I really do have a problem, and that problem is mainly my saved search on ebay! All it does is list cheap local bikes, in case any cheap donor bikes turn up. Most of them are dross, but last month it picked up something really good – a Reflex ALX89!
The ALX89 is an earlier iteration of the Peugeot Grisley, made in 1988. It has a similar bonded frame, but has a steel rear triangle, rather than aluminium. It was actually constructed by Raleigh USA, using their Technium bonding process, so in a way it’s actually a Raleigh, which is nice!
Anyway, enough waffle – if you want some of the historical details, it’s in an article scan that’s here.
Now, feast your eyes on this:
That was how I bought it (for £35!), but I’ve had the bike for over a month now, and have made a few modifications. It’s a 17″ frame, so I needed to increase the extension of the stem, and get a longer seatpost. The steel handlebar was ENORMOUS, and rusty (and heavy!), so that went, the cage pedals had to go, the tyres were knackered, so they went, the headset had cracks in the bottom race, so that went, and I can’t stand quick releases, so they’ve got to go.
It’s now got a long seatpost in a Guinness can shim, a 150mm Tioga T-Bone stem, a Kalloy Uno handlebar, black DMR V8 pedals, Charge Splashback tyres, a black Ritchey Logic headset, and black Halo hex key skewers. I still need to get a bolt for the seatpost.
It’s not on the road at the moment, because the bolt that holds the brake cable onto the rear U brake disappeared somewhere, and the brake really isn’t designed to be attached without a brake cable to keep it tensioned. Also, I’m paranoid about someone scratching up the paintwork on the train or in the bike racks! It’s a lovely bike though – definitely my favourite!
I said two bikes, didn’t I? Well, the other bike isn’t here yet, but it’s all very exciting! 😀
As we get closer to the end of the year, people are starting to fling their germs about, and I’ve already started looking like a Simpsons character as my liver starts complaining. There will be rough days ahead, where I’ll be too ill to commute. That means the dreaded train! I don’t mind trains – I like them! The problem is that Northern Rail have some of the oldest trains that’re still in use, and they break down a lot. Waiting for the next train is never an option, as the next train is full up on normal days, so a breakdown means waiting an hour for the next next train, or getting a train to Stockport and getting a ludicrously overpriced bus. I like buses, but I don’t like the cost of bus fares. I thought they were expensive down south, but Manchester is really taking the P155!
So, my plan was to get a folding bike. I can cycle to and from the stations, and if my train gets cancelled, I can just get on a train to Stockport and cycle the remaining 3 miles. Even when ill, I can manage that. 🙂
I say was, because my original plan was to get a proper folder. Not cheap crud, but summat like a Bickerton, which was pretty much the first ever proper folding bike. The trouble is, I think someone on ebay is buying them all up. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but every Bickerton that has a postage option is going for insane prices. More than I’m willing to pay.
Well, never mind. I’ve heard they’re too flexy anyway. 😛 Maybe a proper folder wasn’t quite the answer. Maybe I needed a hybrid folder. Something that sacrifices folding size for better structural integrity. Something cheap. Something liiiiiike…
A Raleigh Twenty!
Yeah, that’s right – I now own a folding ‘shopper’ bike! Maybe it’s my winter madness coming on again (I’m already pondering making it a singlespeed!), but at the moment it seems like the perfect choice for squeezing onto trains and travelling short distances. Most of the time, I probably won’t even need to fold it.
If you’ve got a memory of these bikes being unattractive clunkers, then you probably haven’t seen one that’s been modernized (mostly by taking off all the guards). Have a look at this:
That doesn’t look like the sort of thing a granny or nun would ride, does it? 🙂
Being built by Raleigh, these bikes have quite a few quirks, but there’s a lot of Raleigh Twenty fans out there, so there’s a lot of information about. The bike I have incoming is a metallic blue Triumph branded folding Twenty. The plan is to strip it down, service it, replace the wheels, seat post, saddle, and pedals, not put the mudguards and chain guard on, and then see how it rides with it’s standard handlebars and headset. The original headsets have a nylon bushing where the top race should be, and the resulting ride quality is apparently a matter of taste.
Should be a fun little project!