Sunday, June 15, 2014
1958 Raleigh Sports Update
The 1958 Raleigh Sports Four Speed continues to ride well. A couple of weeks ago I decided to replace the stock fork with a Raleigh Industries "heavy duty" replacement fork. The original fork had a bit of a twist to the blades, which somewhat worsened after I hit a pothole. I have generally been good about avoid large potholes; this was the first I've hit in about nine years.
I located a Raleigh Industries heavy duty replacement fork. These forks featured the Rudge-style, large fork crown with the blades brazed into the crown's sockets. Whereas the thimble fork is a more spindly construction, the heavy duty replacement fork is of a stouter construction.
This particular fork appears to have been from the 1950s, with gold decals of Sir Walter Raleigh on the blades and the "RI" logo. The fork appears in the Raleigh "spares" catalogs from the 1950s as the "heavy duty" replacement fork. The steering tube is eight inches long, with about 3 of those inches threaded. In that way it differs from many production forks. Many forks are threaded for only about a half to full inch, but this one has a full three inches of threading.
The fork appears to have never been used before. I adapted a longer bolt for the front brake to accommodated for the wider fork crown. The crown is considerably wider and more heavily built than the stock fork. The length and rake of the fork is identical to the stock Sports fork, however. The front drops fit the front wheel nicely and accommodate the fender stays without difficulty.
Even the gold pinstripe is in good shape and the fork matches the bicycle nicely for a nice, "period" upgrade.