Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 26 Apr 2019, 12:32am

Hi,
Yep, keep the tourer for good rides, use a hack for the rest.
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jimlews
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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby jimlews » 26 Apr 2019, 7:37am

+1 For Raleigh Randonneur.
I have the older, 531 st version and it's my most comfortable bicycle (I have a few; all tourers).
I would happily ride it all day and often do so. My only 'gripe' is that Raleigh economised on touring specific braze-ons. Mine has no rear rack mounts on the seat stays, but has all the other bosses that the cycletourist could desire. A respray is imminent, so the deficiency will be rectified then. Oh! And it doesn't like a bar bag.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 26 Apr 2019, 10:36am

Hi,
Mmmm Reminds meI have an Old Holdsworth 531 MTB frame Lugged, and all braze ons, Make an ideal all anything bike.

In one post I said use my Tourer all year round Then in later post I said don't use it every day et cetera, what I meant to say was that I have used it all year round on all terrains.
I'll stop doing this because I realised I was wearing expensive parts out.
Just use one of my hacks now Fuelled by recycled parts
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pwa
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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby pwa » 26 Apr 2019, 11:11am

I have commuted, toured and done most of my cycling on my tourer and can't see why I would want a hack bike instead. I just use it and change parts periodically. It recently had a nice new chainset, chain and sprockets, for example. I enjoy every ride, so every ride matters enough to have a nice bike. As they say, life is what happens to you while your're making other plans.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 26 Apr 2019, 11:25am

Hi,
pwa wrote:I have commuted, toured and done most of my cycling on my tourer and can't see why I would want a hack bike instead. I just use it and change parts periodically. It recently had a nice new chainset, chain and sprockets, for example. I enjoy every ride, so every ride matters enough to have a nice bike. As they say, life is what happens to you while your're making other plans.

In winter time cycle paths / farm tracks / moorland (where I do all my training work) wreck your gear train and rims and tyres, crushed grit.
Using one of my skip trainers for training is more economical for me with recycled parts from my store of numerous parts from over 50 scrapped bikes, bought for £1-10 each.
I can understand that if all your rides are for pleasure you would ride a nice bike, summers coming :)
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Jezrant
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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby Jezrant » 26 Apr 2019, 12:32pm

As someone who has owned and just recently sold a Raleigh Randonneur frameset on here, I thought I'd contribute my 2 cts.

The frameset I just sold here I had bought from another CTC member some years ago. He had originally listed it as a complete bike and was asking something like £375 (can't remember the exact figure but it was around that amount). It had all the original parts and looked to be in good nick. My feeling was that some of the parts would be well used, and I'd be wanting to replace critical bits like the bars and stem for safety's sake anyway, so I made an offer for the frame and brakes only. I think I paid him £175, which was well over the odds, but 531 Raleigh Randonneurs in good condition in my size don't come up for sale all that often. You do however see quite a few for sale that look pretty shabby.

Anyways, I built it up with a mix of parts (mostly Campag), and it handled as well as my old custom-built Woodrup. You would have to pay many times more for a similar frame today (with comparable tubing). It's what used to be called a 'fast tourer'. The handling is much more nimble than today's heavy, over-built, steel touring bikes like a Surly et al. For day tours, the Randonneur rides like a dream. On the other hand, it will wobble more than today's touring bikes like a Surly et al when loaded up with front and rear panniers. That's the trade-off.

It does have a couple of little quirks, one specific to the frame and the others common to older bikes in general.

First, the geometry is a bit unusual. It has a long top tube for good front clearances. It also has a short head tube. You may well need to swap around a couple of stems to get the best position. In my case, I had the stem higher and seatpost lower than on my Woodrup to get the same position.

Like most road bikes of the period, the rear spacing is 126mm. If you want to run a freehub with 130mm, the frame should ideally be re-spaced, which any framebuilder can do and is simple and inexpensive. There are also decent new 126mm threaded rear hubs for freewheels available (Spa and others sell them) if you want to stick with 126mm. However, the 6-speed freewheels still in production these days aren't brilliant quality. Similarly, the canti spacing is now obsolete, but there are loads of second-hand Shimano cantis in good nick for sale in the usual places. These can be cannibalised for spare parts if necessary. Lastly, new 1" quill stems and threaded headsets are still easy to find (Nitto make some of the best stems, and Tange still make very good inexpensive 1" threaded headsets).

