Mar 182018

1983 Brochure scan (Mark 1)

Back in 1981, my mother and I persuaded my father that a brand new Raleigh Record Sprint would be a much better purchase at £161, than all of the other bicycles priced around the £80 mark in Roy Woods bicycle store.

£161 in 1981 was a lot of money, it is something like £450 in 2018.

For the money though I got a beautiful gloss black bicycle with exotic gold components and new-to-the market Reynolds 501 tubing. Compared to every other bicycle I had ever owned, it was fast and light and the ride quality was sublime.

The black and gold colour scheme echoed the JPS lotus cars of the previous decade, it oozed cool and Raleigh new it too.

Over the next few years despite being able to legally drive cars and ride motorbikes, I still managed to put a lot of miles on it. When I moved to my flat it became my primary transport for a while.

I have memories of riding to see friends on it, taking my cat to the vets on it and riding many many miles for pleasure.

That bike was a very early one, it had Campagnolo gears, safety brake levers and toe straps, it was lovely.

I eventually sold it, but for many years, I have looked for one to replace it.

In the last three years or so I have bid on a great number of them on eBay, usually they are way worn and in need of a lot of TLC, which is good, because this is what I am good at.

I dreamed about getting an old one, preferably a mark1, just like my original and then undertaking a ‘restomod’ on it.

This is where you take an old bicycle and keep little more than the frame, replacing the forks with Carbon blades, the 12 speed with a 2×11 setup and the wheels with something super light. Obviously the brakes would be swapped with modern ones and the pedals would be clipless LOOK or SPD jobs.

The problem is that the old Mark1 frames are virtually all in terrible condition, yet they still command a premium price.

The Mark2 was introduced in 1984 (I believe), it stuck with the 501 tubing, but with a twist, the Mark2 had ‘aero’ tubing. The frame was also slightly lighter. The decals are different too.

Thinking about this, I decided that finding a decent Mark2 frame would give me a good base, I could restomod it to my hearts content an maybe backdate the frame decals.

A week ago a Mark2 ‘barn find’ popped up on eBay. The seller had mispelled many words, it was advertised as a ‘Rayleigh Rekkord’. The photos showed what looked like a nice condition Record Sprint that had apparently not been touched in 30 years. I popped in a cheeky bid.

Amazingly I won it – there was one other bidder, had there been no other bidder I would have paid £30. As it was, the shipping was almost 1/3 of the total cost. 


Post first ride

So, what did I get for my modest outlay ?

Pretty much a time capsule. It looks pretty much the same as it did on the day someone emerged from the bicycle shop back in August 1984.

The seat has some storage damage and is cracking underneath, the handlebar tape was crumbling, the tyres and tubes were dry and cracking and the chain was in desperate need of some lube.


So I swapped the tyres with some lovely Continental Grand Prix ‘Classics’, nice modern tubes went in, my favourite Cinelli cork bar tape was carefully applied and the chain got a good clean and oil.

It was in the state that I rode it around it around the block.

It was wonderful. It rode just how I remember, agile but comfortable.

Shimano Golden Arrow

Following that brief ride I made a new list…..

  • New Saddle – the existing one it cool, but damaged and cracked underneath
  • New brake pads – 34 year old pads are rubbish
  • New cables are needed all round
  • The cheap shifters need replacing

After a lot of thought these little upgrades will be in keeping with the bike, there is no big restomod needed here.

  • The saddle will be a 1990 Sella Italia Flight Ti
  • I found a 1988 Campagnolo Aero seat post to complement it.
  • A set of New Old Stock (NOS) Shimano Golden Arrow shifters will replace the plasticky Suntours.
  • The brakes will continue to be the beautiful golden Weinman 500’s but with CoolStop pads
  • Clarkes cables will replace the stiff originals.

Golden Weinman 500

In other words, gentle improvements.

I may replace the chain, it is a tad stiff in places and I’d love to find a Shimano Golden Arrow (braze-on) front shifter to match the rear item, but these are apparently super rare.

I am very happy with it, even if it is not a Mark1, the Mark2 had a better frame remember…..

I am looking forwards to putting a lot of miles on this thing…..

  6 Responses to “Raleigh Record Sprint”

  1. I own Raleigh record Sprint bought for my son’s Christmas 1983 .still has original parts and frame. Look at some ads for original record sprints and just laugh.

  2. I’m hopefully picking up a 1983/84? Sprint this week it’s a 25 inch frame and all none messed with, standard.
    I don’t see the point of buying a bog standard amazing condition vehicle of any sort and then start upgrading parts on it to so called “ better “ gear. LEAVE A RARE CASSIC A RARE CLASSIC…. If you want something with “ better “ parts on go and buy a run of the mill modern whatever it is you’re buying…

    Mike the Bike

  3. I did leave it alone – mostly.

    The seatpost was stuck and the only way around that was to destroy it, the seat itself has a little damage too.

    The toes traps disintegrated though age, the tyres were cracked and the cable inners too stiff to be of use and the brakes barely worked.

    So I replaced the seat port with a very nice Campag one from the right era, swapped the cable inners, swapped the brake pads and the toe straps and then nearly died getting stuck in the straps. As a temporary measure I swapped the pedals with some dual-sided SPD / flat ones that I had in the shed and I trued the wheels and lubed the chain. I also swapped the levers for some much nicer Campag ones after the black plastic ones cracked.

    All of that happened hundreds of miles ago.

    I had to rebuild the freewheel, re-grease both hubs and the BB and headset and I eventually replaced the chain which was on the wear limit and I re-wrapped the bars again with some nice tape.

    In other words, normal stuff for a bike this age.

    I’m still on the lookout for a Sella Italia Turbo in better condition than the one I have.

    After a few hundred miles I am still smitten with it, it is fast, supple and just plain lovely to ride.

    All of the ‘upgrades’ and swaps have been done in era-correct parts (apart from the pedals) and I have retained the parts if I want to go back to bone stock, I even found the correct seatpost, but have not swapped it back as the Campag one is so nice.

    Good luck with your new acquisition !

  4. Thanks for your reply.

    I was on this site just now reading the comments not realising that I’d been on before and whilst reading my comment previous to yours I was thinking “ there someone else that has the same thoughts as me “ then I looked at who it was that wrote it and it was my name. I was never any good in school and life that’s why I’m a painter and decorator. The positive though I was trained by the second best in the world.

    Enjoy your Record. I don’t use mine much it’s just parked in the house. I’m the third owner and it’s been well looked after so at this rate it should stay nice condition.
    What I have noticed though with you mentioning fluted seat post, mine isn’t fluted so I don’t know if in the past it was changed or if it was an early one that had a smooth one fitted. I have a Raleigh Record tourer though from the same year maybe a 1986 and that has a fluted one fitted.

  5. I had the mk1 loved it had it for about 5 years and it did remind me of the JPS black and gold verry fast bike loved it wish I hadnot sold it

  6. On closer inspection, my seat post is fluted. Maybe I should get some glasses.

    I’m after a 25 inch, large frame, none aerospace contour model, as these came out also on a 1983 also.
    The frame number indicates the year, so after the first letters, the first number is the year. So the first number 3 or 4 etc would indicate 1983, 1984 and so on.

    If you have any info on anything please let me know. Thanks.


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