Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Life Begins At 40

Anyone ever studied managerial accounting will be familiar with the term DRIFT—Doing It Right The First Time. The importance of DRIFT arises from the fact that a just-in-time production system is heavily reliant on the movement of parts and information along the production process. Subsequently, if there is the slightest error at one of the stages of production the whole production process will be affected. By "doing it right the first time" a company is able to run a smooth production process without needing to carry excessive inventory and greatly diminish the costs of production.
But there are times where things are not done right at the first time. Any managers worth their salt should be able to improvise from said circumstances, quickly adapt, and sometimes adopt some of the impromptu elements to be taken account into consideration during the decision making process.

The project started when Deritia Marwan, the owner of this Raleigh, found that his seat lug was cracked. After having said cracked section repaired somewhere else he commissioned us to tidy up the brazed spot, and to fix the rear dropouts since whoever worked on this frame before us thought that if your brake pads can't reach the rim sidewalls then the solution was to ground the dropouts upwards and not switching to brake calipers with longer reach.
The frame was already repainted even before the seat lug was cracked. When we strip the paint off the seat cluster we found the serial number of this frame, from which we figured out that this is a Nottingham made, 1976 Raleigh Record Sprint.

The serial number "NA6..." was buried under coats of paint there, somewhere below the seat cluster lug.
The lightweight tubing and ovalized seattube and downtube confirmed this enlightenment, but the dropouts are way different compared to any specimens that we found during our search through the web. The extra short chainstays also adds to our doubts. But upon working on the ground dropout openings we found a significant amount of automotive body filler—somewhere along the way, apparently someone decided to perform a surgery on this Raleigh, namely the shortening of the toptube that leads to the correction of the seattube and headtube angles, as well as the bottom bracket drop. 

Notice that the distance from the rearmost brake cable guide on the toptube to the seat cluster lug
 is shorter than the one up front to the upper headtube lug.
That explains the noticeably steep seattube angle.
The chainstays were made so short, even 23mm rear tire (or tyre, in proper English) will completely rub the ovalized section of the seattube. Knowing that we don't have the ability to lengthen the seatstay, we did the alternative: we massaged the rear side of the seattube to give ample clearance for 25mm tire, should the need arises.


The lengths we did for extra tire clearance...
On point.
Extra gap seen here because Marwan chose to run 23mm tires.

Although the Record Sprint didn't wear its original colour, Marwan loved the brown/purple-ish shade of black and the custom decals that adorned the downtube, and asked us to stick with it. Took our painter a couple of days to get the colour matched.

The next step is to rebuild it with Marwan's choice of parts: the final edition of 10-speed Shimano 105 combined with Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels. Only this time we used Tektro R539 medium reach caliper brakes to solve the brake reach problem.

At almost four decades of age, and who knows how many iterations this Raleigh have ever seen, we certainly hoped that this time we finally did this frame justice. After all, just as the popular saying, life begins at forty.

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