I've always wanted to replicate the look of the classic English path racer/scorcher type bike.
These are very minimalistic looking bikes with no fenders, chain guard , brake levers etc. I thought the frame from this rusted hulk could serve as a starting point for a path racer type project, so I became the owner of a forsaken, mistreated 1953 Raleigh Sports.
I envisioned the project being a mix of modern and period parts, I wanted to retain the cotter cranks and iconic Heron chainwheel. I started sourcing/ordering parts the project, but soon got involved in other interest and priorities. In the intervening time I acquired a good assortment of used three-speed parts, and 2 additional Raleigh Sports, a 1970, and 1972 "Gold Edition" (unique Gold paint, but lower quality components). Once I got reengaged on the path racer project I started disassembly of the 1953 Sports. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures before disassembly. This is picture of the rusty components removed from the frame.
I sprayed all of the rusty fasteners with penetrating oil and let everything sit overnight. The only component that resisted removal was the fixed cup of the bottom bracket, after several attempts I ordered the fixed cup remover from Bike Smith Design which took care of the problem.
Once the frame was stripped of its rusty components I could appreciate some of the unique aspects of this frame compared to later Sports frames. There is a oiler port in the bottom bracket.
Below the set lug there is a braze-on for the traditional Sturmey Archer pulley, later models used a clamp-on pulley.
There is a braze-on the chainstay behind the chainwheel for attaching the enclosed chaincase
The front fork dropouts are forged instead of stamped, with reliefs on the outer edges to accept the earlier style shoulder axle nuts (if you have picture of this type of nut please send a picture). The Sports fork on the right is the later stamped style. The fork on the right is the 1953.
The seat lug also shows the frame serial number 8811BT, according to the site at http://kurtkaminer.com/TH_raleighserials.html this seems to confirm the frame as being a 1953.
I'm now starting to re-think my decision to use this frame for a path racer project. It has several original characteristics that were unique to the older Sports frames, so I'm thinking now I will use the frame from the 1970 Sports for the path racer project, and return the 1953 Sports to a near original state. Next step will be replacing the hacksawed enclosed chaincase.
Please share your thoughts and experiences.