Mid Range Flamboyancy
I wish I had more pictures of these late 1980’s bikes, a Peugeot Galibier of 1987 and Raleigh Record Sprint of 1985. Unfortunately, I’ve lost the other, more detailed, photographs I took of it one spring day in Seattle in 2012. Named after the Alpine mountain that has been an historical feature of the Tour De France, this Galibier was some sort of special edition as it was dressed up with some matching white parts, its crankset, transmission and brake calipers. Some would say that this wasn’t unusual with bike manufacturers in the ’80’s era: the Raleigh Record Sprint, for example, was a similarly mid-range bike with a snazzy gold plated groupset. Indeed, this was the era of gaudy paint jobs and bad colour combinations, but in this case I think the Galibier is still an appealing and pretty stylish bike.
The Space Age
This was a much superior bike to the Record Sprint, let’s get that straight. The Raleigh was more of a marketing gimmick with its “aerospace” inspired tubing design, stuck on decals and bling components. The Galibier, however, had Mavic hubs, ( yes, Mavic! ), a Stronglight 107 crankset, a Huret New Success 12 speed gear system, Phillipe stem and bars and a nicely built Reynolds 501 frame. What’s more, it weighed less than 23lbs and rode very smoothly on its Mavic GL 330 anodised rims. Admitedly, I should gave changed the handlebar tape, but you have to concede that this is a nice looking bike that had good quality parts.
Formula One, anyone?
Finding a Raleigh Record Sprint in America was very unusual. It was a model that was never exported to the States and it was strange to come across one in a suburb of Portland. I wonder if this flashy model would have ever been successful in the States. I have a theory that Raleigh took the black and gold paintwork from the Formula One Lotus car of the era, sponsored by the cigarette company JPS. It does make sense when you think about it, as this car was an icon of this Formula One era, with a Lotus engine made and designed in Britain.
I digress. I eventually sold both bikes in Seattle, the Galibier for $330 and the Raleigh for $220. The pricing reflects the enduring appeal of good quality Peugeot bikes that are gladly still sought after by discerning cyclists. You can easily grab a Record Sprint in the UK for less than £80, but do look out for rubbed off gold plating..