Rebuilt Raleigh Sprite bicycle
I rebuilt a Raleigh Sprite bicycle, one of the old step-throughs, circa 1976.
Unlike the Raleigh Record I built up, I replaced most of the old parts, and kept just a few that worked fine and had some charm, like this torn seat.
The biggest upgrade was swapping out the old bottom bracket and cottered crankset for a new Velo Orange threadless bottom bracket and Velo Orange triple crankset with a 170mm arm. The old ones were heavy, had a lower gear range, and I mashed one of the cotters taking them out to clean them up.
The genius of the threadless bottom brackets is that their two ends screw together and expand to fill the bottom bracket cavity in the frame–you don’t need to use the existing threads and you can choose from a variety of lengths. Compared to the other bottom bracket replacement options, it’s easier than rounding up perfectly-sized cotterless old stock and cheaper than going the phil wood route. I knew that if I tried to put cotter pins back in, my obsessive side would kick in and I’d end up buying a cotter press. Not worth it for a single use.
There was some angst over which length threadless bottom bracket to choose. This review was super helpful, as was this VO blog post. The Raleigh Sprite’s bottom bracket cavity measured 71 mm and I went with the 116 mm threadless bb and it fits nicely.
Here are some views of the chainline.
On the second chainring, the chain is straight when it’s on the fifth sprocket in the back.
This is an all-purpose city bike, and the rider likes versatility and is no big fan of hills, so I put a megarange mountain bike freewheel with a giant granny gear on the back. The other day I was at the Golden Gate Bridge gift shop and I saw that the classy-looking Public Bicycles special edition International Orange step-through has the same freewheel on it.
Between the 34 teeth on the rear sprocket and the 24 on the smallest chainring, you can go pretty low on this bike. Edit: After being in use for a while, it’s become clear that this gear combo is overkill. A double cahinring would have done the job just fine.
Last bonus pics: the original front brake, cleaned up just enough to keep a little patina.
And the handlebars.