I've seen Peter's reply to this, and I'll add my ten cents (since this is an American site) worth.
Before I do, I'd mention that I was building my RRA when Paul Raley was building the one Peter now owns (about 5 years ago). Paul helped me out with a spare BB cup (unique to the RRA) when the seized one on mine was damaged by the enamellers, and we've been friends ever since. He's now in England on business, and since he's staying a few miles from me, I've met him and ridden with him for the first time, and have been able to return the favour he did for me all that time ago, by giving him a celluloid RRA rear mudguard and RRA chainring for his latest RRA restoration.
Anyway, on to your rebuild. I agree with Peter about original parts. They're hard to find, and
stems will do until you turn up what you want.
There are enough handlebar options specified to make it easy: early Maes bars are pretty common (at least over here) and they were the standard pattern fitted to the RRA.
Brakes were GB Hiduminium. Again, they turn up on eBay. For the correct pattern, see:
http://www.oldcyclebits.co.uk/p5.htm. The correct pattern is listed as "The GB Hiduminium from 1948 onwards, later known as the standard".
The only 700c wheels used at that time were sprints (for sewup/tubular tyres) which were referred to as 27" or continental 27". Othherwise, you're looking at 26" or 27" as you mention. I'd steer clear of 26's, since tyres are now very hard to find, whereas good 27's are still available. As to rims, 27's turn up on eBay. See:
for period correct rims on eBay at the moment. In fact, the Dunlops were the standard equipment on RRA's, with the Conloys as optional.
Chainset- I'd go with Peter's recommendation, although RRA ones turn up, rarely, on eBay.
As to pedals, Raleigh made some chrome quills of similar shape to the RRA ones, and I use these. I did have the opportunity to buy a set of NOS originals, but baulked at the USD500 asking price...
Original pattern decals are now available from:
Hope this helps!
Neil Foddering Weymouth, Dorset, England
>From: dima <email@example.com>
>Reply-To: dima <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>To: Classic Rendezvous <email@example.com>
>Subject: [CR]RRA - thanks and more questions
>Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2007 19:32:26 -0400
>First, many thanks to the list members (esp. Neil and Peter) who
>provided info on dating the frame. So, assuming the frame is early 1950s
>- what would be your recommendations on building it up? I would like to
>keep it period correct as much as possible - but without sacrificing
>ride-ability (I really like the frame and want to build it into a bike
>that's nice and fun to ride). As I like fixed gear riding, my thinking
>is to go with a fixed gear for the RRA - or perhaps a flip-flop with a
>fixed on one side and a single-speed freewheel on the other. But
>definitely no front or rear derailleurs/SA hubs, which I guess makes the
>build easier. So the decisions come down to:
>1. What wheels? From what I've seen in Raleigh catalog scans from that
>period (http://web.mit.edu/nlerner/Public/Bikes/RRA_48Catalog2.jpg), one
>could choose different wheel sizes - 26" or 27". I am assuming that
>those sizes refer to BSD 630mm (27") and BSD 597mm (26"), is that
>correct? If so, I would prefer to go with the smaller wheel size but am
>not sure I've ever seen any BSD 597mm rims/tires (new or used)
>available... maybe just go with the 700c rims? That won't be period
>correct (or were there 700c wheels in 1950 already?) but at least it'll
>be practical - and for wheels especially, I'm inclined to give priority
>to practicality. What do you think?
>2. Chainset. From what I've seen, it looks like cottered cranks would be
>correct but maybe I'm wrong and cotterless/square taper cranks were
>already available in 1950 (if so, which models)? And, I think for a
>fixed/single speed 1950 bike, 1/8 chain is the right choice correct?
>2. Brakes. What brakes would be suitable for this build?
>That's it with the questions for now I guess. Your thoughts/advice will
>be much appreciated. Thanks.