Peter Kohler

Peter Kohler

Posted on 06/08/2013

Photo taken on June  8, 2013

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Raleigh Pro
Raleigh racing bike
1972 Raleigh Professional Mark IV

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1972 Raleigh Professional Mark IV

1972 Raleigh Professional Mark IV
Model DL-180, serial no. F8165 (1971 frame) 1972 build

Purchased as a complete machine on eBay in May 2011. Back on the road 29 June 2011

Considering my affinity for primo 1970s road iron, it's taken me a long time to finally add one of the great icons of that era to my collection, the classic "blue mink and silver" Raleigh Professional. Hardly uncommon and often found in good condition, I settled on this example in that it's unusual being a 1971 Mark III frameset (F serial no.) built up in 1972 as a Mark IV in original factory paint in "blue mink" and silver instead of the usual mink (coffee brown) shown in the 1972 catalogue. I also wanted an early year Pro when the build quality was excellent and featuring the original criterium geometry.

In virtually as new condition, complete and original throughout and, according to the seller (it was his dad's bike) with less than 200 miles on it. It looks it! Other than new 'bar tape, brake hoods and tyres and a closer-ratio freewheel, she's virtually in "as delivered" condition 39 years ago.

The Raleigh Professional(s)
A brief summation of the various marques and sub-variations of this long-lived model is helpful. All of these were based on, designed by and built by Carlton in Worksop rather than by Raleigh in Nottingham and were essentially rebadged variants of Carlton frames. Acquired by Raleigh in 1960, Carlton had the reputation in the racing and clubmen circuit which Raleigh lacked and all of the top-end Reynolds 531 production except for a single Raleigh frameset was given over to Worksop under the direction of Gerald O'Donovan. Given the dominance of the brand in the United States, Carltons were badged as Raleighs (or in early examples also as Dunelts) although they all had Carlton decals as well as Raleigh and the Carlton association was stressed. As such, they formed one of the most successful of lightweight cycle ranges in the United States and helped usher in and further "The Bike Boom" of the early to mid 1970s.

Mark I: serial no. prefixes C,D,E for 1968, 69 and 70 manufacture. Based on the Carlton Professional model with conventional semi-wrapover seat stays, Davis sloping fork crowns and short, rapid taper chain stays with no dimples and plain Prugnat no. 4 lugs. 72 deg. angles. Zeus drop-outs but some with Campagnolo (rear), no name front with mudguard eyelets (a few C series examples without). 120 mm rear spacing. 5-speed freewheel. Top tube braze-ons for bare-wire brake cabling but C prefixed examples had clamp on brake cable clips and bb braze-on cable guides. White livery, no chrome, special Raleigh 75th anniversary headbadge. Full Campagnolo componentry but Weinmann Vainquer 999 brakeset. GB or Weinmann stem/Brampton 'bars. Brooks small rivet Professional saddle. Weinmann 293 sprint rims. 172.5 mm cranks

Mark II: F serial no. prefix for 1971 manufacture and said to be limited to 500 framesets but evidence of this running into at least 529 as individually numbered decaled. A classic example of conflict between catalogue and production year, this appears in the "1970" catalogue which specifically mentions "only 500 will be made in 1970" but, in fact, all of the Mark IIs have F serials nos. indicating they were actually made in 1971. F2657, no. 338, sold on eBay in February 2013 by the original owner was bought on 9 March 1971 and had a pat. 70 Campagnolo derailleur indicating these were produced at the very beginning of the year.

The Mark II was based on the Carlton Giro d'Italia frameset (introduced in 1965) with fastback seat stays, rapid taper chainstays with no dimples, high bottom bracket, 73 deg. angles but with the Davis sloping fork crown of the Mark I. Campagnolo drop-outs with mudguard eyelets. Nervex bb. 122 mm rear spacing. 5-speed freewheel. Chromed 10.5" front fork socks and fork crowns only. Haden Latin Line lugs. No braze ons except rear derailleur cable stop. Mink/silver livery. All Campagnolo components including brakeset (a fair number being the rare "no name" initial version of the calipers). 3ttt Grand Prix stem/GB bars. Brooks small rivet Professional saddle. Weinmann 293 sprint rims. 172.5 mm cranks. Silver Silca frame pump with Carlton "racing man" decal.

Mark III: serial no. prefix F for 1971 manufacture. Same frame as the Mark II but with 9" chromed rear triangle ends. 122 mm rear spacing. 3ttt Record stem/GB 'bars. Brooks small rivet Professional saddle. Weinmann 293 sprint rims. 172.5 mm cranks. Silver Silca frame pump with Carlton "racing man" decal.

Mark IV: serial nos. F (71), G (72), A (73) and the new W prefix system late 73 onwards) for 1971-1977 manufacture.

F serial nos. (1971) of which this particular cycle is the an example is identical to the Mark III except for the new blue mink and silver livery and is shown in the 1972 catalogue in the old brown mink/silver scheme but still called a Mark IV. Sliver Silca frame pump with Carton "racing man" logo decal.

