RE: [CR]Original Derailleurs on a Raleigh Grand Sport(s)

Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 15:06:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <>
Subject: RE: [CR]Original Derailleurs on a Raleigh Grand Sport(s)
To: Neal Lerner <nlerner@MIT.EDU>,
In-Reply-To: <>

Someone else has said offlist that about 1977, the Grand Sport was drastically downgraded to gaspipe tubing ala Grand Prix. Mine carries correct and evidently original 531 DB decals. So, unless the Raleigh catalogs are incorrect, which they sometimes were, the evidence is mounting that the SunTour stuff is not original.

Pity, the SunTour stuff is a lot better than the original Simplex stuff, especially the nice (and underrated) SunTour ratcheted DT shifters, versus the awful plastic Simplex Prestige DT shifters. These shifters almost singlehandedly destroyed the reputation of Simplex in the US market. Much of the Simplex stuff was really good, but the plastic shifters flexed so much, that if you selected the intended gear, it was only by coincidence. During the bike boom, large numbers of lower end French bikes, and some Raleigh models, were sold in the US with these shifters, which gave US consumers a bad image of Simplex. My first lightweight was a Peugeot UO-8 with Simplex Prestige derailleurs and shifters. They were replaced within 6 months with Shimano Titlist. The bad impression of plastic Simplex carried over to one of my first pro quality bikes, a LeJeune F-70 a couple of years later. I had the LBS change out the plastic Simplex Criterium derailleurs for all-alloy SLJ. The SLJ was great stuff, but it wasn't until decades later I realized that the changeout was unnecessary, as the Criterium RD, combined with proper Criterium alloy Shift levers, shifted beautifully, better than Campy NR, in fact. But In The Day most US consumers judged Simplex, or at least their plastic parts, by their worst product, the Prestige shift levers.


Jerry Moos Big Spring, TX

Neal Lerner <nlerner@MIT.EDU> wrote: > So far, I'm guessing this bike is somewhere between 1973 and 1979.
> My primary question for the list is if the SunTour derailleurs are
> original. It has a VGT, or maybe VxGT RD with a matching SunTour FD
> and the ratcheted SunTour DT shift levers. The most recent catalog
> on RetroRaleigh to show the Grand Sport is 1976, which shows a long
> cage Criterium-quality Simplex plastic RD (called the Simplex
> "Maxi"), a pushrod plastic Simplex front, and the truly dreadful
> plastic Simplex Prestige DT shift levers. The same setup is shown
> in the 1973 catalog on RetroRaleigh. A couple of Raleigh gurus on
> the list believe the derailleurs are not original. However, if the
> bike is late 70's, maybe 1977-1979, I think it is possible it might
> have come with SunTour, as Raleigh did use a lot of SunTour stuff
> in the late 70's, including the original derailleurs on a Grand
> Prix I bought my wife in that period.
> Anyone know of a blue and white Grand Sport(s) with original
> SunTour derailleurs?
> Regards,
> Jerry Moos
> Big Spring, TX

Jerry, I have the 1978 and 1979 Raleigh catalogs, neither of which list the Gran Sport. However, it appears again in the 1980 catalog (as Gran Sport), listed between the Super Grand Prix and the Grand Prix. It's no longer the Reynolds 531 frameset of previous years, but "light weight high tensile steel" and the mechs are Raleigh/SunTour VGT (rear), Raleigh/SunTour Compe V (front) with stem shifters. Interesting, too, in that the paint scheme is listed as Polar White/ Double Blue but the model pictured is red panels/red headtube on a white frame. I've also seen Gran Sport frames in that red/white motif that were made in Japan, early 80s Raleighs.

Neal Lerner
Brookline, MA