Raleigh Pioneer

The Brief:
Heavy duty commuting bike for committed female commuter and suitable for road use every day and night of the year carrying full panniers. Must have drop bars, fat tyres, strong brakes, upgraded gears and various personal touches. Ideally look nicer and be more comfortable and faster than original ‘donor’ bike.

The Concept:
The Monstertrolley – ‘Monster’ for the oversized hot-rod rebuild, ‘trolley’ as that’s what we call proper workhorse road bikes – the first of what we are describing as Xybrids. A new subgenre of cyclocross-inspired remixes of indestructible (ie steel or cro-mo) 700c hybrid frames into fast and comfortable commuter hot rods with high positioned drop bars and enormous yet fast rolling tyres for stomping through the city streets in whatever conditions the weather throws at you, including snow.

Something we’ve not really seen in the bike shops, but then Evans put 3 speed Pashleys in their hybrid category so we mustn’t let bike shops and their clueless nomenclature worry us. Seriously though, commuting on a fixie is fine but what about if you need to carry a lot of stuff to and from work? And you need to get over that moderately steep hill while doing so? And what about the fact that most modern city & suburban urban roads are in a terrible state of repair with potholes hidden in the potholes? And the fact that getting in a car turns many sensible folk into killers? Maybe everyone needs a Xybrid?

The Recipe:
Buy old but well-looked after steel hybrid bike and strip it down to the frame, including removing the stickers and regreasing the headset, then start again using very little of the original bike except the rims. Rebuild rear rim onto a new Shimano 9 speed hub which you’ve already converted to solid axle, then fit wheels with 700x40c Schwalbe Marathon Dureme folding tyres and fit to frame. Fit ‘dirt drop’ bars to bike via short high-rise stem, then fit STIs and sassy new bar tape with gel padding. Fit a 1×9 drivetrain with short cage mech and a CNC bashring to act as a chainguard and keeper. Upgrade cantilever brakes with Aztec pads and modified cable adjusters then fit to bike. Test ride and make various minor adjustments, then fit accessories and ride to work daily or when required.

The Ingredients:
– Frame & Fork: 1990 Raleigh Pioneer Classic (other suitable candidates were old Treks and Specialized but we’ve a soft spot for Pioneers, this one has a decent frame and nice wide rims and it was cheap!) with 130mm OLD rear end
– Headset: original (refurbished)
– Stem: alloy riser quill with twin-bolt faceplate (high and short, puts the drops in the same position as the old risers!)
– Handlebar: On-One Midge (multiple hand positions with shallow drop, wider flare and cheaper and more colourful than WTB or Salsa variants)
– Bar Tape: Cinelli Mike Giant with Cinelli gel pads (Mike Giant is a San Fransisco graf and skate legend)
– Brake levers / Shifters: Shimano 105 STIs (work perfectly with cantis)
– Brakes: Shimano cantilevers (they do the job)
– Brake Pads: Aztec (better than Shimano, cheaper than Kool Stops)
– Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105 (short cage suits 1×9 perfectly)
– Cassette: Shimano HG50 (does the job)
– Chain: SRAM PC951 (along with KMC’s X9 these are great value for money)
– Cranks: Shimano MT60 (ancient but still working fine)
– Chainring: Middleburn 36t with MRP bashring (chainring is new, may gear up to a 42t at some point but bike is still being tested)
– Bottom Bracket: FSA sealed cartridge (heavy but cheap)
– Pedals: VP-566 flats (SPDs or toeclips & straps could be used instead)
– Rims: Alesa 36 hole (original to the bike, nice and fat at 17mm ERTRO)
– Hubs: new Shimano Tiagra at rear converted to solid axle, with original Sachs up front
– Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Dureme folding 700 x 40c (pretty much the widest we could fit in the mudguard and a bargain from a certain German discount bike store right now) with Schwalbe’s studded Marathon tyres ready for the coming winter
– Saddle: Specialized Lithia 155 (customer’s favourite with the all important cutaway)
– Seatpost: Kalloy (replaces original chrome item)
– Seatpost Binder: cromo (stock)
Extras: inline adjuster and hanger for rear brake to replace original roller, Blackburn P-clips for powdercoated luggage rack, original front reflector, 5W Saik LED front light, Knog rear light, rear mudguard, eyeball bell

2 thoughts on “Raleigh Pioneer”

  1. Very nice build. I was thinking of doing the same sort of thing with a gents’ Pioneer. This set up has persuaded me to go ahead with it.

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