Classic Lightweights UK
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Raleigh Record Ace 1948

Profile of a fine cycle  No  8

Machine:  Raleigh Record Ace 23 ½” 1948. Frame No 59938P. Complete & all original

Owned by:   Alexander von Tutschek & now with Tim Danforth

How long owned:  since 2006

How was it acquired: From a deceased estate in Bristol

The features that make it special: Without doubt the only Raleigh of merit during the Lightweight era was their post-war “top-of-range” Raleigh Record Ace which was in production between 1947-54. Uniquely among lightweight cycles only this model had a range of matching high quality cycle components. As it was possible to buy a RRA frame alone not all RRA’s had these now rare components. As many RRA’s were “up-dated” by cyclists over the years their original RRA components were lost, surely what makes an original RRA is it being with all these unique items. In my time as a collector I have only ever seen one other RRA as complete and in as good original condition as this one….but there is probably another (one or two) lurking out there somewhere! 

Note the following items that are original to this machine:
1. RRA chain-set, RRA head clip and bb axle & cups, the wing nuts that hold the mudguard stays are unique to the RRA. Saddlebag support and lamp bracket (off machine in these photos). Brooks B37 saddle - this is the lightweight version of the B17 with an alloy cantle plate & stainless rails. Note the matching RRA stem and the only original Raleigh Industries leather saddle bag that I have ever seen.

Whoever ordered this machine new took the  trouble to specify Dunlop Special Lightweight stainless steel rims matched with an Airlite Continental front hub and a Sturmey Archer ASC (3-Fixed wheel). Both wheels have Raleigh wing nuts.

Unique RRA stem and head set with oiler
ASC gear with RRA wingnuts for wheel and mudguard stays

Of the unique items on the RRA I think perhaps the hardest to find are the mudguard wing nuts, the head-set top-race (with oil groove and holes, this wears out) with shaped alloy washer and the unique BB concave fixed cup. These wear remarkably well and always seem to be very tight. Were they really welded in place?  And of course the long (one inch dia.) domed top alloy seat-post and famed alloy and steel RRA pedals which must have been the first to wear out.

RRA chainset and pedals with the Heron logo incorporated

Anything else?
There is no restoration on this machine at all, all the chrome plating is original and the whole machine “hangs together” well. Raleigh were very proud of the quality of their chrome plating and had every reason to be. I don’t think any other make has plating to compare. With most frames the plating fails first and the paintwork survives better. My experience shows that on Raleigh’s from the period it’s the other way around.  As they say you only have the original finish once!

Above: Custom-made carrier for the RRA engages on bosses inside seat stay
Right: Distinctive Raleigh fork crown and transfer,
peg on inside of fork to locate lamp bracket