Wow, them cog-NO-sent-ai in UK musta bin persnickety, Peter Kohler. Ah, reeeally luvs mah Moderne. Ah gots a double bottle rack on the drops, a nice Brooks pro under me, a seat bag, and ah likes the feel of this frame better'n ma frrrench bikes...and ah likes mah frrrench bikes a heeeeap. Go figgur.
Seriously, I do think the frame angles are conservative...and the ride is oh so comfy (feels similar to my Raleigh Competition and I like that soft frame too). IMHO, the RRA Moderne aimed at sporting riding rather than race riding no doubt. But since when is that a lesser thing? No one slights a touring Herse for not being a racing Herse. They marvel at what it is. I look at the Moderne the same. It is marvelous for what it is.
The Raleigh was always in a tug of war spiritually between practicality/durability on the one hand and performance on the other. An apparently true legend is: the founder thought his life was saved by the exercise of practical bicycling. In turn, his company always had that predisposition at least through the 50s. But they had to race to sell, too. I have a hunch the Raleigh only half embraced racing ever even though they were quite good at it (they had the best technology and the most money, why shouldn't they have been?). Yes, they made some of the best racing bikes ever, just like Ford made some of the best racing cars ever. But neither company's corporate heart was ever really in racing and racing bikes imho. Part of it was the Raleigh was a huge, bureaucratic bottom line company. They raced because racing Sunday sold on Monday (or something like that). But part of it was the founder's and his followers' devotion to the idea of the bicycle as a practical, durable item that could save a person's life as well as supplement his mobility.
What I like about the Raleigh Record Ace Moderne that I have is that it seems to me an ultimate extrapolation of a Raleigh Tourist, if you will...something not everybody (perhaps few actually) wishes for, but I do. It is as good as a practical bike can get without getting into the narrow purpose design of a racing bike. Excellence in any category is worth extolling, don't you think?
Anyway, many of the Raleigh's bicycles were one or the other over the years. But these Lentons and Record Aces, I am told, and, imho, my Record Ace Moderne were stellar combinations of both.
And if what you say is true...that it was not a way of getting rid of old stock...then it would seem to have been an attempt by the Raleigh to resuscitate the well-rounded sporting bike in a market niche between the balls to the walls racing frame and the humble Tourist style. Too bad it failed. It was a hell of a bicycle. Had it caught on again, maybe an entire generation of bike boom bike buyers a decade later might have gotten hooked on good, well rounded bicycles and been spared the gas pipe framed, hemmorhoids waiting to happen faux racing bikes that got dumped on these shores instead. The Raleigh could have made these Modernes by the zillion at a modest price. But if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, as they say.
Regardless, thanks for your insights. As always, Peter, you are far more knowledgeable than I. I had not heard about the difference in lugs. What I had heard was that this was an attempt to resuscitate interest in this kind of bike by offering it with either the old fashioned hub gear, which mine came with, or derailleur gearing then sharply rising in popularity (mine has a mount for a derailleur shifter). I've been told my bike has the then state of the art (at least at Raleigh) clincher rims along with some fine for the time side pull hiduminium brakes. A stock bike? Okay. But still a fine one. And, no, racing bikes didn't carry a hub dyno up front, but I'm deeeelighted mine has one. Think of the RRA Moderne as a GT to the RRA's sports car, and I think the picture comes clear. Again, too bad no one wanted a GT. Grand Touring has its place.
Los Olivos, CA
> The RRA Moderne was not an effort to reuse bits from
> the old (1948) pattern
> RRA. The lugs are completely different as are the
> frame angles. And the
> components were also different. If anything the 1957
> version offered less..
> it was sold as a "stock" machine with no options
> whereas the 1948 one had
> the pick of the litter in choice British components.
> The RRA Moderne, maybe for these reasons, was not
> well received by the UK
> cognoscenti and proved short-lived. It proved the
> very last top-end Raleigh
> lightweight for the UK market until the 1980s and
> for the US one until 1969.
> Peter Kohler
> Washington DC USA
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