So if you like the way old steel frames like the Randonneur handle, and can find a good one, I say grab it. They're really fine bikes. Raleigh knew what they were doing. :)

Cheers

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 26 Apr 2019, 1:33pm

Hi,
Like I said mines nimble even with rear panniers, I've never needed the front rack and panniers so I haven't tried it with such?
Even with my wheels out of line it still handles okay.

I have done several 250 mile day rides, And one 300 miles non-stop ride, All unsupported of course.

I have not had much experience with other even modern touring bikes, I Used to ride a lot of Raleigh in my youth , There is still plenty Raleigh frames is knocking around.
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slowster
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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby slowster » 26 Apr 2019, 1:49pm

Jezrant wrote:it handled as well as my old custom-built Woodrup. You would have to pay many times more for a similar frame today (with comparable tubing). It's what used to be called a 'fast tourer'. The handling is much more nimble than today's heavy, over-built, steel touring bikes like a Surly et al. For day tours, the Randonneur rides like a dream. On the other hand, it will wobble more than today's touring bikes like a Surly et al when loaded up with front and rear panniers. That's the trade-off.

I have a 1980s Randonneur frame and when I built it back up into a complete bike I was shocked at how smooth the ride was compared with my more modern bikes. That was with 23mm tyres which were all I had to hand, and although I have since fitted 32mm Vittoria Hypers I didn't think that the Hypers made a massive difference. In other words, the comfort and shock absorption provided by the frame, forks, bars and stem were so good that the benefits of a wider supple tyre like the Hyper were probably far less noticeable than they would be on a more modern, stiffer tourer like the Surlys etc.

However, I personally would not call it a 'fast tourer'. When Raleigh developed the Randonneur in the 1980s, it was one of a (supposedly new) class of bikes that were labelled 'Super Tourers'. Other manufacturers had similar bikes in their ranges, e.g. the Revell Romany and the Dawes Super Galaxy. The obvious distinguishing features of these bikes were typically rack braze-ons at the rear and also the front (for the low rider rack of the type recently introduced by Blackburn) and cantilever brakes. Although not as stiff as a modern heavy duty tourer like the Surly LHT, they were typically built with Reynolds 531ST, which had slightly thicker walls than 531 Competition. Because the tube diameters were still the same, I suspect the main benefit of 531ST compared with 531C was not greater stiffness, but rather a slightly more robust frame better able to shrug off knocks, dents and rust.

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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby andrew_s » 26 Apr 2019, 3:48pm

I have a late model 531 version (grey, white head tube).

I found it excellent for day rides (up to 600k) and light-ish touring (i.e. YHA/Hotel), and much preferred it to the preceding Galaxy.
It was fine on a relatively light camping tour (Roscoff --> Santander, Jetpacker tent, no cold weather gear), but I did find it got a bit squirrelly when overloaded. I was using front low-riders and a rack pack, and another tour member had his rear wheel rim start to split about 25 miles short of Inverness. We let half the air out of his back tyre, and muggins here, with free rear rack space, took over his well-stuffed Karrimor Iberian rear panniers. I've had similar later on using an audax bike for camping tours, and mostly you just get used to the frame flex after a couple of days, and it ceases to be a problem

It went out of use partly because it had a 6-speed Uniglide freehub, and Uniglide cassettes became unavailable, partly because I found keeping the cantilever brakes in good fettle was a bit of a pain, and partly because I got a new audax bike for PBP (what I call a "mk 0 Thorn Audax" - one of a batch of frames Robin had made up as a trial before starting the Thorn brand)

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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby Jezrant » 26 Apr 2019, 8:23pm

slowster wrote:
Jezrant wrote:it handled as well as my old custom-built Woodrup. You would have to pay many times more for a similar frame today (with comparable tubing). It's what used to be called a 'fast tourer'. The handling is much more nimble than today's heavy, over-built, steel touring bikes like a Surly et al. For day tours, the Randonneur rides like a dream. On the other hand, it will wobble more than today's touring bikes like a Surly et al when loaded up with front and rear panniers. That's the trade-off.

