Friday, August 31, 2007

Q&A: Bike Friday and Raleigh Grand Sport

Hi Jim,
Is your Bike Friday your primary bike also?

I purchased a B.F Pocket Pilot configured as a road bike two years ago-only as travel bike. Prior to that, I have been riding my 1977 Raleigh Grand Sport for almost thirty years. When I first rode my Grand Sport, I thought it was the perfect bike with the perfect fit for me. As I got older, due to some lower back issues, I shortened the stem, and moved my seat forward, which seemed to do the job.

I knew B.F was a good bike, but I thought the sales staff there were giving a little hype telling me they all gave up their conventional machines and now ride exclusively their B.F. Well... for the past six months I have been on the B.F more and more, and now I see it as the perfect fit for me. The top tube is a little shorter than the Grand Sport's, the gearing is easier (I enjoy standing on the pedals, but don't need to as much), and my normal 9-mile early morning ride is now 15 miles, with the same effort. Perhaps it's the custom fit. I also enjoy the agility of the front end (small wheels and straight fork-compared with the wide rake of the Grand Sport) - the compact feel makes me feel much more in control and on top of everything. I even first thought of changing the ergonomic bars and replacing them with straighter drop bars like the Grand Sport - I'm now glad I didn't.

These two were my only real bikes. I wonder if I would enjoy a conventional custom-fitted road bike (fitted with S&S couplings) as well as my B.F. I see no reason to spend the time or money to find out.

By the way, what do you think I can get for my Grand Sport? I am thinking of selling it. My local bike shop thinks I can get more for the parts (new SunTour sidepull brakes, Shimano 500 derailleur - Reynolds 531 frame). I would hate to tear it apart after so many years of use.


Thanks for the email, Saul. I'm happy to hear you love your Bike Friday as much as I do mine. My Rocket is my travel bike but I'll use it at home, too, if I need to when my other bikes are loaned out or waiting for parts. I think it's an awesome bicycle and have made many of the observations you have. The S&S coupled bikes are very nice, too, but the Bike Friday is easier to pack and travel with in my experience. Here's my Rocket.
My awesome Pocket Rocket

On selling your Raleigh Grand Sport, I recommend checking for similar bicycles for sale on Just search on "Raleigh bicycle" once a week for a bit and you'll probably turn up some bikes similar to yours. You can then watch the auctions to get a feel for what the selling price is and that's a fair assessment of what yours might sell for. You could certainly part it out, but I agree that that would be a shame.

Good rides!

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