Friday, July 13, 2012

When a GIOS is a Raleigh...

A real GIOS this isn't (neither is it one of the oft-mentioned, fake GIOS ripoffs sold new in the 1980's), but it so happens to be a real Raleigh - a 1984 Raleigh Gran Course/Competition 12 (both models shared the same frameset), a model unique to the U.K. lineup, and not sold in the United States.

Sometimes it pays to look at the fakes - what's underneath can be far more interesting.

The Gran Course and Competition 12 framesets were essentially Nottingham-built versions of the SBDU (Ilkston-built) Road Ace 12 (which in itself was a 531C version of the Team Replica 12; Raleigh's 753 replica of the Panasonic team frames). The Gran Course was available only as a frameset, while the Competition 12 was the same thing (in a different color) sold as a complete bike.

If nothing else, this 1984 Gran Course tells an interesting tale just through its paint scheme and location. Besides bouncing its way over to the colonial side of the pond in its travels, at least one of its previous owners wasn't content that they weren't riding the latest in Italian snob appeal. Enter one lavender paint job and a set of GIOS Super Record decals.

Nevertheless, the bottom bracket shell still speaks the truth, bearing one Nottingham serial number (Worksop "W" serials continued to be used as an acronym for Nottingham production after the Worksop factory closure in 1982), with typical obscure stamping:

The original "RALEIGH" cable guide is still in place as well. Granted, not that hard a mystery to solve.

Short Gipiemme horizontal dropouts, a feature unique to the Gran Course and Competition 12 - when paired with the fastback seat stays - highlight the rear end of the frame. This detail wasn't common on U.S. Raleighs, but was reasonably common on the U.K. lineup after 1982.

Being essentially an evolutionary model of the 1970's Raleigh Professional, the Gran Course wears a beautiful sloping fork crown. This was very much a return to traditionalism, as the 1977-1982 Professional Mk.V's briefly did away with the the sloping design in favor of a flat-crown (seen at right on a 1978 Pro Mk.V).

Though the Gioaleigh shows some evidence of having been treated with an undue lack of respect - one seat stay required careful cold-setting to return it back to an original state - it is a worthy survivor.

I plan to put it up for sale shortly, but - given that the repaint will probably be stripped by the new owner to begin with - I intend to have framebuilder Mike Terraferma add a bit of extra brass to the bottom of the fastback seatstay clusters. Many of these seatstays have been known to crack due to poor brass penetration from factory, and this seems the perfect opportunity to rectify the possibility of that ever happening in the future.

It'll be available soon.

Email headbadgesales AT gmail DOT com if interested.


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