DL-1: One Year On

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It has been around a year since I took delivery of my Raleigh Tourist De Luxe. Of course by, “Took delivery,” I mean cycled to Didsbury on the Yuba Mundo to meet the old gentleman from whom I was purchasing this fine steed, and towed it back to home. At first I wasn’t sure if it would be for me, having had no opportunity to test ride it. What I did know however, was that if I didn’t like it, I could sell the bike (or its component parts) for a fair bit more than I paid for it that day.
When I got the bike home, I adjusted the saddle and took it for a spin. Whilst I liked the ride, it wasn’t quite right; the gearing was far, far too high, with first gear being what I imagine a reasonable third gear should feel like on a three speed. The rod-brake handlebar was limited in its range of height adjustment and the angle of the bar was fixed. Luckily, a few replacement parts allowed me to fix these minor gripes and turn the bike into the perfect everyday transport solution for me. Over the past year I have made numerous additions and upgrades to the bike.
Additions and upgrades:
I have also been forced to replace a few parts due to failure.

Replacements due to failure:
However, I should mention that the X-RD3 hub was at least somewhat faulty from the start, and that my own experience shouldn’t detract from the consensus that this hub, and internal hub gears in general, are the best choice for a practical, low maintenance utilitarian bike.
After a year riding this bicycle, I can sincerely declare it to be one of the smartest purchases I have ever made. Since getting this bike I certainly cycle a lot more. My odometer is currently displaying a total distance cycled of 13,029 km, up from 8,000 km at about this time last year, most of that distance has been for transportation (as opposed to leisure), covered on the DL-1 because it is such an easy bike to ride.
When I say the DL-1 is easy to ride, I am not just referring to its ride quality (which is excellent). As an upright bike with mudguards, a chain-case, comfortable Brooks saddle and (since the addition of the saddlebag) permanent luggage, puncture-resistant tyres, automatic & permanently affixed dynamo lighting and low maintenance brakes and gears, all I ever have to do if I want to go out is unlock the bike, hop on and go. It is my hope that all of these features represent part of a bigger future for cycling in the UK, even if a lot of them come from its past.

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 The Tourist De Luxe as it is kitted out today
Whilst not quite the same as my Tourist De Luxe, Raleigh has recently started to sell the Raleigh Superbe again in the UK, after courting the, “Sporting goods,” and “Bicycle-shaped object,” markets almost exclusively here for the past few decades:
The 2011 Raleigh Superbe, is specced and priced similarly to the Pashley Roadster Sovereign (although not made here in the UK). It is available from numerous cycle outlets, including Evans Cycles.
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2 thoughts on “DL-1: One Year On

  1. I'm in my early 50s and can just about remember a few older adults riding around town (suburban Manchester) on bikes like these when I was a child, though even then adult cyclists were becoming rare.In 20 years time, when all the expensive and lightweight bikes I now ride aren't much good to me I am looking forward to riding one of these magnificent machines for the first time.But I'm going to go really retro and have rod brakes just like my grandpa's old bike.For someone who has obviously caught the cycling bug, I think you should try out some lightweight bikes. You'll have a carbon fibre road bike and a fancy MTB in no time at all, as well as keeping your trusty town bikes. In the glory days of the Raleigh Superbe sports cycling and touring developed from people who became interested as a result of riding a bike as their main means of daily transport. The lanes of Cheshire and the hills of Derbyshire await you.

  2. @Pete,I actually had a relatively fancy and lightweight mountain bike before I got my first practical transportation bike. Whilst it was fun to ride off the road, I rarely found myself doing so, and the type of riding I was doing is still possible on a bike such as the DL-1.I imagine that if I had more space I would likely acquire a few more niche bikes, such as another mountain bike, a tourer and a nice 531-tubing racing bike, but sadly for the moment I have limited space for bikes which will only be used occasionally.I still manage a bit of leisure riding now and then with the selection of bikes I currently have. If you feel a sense of achievement covering a certain distance, reaching a certain speed or climbing a certain height now, imagine how much more of an achievement it would feel on something like a Raleigh Suberbe 😉

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