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  1. #1
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    Is a bike with a threaded headset worth upgrading?

    Are all bikes with the 1" stem/headset and threaded fork inherently weak? I was given a '96 Raleigh mtn bike with a threaded headset. I essentially stripped the bike of its Alivio/Acera/Altus parts and replaced them with better parts to make it a trail worthy SS bike. The cromo frame is built like a tank but I'm wondering if the threaded headset makes it cheap. This is my first bike with a threaded headset (okay, maybe not first since bikes from my childhood most likely had them, but first real mtn bike with a threaded headset). All my other bikes are 1 1/8, so I'm not too familiar with the 1" bikes. I just know that threaded headsets are usually on cheap bikes. Btw, I replaced the quill stem with an adapter and put in a regular 1 1/8 stem.

  2. #2
    dru
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    The bike itself is cheap. There were a few high end bikes of that vintage with 1" headsets but yours isn't one of them. You can tell your particular Raleigh is low end because of the parts mix that came with it and the fact that the frame is chromo and 'built like a tank'.

    The issue with 1" is headset bearing surface area. It is a huge issue off road which is why 1 1/8" was adopted and is why tapered steerers (and an oversize lower HS bearing) are now starting to show up. The demands of off-road demand it.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  3. #3
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    It depends what you want to do with the bike. Most people never had problems with 1" headsets. Most people never had a problem with 1 and 1/8 headsets. The bike industry changes the standard to sell more stuff, not because its needed. The new tapered standard won't last forever either. In fact I think I read about a new headset size coming out already!

    I agree with dru it sounds like it isn't a high end bike to begin with, but if you want to use it for trail rides, city bike etc (maybe not throwing yourself off cliffs), your headset probably won't give you any problems. I wouldn't spend a whole lot of money to fix it up though. Why worry about it? Ride your bike. If you run into mechanical problems, then start worrying. If you have problems like dru described, it would be a feeling of "notchiness" or a lack of smoothness. Its not going to fail catastrophically so you don't need to worry about it.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I was aware of it being an entry-level bike from the get go. I'm not familiar with the Raleigh brand, but based on my research on this bike, I learned that Raleighs are decent LBS bikes and not dept store bikes. Still, I knew the bike was low end. It was given to me by a coworker whose son stoped riding it, so it has been in the garage. Other than some dirt on it (indicating that it was taken off road), it's vasically in very good condition. I kept the wheelset, seatpost, and headset--all other parts replaced. Most expensive part was an SS Race Face Ride crankset/BB. I think when all is said and done, I will have put in about $200 worth of upgrades. It may be less if I can sell the cheap parts :P It's a lot lighter now and a lot nicer bike. I tend to go crazy when it comes to bike projects. Originally I was gonna keep it the way it was, but I wanted to make it into an awesome bike. I guess reason I bring this up is I sometimes wonder if upgrading this bike with nice parts is akin to upgrading a Huffy. I know it's low end, but are we talking dept store quality or is it on the same level as someone upgrading a low-end Trek or Specialized of that vintage?

    This will be my 5th bike :P and my first SS. It'll most likely be used as a city cruiser.

  5. #5
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    My first "real" mountain bike was a Raleigh Technium 1988. And yeah, it was real. The frame was aluminum tubes bonded "with aerospace adhesive" to steel lugs. They don't make frames like that anymore, but it was pretty cool technology for the day, and even for now, I think. Raleigh has kind of fizzled out it seems; I don't really know much about the company, but they have a long history, and have definitely made some nice bikes.
    Of course that old '88 had a 1" headset, as did my 1992 GT, and I never had any problems with those headsets.
    I don't know anything about your frame, but its probably safe to assume its on par with a Trek or Specialized of the same year with a similar parts spec of Alivio etc.

  6. #6
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    I had a Raleigh Dune Dancer in 1988 , it was equiped with deore LX of the time,deore parralax hubs etc, it was considered their top end mtb of the time and cost me 400 GBP , if I had to compare Raleigh MTBs in the late 80s and through the 90s i'd compare their higher end with lower to mid Treks/Ridgeback/Diamond Back etc.

