[CR]Old Raleigh 3-speeds vs modern bikes

Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2007 10:50:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Ted E. Baer" <wickedsky@sbcglobal.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Old Raleigh 3-speeds vs modern bikes

Has anyone noticed how incredibly fast old Raleigh 3-spds are compared to new and old lightweights? I can remember be a trim and shapely young man and owning a Specialized Carbon road bike with all Dura-Ace. It had STI too. The bicycle was dialed to a "T".

One day, I rode over to a friend's house. We got on our bicycles--his being an old steel Raleigh 3-spd with steel rims, bars, stem, post, cranks, etc. We headed to 7-11 to get slurpees as it was a hot miserable day. All I remember is that on the way there we "raced" down a long section of residential street. I beat him off the line. But in less than a minute he had caught up, passed me, and absolutely blew me away. I felt like a complete loser. I was on a 19-pound state of the art bike STI, etc (way back 15+ years ago) and he was on a bike (the old Raleigh) which must have weighed a ton.

I am not a scientist, physicist, or anything even remotely close. But common sense tells me that once he got that heavy machine moving it behaved much like a freight train--seemed to run on the sheer power of its own weight.

I noticed that the Raleigh seat tube angle MAY have had something to do with how this guy was able to accelerate so fast. The Raleigh had a more relaxed angle than did the Specialized I was sporting. I noticed that my friend was able to really turn those cranks and every time one of his legs reached the fully extended position, the bicycle seemed to pick up more and more speed.

There were even moments where he would coast and the heavy steel rims of the old Raleigh seemed to "carry" him. I was pedaling like an egg-beater on full blast and could not catch up to this guy.

Ted E. Baer
Palo Alto, CA