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krakowkrakow Posts: 110
edited June 2009 in Road general
Old 531 frames are like buses for me it seems - you wait months for one to come by and then suddenly two appear at once...

Just weeks after my purchase of the Armstrong Moth and just as I'm beginning to get it put together, I've ended up the happy recipient of a red 531 Carlton bike.





Larger versions to be seen here:

As far as I know it's from the early eighties, but with parts from a slightly earlier, mid-to-late seventies bike (apparently a Raleigh Silver Jubilee, brought out in 77 for the Queens silver jubilee wirh half decent alloy Shimano cranks, gears and Wiemann brakes which now feature on this Carlton).

My thinking is to convert it to a fixed-gear, but in a cheaper vein than the Armstrong, maybe having one built up for bad weather and the other for fairer times.

What does anyone think of the bike? Thoughts on when it's from - is it an 80's bike? Are any of the bits worth salvaging or passing on? I know nothing more than posted here. If more photos or info are wanted then just let me know. Thanks.


  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    Band on shifters and no bottle mounts? I'd say late '70s - but I don't find them easy to tell apart!
    As long as the rims are ok, that really is a 20 quid fixed conversion project. I assume a screw on rear, so all that needs is a fixed sprocket. Looks like removeable rings, so remove one! New brake blocks. Job done.
    Used to be loads of stuff like that about for CHEAP "fixing" but getting rarer by the week.
    Parts mainly junk!
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • swagmanswagman Posts: 115
    I bought a Carlton tourer 10 years ago and still going strong. Converted it last year to flat bars and 700c wheels for the daily commute. A good ride and still on its stronglight triple rings, it amazing how some of the 'old school ' stuff lasts.
  • krakowkrakow Posts: 110
    Thanks for the information and tips. I'll take a closer look at a properly cheap conversion and probably be back with more specific questions later.
  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    krakow wrote:
    Thanks for the information and tips. I'll take a closer look at a properly cheap conversion and probably be back with more specific questions later.

    If you find your way to Fixed:FAQ (wikipedia?) you should get all you need! After all, fixed conversions were for a while one of the prime concerns of C+ Community Forum which became SI and now here and the FAQs was an attempt to summarise tyhe most useful expertise.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • Have a look here. There is a guide to frame numbers which might help date it.

    Raleigh owned Carlton from the 60s and many of their lower end models were fitted with Raleigh branded parts (the gears were often Suntour), so the parts could well be original. This looks like a late 70s model and they stopped making Carltons at Worksop in 1981.
  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    "...stopped making Carltons at Worksop in 1981."

    But just to confuse Raleigh continued using "W"(orksop) prefixes in the frame no's for e.g. Special Build Division thereafter!
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • DickieDickie Posts: 1,489
    Get your lbs to clean it up and use as is. Or if you are not good mechanically I am happy to help. Where abouts are you.

    I had a Carlton Giro in 1978 which was the same as yours with a couple of differences. Colour, steel rims and stops on the top tube rather than clips, and pressed dropouts. Gears are Suntour VX-GT, cranks, pedals are SR, rims probably wienmann. In 1979/80 they stopped using the block script. Some of the dating mentioned is not correct. My old Corsair was 1980 but dated as 1973 using the method on the Carlton site.

    Hope this helps.

    Criterium when I just picked it up, complete with no clips and a right handed front brake (AGHHH) You can just make out the nose of my B17 which went from bike to bike.

    I no longer own the Corsair. I had it for 27 years.
  • krakowkrakow Posts: 110
    Thanks very much for your kind offer Dickie, I'm located in Glasgow.

    Unfortunately I can't see a frame number - neither on the underside of the frame, nor on the dropouts as the link above mentions. Am I missing something obvious?

    The brakes are definitely Weinmann, as is the front rim. The back doesn't match it though and the labelling I can see on that says "Rigida Chromage Superchromix". You can't see it in my photos but the rear rim has a pitted suface, I assume to aid braking...?

    The gear levels are Suntour and the rear mech and cranks are labelled as Raleigh.

