A brief return of the Raleigh Wayfarer

wpid-wp-1441600360034.jpgThe reports of the Raleigh Wayfarer’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Last we checked in, the lock ring to the bottom bracket had worked its way off and there were worries of stripped threading and imminent bottom bracket explosion. On Saturday I finally managed to get it down to a shop that deals in cottered cranks (A Better Cycle), and they did a bottom bracket overhaul, got a new lock ring on it (and cleaned up the janked threading) and made it good for now. But it was a mess: the lock ring was aluminum rather than steel which was part of its demise. (Ah, Raleigh in the 1970’s, always skimping. Of course, it would have been heaps better if you decided to use aluminum on the rims instead. But I digress…) And there was a lot of…damage inside the bottom bracket. It was salvageable, but the cups and all are pitted, so there might not be that much life left down there. But it’s good for now.

On Sunday I picked up the Wayfarer and took it on a little tour on the way home. I hadn’t ridden the bike in over two weeks, as I’ve been riding the Bantam Rambleneur exclusively since then. It was a refreshing change! Oh, in no way am I knocking my beautiful new bike. But there’s enough of a difference between the two that I feel the difference when I ride either. Much more difference than the Wayfarer to the Crested Butte, for example.  While the Rambleneur is more “responsive”, the Wayfarer gives that laid-back ride. Sure, you could go fast, but why bother?

It was an enjoyable ramble home. Despite the damp cool weather, I was all smiles for most of it. It reminded me why I enjoy this bike, and three speeds in general. I understand why folks like fast bikes, but there’s something to be said about non-fast bikes too. (Maybe those folks who just own “fast” bikes should try one?)


4 thoughts on “A brief return of the Raleigh Wayfarer

  1. Such a lovely bike. And quite the inspiration for my Sports. She’s getting new wheels with CR18 rims, a VO Tourist bar, new brakes and levers and quite a few other bits. Thanks for documenting yours so thoroughly.

  2. The wayfarer is a beautiful bike!, do not stress too much over the bottom bracket, cups, cones, axle, all that can be easily replaced. I totally agree that everyone who rides a lot should have at least one vintage 3 speed in the collection.

  3. How can you not love a bike like that?

    Even in my racing days, I always had a “slow” bike. I used it mainly for doing errangs and hauling things, but every once in a while I’d take it on some ramble–say, on cobblestoned streets or dirt paths–where speed woud not have been an advantage.

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