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Raleigh Chopper resto, '76 mk2

Raleigh Chopper resto, '76 mk2

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splodge s4

Original Poster:

1,418 posts

143 months

Monday 29th November 2010
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After restoring the Kuwahara ET last year I really wanted to get going with another project. It had to be either a Chopper or a Grifter. Any bloke in their late 30's and 40's will always remember these bikes & you never had one yourself then your mate would have. The Chopper is an icon of the 70's. Because of this though prices are still pretty high, for a rusty pile of bits your often looking at least £100 on eBay, complete bikes never seem to sell for less. The mk1 & mk2s are much more sought after than the recent mk3, Choppers just have to have the gears on the frame & the mk3 had a twist grip (apparently for health & safety reasons).

So after a few months looking I found a bike in bits & because it looked bad & wasn't built up I managed to get it for a bargain £51. It was basically a frame & forks with seat & cissy bar & crank & then a box of bits, a complete bike except for headset bearings, the original advert pic on ebay:



Then having a closer look back home



And the bits


It was in a sorry state but perfect for a resto, everything had a light covering of rust, the front wheel was pretty bad, I didn’t want to buy new bits for it though, clean it up & keep it original, the tyres needed replacing though but everything else was just going to get a good scrub & the frame & forks a respray, more pics:





So after stripping it down the only problem was removing the cissy bar. It was rusted in & although I wacked it with a hammer for 2 days, heated it up so it expanded it still wouldn’t come out. I managed it though by turning the frame upside down, placing a trolley jack in the cissy bar hoop then a bit of wood from the jack to the frame. Raise the jack & out it popped.

The small chrome bits went straight into the ovenpride bag & left to soak over night whilst the wheels & handlebars had a good scrub with alloy wheel cleaner, they came up pretty good after the first clean



And the small chrome bits after 24 hours soak in oven pride & a good scrub and the rear mud guard came up really well considering how bad it was. It’s still badly pitted but its original & still looks chrome.



Now the frame, it had been sprayed before so no probs stripping the old paint & getting it down to bare metal.



I wish I took the crank out completely but never mind, first undercoat then sand down again



Another couple of undercoats then ready for the Fizzy lemon yellow. I didn’t really know what colour to do it, a mate had a purple one when we were kids, everyone remembers red ones but yellow seems to suit the 70’s look so I went with that. According to a Chopper website Ford Signal yellow is a 98% colour match so I went with that.



A few days watching paint dry meant I could crack on with the other bits, the seat came up lovely with just a good scrub with leather cleaner, there was only one small split & didn’t really need repairing, and also the pedals, before & after shots





The Heron Raleigh badge was pretty bad but I really didn’t want to replace it. They are made of brass & riveted to the frame, that’s what I love about these bikes, how much did that cost back then, modern bikes now just have a sticker. I gave it a good clean & was amazed how good it came up...& to think I nearly replaced it with a modern painted one



So back to the frame, the stickers arrived so I sanded the frame so it was a nice matt yellow & got sticking, once they were on I gave the frame & forks a good couple of coats of lacquer, it was starting to come together





The gear selector cover was buggered. Again I thought about buying new but thought let’s try & repair it & if that fails then fork out for a new one. Not only was it broke in two but chunks were missing from each side at the front. Using a bit of card from a Wiskas cat food box (perfect width!) I glued the bits together then gave it a thick undercoat.



Then spray matt black & stick on the sticker, good as new



So now the bit I love, building it. I was missing some headset bearings, unlike modern bikes where they are in a race these are all free so when you take the forks out they drop out, hence they had been lost. My local bike shop gave me a bag of about 100 for £1. When they are covered in grease they are a lot easier to fit



Then cracking on to get it together, new brake cables, new tyres, wheels cleaned again & it’s pretty much there




I’m pretty happy with how it came out, I could have bought lots of new old stock bits but kept the cost down buy repairing & cleaning. In total the bike was £51, stickers £22, tyres £20, spray & lacquer about £20 so about £110 all in. All that’s left is to get some handlebar grips & rivet the Heron badge to the headtube, the rivets should arrive today, & yes all 3 gears actually work! Job done.



& for the next project, the other icon of the 70’s....Mk1 Grifter



Hope it brought back some memories biggrin





thetapeworm

6,684 posts

145 months

Monday 29th November 2010
quotequote all

Great write-up and a nice project, thanks for sharing - brings back some memories of my old metallic purple and red ones smile

Conian

8,030 posts

107 months

Monday 29th November 2010
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I had a purple one smile

Good work, what will you do with it now? How much are they worth in this good a condition?

E31Shrew

5,368 posts

98 months

Monday 29th November 2010
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Super job. Had a Mk 1 new when I was a nipper. I think it was a MK1 anyway as it had a normal gear selector and not the T bar version. Yellow too! Only problem was that I was then 14 , 5ft 9 and looked just a smidge stupid. All my mates had by then graduated to racing bikes with zillions of gears

Parrot of Doom

23,075 posts

140 months

Monday 29th November 2010
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That's inspiring. I think I'll have to close the browser in case I spend money!

My sister had a yellow Chipper so there were yellow ones around. My mate had a purple Chopper (snigger), whereas I had a mauve Grifter. I broke the togglechain on my gearshift so for ages used a spoke to change gear, until the spoke snapped and stuck in the hub.
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OneDs

1,618 posts

82 months

Monday 29th November 2010
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Another great one Splodge, I appreciate the non-NOS, reuse and repair route you went through.