    The stem is marked "CP" (Cinelli?).
  • DickieDickie Posts: 1,489
    Doh! Says Glasgow next to your pic. The Stem is GB most likely, named after Gerry Burgess who was a racer, they did bars, brakes etc. I am happy to rebuild it for you, but it would need to be stripped and boxed to be sent. We would have to find a rim or a pair to sort out the odd rims, if that bothers you that is.
  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    Come on, Rob - get on yer bike(s) - Glasgow's not all THAT far...oh....actually it IS!
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • krakowkrakow Posts: 110
    That's very generous of you Dickie. Thank you very much.

    I'm going to see how the building up of my Armstrong goes before I decide for definite what to do with this Carlton, but it probably makes sense for me to support a LBS by taking it to them to get work done rather than posting it off. Thank you though. I'll let you know if I change my mind!

    I'm not particularly bothered by mismatching wheels, per se, if they're rideable. My current, much mistreated, Dawes has had odd wheels for as long as I can remember now, though they might end up matching for once if I get the rear replaced, which is one of my medium-term plans for it.
  • How weird - a thread about Carlton bikes just when I start looking for Carlton bikes info....

    The reason being my Dad has an old Carlton bike, think it dates from early 60s, so truly's been well looked after, then not ridden much for the last few years, but Dad has mentioned a few times recently that now he's retired he might start getting out on a bit more. To thank him for all he's done for my upcoming wedding, I'm thinking of 'sorting the bike out' for him as a surprise - think it would need new wheels, cassette/chain. chainrings, and possibly a frame respray....

    So my questions are - is the frame likely to be OK to ride after all this time (looks OK on a brief inspection)? and secondly if I set my LBS to work on repsraying, is that going to be OK - or am I likely to upset my Dad/the cycling gods by respraying a vintage frame? thirdly - will modern components such as chain, five-speed cassette (if available), chainrings etc all 'work' with a vintage frame and other vintage components?

    suppose I just want some advice on whether this is a good/nice idea, or should I just leave well enough alone...?!
  • Womble -

    New wheels - You should still be able to get 27" wheels, but there will be a limited choice and probably more 'hybrid' quality than 'racer'. There are good tyres around like Continental Gatorskins in 27 x 1 1/4, but otherwise the choice is quite limited. If there is room at both ends to move the brake blocks down by 1/2cm you could convert to 700c which will be easier to source, may be cheaper and gives you more tyre choice. You need to make sure the axles are re-spaced to fit the drop out width of your frame as these have got steadily wider over the years.

    5 speed screw on freewheels are still available, also chains. They tend now to be 'entry level' components for cheap mountain bikes in the local bike shops, but places like St John Street Cycles and Spa Cycles have better quality ones for vintage weight weenies. The same shops are also probably a good place to try for wheels, unless you have one of those bikes shops nearby run by an old chap who doesn't hold with this new fangled stuff.

    Chainrings may be harder to source. It depends on finding a supply of something with the right 'bolt circle diameter' - the distance apart that the fixing holes are. See for more guidance (note most sizes are 'obsolete'). Yours will probably be an obsolete size so you may have a struggle to find new ones, and even if you are lucky there will be a limited range of sizes. Otherwise look in skips for secondhand ones with some usuable life left in them. If you can't find replacement chainrings to fit, a modern square taper bottom bracket and chainset should fit in the frame OK.

    Other useful places to look might include and No doubt a google search would turn up many others.

    Changing the cassette and chainwheels will give you an opportuity to lower the gearing. The fashion in the days of black and white seems to have been to have pretty high gearing and, as your father's knees will now be getting on a bit too, he might appreciate the modern fashion for lower gears.

    As for frame painting - it's a personal thing, but I prefer the patina of age, unless it is really tatty.

    Hope this helps.
  • Thanks so much - that's fantastic. I guess I need to have a good look at the bike, and maybe take it into my LBS (they do old bikes so should have some luck)...all this info will really help me ask the right questions.

