Monday, 12 March 2012

Plus ca change - the story of a Raleigh Lenton Clubman

My father has a Raleigh Lenton Clubman, which he has owned since 1950.

He thinks it is a 1947 model (Raleigh introduced the Lenton Clubman in late 1947 as a "1948" model), and when it came into his possession it had a flip-flop hub with a fixed gear on one side and a "Cyclo" three-speed derailleur on the other, with 15, 18 and 23 tooth gears.

In 1955, the bike was modernised somewhat, with the colour being changed from the original green
(officially, "Polychromatic Green") to a fetching shade of yellow. The gears were also updated from the Cyclo three-speed to the four-speed Benelux model (also made by cyclo), with gears of 13, 15, 17 and 19 teeth, and in the search for a higher top speed, the rear wheel was also changed at this time for a 27 x 1 1/4" wheel (from the 26 1 1/4" wheel fitted as standard). The 26 x 1 1/4" front wheel was, however, retained.

Raleigh Lenton Clubman, 1948 model, sold late 1947.
Just look at the detail in that butting!
The bike stayed pretty much like that for almost the next 50 years.

Moving to somewhere hilly in the early '90's, the bike wasn't used much as my father found he had to get off and walk to get up the hills!
After trying various cheap mountain bikes with varying success, the Lenton Clubman was modified again in 2003, with a modern Shimano gearset and rear derailleur being fitted, and a triple chainwheel to deal with the hills.
The chain size was different, too.
For the first 55 years of its life, the bike had been using 1/8" chains (even with the three- and four- speed derailleurs!), but now it's on a 3/32" chain - and it's still got that flip-flop hub!
Now it goes up Cornish hills!
If you are down that way, look out for the yellow Lenton Clubman with a flip-flop hub and a triple chainwheel ... it's got to be the only one around :-)

I bet that Raleigh Lenton Clubman still has quite a few miles left in it, and so has the rider (now in his 70's!).

Rear brake detail
1947/48 Lenton Clubman
1947/48 Lenton Clubman with more than 60 years of
use and modifications - a working bike, not a "show" bike.

Front end detail

'50s adjustable stem

1947/48 Lenton Clubman, rear end view

Rear wing nut detail

Front wing nut detail

Overhead front-end picture

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