Have you ridden it yet? it must feel quite alien to ride a bike with such a position nowadays, when my sister had one when I was a nipper it felt quite natural, indeed so did my Tomahawk which was the junior version.

splodge s4

Original Poster:

1,418 posts

143 months

Monday 29th November 2010
quotequote all
Conian said:
I had a purple one smile

Good work, what will you do with it now? How much are they worth in this good a condition?
Thankyou! No intention to sell it, just going to keep it for mellow rides into town for a few beers in the summer. Cost is a funny thing, in good nick they often sell around £250-£400 on ebay. However one recently sold for just over £2,600 eek but it had never been used, the pedals were still taped to the seat & still in its original box straight from the factory, a complete one off.

OneDs said:
Have you ridden it yet? it must feel quite alien to ride a bike with such a position nowadays,
Yup, I've been up & down the road testing the gears. Nearly came off when pedaling hard in 2nd & it had the sturmey archer nut crunching slip! As for handling, its comfy, even for a 40 year old adult, at speed though it does wobble a bit if you stand up & swerve from side to side, its like a speed wobble but you suddenly relise the bike is wobbling & not you anymore. Its quite hard to straighten up again. Good fun though & im looking forward to covering some miles with it.


mattviatura

2,996 posts

106 months

Monday 29th November 2010
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Slip gear on a Grifter taught me a harsh lesson as a young un.

Conian

8,030 posts

107 months

Monday 29th November 2010
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It's even cooler that you're going to keep and use it!
And so useful down the pub... 'hey baby, fancy a ride on my chopper?' biggrin

Bebee

3,928 posts

131 months

Monday 29th November 2010
quotequote all
It's taking me back! It's 1973 and had a yellow chopper for my birthday, lasted one day as it was stolen the next day! frown

Always wanted a Grifter, as I wanted to change gear at the handle, never got one though, we were poor, got a Griffith in later life though wink
edit to add> you have done a fantastic job there mate, nice one!

Edited by Bebee on Monday 29th November 17:54


Edited by Bebee on Monday 29th November 17:55

Jimboka

5,440 posts

110 months

Monday 29th November 2010
quotequote all
Nice job, reminds me of my pride & joy in the 70s!. I had a Mk1 then in an orange colour. A neighbour restores & collects the original Raleigh Choppers, he actually owns a dropped handlebar sprint model, still in the shop packing, never assembled!.

BliarOut

64,245 posts

145 months

Wednesday 1st December 2010
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FYI (and you probably already know) that colour was called Fizzy Lemon biggrin I know because it took me two years to get my folks to buy me my dream bike for xmas...

vrooom

3,680 posts

173 months

Wednesday 1st December 2010
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Awesome!!! I like that! I had purple chopper. my first bike!!

Boshly

2,510 posts

142 months

Wednesday 1st December 2010
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Jimboka said:
Nice job, reminds me of my pride & joy in the 70s!. I had a Mk1 then in an orange colour. A neighbour restores & collects the original Raleigh Choppers, he actually owns a dropped handlebar sprint model, still in the shop packing, never assembled!.
I had a green dropped handlebar model, was bought it new in 1974 for £24 if I remember correctly. Absolutely loved it. Had it shipped to Baghdad (where I/we lived) and it was the only one there for years, a real talking point!

Would love one now but I'm sure my kids would look at it incredulously smile

Beautiful job OP thumbup

splodge s4

Original Poster:

1,418 posts

143 months

Wednesday 1st December 2010
quotequote all
Thanks for the comments guys thumbup

I've just refixed the Raleigh Heron badge with new brass rivits, i think it looks better than a painted badge!






aka_kerrly

8,884 posts

116 months

Thursday 9th December 2010
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WOW that is so dam cool, do you go on retrobike forum, those guys would love it!

You will need to get a Raleigh Mag Burner for your 80s resto as these are becoming very popular again. I can't believe I chucked mine in the skip years ago after a wheel bearing failed, im such a muppet banghead

dave

Coco H

4,237 posts

143 months

Thursday 9th December 2010
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I am really impressed how did you get the pedals clean? I have got a 1970s claude butler racing bike sat in the shed - the local bike shop said it needed to go to the tip. But I would love to restore it for sentimental reasons though some of that is beyond me.

splodge s4

Original Poster:

1,418 posts

143 months

Thursday 9th December 2010
quotequote all
Coco H said:
I am really impressed how did you get the pedals clean?
All the big chrome bits (handlebars, wheels, mud guards) were covered in Simonz alloy wheel cleaner, left to soak for a few minutes then given a good scrub. A hard bristle brush is all I used, then soak again & scrub. I did the pedals the same way as I was a bit worried about ovenpride ruining the rubber blocks if I put them in the bag with the other small bits.

The alloy wheel cleaner is very acidic, get it on your fingers & you start to feel in burn, good at getting rust off though.

I've now fitted the handlebar grips so its just waiting for the summer & some long rides in to town for a few beers smile

aka_kerrly said:
You will need to get a Raleigh Mag Burner for your 80s resto as these are becoming very popular again.
Heres my Kuw that I restored last year, I was mucking about with a pair of Skyways! Very 80's biggrin





Edited by splodge s4 on Thursday 9th December 16:40

mattviatura

2,996 posts

106 months

Thursday 9th December 2010
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Will you stop posting pictures of that bike please.

I am deeply jealous.

neil_bolton

17,110 posts

170 months

Thursday 9th December 2010
quotequote all
hehe at the slip gear memories on a Grifter :stillwinces:

Chap. Does Mary know you had it on her kitchen table? >fnarr<