Vintage Bicycles Done Proper :: Portland, Oregon
On the heels of my ’85 Raleigh Kodiak purchase comes another touring acquisition. Introducing a stout, 1986 Raleigh Alyeska dressed in a classy bordeaux and rose trim paint scheme.
When I arrived to check out this Alyeska for purchase, I luckily had enough parts “on hand” to fabricate a solid seat post. I threw on a saddle and hopped on for a test ride. Thanks to the ridiculously chunky white BMX style pedals, my feet couldn’t help but be in the center. Even with the obvious amount of cleaning, tuning and updating the bike needs, the ride was stable and comfortable, which is just what I expected being that the Alyeska is one very small step down in hierarchy from the Kodiak and is considered a very capable model, quite often sought out for its excellent commuter/light touring use. These older Raleigh’s are typically underrated (sans the Raleigh Portage) and ride so comfortably because of their wonderful touring geometry. The slack angles and gobs of fork rake make up the old English touring frame philosophy.
Not surprising, there is quite a bit of dirt, oil, grease and neglect wrapped around this one, but I do see potential. In fact, I believe the transformation will be incredible as there seems to be small amounts of rust and luckily, only at surface level, mostly affecting the screws and bolts.
Although this model is only one year newer than my Kodiak, I can see upgrades that are noteworthy. For example, the Shimano Deore derailleurs are a touch more modern than my Deore’s and the Sakae CR crankset is a nice upgrade considering mine came equipped with one which I would consider a questionable (a “Takagi AD”). A sealed bottom bracket and the addition of a pump peg are also both fine improvements. I do, however, find it curious that Raleigh paired up Shimano front/rear derailleurs and Shimano shift levers (these have been replaced/upgraded with newer 105’s) with a Suntour freewheel. You would think they would keep the group set within the same manufacturer to reduce any compatibility issues that may crop up.
The next time I report on this one, she’ll be shined up like a new penny!
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