I mentioned at the fifth year anniversary of owning the Crested Butte how having any bike go beyond that milestone was new territory for me. I pretty much sold or ditched any bike before I got to owning it six years. Would this Raleigh “Mountain Tour” series mountain bike from 1984 be the one?
Answer: It was.
This is interesting, not because of the milestone, but because I’ve entertained the idea of selling the bike multiple times over the years: a few times casually, once for real. But every time that happened, I decided to hold on to it, even if I spent a bunch of energy getting it ready for a sale.
Now we are at seven years. I bought the Crested Butte from a dude in South Tabor for $200 in October of 2012. Over those years, I’ve changed out pretty much all the bits and bobs on the bike, leaving the only things original (besides the frame) the wheels, pedals, Blackburn bottle cage, and front derailleur. Since I did a massive overhaul in early 2017 I haven’t done much to the bike besides swap tires and replace freewheel and chain. After years of trying many different configurations, it stabilized.
Okay, I have taken on one change this past week: The basket. Since 2016 I had a Wald 257 “Pizza Rack” on the front. It is nice and big…and heavy. I was getting tired of all the junk in front, and wanted a change. So, I decided to swap the Wald “Bosco” basket from the Schwinn Heavy Duti.* I figure that the Heavy Duti has definitely proven itself since the reimagining last year, so why not have that as the supreme hauling bike?
By putting the smaller basket on the Crested Butte, I shaved probably five pounds off the bike, and livened up the front end again. It definitely feels more nimble. Make no mistake, the Crested Butte with 68 degree angles and so much trail that Jan Heine cannot set foot in Portland** is by no means a nimble bike. But that’s okay. If anything, it feels a lot more like it did in the first year or two I had it, when I got it “dialed in”. I realize that I don’t have heaps of carrying capacity anymore, but that’s okay. I may decide to put a different basket on it, or if I can find a nice small porteur rack. But for now, the Bosco basket is bueno.
If anything, it feels more like a vintage mountain bike again. And that’s cool. After using the Crested Butte for pseudo mountain biking in Bend in September, I realize how capable of a machine it is for some light offroading and rough stuffing.
But of course, it’s a great commuter, and along with the Raleigh Superbe, it’ll see the bulk of my errand/utility riding.*** I pull off a camping overnight too, but due to the geometry it’s not a great long-distance rider. Go over 25 miles and you’ll feel it. So it’ll stick to short trips and around town action.
Will there be any other changes in the near future? Hopefully not, since I’m very broke. I envision the wheels will go in the next year or two, but I hope to hold onto them as long as possible. Those old Araya double walls, 1.75″ wide, are such great rims that have no modern equivalent (that I know of.) But they’ll need to be replaced at some point. At that time I’ll consider a true dynamo hub wheel for the front, and heck, maybe an internally geared hub in the rear? That’d be cool. But that’s all down the road.
It’s been seven years of fun riding on my Raleigh Crested Butte. Here’s to many more!
*To note: I haven’t put the Pizza Rack on the Heavy Duti just yet.
**It repels him so much!
***And for the really rainy day commuting too. While the Superbe has aluminium rims and modern brakes, V-brakes definitely outperform road brakes in the wet.
So wonderful to hear this. I’ve known these bikes have always been able to wear many hats, so-to-speak, and I’m glad the Crested Butte is continuing to serve you well.