Technium CityLite dumpster rescue

Ok, so this wasn't technically a dumpster rescue, as it wasn't in a dumpster. Whatever. I was doing my regular out-and-back along the gas pipelines in Renton, when I spotted this frame on the side of the road. It looked a mess, and from it's placement someone had thrown it over a privacy fence from a house that was being renovated. Trash pickup was that day on that particular street.

Since I have a fondness for picking things out of the trash, I rode over and checked it out. Two things caught my eye: the Raleigh heron/loon/whatever it is badge/you know/thingy on the headtube, and this label.

I used to have a steel lugged Raleigh 10 years ago that I put a set of mountain bike chainrings and cranks on, and loved dearly. I ended up selling it to some dude for 20 bucks, and didn't touch another bike for almost a decade, which is a tragedy, but whatever.

I guess I've been living in a box, because I didn't know that Raleigh used bonded aluminum and steel frames in it's Technium series of bikes (with some exceptions in very recent cases, where they might be welded aluminum). Of course this begged further investigation, so I went and got the van and tossed it in the back.

It looked like shit.

Never even mind the fact that the chain was rusted solid, and all the various chromed bits were corroded. The riser handlebars filled me with a powerful loathing. Ugly and inefficient. A win-win for the upright seating position. No matter - all that stuff was coming off in any case.

Another interesting point was the awe-inspiring front cantilevers.

I can't attest to their stopping power, as I haven't reinstalled them, and don't intend to. Someone else with an original CitySport/Lite/whatever it is can do that. The CityLite appears to be popular around here, possibly because they were manufactured right down the road in Kent. About the only data I've been able to find on them was that they were offered with 26 inch wheels. Indeed, a set of old mountain bike wheels dropped right in. The original wheelset included a rear drum brake, although the frame is (apparently) drilled for a rear brake.


I bet it shares the rear triangle with other steel Raleigh frames of the period. I guess the drum brake tied into the whole 'practicality above all' aesthetic of the bike. I've seen original ones on craigslist, recently, and it's just stunningly ugly. Taste is of course subjective, and thus not up for discussion. It's ugly.

Not that I care - all that I care about is that frame.

Without further ado, I stripped the frame of parts, and then of paint. I know you're not supposed to use paint stripper on a bonded frame, so if anyone can explain how the paint stripper can penetrate into the bonded joint, I'll be happy to listen. I'm certainly not using heat to remove paint on a bonded joint.

Whatever. Stripping was a quick and extremely nasty process, as anyone who's done it can attest. The results were seriously cool, though.

A wire brush makes quick work of getting off the loose paint and stripper, and also tends to fling it around. I'd recommend safety glasses. Oh, and please do this outside. The aluminum cleaned up beautifully with some steel wool. The corrosion on the dropouts and rear triangle didn't take long to scrub out with a flexible abrasive disc.

I know I should have driven out the headset races before stripping, but it was due for replacement anyway, so I left it in, as I actually wanted to mostly assemble the bike and ride it around at least a little so I'd know whether I liked it well enough to finish the project. I know that doesn't make any sense.

1 comment:

peter said...

dood i bet ur house is clean as fuck.