    You could always tell because the same priced Raleigh was equipped with decent components and the others not so good, suggesting the frame and forks were better quality.

    I ride a 95 Diamond Back and it has the deore LX front mech from that 88 Raleigh on it. Bullet proof component

    Coincidentally, Raleigh now own the Diamond Back brand

    I wouldn't spend too much on it to ride it hard off road, but if you have the parts lying around and plan to ride it around town then upgrade away
    I scurry away with my hardtail between my legs

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrAitchGee View Post
    I had a Raleigh Dune Dancer in 1988 , it was equiped with deore LX of the time,deore parralax hubs etc, it was considered their top end mtb of the time and cost me 400 GBP , if I had to compare Raleigh MTBs in the late 80s and through the 90s i'd compare their higher end with lower to mid Treks/Ridgeback/Diamond Back etc.

    You could always tell because the same priced Raleigh was equipped with decent components and the others not so good, suggesting the frame and forks were better quality.

    I ride a 95 Diamond Back and it has the deore LX front mech from that 88 Raleigh on it. Bullet proof component

    Coincidentally, Raleigh now own the Diamond Back brand

    I wouldn't spend too much on it to ride it hard off road, but if you have the parts lying around and plan to ride it around town then upgrade away
    Deore LX first hit the market in 1994.

  8. #8
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    I thought Dorel owns DB and Raleigh.

    It looks like a common complaint about Raligh mtn bikes is that they're on the heavy side but otherwise good value bikes. I was pleasantly surprised to see positive reviews for the 1998 and earlier M-50 models. I remember when DB had a good name. Think they had something called the DBR in the 90s. It was a full suspension bike. Think I may have confused the Raleigh name with the Roadmaster name, hence my initial thought that they were sold at dept stores. I know REI sells them.

    MrItchGee: Do you mean that for Raleigh to compensate for their inferior frames and forks they used better components to compete with bigger names like Trek, which specs their low-end bikes with cheaper parts because their frames are worth upgrading?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Deore LX first hit the market in 1994.
    Not true

    Quote Originally Posted by djork View Post
    I thought Dorel owns DB and Raleigh.
    MrItchGee: Do you mean that for Raleigh to compensate for their inferior frames and forks they used better components to compete with bigger names like Trek, which specs their low-end bikes with cheaper parts because their frames are worth upgrading?
    Either to compete or to justify the similar price tag, I would guess
    I scurry away with my hardtail between my legs

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by djork View Post
    I thought Dorel owns DB and Raleigh.

    It looks like a common complaint about Raligh mtn bikes is that they're on the heavy side but otherwise good value bikes. I was pleasantly surprised to see positive reviews for the 1998 and earlier M-50 models. I remember when DB had a good name. Think they had something called the DBR in the 90s. It was a full suspension bike. Think I may have confused the Raleigh name with the Roadmaster name, hence my initial thought that they were sold at dept stores. I know REI sells them.

    MrItchGee: Do you mean that for Raleigh to compensate for their inferior frames and forks they used better components to compete with bigger names like Trek, which specs their low-end bikes with cheaper parts because their frames are worth upgrading?
    Dorel does not own them. Raleigh owns Raleigh and DB.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrAitchGee View Post
    Not true
    Yes, it is true.
    Shimano History

    Go to the 1994 section and find this:

    "Deore DX is discontinued as Deore LX takes it's place"

    So, either your bike isn't a 1988 model, or its a 1988 frame with parts that were upgraded later on. Since I bought my first MTB in 1988, I remember that Shimano had Deore XT and Deore as their 2 MTB groups. I also remember when LX came out, and though I couldn't remember the year without looking it up, I remember it was much later than 1988.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Yes, it is true.
    Shimano History

    Go to the 1994 section and find this:

    "Deore DX is discontinued as Deore LX takes it's place"