I have a 1980s Randonneur frame and when I built it back up into a complete bike I was shocked at how smooth the ride was compared with my more modern bikes. That was with 23mm tyres which were all I had to hand, and although I have since fitted 32mm Vittoria Hypers I didn't think that the Hypers made a massive difference. In other words, the comfort and shock absorption provided by the frame, forks, bars and stem were so good that the benefits of a wider supple tyre like the Hyper were probably far less noticeable than they would be on a more modern, stiffer tourer like the Surlys etc.

However, I personally would not call it a 'fast tourer'. When Raleigh developed the Randonneur in the 1980s, it was one of a (supposedly new) class of bikes that were labelled 'Super Tourers'. Other manufacturers had similar bikes in their ranges, e.g. the Revell Romany and the Dawes Super Galaxy. The obvious distinguishing features of these bikes were typically rack braze-ons at the rear and also the front (for the low rider rack of the type recently introduced by Blackburn) and cantilever brakes. Although not as stiff as a modern heavy duty tourer like the Surly LHT, they were typically built with Reynolds 531ST, which had slightly thicker walls than 531 Competition. Because the tube diameters were still the same, I suspect the main benefit of 531ST compared with 531C was not greater stiffness, but rather a slightly more robust frame better able to shrug off knocks, dents and rust.


I take your point, but appearances can be misleading. Those so-called 'Super Tourers' were not all alike. The Randonneur had a different front end (lower trail) and the chainstays were relatively short. 531ST also changed over the years. The Randonneur corners and climbs like what used to be called ... a 'fast tourer'. It's a noticeably livelier bike than a Dawes Super Galaxy or some other mass produced touring bikes from back then that I'm personally familiar with, and the frame was unquestionably better made than the Dawes.

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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby slowster » 27 Apr 2019, 11:42am

Jezrant wrote: It's a noticeably livelier bike than a Dawes Super Galaxy or some other mass produced touring bikes from back then that I'm personally familiar with, and the frame was unquestionably better made than the Dawes.

That's interesting, I never had the chance to ride a Dawes Super Galaxy to compare the handling. The handling of the Randonneur just seemed fine to me and I never gave it any thought, apart from one day on a tour when I was using front and rear panniers and experienced severe shimmy, which I put down to poor packing/weight distribution that day.

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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby jimlews » 28 Apr 2019, 9:10am

slowster wrote:
Jezrant wrote: It's a noticeably livelier bike than a Dawes Super Galaxy or some other mass produced touring bikes from back then that I'm personally familiar with, and the frame was unquestionably better made than the Dawes.

That's interesting, I never had the chance to ride a Dawes Super Galaxy to compare the handling. The handling of the Randonneur just seemed fine to me and I never gave it any thought, apart from one day on a tour when I was using front and rear panniers and experienced severe shimmy, which I put down to poor packing/weight distribution that day.


I suspect that the shimmy described above is a feature of all the earlier 531st Randonneurs. I haven't tried them all of course, but there have been mutterings on this site and elsewhere; it's probably significant that the later Reynolds 708 versions had an oversized top tube (same diameter as the downtube). My 531 machine will produce a slight shimmy even when unloaded under certain circumstances eg. some downhill turns; and I can't escape the conclusion that the front end geometry is a bit compromised. Perhaps the 'flip side' of that oh so comfortable ride. So not a bike to be overburdened with luggage. But I have toured on mine and found it delightful - with careful packing.
EDIT.
I've just googled the term Randonneur and it seems that it is the French term for Audax. The French invented it, of course. But that makes sense in respect of these bikes handling. ie. comfort over long distances, but lightly loaded.

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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby Jezrant » 28 Apr 2019, 9:40am

jimlews wrote:I suspect that the shimmy described above is a feature of all the earlier 531st Randonneurs. I haven't tried them all of course, but there have been mutterings on this site and elsewhere; it's probably significant that the later Reynolds 708 versions had an oversized top tube (same diameter as the downtube). My 531 machine will produce a slight shimmy even when unloaded under certain circumstances eg. some downhill turns; and I can't escape the conclusion that the front end geometry is a bit compromised. Perhaps the 'flip side' of that oh so comfortable ride. So not a bike to be overburdened with luggage. But I have toured on mine and found it delightful - with careful packing.