Many "G" serial no. (1972) examples have Haden Birds Mouth lugs, rapid taper chainstays and mudguard eyelets. 126 mm rear spacing and six-speed freewheels (many original examples being Regina). 170 mm cranks. Campagnolo pedals stamped "1037 on pedal body. Brooks small rivet Professional saddle. AVA eyeletted sprint rims. REG white/"chrome" plastic frame pump with Carlton "racing man" decal

"G" higher serial nos (4000s up) and "A" serial nos. (1973) models have dimpled chainstays and show considerably greater front fork rake. "G"s still have mudguard eyelets, "A"s do not. 170 mm cranks. Campagnolo Superleggero pedals marked "1037 on pedal body. New slanted white block letter "RALEIGH" logo on down tube, "Professional" script on top tube now in white instead of gold, "Carlton" on seat tube and Reynolds 531 triangle decals on fork blades. REG white/"chrome" plastic frame pump with Carlton block logo decal.

W prefixed serial no. examples (phased in late 1973 onwards) have "CC" cut-out on the bb undershell. In addition to the usual blue mink and silver livery, silver/black offered in 1974 model year. 170 mm crankset. Brooks large rivet Professional saddle. REG white/"chrome" plastic frame pump with Carlton block logo decal.

Mark V: serial nos. for 1977-81 production. A complete rework of the model and based on the SBDU Ilkeston team racing bikes as a stage racing machine with conventional rear stays but with oversized caps, rapid taper chain stays, semi sloping Vagner fork crown and standard height bb. Haden Sovereign lugs with windows. Chromed drop-out facings only. GB Biba stem/Raleigh bars. Brooks large rivet Professional saddle. Mavic sprint rims and low-flange Campagnolo Record hubs.

Mark II/III/IV design characteristics
These were all based on the Carlton Giro d'Italia and entirely different in design and ride from the Mark I Professional being a classic British time trial/criterium frame featuring a tight rear triangle with Brampton "Victor" fast back stays, short rapid taper chainstays, high bottom bracket, short top tube and short fork rake. As such it was unique among the other top-end Bike Boom Era machines for the US Market which were more conventional stage racing models like the Peugeot PX-10, Cinelli SC and Schwinn Paramount. In 1973 the fork rake was considerably and inexplicably increased making for a somewhat quirky ride and this coupled with some quality control issues arising from Bike Boom manufacture has lead some to conclude that the pre-1973 IVs and Mark Vs represent the best examples of this model both in build quality and riding characteristics.

The Ride
Proving there is nothing more subjective and personal than how a racing bike "feels", I was astonished after just one ride at various takes on the Raleigh Pro having a "harsh" or "hard-tailed" ride or that that it's "quirky". To me, it is a sublime and gratifying blend of proper criterium liveliness, excellent pick-up from the tight rear triangle and just the right amount of fork rake. An extremely solid, well-made feel as well.

Check out my Yahoo Group on the Raleigh/Carlton Professionals:

Material: Reynolds 531 double butted tubing and forks
Finish (original): mink blue and silver and gold lug lining. Chromed 10.5" front fork socks and 9" rear triangle ends and fork crown.
Size: seat tube 25.5” (c to t), 25" (c to c), top tube 23.5” (c to c)
Chainstay length: 16.5” (c to c)
Wheelbase: 40.5 inches (c to c)
Angles: 74 (head) 73 (seat)
BB height: 11"
Fork offset: 1.5" offset
Rear spacing: 122 mm
Bottom bracket: Haden
Lugs: Haden P1 Latin Line
Fork: Reynolds 531 taper gauge with forged integral sloping crown and Campaglolo fork ends with mudguard eyelets
Dropouts: Campagnolo forged 1010b "long" rear with mudguard eyes
Braze-ons: cablestay cable stop, shift clamp stop, fork end mudguard eyes
Frame features: Brampton "Victor" fastback seat stay attachment and seat lug, 5/8" seat stays and rapid taper round section chainstays with no dimples

Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Nuovo Record patent 72
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Seat tube cable guide: Campagnolo clamp-on
Gear levers: Campagnolo clamp-on
Chainset: Campagnolo Record Strada, no date code, 44t x 52t, 172.5 mm cranks
Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Nuovo Record English thread
Headset: Campagnolo Record English thread with stamp
Stem: 3ttt Record cast alloy, 110 mm
Handlebars: GB "Map of England" engraved alloy Maes bend, 15.5" mm, white plastic tape and Milremo white plastic plugs
Brakes: Campagnolo Nuovo Record sidepull
Brake levers: Campagnolo Nouvo Record
Seatpost: Campagolo Record, 27.2 mm
Seat binder bolt: Haden 6mm recessed allen bolt
Saddle: Brooks Professional with small rivets
Pedals: Campagnolo Record 1037 with toe strap loops
Toeclips and straps: Christophe Special chromed steel clips and original blue leather straps
Rims: Weinmann 293 eyeletted 36-hole polished alloy sprints with serrated braking surface
Hubs: Campagnolo Record 36-hole large-flange with Campagnolo quick release skewers
Spokes: 15g stainless steel
Tyres: Tufo Jet Pro sew-ups
Freewheel: Regina Extra 13-14-15-17-19, five-speed
Chain: Regina
Accessories: Silca Impero pump with Carlton decal
Weight: 22.8 lbs