The Wayfarer Mystery: Part 2 The Handlebar-Stem

The days are getting closer to the triumphant return of the raving bike fiend to the lower 48. And this is good for many reasons, one key one being the fiend will help me with the Raleigh Wayfarer!

So where are we? I got the wheels trued, since I don’t trust myself on that. The front wheel (which had the most issues) got back into shape just fine, but the rear is not workable. It’s okay for now, but I envision down the road if I like this bike and want to keep it, I’ll have to get wheels built. New tires and tubes are also on the way, as the old ones are toast.

I applied magickal aluminum (I should say aluminium in this case) and lime juice to the chrome surfaces and got most of the surface rust off. I still need to get some automotive touch up paint to cover up the spots, though I may need to get spray paint for the front fender.

Other than that, the big things are to get a newer saddle post and put on my Brooks B-66, replace cables and housing. Newer, lighter pedals. And do something about those handlebars. They’re so short…and the stem is way low.

But upon further inspection, I noticed that the handlebar is permanently attached to the stem! There’s no bolt and screw on the underside to loosen the handlebars. They are where they are, and that’s the end of it.

Look ma, no adjustment bolt!


So Mr. Fiend said I’ll need to get a new handlebar and stem combo, and they ain’t hard to find. I envision some swept back “North Road” styled bars.

But it’s the first time I’ve seen a unified handlebar and stem! I think it’s an indicator that this was an entry-level model or someone modified it at some point. Has anyone else encountered this peculiarity before?

And I still haven’t found anything new on the Wayfarer make. The one thing that I forgot to add before is the brake levers are “reversed” from normal North American standards–rear brake on left side, front on right–just like they would be on a British bike. Which leads me more and more into thinking someone brought this bike with them from the UK. No way to know for sure…

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