Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vintage Find- 1984 Raleigh Olympian

1984 Raleigh Olympian Road Bike

One of my best vintage finds has been this 1984 Raleigh Olympian. The following year's model had the exact same components and specs on it, except of the Raleigh 502 Chrome moly Tubing (the 1985 model has 555T tubing see Sheldon Brown's page). The frame geometry on this bike makes it extremely comfortable for touring or light commuting. The one of a kind Pletscher swiss bike rack is spring loaded and folds out to securely hold baskets and lunch box sized packages. The alloy wheels are a plus considering lighter metal wheels were just beginning to become available to a more mainstream audience.

Another view of the Raleigh

This bike features the beautiful and classic
 Raleigh Head badge.
Raleigh 502 chrome moly tubing makes the
 frame very shock absorbing  on long rides.
Overall this bike was a pleasure to ride and it did well on some 25 plus mile rides. Unfortunately, I am not much of a casual cyclist anymore. Having one too many of these kinds of bikes in my stable, I moved it along in favor of a more race ready Raleigh R600. If you are looking for an all weather commuter, tourer, something to ride with the family, or just your first bike- this is the bike for you. It has useful features such as bottle braze ons and a bike rack. The quality is built to last, you will find most of these bikes in this kind of shape if as long as the bike is not recklessly abused. Thats not bad for a 27 year old ride. If you find one, its a keeper.

Here is a frame pump that will never let you down. It has gotten me out of a lot of sticky off road situations. Click here to see where you can find the Blackburn Mammoth Pump at a store near you.
Blackburn Mammoth Air


  1. Hi, how does the Blackburn Mammoth compare to the Topeak RoadMorph? I've had great success with that pump and it also has a foot pedal like this one.

  2. They are both great bicycle pumps. I am running a Blackburn Mammoth on my mountain bike and the Topeak on one of my touring bikes. The Topeak is easier to use because the valve locks on to the valve stem and because of the foot pedal, which the Black Mammoth doesn't have. Hope this helps!

  3. I just got one of these for free all original. It's all torn down now so I can freshen it up. It will be my first real road bike, anything you suggest to add or what tires, seat, accessories to have once I start riding? Everything rubber/cloth needs to be replaced from sitting in a barn, but the rest of the bike is in very good shape. Is 84 the only year in that red color with the 502 tubing?

  4. Hi there EMX!

    Free finds are always awesome. As far as replacing tires and handlebar tape I can give you the following recommendations. Panaracer Pasela tires are the best way to go when replacing tires on an old vintage bike. Make sure to get the 27x 1 1/4 size tires, not the modern 700c tire size. The bicycle pictured above has Cinelli cork handlebar tape, a very durable, very comfortable handlebar tape. Scram Supercork is another great option for handlebar tape. Kool Stop Salmon brake pads would be a great replacement if the current break pads are worn out. A Brooks B-17 leather saddle is the best seat you can have on any bike, bar none. As long as it's taken care of, it will never have to be replaced. There are more cost effective saddles out there, but none that have met my seal of approval like the Brooks.

    To my knowledge, 1984 was the only year that featured the burgundy/gold color combo with the 502 tubing. The burgundy gold color scheme was also used in 1985, but the tubing grade was different by then. On a side note, this was one of the most comfortable vintage road bikes that I have ridden. I regret having passed it along, but my riding style at the time was different. This bicycle, however, was very fast as absorbed all the road bumps at the same time. It's definitely a great find to come across.

  5. Thanks for the reply and suggestions! I'm hoping to get it back together and out for a ride this weekend.

  6. Thanks to this post I didn't pass on an 85 version. Has the 555 SL tube (haven't found any site to that can tell me how this is different then the 502). Mine is black/red and in really great original condition (everything was original except the water bottle holder). Going to get this tuned up, new tires/tubes, cables, stem with a more upright handle bar (bad back) and then waxed and polished.

    1. Great to hear that a good bike was rescued. I know you will enjoy it as it is a great bike for going pretty much anywhere with it.

  7. Nice I picked up one that was converted to a fixed gear and it is fast and smooth even with the cheaper build kit they used..... $40 at the pawn shop just needed tubes and bars although I put a front brake on it for safety reasons.....oh and it had the Brooks b17 on it already

  8. How much is a 1984 Raleigh Olympian excellent condition. 504 tubing????