I’ve been working with a client on converting a 1974 Raleigh Supercourse to 650b (ISO 584mm/ E.T.R.T.O. 584mm). When acquired, the bicycle had already been altered with non-stock parts, and was then subsequently turned into a fixed gear with 27-inch wheels. The current owner wants to turn the bike into a touring capable, all purpose “country bike,” and he is certainly doing a good job of doing so.
For Johnny Cash fans, this has been a “one piece at a time” type of legitimate “salami slicing” project (see pic) using parts old and new. Converting the bike from fixed back to 12 speeds was easy enough using wheels and (Suntour) parts from a thoroughly trashed 1980’s Fuji (the smallest bicycle I had ever seen with 27″ wheels). Since getting it on the road, the owner has installed:
- A Sugino XD600 crank (26-36-46) with used cup-and-cone 122mm bottom bracket,
- Silver SKS fenders,
- A honey brown Brooks B-17 saddle,
- A Kalloy 26.4 Laprade-type seatpost (note the uncommon seat tube inner diameter!),
- Used Nitto dirt drop stem,
- Nitto Randonneur handlebars,
- Suntour bar-con shifters. The best shifters ever!
- 650b wheelset with Sun CR18 rims, stainless DT spokes, and Nexave hubs,
- Panaracer Col de la Vie tires with 26×1.1–1.4 MTB presta tubes,
- Shimano 7-speed “ac” cassette (11-13-15-17-21-24-28),
- Odyssey BRC33 bmx brakes,
- Carridice junior saddlebag mounted as a handlebar bag,
- Carridice Nelson Longflap
- Nitto/Rivendell front rack.
Nota Bene: Despite what you might read on 650b conversions of vintage Raleigh bikes, Dia-Compe 750 centerpull brakes will NOT work with this particular project (and presumably, other Super Course frames of the same year, because the ‘750, despite its adjustment range, does not have enough reach to engage on the 650b rim. There is a way around this: fabricate a clamp and drop-bolt system, but for the moment we are sticking with the Odyssey brakes. The fact is that the brakes slow, and eventually stop the bike. Isn’t that supposed to be what brakes do? More serious injuries (not to mention taco-ed wheels) are caused by locking up the brakes and ending up in an uncontrolled skid (= perpetuating momentum without slowing) or airborne highside (if you turn the bars) -vs.- not stopping fast enough–that’s a fact. The same is true of motorcycles.