60/61 Raleigh Lenton GP

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slowride

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 8, 2017
156
Detroit, MI, United States
Hello everyone,
found this some months ago but have not been able to get to refurbishing it yet. Pictures show as found. I believe either 1960 or 1961 Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix - the last in the line. Here are a few pictures. It’s quite compete. Sadly the front wheel is a replacement ( sturmey archer rim w/ sturmey small flange Hub but correct size rim) but otherwise intact and all other parts present. Original front wheel would be Dunlop special lightweight w/ one piece alloy racelite hub which i am looking for. My intention is to leave completely stock. I know the Benelux is not going to behave like other more modern derailleurs and that’s fine. regarding Benelux, one of the lever adjustment knobs is missing the “Benelux” disk. If you have or know of one I would be interested in buying, trading, etc. the left side lever is bent but I think I can bend it back once I get is apart. Also missing One of front acorn axle nuts and “GB” blue caliper nut and one brake hood. Appreciate any help on these. I believe bar tape not original as should have had white cloth tape but correct me if wrong. I believe Williams half step crank original. Really surprised how well mudguards preserved as they feel flexible w/o any cracks and not dried out and brittle like those Celluloid ones on my 50’s bikes. I’m considering using some water based white paint so not permanent on head tube. I believe cable housing should be white not earlier grey - let me know. I know stem is too high; I would definitely not ride like this. Thanks in advance.
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bulldog1935

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 21, 2013
3,898
Bulverde, TX
Lou has the same bike, color and frame size
my '57 was a bare frame purchase, and built around fitting modern parts, mostly because it could be more cost effective than trying to recover the old parts
 
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SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 27, 2008
3,291
Inactive
That's in very nice condition. The wheel replacement is pretty common - a curb or pothole could knock a front out of commission with the right knock to it. They were good rims and wheels, but if you ride a lot, you're going to encounter a pothole sooner or later. I wouldn't sweat that one too much. The main thing is that the drive train and Cyclo unit are relatively complete, because replacing that stuff gets expensive. The fenders can get expensive too if you have to replace. If you are going to ride it a lot, you may wan to try swapping fenders to preserve the originals. They can be pretty fragile. I use an aluminum set of Bluemels on my old Clubman. With the condition and rarity of this bike in the US today, I recommend not painting it if you can help it. I have no problem touching up an old Sports or DL-1, but this one is something apart from that, at least in the US market today.
 

bulldog1935

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 21, 2013
3,898
Bulverde, TX
the difference in performance and especially climbing with alloy rims is pretty remarkable compared with steel.

I agree with Mike, keeping that bike original and cleaned up as opposed to painted is probably best.
 

sykerocker

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jan 23, 2020
42
70
Ashland, VA
First off, your guess on the vintage is most likely correct. '59's and earlier were still using the "suicide shift" front derailleurs. Do not underestimate the ability of a Benelux. As long as you're gently touring, you're going to find the rear is a very efficient derailleur. Then again, since we're running 4-speed corncobs it better work well. Yours is definitely more complete than mine in that you have the original fenders (I'm using Blumel Populars) and at least your rear wheel is original (my wheels are period correct but nowhere near original spec.

I love riding mine. Usually keep it to 10 mile days running loops a couple of miles from home due to the lack of quick releases keeps me worried about getting a puncture on the road. There's something about those old slack geometries I love.

Raleigh Lenton 2.jpeg
 

slowride

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 8, 2017
156
Detroit, MI, United States
First off, your guess on the vintage is most likely correct. '59's and earlier were still using the "suicide shift" front derailleurs. Do not underestimate the ability of a Benelux. As long as you're gently touring, you're going to find the rear is a very efficient derailleur. Then again, since we're running 4-speed corncobs it better work well. Yours is definitely more complete than mine in that you have the original fenders (I'm using Blumel Populars) and at least your rear wheel is original (my wheels are period correct but nowhere near original spec.

I love riding mine. Usually keep it to 10 mile days running loops a couple of miles from home due to the lack of quick releases keeps me worried about getting a puncture on the road. There's something about those old slack geometries I love.

Raleigh Lenton 2.jpeg
Beautiful bike! I love the looks of those heron chainwheels and suicide shifters! What year? Glad to hear the Benelux RD works well. I found exploded view diagrams for it and it looks like everything comes apart on which is good and bad since it’s always easier to disassemble! Mine actually has a 5sp gear block. I believe it’s a cyclo. On underside of saddle there is a marking of “60 A” which I believe dates it 1960. It’s going to be a fun project bringing this back as unlike others I’ve had it’s complete, without damage, and only has minor surface corrosion.
 
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bulldog1935

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 21, 2013
3,898
Bulverde, TX
...I love riding mine. Usually keep it to 10 mile days running loops a couple of miles from home due to the lack of quick releases keeps me worried about getting a puncture on the road. There's something about those old slack geometries I love.

Raleigh Lenton 2.jpeg
If you carry a 2-oz bottle of Stan's, a valve core tool, and a pump, you don't have to worry about a puncture.
Stan's has gotten me home when bailing wire went through two spots on a tubie. (I had the fold-up spare, but the Stan's is a whole lot easier than stretching a tubular tire roadside)
 
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bikerbluz

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 15, 2016
224
64
Richmond, IN
That is a beautiful, original bike! I have a 60/61 also in red. Not as nice or complete as yours, but I love it. Will try to post an updated pic of mine. You have inspired me to get mine down and take it for a spin today. Can’t wait to see your beauty polished up. Bulldog, good to see your sweet ride again too!
 
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sykerocker

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jan 23, 2020
42
70
Ashland, VA
Beautiful bike! I love the looks of those heron chainwheels and suicide shifters! What year? Glad to hear the Benelux RD works well. I found exploded view diagrams for it and it looks like everything comes apart on which is good and bad since it’s always easier to disassemble! Mine actually has a 5sp gear block. I believe it’s a cyclo. On underside of saddle there is a marking of “60 A” which I believe dates it 1960. It’s going to be a fun project bringing this back as unlike others I’ve had it’s complete, without damage, and only has minor surface corrosion.
I'm almost certain it's a '59. Next month there's a charity ride through the part of Virginia that I lived in from 2000-2015 (west of Richmond, Rockville and Monteplier - my old home town), and I'm seriously considering taking the Lenton, just for the jaw dropping. If not, there's always my '72 Gitane Tour de France.

I'm going to assume your rear derailleur is slightly different than mine seeing that Benelux made four different versions. One warning: I'm using a regular 5-speed chain on mine, and if I don't snap the front shift off smartly, the chain will happily bury itself between the chainwheels. Hopefully, you won't have this problem with the downtube shift lever. I usually get around it by just setting which chainwheel I want to be on at the beginning of the ride and run the bike as a 4-speed. Since I've got a half-step crank with a two tooth difference, it's not a particular disadvantage.
 

sykerocker

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jan 23, 2020
42
70
Ashland, VA
If you carry a 2-oz bottle of Stan's, a valve core tool, and a pump, you don't have to worry about a puncture.
Stan's has gotten me home when bailing wire went through two spots on a tubie. (I had the fold-up spare, but the Stan's is a whole lot easier than stretching a tubular tire roadside)
Thanks for the suggestion. Will have to find myself some.
 
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