    So, either your bike isn't a 1988 model, or its a 1988 frame with parts that were upgraded later on. Since I bought my first MTB in 1988, I remember that Shimano had Deore XT and Deore as their 2 MTB groups. I also remember when LX came out, and though I couldn't remember the year without looking it up, I remember it was much later than 1988.
    I bought my bike in 88 with those parts on it, I also have pics of a 92 Raleigh Peak with the exact same groupset. It clearly says deore LX
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is a bike with a threaded headset worth upgrading?-newdrive.jpg  

    Is a bike with a threaded headset worth upgrading?-peakmontage.jpg  

    I scurry away with my hardtail between my legs

  13. #13
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    That looks like a nice bike in excellent condition for its age. But its not a 1988. The low profile Cantilevers and the oversize headset are other clues. In 1988, there was no LX, no oversize headsets, and no low profile canti's.

    You should post it in the "what's it worth" thread in the vintage, retro and classic forum. Those guys know all about old bikes. They could pin it down for you.

    Edit: My '88 had an under the chainstay U brake, and biopace chainrings. That was typical for back then.
    Last edited by smilinsteve; 10-16-2011 at 09:19 AM.

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  15. #15
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    Nice bike, MrAitchGee! I'm doing a lot of research on Raleigh bikes, and it looks like the consensus is that they're good bang for the buck. Nothing fancy but also nothing dept store quality either. The drawback is that their mtn bikes seem to be naturally heavy, even the AL ones. I probably wouldn't buy a new or used Raleigh. It seems that their old mtn bikes make good candidates for commuters or city cruisers or SS. I'm nearing the completion of my Raleigh M50 conversion to SS. I guess I was having a bit of anxiety attack wondering if I was just putting lipstick on a pig sort of thing.

    Before:


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  16. #16
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    djork, this is not a bike I would pursue but if I owned it I would do what I could to make it strong and reliable. Don't waste your time on lighter parts or go beyond LX level components. That said, don't skimp on a good saddle and the best tires for your area. Keep it cleaned, tuned, and lubed and learn about the sport on it.
    I don't rattle.

  17. #17
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    The bike in the pics is not mine , and it's a 92 Peak, but I do believe it's still in that condition

    However the groupset is exactly as mine was, and I got it brand new with money i'd saved from my 18th birthday, which was 1988. So something is amiss somewhere, The website given as a source for shimano has its own flaws including their Raleigh spec for that period which doesn't even list the Dune Dancer, and has the colour wrong, both the Dune Dancer and the Peak were listed as Teal ,perhaps it's a difference between UK/USA?

    Anyway , back on topic for the OP, to which i'd say Berkeley Mike just gave good advice
    I scurry away with my hardtail between my legs

  18. #18
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    I don't rattle.

  19. #19
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    Berkeley Mike: This is my 5th bike and was actually given to me, so I thought I'd make a project out of it. I have fun doing it and I usually try to learn a new DIY thing--this case, adjusting threaded headset and installing chain. It won't be my main bike, as I have other bikes that are better. I won't be putting XTR or XO parts on it! But rather putting better parts than what the bike came with, not so much to make it lighter as to make it look and function better. Besides, it's fun. I do a lot of bargain hunting on projects, so even if I put an LX crankset, it most likely won't be $85+ I'll be spending but less if I'm patient. Right now I have a RaceFace Ride SS crankset/BB that I got for $80. That RF bashguard I got new for $11! Best upgrade was replacing the cantis with V-brakes and Avid levers, which I had in my parts bin and replacing quill stem with an adapter that accepts 1 1/8 stems. Main thing I replaced was the drivetrain.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    My first "real" mountain bike was a Raleigh Technium 1988. And yeah, it was real. The frame was aluminum tubes bonded "with aerospace adhesive" to steel lugs. They don't make frames like that anymore, but it was pretty cool technology for the day, and even for now, I think. Raleigh has kind of fizzled out it seems; I don't really know much about the company, but they have a long history, and have definitely made some nice bikes.
    My commuter is one of those - a Technium road bike. The bonding sometimes worries me, but it's continuing to hold up and it's not like I'm going to be descending the Alpe de Huez on it. Cool technology, if not necessarily mature at that point, and made in Kent. Raleigh USA was at that time a different (at least somewhat) company from the Raleigh in England, and they're different from the current Raleigh USA. Or, such was my impression.

