable housings and the shift cables.  I replaced the old faded white cable housings with white Jagwire cable housings.  The white housings really pop with the rest of the bike.

With the chain, cables, freewheel installed I installed the new seat.  Nate ordered a white Origin 8, it looks great with the white cables, white handlebar tape and white wall tires, i very nice theme.

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Freewheel Installed
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Chain Installed
Cables & Housings Installed - Oil from freewheel lubricating on pie plate.
That was cleaned up.
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Brake Cables - Installed - Poor Photo
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Bicycle to this Point.
I gave the Raleigh a test drive before installing the white handlebar tape.  Did not want to get the tape dirty or have to make any changes that would need the bar tape removed.  The test ride was great.  With the test ride done I installed the new white cork gel handlebar tape.  It looks great wrapped tight on the bars and finish the look of the Raleigh perfect.  Very happy!

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
New Planet Bike Cork Gel Tape
I use it because they give a % to bicycle
advocacy and the quality is good.
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Handlebar Tape Installed - Left
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Handlebar Tape Complete
Last thing to do was the pedals and the odds and ends.  I removed the toes clips, they are brand new, then I cleaned, polished and lubricated the pedals.  The pedals polished really nice, I forgot the before photo.  They turn really smooth.  Overall the pedals are is almost perfect shape considering how beat up pedals get.  The new polished and leather toe clips really finish off the look beautifully!!

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Pedals Polished
& Complete - Very Pleased

I road the bike about ten miles this evening tuning it and just giving it a shake down and frankly is rides so wonderfully I did not want to get off.  The bike just glides it is so smooth.  The Shimano Golden Arrow group set is just amazing.  Shifts like nothing and that is friction shift.  Brakes quick, new brake pads and rims do need some breaking in, but that will take no time.  The frame is light and responsive but also absorbent of vibration.  This is a Top 5 bicycle I have ever road.  Does not beat the Schwinn Volare I own or and a mint condition Bianchi from the 70's I once got to ride.  But definitely top 5!  I did not want to get off.  Maybe I will "test it" one more time in the morning!

Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle Finished - Side View
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Bicycle Finished
Angle View
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle Finished - Front Area
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531 - Bicycle Finished
Rear View
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle Finished - Beautiful Golden Arrow
Rear Derailleur
Raleigh USA Grand Prix - Reynolds 531
Bicycle Finished - Golden Arrow Shift Lever
View - Little Gems!
I need an after photo of the Golden Arrow front derailleur!  it could be the most beautiful front derailleur made.

Its been an awesome bike to work on, a real joy!!  And I am so pleased with the results, very proud!! And I plan to get on more um... Test ride of it!

A few projects coming up I have been waiting to post coming soon and continue to check the Rivendell inspired bike posted below, its a work in progress.

3 comments:

  1. I have the same exact bike and have been riding it for six years now. Your post has inspired me to do a similar restoration. Hopefully I can get mine to look as clean as yours! Do you have any tips before I start?

    ReplyDelete