Peter, if I may join Paul and yourself in the discussion?
A little background: I first "met" Paul when he outbid me on an RRA chainset (probably the one on your blue machine) some years ago, and then helped me out by providing parts for the one I was restoring. We've been friends ever since.
Last year, Paul bought a 1930s RRA frameset, with some parts, on eBay, and had trouble getting it shipped from England. He told me in November that if I could get hold of it, I could have it as an early Christmas present, and to cut the story short, I was able to do so, and sent Paul some stuff as a thank you. The bike is beautifully built, and in its original paint and transfers. I've started to clean up the paint, and I thought you might like to see how the black Raleigh enamel is looking, mid clean, after 74-odd years.
Raleigh would provide a range of upgrades to the pre-war RRA also, including Constrictor parts, Williams Dureel chainset, etc.
If you follow the link below, you'll be able to see a few pics of this RRA as it stands at present. There's also a photo of my late '53/early '54 RRA post restoration.
Neil Foddering Weymouth, Dorset, England
> Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 18:04:23 -0800
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [CR] Respecting the Heron
> Excuse us, whilst Paul Raley and I talk Raleigh Record Aces...
> Firstly, I did try, twice, to talk Paul out of selling me his gloriously restored 1948 RRA to me. How could you sell this...??
> Secondly, Raleigh painting and spra-bonderising (I almost chose that as my eBay id). Spra-bonderising isn't a paint, it's a chemical metal treatment. The black Paul talks about is glorious British Cycle Enamel and Raleighs were dipped, never sprayed, in the stuff. Dipped in huge vats. Every Raleigh of the classic era, regardless of its finish colour, was so dipped. It is peerless paint that cannot be duplicated today for the depth of its rich, low gloss, its adhesion and its remarkable ability to "come back" with rubbing and polish compound. And it lasts far longer than the sprayed on paint that would follow on any cycle not black. So you can have a Rudge in Rudge Maroon or a Humber in Royal Blue whose signature paint is giving way to that glorious black underneath. Polychromatic colours (Lenton Green, Pathfinder Orange, Clubman Electric Blue, Humber Clipper Lilac etc) were applied over a silver basecoat. But under it all is that wonderous... black.
> Finally, RRA production. I have been told that Raleigh had its best framebuilders turn out a parcel of these during a down time in cycle production in 1948 when Raleigh was suffering from chronic shortages of chrome and other components and turned out lots more frames than finished machines. I have owned four 1948 Raleighs as a result. And the only other year I've seen more than a few RRAs is very late in their production, c. 1951. RRA frames would be spra-bonderised and held in store until customers ordered a frame size, then completed with requested braze ons (there were lots of choices), colour, chrome or not etc etc. I suspect you were getting "1948" RRAs in 1949, 1950 etc etc.
> And NO, this was not an "off the shelf" machine, there was a choice of braze ons, components, paint etc etc to rival any bespoke framebuilder. The stock RRA components comprised the unique stem (evoking the lug design), pedals, chainset (designed after the Williams C1200 and believed to really have been made by them), bottom bracket with hollow axle, axle wingnuts and even the mudguard wingnuts, mudguards with alloy stays and the detachable saddle bag support. Everthing else was a glorious shopping list of the best British components of the era.
> You could have an RRA spec'd out as a time trial machine, a club machine, a touring one etc etc. or yes, a track frame. Sprints, 27 or 26 wire-on rims. I saw one of Reg's famous carmine red track RRAs at the Triumph Road works, Lenton, Nottingham. He won the 1974 championship on his 1948 (even he had one!) machine in, yes, the original paint.
> Paul loves his RRAs. And he doesn't even have an RRA Moderne yet! Now that is just the sweetest ride on the planet and I did my personal best on the W&OD trail to Leesburg on mine.
> Peter Kohler
> Washington DC USA