    Interestingly, Dorel and Pacific aren't listing Raleigh (or Diamondback) among their brands, while the Raleigh USA site now links to the Raleigh UK site, and that site has Diamonback listed among its brands. I'm too lazy to keep good track of this stuff - suffice it to say that it's a brand name that's been passed around some, although it's pretty much always been an LBS brand.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrAitchGee View Post
    The bike in the pics is not mine , and it's a 92 Peak, but I do believe it's still in that condition

    However the groupset is exactly as mine was, and I got it brand new with money i'd saved from my 18th birthday, which was 1988. So something is amiss somewhere, The website given as a source for shimano has its own flaws including their Raleigh spec for that period which doesn't even list the Dune Dancer, and has the colour wrong, both the Dune Dancer and the Peak were listed as Teal ,perhaps it's a difference between UK/USA?

    Anyway , back on topic for the OP, to which i'd say Berkeley Mike just gave good advice
    Do you have any pictures of the bike we are talking about?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    Now you are going to think I'm really crazy, but I'd say that's not a 1988 either

    A lot happened in the next year or two after 1988, including the switch from 6 to 7 speed freewheels, the switch from a rear U brake to canti, the abandoning of biopace, and the switch from a curved fork to a straight blade fork. So I'd say that's a 89 or 90.

    Here's a scan from the Shamino 1988 catalog. Note the biopace rings and 6 speed freewheel.
    1988 Shimano scans

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrAitchGee View Post
    The bike in the pics is not mine , and it's a 92 Peak, but I do believe it's still in that condition

    However the groupset is exactly as mine was, and I got it brand new with money i'd saved from my 18th birthday, which was 1988. So something is amiss somewhere, The website given as a source for shimano has its own flaws including their Raleigh spec for that period which doesn't even list the Dune Dancer, and has the colour wrong, both the Dune Dancer and the Peak were listed as Teal ,perhaps it's a difference between UK/USA?

    Anyway , back on topic for the OP, to which i'd say Berkeley Mike just gave good advice
    Hey I think you are right that the mombat history of Shimano is not correct. Retrobike has some old Shimano catalog scans, and the 1989 catalog shows a new group called Mountain LX.

    http://www.retrobike.co.uk/gallery2/...2_itemId=15554

    Then the 1990 catalog shows a Deore LX group:

    retrobike ::

    Unfortunately, they don't have a 1988 catalog scan! I'm still thinking that there was no LX in 1988, but if you bought a bike in 1988 maybe it was a 1989 model with Mountain LX?

    (Sorry to the OP about the hijack!)

  24. #24
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    FRom time to time threads appear asking the question "is this bike I found worth riding?" Heck, I have even seen threads like that in a power tool forum.

    I picked up a pair of '85 Raleigh Elkhorns this summer from a Craig's list ad; I posed the question if it would be sacriledge to give one to my kid as a knock around bike and part the other one out. Survey said "keep it original"

    I took the kid and her BF riding a month ago or so, let the BF ride my new Rocky Mtn and I rode the old rigid Raleigh. That bike fits me better than any bike I've ever had: I'm 53 yrs of age and stuff usually hurts me after a couple of hours, but the kids gave in before I did. THAT bike is worth upgrading/ reapiring to me.

    That's the question to ask yourself about YOUR old Raleigh too. Prolly not a lot of collector value, but if you really like it and want to keep riding it, by all means...

  25. #25
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    Ride it. Then ride it some more. My old cheap Bianchi came to life as a SS once I put good wheels on it.
    I may or may not be laughing at you.

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