Gran Prix Upgrade

I’ve been working on a Raleigh Gran Prix.  It’s been quite an experience.

First I tossed the simplex derailleurs, which were awful, and put on Suntour Vx, which I really like.  I think the Vx came off a Miyata 31o.

There was an issue with the fork dropouts — I had to file them a little to accept the new axle diameter.  I think the original front wheel had a  teeny 8mm axle.  Also, fork spacing for the Raleigh is 90mm, and new hubs were 100mm.  I solved this problem by switching to thinner lock-nuts on both sides of the hub. I would say I shaved off 4mm with the switch, so it’s  still tight fit.  But it works.

Rear triangle had to be “cold-set” by hand to accommodate new rear hub.  This took some trial and error to make sure everything stayed aligned.  Rear dropouts were fine.

Next issue:  bottom bracket/spindle/cups etc.   I’m well aware of the 26tpi proprietary Nottingham threading from an earlier Raleigh Record project, so I plan to keep the original cups and spindle, just clean and repack the bearings.   Because I had such a frustrating experience in the past even with Sheldon Brown’s tip about using a pedal spindle to drive out the cotter pins, and because I knew I wanted to re-install new cotter pins after the work on the bb was completed, I ordered a crank cotter press from Bikesmiths.   Mark was very helpful, and helped me with the correct cotter pin choice.   I ordered two sizes – Raleigh and uncut, hopefully one will work.

Yesterday, I threw the bike up on the stand, put a metal pipe under the crank arm and set to work loosening the nuts on the cotter pins.   Uh-oh.  Already the problems began.  One nut was stripped and just spun freely.   The drive side pin came out after using the press (thanks Mark!), and I managed to get enough space between the nut and the arm to actually cut through the cotter with a metal saw, and then used the pedal spindle method to drive the rest of the pin out.  Whew.   So, the project is halfway done.  Now comes the next scary part:  will the new cotter pins fit?

Here’s a pic of the cool vintage bb pieces.  The spindle is marked “Phillips.  Made in England” and the cups are marked “Brampton – England”.


2 thoughts on “Gran Prix Upgrade

  1. Daniel says:

    Hi there. All the way from Denmark 😉

    I´ve recently bought an old bike and throug the process of returning it, to it´s original state, i am now beginning to unmount the crank. I found out that it´s a Brampton – made in England, and it looks exactly like yours. The right cup, came off easily with my fingers. Left side is a different story thoug. The right side tightens CW right?. Do you know wich way the left side unmounts?
    Daniel the photographer

    • Brendan F says:

      Hi Daniel-

      Nice, sounds like a good restoration project! I don’t know the specs of Brampton bikes, but I know that Raleigh cups have standard british/japanese thread directions (it’s just the tpi and widths that are unique!). This means that the left (adjustable cup) is threaded with normal “right-hand” threading, and the right (fixed cup) is threaded with reverse “left-hand” threading.

      Good luck!

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