1974 Raleigh Professional
     Blue Mink/Silver

I credit this '74 Raleigh Professional for really getting me back into cycling daily. I try to get 25-35 miles on it every day, moving to 50 per day on the weekends. In my opinion, this Blue Mink Pro is one of the most beautiful bikes I've seen with its pristine paint/decals and near perfect chrome that's setoff by the silver/blue mix. Even the lug work is pretty exemplary with the thinned long points looking very refined. The fastback cluster and Cinelli crown are highlights with both probably contributing to extra stiffness, the rear triangle a relatively stiff affair. The fork on the Pro is still relatively raked, however. You sometimes read negatives about Raleigh Pros being harsh; personally, I don't find this the case although it's stiff compared to some of this era, especially compared directly with the International. It's extremely responsive without being twitchy and gets the power to the pavement due to the extremely stiff rear triangle. Simply put, it's a joy to ride and it gets many compliments every time out from people that know. You can stay in the 20s on this beast and smile wide while nodding to the compact frame clones. We have a plethora of interval timing triathletes that ride daily and keeping up with the A-List can be a turn-yourself-inside-out affair. Still, this vintage Pro, in all its Reynolds 531 glory, can still hold its own on flat roads. Dragging myself up hills with the current gearing would be amusing...for others.

In my opinion, the Campagnolo Nuovo Record is form/function/beauty combined, with it taking a more industrial beauty over the Super Record that was soon to follow. I never tire of looking at this bike and I hope that stays this way as it's stored in my living room, much to my wife's chagrin. I just replaced the relatively light Selle San Marco Concor with a period correct Brooks Team Pro that has now broken in to fit like a glove, even if it's a heavy as hell glove. What a beautiful saddle that is much like topping on the cake. The Mavic Open 4 CD rim anodizing has seen far better days due to pad wear, but wheels are still going strong, expecially the OMAS and MAVIC hubs which truly spin like silk. They still amaze me. And the Michelin Pro2Race are an excellent match (this tire rolls like a dream - too bad you cant get them in black). I get some gruff from another vintage bike lover on the rims but this is a DAILY RIDER, not a piece of wall art, although nice enough to exhibit as such. I'm on the lookout for some period tubs. I have an '80 Piaggio era Bianchi out of Columbus "Aelle R" that feels like inert matter compared to this bike (but a damn comfortable ride~now in SS fun status). Up soon for comparison is an '84 De Rosa Professional that's the aesthetic antithesis in Ferrari Red. It's not here yet but will be taking some of the load off the Raleigh. My Columbus Neuron '01 Cinelli Supercorsa is also waiting in the wings, wondering when it will ever be built as it's going to be my more modern answer while still lying in the steel camp. Should be interesting comparing the Cinelli to the Raleigh on a number of fronts. Meanwhile, I've yet to even straddle a carbon fiber anything as there is just something magical about these vintage, hand-built steel rides that just feels Right.













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83 De Rosa Professional ~ Click to View See the 01 Cinelli Supercorsa