    Thanks again!
  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    "is the frame likely to be OK to ride"

    Probably! But as well to check as best you can! Hold it up like a musical triangle and "ring" it on all 3 main tubes - clearer and crisper the sound the better it is. Remove b/b and 1. feel inside tubes and chain stays (last 2-3" of the stays before meet the shell most common area of severe corrosion) and 2. flood the seat tube with oil/WD40 and see what comes out of the b/b shell.

    I have known one frame that was expensively re-finished (by a reputable trader) that on close examination "beneath the surface" I cut up and scrapped.

    If you keep a free-wheel rather than cassette, then a 6 should fit in place of a 5. If you go for new cassette hubs, then rear will probably have to be widened - once it is can fit pretty much anything.

    Law of diminishing returns applies: could end up throwing a lot of money at it. All depends on sentimental value c.f. rideability!
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • Thanks meagain, I'll have a bit of a look although I might not risk taking off the bb - will probably let the LBS have a look at that if I decide to proceed...
  • bill57bill57 Posts: 454
    Rear mech is a Suntour VX Pro, branded Raleigh. Introduced 1977 I think. Excellent piece of kit.
  • krakowkrakow Posts: 110
    I'll make sure to keep hold of that then and do something useful with it if/when I get the bike converted to fixed/singlespeed. Thanks.
  • DickieDickie Posts: 1,489
    Rear mech is a VX-GT as I said earlier, which ran up to about 1982. Very good mechs. They did not make a VX pro to my knowledge. The original VX had a steel linkage.

    The front mech is the matching VX reverse pull mech, you have the Suntour power ratchet levers too.

    Pics of my old Carltons mech. That is the long cage, I had short cages on my Giro and Criterium. My Richmond had a long cage to but now runs a black LX mech.
  • bill57bill57 Posts: 454
    Dickie wrote:
    Rear mech is a VX-GT as I said earlier, which ran up to about 1982. Very good mechs. They did not make a VX pro to my knowledge.

    You're right, of course. Been to many years since I (regrettably) threw mine out. Have this link as my apology --- you probably know it anyway.
  • DickieDickie Posts: 1,489
    No apology needed Bill. Whole idea of this forum for me (and most of the other chaps too I would think) is if I don't know someone else will, or know someone else who does.

    I have had help and support for parts on more than one occasion. In fact Pete Beer gave me a 1966 Hetchins Experto Crede frameset!

    I don't know the link so I'm of to explore.
  • BulletgbBulletgb Posts: 1
    Only just found this site - interested to hear about your Silver Jubilee. I've had one since new (yes I am old)! I've not used it for years, but have just started to cycle again (need to do some fitness work at least lol).

    It was a brilliant bike when it came out (and yes it was painted silver). Light, fast, well balanced, I used mine for road work and occaisional racing, as well as off roading (it took a pretty good hammering). Must have covered a good few thousand miles on it.

    Saddle is new, (as of last week - the old one just wasn't up to my present needs - or to put it another way - my censored is a lot larger than the original saddle can now cope with in comfort!) and I'm pretty sure I put a new rear changer on as I seem to recall breaking the original. That aside it's as it was (new paint job). Gotta say it looks a bit of a wreck, but rides ok'ish.

    Having trouble getting all the gears (bottem gear selection seems to pull the changer into the spokes and I can't get it adjusted right), but not really given it a good long look at yet.

    Will post some pics if anyone interested. Also keen to hear if anyone has any thoughts on what you can get in the way of spares these days - I'm a little out of touch, not having looked at bikes for the oh....3, 4, well ok, 25 years or so :).


  • bagpusscpbagpusscp Posts: 2,907
    Bulletgb . Welcome aboard special interests on bikeradar.Carltons.....I have far too many . :wink: :oops:
  • geoff_ssgeoff_ss Posts: 1,234
    bagpusscp wrote:
    Bulletgb . Welcome aboard special interests on bikeradar.Carltons.....I have far too many . :wink: :oops:

    Far too many what, Paul? :) Not seen you walking the wolf lately either :lol:

    Old cyclists never die; they just fit smaller chainrings ... and pedal faster
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