Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle After

This is Tom's restoration of a Raleigh Sprite.  I love Raleigh sprites, I believe they are one of the most under rated all around bicycles ever made.  So much so that I built a show bike out of one and ride it so much it probably should not be called a show bike, that bike can be seen by clicking here.

This Raleigh Sprite I found a few months ago, it very much deserves to be restored.  The yellow Raleigh is rough in some spots and in good shape in others.  The Raleigh Sprite will receive a total restoration with a few new pieces.  I have a lot of Raleigh Sprite parts in my collection so I will be replacing the rough areas.  I will replace the front derailleurs with a much better Sprite front derailleur.  The wheel set will be replaced with a Raleigh Sprite wheel set from the collection that is in much better shape.  I love the stem on this Sprite, it is the one with a lot of character but I am not sure it will be polished they way I like, if I can't bring it back I will replace the stem.

The Sprite will get all new cables, all new cable housings, new bearings and brake pads.  The Sprite will also receive new tire and tire tubes, new chain and new handlebar grips.

I love the yellow color and the white on the fender, I am going to try very hard to save the yellow, if I can not I will newly powder coat the Sprite.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before - Handlebars

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Brake

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Wheel Hub

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Stem

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Head Set

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Saddle

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Crank Set

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Derailleur

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Rear Brake

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Rear Derailleur

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Rear Fender

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Rear Wheel

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Before
Rear Rack
The yellow is so cool and under the grime I think there is some pretty nice paint, there are a few spots  that I am not sure of and may end up powder coating the frame.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Head Tube

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Head Tube

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Down Tube

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Seat Lug

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Bottom Bracket

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Bottom Bracket

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Chain Stay

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Drop Outs


Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Fork


Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Fork Crown

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Fork Crown

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Before
Fork

The frame really polished very nice, the paint really shines.  I am still debating touch up the bad spots or powder coat the frame.  The yellow really shines and the decals came out great.  The fork also really polished very nice.  I am pleased with the results just three spots I am not.  The debating continues in mind.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration
Frame Polished - Head Tube

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration
Frame Polished - Head Tube

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished - Down Tune

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished
Seat Lug

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished
Bottom Bracket

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished
Seat Lug

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished
Brake Bridge

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished
Drop Outs

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished
Fork

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished
Fork Crown

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Polished
Fork Crown


After polishing the paint it just was not where I wanted, the existing paint polished very nice it was the rust in the paint chips that was bothering me.  I stripped the paint from the frame, fork, fenders and a tiny fender bracket.  Fortunately the rust was only on the surface so there was no damage. With the paint removed I prepared the surface and then cleaned it very well.


Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Stripped

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Stripped
Head Tube

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Stripped
Seat Lug

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Stripped
Bottom Bracket

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fork Stripped

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fork Stripped

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fenders Stripped
 There was a dent in the front fender that would be just behind the fork.  I tapped the dent out and then smoothed the surface.  I thought I took a photo of the surface smoothed but I could not find it so I guess not.  The photos below shows the dent and the dent tapped out, no photo of the surface smoothed.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Fender Dent

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Dent Tapped Out

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fender Prepped For Powder

The Raleigh Sprite is going back to its original yellow with a white tail on the rear fender.  I start the powder coating by powdering the areas that are hard to reach like the bottom bracket, seat lug and fork crown and bake it.  I then do a layer of powder covering everything.  With the yellow and the white fender tail complete I do a clear coat to really bring the depth out.

The powder coating turned out just beautiful, I feel I really took a huge step forward in my powder coating ability with this Sprite.  I could not be happier, well i could be happier with the braze work of the lugs but its the 70's Raleigh brae work wear neatness was not their goal.  I did add some brazing here and there just to fill a few spots.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Head Tube

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Seat Lug

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Bottom Bracket

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Bottom Bracket

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete 

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Fork

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Fork Crown

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Fenders

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Front Fender

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Rear Fender

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Frame Powder Coating
Complete - Fender Clip

With the powder coating done I am going to start repairing the fender struts.  The fender struts are all intact just not straight.  I will pound them strait on the anvil and then decided if they need a little primer and silver paint or if they are in good shape.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fender Struts - Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fender Struts - Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fender Struts - Before
The fender struts straightened very nice and cleaned up very nice, I am happy with the struts.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Struts Straightened

With the powder coating complete its time to install the headset, the headset had lots of old hard grease but the bearing surface polished nice and with new bearings spins very nice.  The components of the headset and bottom bracket polished very nice and with the headset and bottom bracket installed they look fantastic with the new yellow.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Pressing
Headset Cups

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Headset
Cups - Pressed

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Headset
Complete
Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bottom Bracket
Complete
With fork, headset & bottom bracket complete I am able to fit the fenders and fender struts.  I installed the fenders with new mounting hardware or new nuts and bolts.  I also cleaned the rear reflector the best it would and installed it.  It is actually pretty amazing to have a rear fender reflector in such good shape.

