A Ride With The Raleigh Technium

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1985 Raleigh Technium 480 Listed On Ebay

I love riding old frames.

For one, you are riding a bike that was, at some point, some athlete’s dream bike. There was an era when someone was saving up every penny — or pulling out their credit card — to buy that same bike that you just purchased for $20 at a garage sale.

You also have a lot of cool elements of style that simply aren’t used anymore. Sometimes these are frame lugs that are more ornate. Or you get a hand-welded frame that you know some employee labored over with great care.

It’s a level of care and design that you simply don’t see today.

Finally, you have the benefit of driving a high-dollar frame that you know the value of, but that looks like junk to the general populace. Thieves are more likely to skip over your bike when they have bolt cutters in hand. So I can drive my prized jewel around with fewer concerns about bike theft.

The Raleigh Technium

This was a pretty decent frame. The 6013 t6 aluminum mainframe was designed to cut weight, making this one of the lighter weight bikes for its day.

However, you still have to contend with the harsh ride quality of aluminum. So they tacked on rear steel stays and a front fork to help cut down on the road vibration.

This made it a tad heavier than a pure aluminum bike but helped create a better ride.

There are a couple of fun design elements. The lugs aren’t extremely ornate, but add a certain pizzazz that modern bikes don’t have. The cable routing inside the frame gives you nice, clean lines (although you might curse a little when it’s your turn to rerun cables.)

Drawback

My big concern with this bike is the seat tube bolt. This appears to be a very unique-sized bolt, and I’m not sure you would be able to find a replacement if this one is rusted or seized.

You will have to loosen this bolt to adjust the seat, so it’s one of those things to double check, especially if you are spending more than $30 on the bike.

Economy Model?

There isn’t a lot of information on this model, but best I could gather, it is a more entry-level model. Possibly from the late 1980’s and produced as a licensing deal between Raleigh and Huffy.

However, if your bike is in good condition, it could have a lot of value on the resale market. The frame has long rear dropouts which are essential for a college kid who wants to convert it into a fixie.

Which means that in addition to the vintage resale market, the frame has additional value to fixie fanatics.

Overall, this could be a great bike for commuting around town. Who knows? You could probably pay for it with a paper route.

(With any luck, your bike will still remember the route from when it used to run it 30 years ago. )

An Updated Version Of The Technium

The Raleigh Technium is still a reliable, easy-to-repair model if you happen to run across one. These bikes are excellent for first-time riders as well as the “old fogey” who appreciates some “throw-back” style.

The Raleigh Grand Sport is the perfect ride for those who want an old-timey feel in a modern machine.

Continuing with the tradition, this model keeps the classic frame design in a chromoloy steel frame. Inside the bike industry, we often refer to these well-built steel bikes as a “forever bike”. What we mean is that you could purchase this bike, maintain it well, and have it buried beside you when you die.

It’s never going to wear it. It is built to last. 

The Grand Sport carries on the tradition of the Technium in being a “forever bike”.

There are a few other features on this bike, which I especially love:

  • Brooks Cambium Saddle.  This bike seat is considered one of the best in the industry, and many users pay extra to add this to their bike as an after-market upgrade. While not the plushest, the Brooks uses a unique design that mimics the feel of classic leather saddle. (They also are one of the largest purveyors of genuine leather saddles). It’s the perfect finishing touch to a beautiful bike.
  • Double-Wall Wheels. Old bicycles that you purchase at garage sales will generally have single-walled wheels. These don’t hold up well to high mileage and tend to bend when they hit potholes or curbs. By outfitting these models with double-wall rims, Raleigh is protecting your investment and lowering your maintenance costs.
  • Shimano Claris.  Sure, the snobs will argue. Claris is a reliable shifting and drivetrain system that has proven itself over hundreds of thousands of miles. It is fully integrated into the brake levers, meaning your hands never have to leave the brakes — even when you are shifting.

Not only can you get a bike that is true to the classic spirit of the classic Raleigh, but it is also well-built and designed for the high-mileage rider.

If you love road-riding, need a commuting bike, or simply love the more classic look, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better model than this one.

Plus, seeing how well the Techniums have held their value, you can assume that this model won’t let you down, either.

 

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Dan Guiterrez got his start riding a bike to college. He worked a bike shop and as a personal trainer through part of college, eventually graduating with his Bachelor's in Business Administration and Marketing. His love for cycling and fitness continues to guide his life and Dan owns a d bike shop and fitness center. Drawing on his decade of cycling knowledge -- and rich connections in the industry -- Dan is excited to offer his experience and opinions for other cyclists to learn from.

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