Now let me chime in .... I have ridden lots of bikes ... the good the mediocre and the ugly. Most mid level or better bikes whether premium branded or Fujiesque turn out to be fine. No big problems ... something good ... something ok .... something unoffensive. Few bikes, are shinning examples of what a bike needs to be when pushed to limit or when you spend long periods of time with a bike so that little problems and annoyances surface in your consciousness. I have a Raeigh - a humble- mid to upper level Raleigh. It was made in England for the US market as the sticker says. It is Reynolds 531C tubing and it says Raleigh USA on the top tube. It's light, it's stiff, it's very dependable and it has quality Superbe Pro components, I keep coming back to this bike even though it has an errant file mark on the head tube lug (right where you see it when you look down while riding).
I crashed it, or rather it fell off the car rack during transport. I replaced the fork with a Gios, touched up the head tube lug with body putty and repainted the fork to match. Now the bike is a veteran. This is the third saddle I've had on it and the third chain. I've rebuilt both wheels too and replaced chainwheels. I can't love this bike because it's so far from perfect. It wasn't perfect to start with and now that it's been monkeyed with it adds to my disdain. But.... something about this bike is fantastic. It handles better than I wish it did because it puts more pedigreed bikes that I have in a bad light. It descends in a way that puts me at ease and when you crank on it you always know where you and the bike are. I can easily draft another rider being inches from his rear wheel both because I'm not afraid to crash this one and because it's so dependable. How the hell did they do it? Do badly filed lugs and sloppy fill ins of the engraved seat stay top saying 'Raleigh' make for a better bike? I know that the guys in England didn't have it blessed by the Anglican church and that it wasn't made by the same guys who put together the Spitfire to take out the German airforce. It was made by a bunch of British blokes who brushed off their hands when they were done ... and went to the pub to take the bad taste of a hard day at work out of their mouths.
I'm not getting rid of this one.
Garth Libre in Miami Fl USA