January 01 2014 Wednesday at 08:53 AM

Raleigh; Lenton Sports Reynolds 531; Why Would You Buy That? i.e. Before Pic

Why would I buy this bicycle? One could argue that I shouldn't have and, to be candid, I am not sure I would buy it again. (I probably would.) It was inexpensive, that helps a lot. Also, though I wasn't familiar with the long history of Reg Harris and the Lenton Sports, but I knew immediately it was not a run of the mill 1960's Raleigh. I could tell it was early and the rather severe, track drop style bars really suggest an extreme riding position. In the moment, it was hard to image that those brake levers original to the bike, but 1951, there they are.

Coco's Variety focuses on riding not collecting. We love old collector bikes, make no mistake, but we are not interested in them hanging on the wall. Not being a museum, it is easy to lose our collective shirts on bikes like this - rebuild the wheels, the internal gear hub, open up that difficult to access rusty cottered crank bottom bracket, etc. After all that, it is hard to get our money back out - let's not talk about our nearly flawless cromovelato, flop flop Carlton that didn't reach $300 on eBay - not on New Year's Day. If we brought this bike back as close to original as possible, I believe it would be very hard to sell with those brake levers. Cool from a historic standpoint, but my goodness that would be hair raising to ride.

The plan, sensible if not really fiscally prudent, is to go through it carefully and fully, rebuild the wheels and hubs and build as a very nice, very special upright city bike with North Road style bars. We will retain all the original parts if the new owner wants to return the bike to the original configuration.