If you are getting shimmy on your Randonneur unloaded, there is a problem with your bike. It could be any of a handful of things -- the headset, the fork out of alignment, the hub, the wheel build, etc. I have never had any shimmy with my 531ST Randonneur. However, once heavily loaded, it is whippy compared with a modern touring bike with stiffer oversized tubing.

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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby jimlews » 28 Apr 2019, 11:02am

Jezrant wrote:
jimlews wrote:I suspect that the shimmy described above is a feature of all the earlier 531st Randonneurs. I haven't tried them all of course, but there have been mutterings on this site and elsewhere; it's probably significant that the later Reynolds 708 versions had an oversized top tube (same diameter as the downtube). My 531 machine will produce a slight shimmy even when unloaded under certain circumstances eg. some downhill turns; and I can't escape the conclusion that the front end geometry is a bit compromised. Perhaps the 'flip side' of that oh so comfortable ride. So not a bike to be overburdened with luggage. But I have toured on mine and found it delightful - with careful packing.


If you are getting shimmy on your Randonneur unloaded, there is a problem with your bike. It could be any of a handful of things -- the headset, the fork out of alignment, the hub, the wheel build, etc. I have never had any shimmy with my 531ST Randonneur. However, once heavily loaded, it is whippy compared with a modern touring bike with stiffer oversized tubing.


Thanks "jezrant",
You are certainly right, I think.
I have replaced the headset and fitted a shorter stem 8cm down from 10. That's improved matters quite a lot. But there is still a hint of shimmy as described above. I've got an even shorter stem lined up to try.
When I have the bike resprayed, I'll ask them to check the geometry and correct if necessary.
I'm still running the original wheelset and that has always run true (Mavic M3CD )and been very free running (Maillard sealed bearing hubs).
But I have to be very careful when seating the tyres.

I was very tempted by the f/s you had for sale here. Yours was a smaller size than mine(which is 57cm) and I thought it might consequently have been stiffer.
I'm glad to see it's gone to a good home.

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Re: Raleigh Randonneur- touring?

Postby Jezrant » 28 Apr 2019, 12:07pm

jimlews wrote:
Jezrant wrote:
jimlews wrote:I suspect that the shimmy described above is a feature of all the earlier 531st Randonneurs. I haven't tried them all of course, but there have been mutterings on this site and elsewhere; it's probably significant that the later Reynolds 708 versions had an oversized top tube (same diameter as the downtube). My 531 machine will produce a slight shimmy even when unloaded under certain circumstances eg. some downhill turns; and I can't escape the conclusion that the front end geometry is a bit compromised. Perhaps the 'flip side' of that oh so comfortable ride. So not a bike to be overburdened with luggage. But I have toured on mine and found it delightful - with careful packing.


If you are getting shimmy on your Randonneur unloaded, there is a problem with your bike. It could be any of a handful of things -- the headset, the fork out of alignment, the hub, the wheel build, etc. I have never had any shimmy with my 531ST Randonneur. However, once heavily loaded, it is whippy compared with a modern touring bike with stiffer oversized tubing.


Thanks "jezrant",
You are certainly right, I think.
I have replaced the headset and fitted a shorter stem 8cm down from 10. That's improved matters quite a lot. But there is still a hint of shimmy as described above. I've got an even shorter stem lined up to try.
When I have the bike resprayed, I'll ask them to check the geometry and correct if necessary.
I'm still running the original wheelset and that has always run true (Mavic M3CD )and been very free running (Maillard sealed bearing hubs).
But I have to be very careful when seating the tyres.

I was very tempted by the f/s you had for sale here. Yours was a smaller size than mine(which is 57cm) and I thought it might consequently have been stiffer.
I'm glad to see it's gone to a good home.


True shimmy is a rather rare and somewhat mysterious phenomenon that some people like to debate about until the cows come home. If you are getting some sort of vibration or wobble or whatever regularly, there is a problem that should be investigated. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Randonneur frame. Quite the contrary, it's an excellent design, but used ones can be out of alignment or have other issues that could lead to problems with the handling. BTW, the alignment of the frameset I sold was absolutely spot-on.

Cheers