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Sheldon Brown's Raleigh International

Raleigh International with Nexus 8
Originally a 10-speed, second from the top of the Raleigh line, the Reynolds frame is unusually light for its type, and it has nice chrome-plated Nervex lugs. I bought this used, very cheaply in the mid 1970s after it had suffered damage. It had been broadsided by a car, and then, while the frame was hanging around the Bicycle Exchange in Cambridge, Mass. (it belonged to one of their employees) somebody maliciously stepped on the rear triangle, squashing the rear end together.

Straightening the rear triangle was not difficult. The bend in the top tube was a bit more challenging. I wound up making a wooden block with a curved channel in it, the same diameter as the top tube, and my plan was to strike the wooden block with a hammer to straighten out the tube. I got all set, and made a very light practice swing which gently connected with the block. Just to be on the safe side, I re-checked, and found that the top tube was now straight! It appears that this frame was made of an unusually light gauge of Reynolds 531.

It is also unusual in featuring "rapid taper" chainstays. Most chainstays are "round-oval-round", the oval center section for tire/chainring clearance. The Reynolds "rapid taper" chainstays are round all the way along, but they taper rapidly just behind the bottom bracket, then more gradually back to the dropouts.

I had this bike set up as a fixed gear for many years, gradually upgrading the parts on it. However, when I got my Raleigh Professional frame back from Brian Baylis, I cannibalized most of the parts from the International, and it was hanging around my cellar sad and lonely for 2 1/2 years.

After I upgraded my IRO Jamie Roy with a Nexus 8-speed hub, I began to have the urge to try one of those hubs in a stripped-down, light weight, skinny tired, drop bar bike. Here are the results:

These images show the new control setup, with the twist grip shifter mounted on a HubBub bar-end mount. I really like the ergonomics of this a lot, way better than bar-end derailer shifters, for instance.

The white thing with buttons is the remote control for my iPod.

raleigh-int-nexus5 raleigh-int-nexus6 raleigh-int-nexus7
Below is the special adaptor I made so I could mount both a small wedge bag and a blinky on my Carradice SQR mount, for when I want to travel light...and lighted.

It's made from alumninum bar stock and 3 1/4" bolts, with lots of nuts and washers.

raleigh-int-nexus2 raleigh-int-nexus3 raleigh-int-nexus4
It is equipped with a Shimano Nexus 8-speed hub, spoked into a Mavic Open Pro rim. Still has the same 165 mm 105 crankset as before, but now with a 52 tooth Biopace chainring (18 in the back gives a gear range of 40-125 inches, excessively high but I wanted to try it out. Turns out I never have any real use for the 125 inch gear, the 110 is plenty high, so I'm planning on replacing the 18 tooth sprocket with a 19.

The front brake is a Weinmann centerpull, one of the few original parts on this bike, with a home-made "brake booster" to stiffen it up. The rear brake is an old Universal centerpull . Front brake shoes are Kool Stop "Dura"; rear are some Jagwire units I'm evaluating.

Brake levers are Cane Creek aero , very comfortable.

Saddle is a Brooks B17 Narrow .

Handlebar is a Nitto Dream Bar 44 cm, in a Nitto Technomic 90 mm stem.

The Nexus twist shifter was first mounted on a sawed-off MTB bar end, then I made an alternative mounting to move it a bit forward, 'cause I would occasionally bump the shifter with my knee wheen riding out of the saddle.

This is a "threadless" stem with a short length of a 1" seatpoost stuck into it. The seatpost I used is the old style that necks down to 7/8" at the top, because 7/8" is also the diameter of a standard upright handlebar, so it was a perfect fit for the Nexus shifter.

I liked this rig a lot, but decided to try out the HubBub adaptor just to see how well it worked. As it turned out, I liked the HubBub adaptor even more, so I've kept it on the bike.

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I'm very proud of the home-made mount I made for the Lumotec Oval Plus headlamp. This is a simple piece of bar stock, held in place by the quick release skewer. It makes it easy to move the generator wheel and lamp as a unit from one bike to another.
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Older Photos: Raleigh International with Nexus 8
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05 06 07 08
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Photos made with Nikon Coolpix 2500 , minor tweaking with Adobe Photoshop CS

It is equipped with a Shimano Nexus 8-speed hub, spoked into a Mavic Open Pro rim. Still has the same 165 mm 105 crankset as before, but now with a 52 tooth Biopace chainring (18 in the back gives a gear range of 40-125 inches, excessively high but I wanted to try it out. Turns out I never have any real use for the 125 inch gear, the 110 is plenty high, so I'm planning on replacing the 18 tooth sprocket with a 19.

The front brake is a Weinmann centerpull, one of the few original parts on this bike, with a home-made "brake booster" to stiffen it up. The rear brake is an old Universal centerpull. Front brake shoes are Kool Stop "Dura"; rear are some Jagwire units I'm evaluating.

Brake levers are Cane Creek aero, very comfortable.

Handlebar is a Nitto Dream Bar 44 cm, in a Nitto Technomic 90 mm stem.

The Nexus twist shifter was mounted on a sawed-off MTB bar end, but I'm working on an alternative mounting that will move it a bit forward, 'cause I occasionally bump the shifter with my knee wheen riding out of the saddle.

Saddle is a Brooks B17 Narrow.

Previous Incarnation:

I used to have it set up as a fixed gear (42/15), with Scott AT-3 LF bars, Sun 14A rims, Campgnolo Record high-flange hubs, 28/24 spokes, Brooks Swift saddle, 165 mm Shimano 105 cranks (with a Biopace chainwheel, which most people will tell you is impossible...it isn't, it's merely improbable! This was my lightest bike, well under 20 lbs. (With the Nexus hub it's up to about 26 lbs.)

Back to Sheldon Brown's Bicycles

See also my Retro Raleighs Website

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April 15, 2005
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Last Updated: by Harriet Fell