Raleigh Ascender singlespeed conversion

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  • Bought this 1990s mountain bike for the princely sum of £10 on Facebook Marketplace. It's a Raleigh Ascender (15-speed), made in Nottingham. Nothing remotely high end, but I wanted something with horizontal dropouts for a single speed project.

    The front cantilever brake was missing and the rear tyre had a slow puncture. Got it home without dying too many times. It has a lovely reflective paint. The bike came with a lock, and as a sweet bonus: the key to that lock.

    Installed a new set of cheap V-brakes, swapped the tyres from cheap 1.9" knobbies to 1.5" slicks, removed both derailleurs, chainset and freewheel. Removed shifters and worn out grips and replaced them with some (admittedly quite hard) cheap plastic ones.

    Wanted to respace the rear axle using ultra precise measurements for optimal chainline, but the drive side cone and lock nut have seized. Didn't fancy getting a new wheel or axle so I just reinserted the axle backwards and redished the wheel the opposite way. By some fluke this results in a pretty good chainline at first glance.

    Works well so far. The wheel hasn't collapsed from my amateur dishing efforts and the chain hasn't come off yet. The new chainset is a Sturmey Archer 42T and the freewheel (I didn't have the stomach for a fixed "suicide hub") is a 16T Diamondback effort. The chainring has a guard on both sides so am not too worried about dropping chains. I am using the old chain for now (on the verge of .75% wear) but will get a new one eventually. Pedals are the ones that came with my road bike.

    After conversion to single speed

    New chainset

    Most important addition was a blue anodised bell. I also got a bargain on a rack, though it may be a challenge to get it to attach to the reflector bridge without interfering with the rear V-brake calipers.

  • Rack added. Turns out you can mount it directly to the brake bosses. I didn't know this was a thing.

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    • rack.jpg
  • I love cheap bike projects.

    Well done for breathing life into the unloved.

  • Exactly this. :)

  • Had a yukon, which I think is similar, and they ride quite nicely IMO.

  • Thanks, all. Been riding this the last few days and enjoying it so far. The single speed freewheel is completely silent, which is a novelty for me; was quite unnerving at first.

  • Silent running is something many aspire to.

    These bikes feel like a big bmx, IMO

  • Funny you say that. Ride London last week was the first time I encountered (or at least noticed) people who aspire to make their freewheels/freehubs as loud as possible.

  • Campag or fucked?

  • I don't know anything about Campagnolo, really, so could be one or both.

  • I had the 24” wheel version of the ascender as a child, was a sweet deep reflective purple.
    Top work keeping the dream alive.

  • Fitted a brand new chain today. The old one was slipping every now and again and was past 0.75% wear. This coincided with the emergence of an annoying rattling noise. What could it be? A loose bolt? A slack spoke? The chain too tight or loose? Eventually traced the source to my Kryptonite lock, which hangs on the bike. Irritating. Solved with a few scraps of inner tube to damp the rattle.

    Apparently I'm not the only one.

  • Still going strong. Steers like an aircraft carrier, so it's not so nifty for dodging around barriers or taking sharp turns (or maybe that's just my weak bike handling skills).

    Some cretin nicked the handlebar grips over the weekend (why???) so I had to splash out £2.50 at Wilko for some new ones. They're actually nicer than the ones I had before.

    New foam grips from Wilko

  • More pics! Cool project.

  • Ask and ye shall receive. Will take some more 'in the wild' next time I find an interesting spot.

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    • IMG_20190910_175404t.jpg
  • Fully loaded after a weekly shop. Wheelbase is very long so no worries about heels clipping panniers.

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    • raleigh loaded.jpg
  • Matching pannier/frame colour - nice

  • Autumn mode engaged. SKS Commuter mudguards added. I can finally say this project is complete. May take a better photo tomorrow.

    Raleigh Ascender with mudguards

  • Finished article

    1 Attachment

    • raleigh ascender completed - small.jpg
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Raleigh Ascender singlespeed conversion

Posted by Avatar for AntSel @AntSel