I am so proud and happy of the results so far, the new yellow is stunning the way it shines and the fenders add so much the the Sprite, I am so happy!


Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Reflector Parts

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Reflector - Installed

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fenders - Fitted

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fenders
Fitted

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fenders - Fitted

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Fenders
Fitted

I tried polishing the original stem, It has so much character i would like to save it.  After polishing though there was just to much rust pitting, which is a downer.  I polished this stem for the Sprite for now, it is nicely streamlined but I am not sure it is going to work with the handlebars, I may need to find a different or shims.  However the stem looks great installed.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Stem - before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Stem - exploded

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Stem Polished
Old & New

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Stem
Installed

Next on the list is the brake calipers, the brake calipers are in descent starting shape and will look great polished.  I disassembled the calipers and cleaned and polished the pieces. I reassembled the calipers and installed new brake pads.  The calipers turned out nice and look fantastic installed next to the fenders.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Brake Calipers
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Brake Calipers
Exploded

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Brake Calipers
Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Brake Calipers
Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Caliper
Installed

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Brake Caliper
Installed

The crank is the type that is on most Sprites, I disassembled the crank and cleaned it.  With the crank cleaned I got on to polishing, the crank took the polishing very well, the chrome has a deep shine.  The bolts and spacers where also polished and this is one of the most enjoyable parts of a restoration, when all the pieces are restored the components go back together so nice and easy.  The crank installed is actually pretty stunning with all the shine and against the new yellow, I am very pleased with it.  I also installed new cotter pins with the crank.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Crank - Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Crank - Exploded

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Crank - Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Crank - Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - New Cotter Pins

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Crank
Installed
Below is a photo of the work so far, the Sprite is really coming together, I am very happy with the results so far.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle to This Point

I went through and looked at all the wheels I have plus the maybe 12 Sprite wheels I have.  I decided on the Sprite wheels below, they are in fantastic condition, they still need to be restored I just wanted to fit them and see them on the frame.  The wheels will be restored and new bearings, grease, tires and tubes will be installed.  I think gum wall tires are the way to go, not the black wall photoed here.  Another nice feature of these particular Sprite wheels is they are later model Sprite wheels and have the alloy hubs, earlier models had steel hubs.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Sprite Wheels Prerestoration
Test Fit

The wheels re in really good starting shape, I wish I had the time to keep better track of where all the parts came from, I just don't remember how i got these wheels, I think they came off a Raleigh sprite that had a damaged frame, the seat lug area was badly damaged, at least that what I think.

Th cleaned the wheels and removed the old grease, the old grease was not all that bad.  I polished the wheels and packed the new bearings in new grease.  The wheels polished just beautifully, I could not be happier.  I installed new Kenda Gum wall tires in 2"' x 1 3/8", I choice the bigger 1 3/8" size because the rims are on the wider side, and seats the tires nicer.

With the new grease and bearings the wheels spin for ever and the best part is how great the wheels and tires look installed with the new yellow.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Wheel
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Wheel Rim
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub
Old Grease

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub - Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Wheel Rim
Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Wheel - New Grease &
New BEarings

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - New Kenda Tires
27" x 1 3/8"

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Pie Plate - Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Wheel
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Wheel Hub
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Wheel Rim
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Wheel Hub
Old Grease

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Wheel Hub - Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Wheel New Bearings &
Grease

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Wheel - Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Wheel Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Wheels Complete

I went look through the pedal collection for replacement Raleigh Block pedals, which I probably have 60 to chose from and in the Raleigh pedals section I found this stem at the bottom, a perfect condition matching original!!  Again, no clue I had it and I am thinking it came off the damaged seat lug Sprite but I am very happy I have it.  I cleaned and polished it and it is perfect and looks fantastic installed!!!  What is also nice is a do not need to figure out shims for the other stem.

I should take a weekend and organize the parts collection better.  My dream is someday have a shop on my property with many windows and a 50 foot wall of shelving floor to ceiling with all the parts.


Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Found Sprite Stem
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Stem Exploded

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Stem - Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Stem - Installed

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Stem - Installed

The original brake levers on the Sprite are very cool but unfortunately long past usable.  I went in the parts collection and found some nice light alloy Die-Comp levers that polished very nice because they are alloy.  I installed the levers and they are perfect.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Original Brake Levers
Past Usable 

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Nice Light Alloy
Simple Replacement Levers

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Brake Levers
Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Brake Levers
Installed

With the stem and handlebars installed its time to install the shift levers.  I like the levers, the are Huret levers that have a nice shape to them, I wish they where one step up for alloy but that is not a big deal at all.  I disassembled the levers and did the polishing, they polished very nice.  I assembled the levers and with all the correct areas lubricated they move like butter.  I guess I forgot to take a before photo.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Shift Levers Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Shift Levers - Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Shift Levers
Installed

The original front Huret derailleur was to far gone to save, it is pictured in the first photo, I don't mind that the front derailleur is being replaced because I really don't like the action of the derailleurs put on Sprites, they move to the lower chain ring when tension is put on compared to more modern shift action where the chain moves to the larger ring when tension is put on.  I replaced the front derailleur with a Shimano 60 front derailleur, a nice derailleur for the time.  the replacement derailleur polished very nice, I am happy with the change and the results.


Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Original Front Derailleur
& Replacement Derailleur

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Replacement Derailleur
Polshed

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Derailleur
Installed

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Front Derailleur
Installed

The original rear derailleur probably could have been saved but it was in rough shape.  I would rather put a better derailleur on it anyways and I have a nice Sun Tour derailleur all set for it.  Later Raleigh put a version of this derailleur on a lot of bicycles and what I like about it is it polishes very nice and is pretty much bullet proof. 

I cleaned and polished the replacement derailleur and lubricated all the pivot points, it fuctions perfect and looks fantastic against the yellow.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Original Derailleur
Replacement Derailleur on Left

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Derailleur Exploded

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Derailleur
Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Derailleur
Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Derailleur
Installed

on to the saddle and seat post.  The saddle is a Brooks mattress saddle that is in very good shape.  The saddle is not the prettiest saddle ever made but it is an original in fantastic shape and it is a Brooks, plus their is nothing new that would be as comfortable.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Saddle & Seat Post
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Seat Post
Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Saddle Bracket - Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Saddle Bracket
Polished

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Saddle Bracket
Complete

The original chain is shot and is being replaced with a new chain, the two chains are photoed below and shows why a new chain is needed.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - New Chain & Old
Chain

Now we are on to the pedal that led me to the perfect original replacement stem.  I chose two pedals from my collection that are in good shape and did the cleaning and hand polishing.  The pedals clean up fantastically and I love the Raleigh Logo in the rubber blocks.  The pedal look great installed and make all the differences in a restoration.


Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Old Pedals
Replacement Pedals (Left)

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Replacement Pedals
Cleaned & Polished
Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Replacement Pedals
Installed

We are hitting the home stretch, time to wire the Sprite.  New cables and new white cable housings.  I think white for the cable housings is the perfect color with the yellow and the white fender tail.  The white does not contrast the yellow to much.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - New Cables & Cable Housings

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Cables & Cable Housings
Installed

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Cables
Installed

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Cables
Installed
I do not know if these reflectors are original, I am thinking not but I think they are cool.  They hang from the top tube and reflect to the sides, they probably make a difference when crossing an intersection at night.  What I see is that they are just kind of cool.  There will be seen installed in the final photos.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Side Reflectors
Before

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Side Reflectors
Polished
The original handlebar grips are in pretty good shape after cleaning, I think I will use them.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Original Handlebar Grips
Cleaned and Treated

One of the best parts of the whole process is putting the head badge on.  I tried a different method for reattaching the head badge that my friend Darryl Y. showed me.  It worked wonderful.  Thank you Darrell for the rivets and the info.

The head badge attached is just amazing, what a look against that yellow!!

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration -  Head Badge
Attached

Last thing left to do is the rear rack.  Alloy racks are not the easiest things to bring back to looking good.  I soaked the rack in soapy water most of the day and then used steel wool to remove the hard dirt and corrosion.  From there I used some clean steel wool just to burnish the finish and make it consistent.  Racks have a lot of angles and tight spots that makes it impossible to get an even high polish. I installed the rack with new stainless steel hardware nd it looks great.  Will be great for Tom to commute with.

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - New Rear Rack
Hardware

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Rear Rack Complete

The Raleigh Sprite is finished.  I took it for the test and tune up rides.  The bike rides very solid and very smooth and a little faster then I expected.  By the bike is solid I mean that when I bike with fenders is not put together tight there are vibrations and the fenders tend to make noise, the Sprite is silent and tight.

Now to the looks and style, I love it, so classic.The yellow just pops, the yellow fenders make the whole bike.  The fenders are also dead straight and look great with the fender line and gum wall line.  I am very pleased with the way the chrome polished, it is perfect and complements the yellow paint so nicely.

I think the Raleigh Sprite is such an under ratted bicycle, it rides very nicely and does what its made to do very well.  The Sprite will make a fantastic bicycle for Tom to commute each day with. 

I love this bicycle!!

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Handlebars

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Brake

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Wheel

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Rim

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Stem

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Down Tube

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Half

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Drive Train

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Crank

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Derailleur

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear Brake

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear Derailleur

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear Wheel

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear

Tom C's Raleigh Sprite Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear

 Thank you for all the interest, Merry Christmas if I don't say it again before Christmas,
John Z.


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful result, Tom will be the envy of other commuters, the Sprite looks like it came right out of the Nottingham factory, that yellow just sparkles. I seem to recall from reading his blog that Sheldon Brown shared your love of Sprites and gives the credit for being the forerunner of the more modern "Hybrid" concept.

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