Well shoot… Yet another temptation has come my way: a 1985 Raleigh Prestige in what appears to be very good to excellent condition. I guess I’m just jones’n for a new bike, and I’ll be darned if I know why.
I’ve been on the look-out for a ’84 Raleigh Prestige since 2000 after I foolishly sold-off several of my older bicycles in ’98 and ’99. We had taken up riding tandems back in August of ’97 and I convinced myself I should start clearing out my “old” bikes to unclutter the garage and upstairs work-out room, e.g., several Raleighs, my ’02 Trek 2300, my ’87 Kuwahara Cougar MTB, etc.
I sold my ’84 Prestige in May ’98 for $400, a bike I acquired as nearly new old stock (NOS) Aug ’88 for $450 on a whim. It was always just a scooch too big for me, but I really enjoyed riding that bike as much or more than any other bike I’d owned up and to that point, including my old Raleigh 753 custom. Of course, part of that was the magic carpet ride that it gave me after I switched out the mis-matched Sansin / Araya wheelset for the wheels off my well-worn Raleigh 753: a SuperbePro / MAVIC GL330 wheelset fitted with 20mm Continental Sprinter sew-ups… noting I still have the GL330 rims. I eventually re-laced the SuperbePro hubs to some MA4 rims that were sold with the bike in ’98, as it appears in the photo below. The ’85 Prestige I’m looking at has a SuperbePro / Matrix Titan wheelset, which is a good thing.
As you can see from the photo of my ’84 Prestige, it was resplendent with it’s black metallic frame, chrome stays, fork and head tube, gold trim, and white & yellow decals. The original Prestige models in ’84 & ’85 came with white saddles, silver metallic bar tape, and silver anodized rims (see catalog page, below). They looked nice and “pro-like”; but, IMHO, they looked best with hard anodized rims, a black saddle and black bar tape / hoods.
Yeah baby… It was one of those bikes that probably rode “better” than it really was because it just looked so darn good. The shifting was simple and straight forward: 7 speed Sun Tour Superbe Pro derailleurs and downtube friction shifters running on Of Mega ‘Mistral’ cranks with 52/42 chainrings and a 13×24 freewheel. Although, “back in the day” I typically rode a 13-19 straight block, aka corn cob freewheel. Again, lots of great memories from that bike.
Similar to the Serotta tandem that I just put behind me, I’m still trying to convince myself if the ’85 with the red/white/blue trim instead of the yellow is worth $600 + another $50 for shipping, or if I’ll be left wanting for the real-deal: a ’84 with the yellow trim.
Yes, it’s a vanity thing since I’m really buying a memento from my past vs. a bike I’ll ride with any regularity. After all, I’ve gotten myself back into a situation where I’m starting to find myself with more bikes sitting around than I can ride. Heck, I still have two really nice frames just hanging in the closet: my ’99 Erickson custom & a ’98 Mercatone Uno Bianchi Mega Pro XL Reparto Corse TdF replica… frames that our kids will probably have to deal with at some point as I’m still not inclined to part with them.