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”.