1998 Raleigh SC30


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[MY SC30]

Not too long after buying this bike...

The story

Finally, a 'real' bike. After years of riding department store toy bikes far more miles than they were designed to be ridden, I bought a 'real' bike. It wasn't great -- I didn't want to spend too much, besides my previous bikes had been around $100 each -- but it introduced me to a world I'd never known before.

Prior to buying this bike I owned a Roadmaster mountain bike from WalMart. It was inefficient, heavy, constantly out of adjustment, and really had no brakes. It was a replacement for my previous Huffy MTB that was damaged when I hit a car that pulled out in front of me. The Roadmaster had served me well as a commuting vehicle, including a 75 mile round trip ride in the hot summer heat, but I was wanting something better.

Over the years various bike shops had tried to convince me that my department store bikes weren't good enough. They'd tell me that their bikes were so much better, but I blew that off. Besides, their stories of gloom and doom when I said that I was using automotive grease in the headset and bottom bracket never came true! So, one day while driving home from somewhere I suddenly made an impulse decision to stop in and look at the bikes. Little did I know how many thousands of dollars that stop would really cost me in the long run!

Anyhow, I can vividly remember the test ride. It was great! Semi slicks were so much faster than knobby tires! Yet, something didn't feel quite right... I didn't know what it was at the time (since the department store bikes I'd owned before had the same problem), but now I do. I was sure that the larger 22" SC40 that he had fit me better, but he insisted that the 20" SC30 was a better fit for me, so I took his advice and bought it. Being 6'4", I should have known to go with the largest frame.

Poor fit and all, it still introduced a new world to me! Cycling became much more enjoyable. I started doing it daily! Then I started searching for solutions to problems that had prevented me from riding every day in the past. I bought fenders, I bought a lycra headband to cover my ears, I bought a rack and bags, suddenly it became real transportation!

But, the fit kept nagging me. Having done all of my own maintenance in the past on the department store bikes I continued to do the same with this bike. I meddled and modified until the bike no longer resembled what it did when I bought it! It's been through a few phases, thus....

Reincarnation

First I 'kinda' fixed the fit problem, I put on a longer seatpost. That wasn't a perfect fix because I still didn't have proper leg extension, but much better. Later I found handlebars that let me stretch out more. Then...

If a bike is going to be real transportation, it needs some carrying capacity, right? How about baskets, racks, trailers, etc... Here are some images of it through the years:

With Racks

With Racks

With Trailer

With Racks

With Racks

With Racks

Well, after a while I got tired of the poor fit and bought a road frame (the Nishiki Olympic 12) at the thrift store and cannibalized this bike to put that one together. It then sat unused, untouched, collecting dust for a long time. Until recently... (cue ominous tunes...)

It's ALIVE!

My coworkers are really into mountain biking... I've been wanting to join them, but with all street machines I've had no way to do so. So... remembering the lonely SC30 I had an idea! When I bought my Trek 520 to replace the Nihsiki I decided to take the parts that had been borrowed back and turn this into a 'pseudo-mountain-bike'. Pseudo because the geometry isn't quite right, but it'll do. The fit also isn't great, but a bit too small isn't such a liability off road. So... today, after spending $30 for tires and a cable, we have:

Now it's a MTB!

IT LIVES!!!! And I'd forgotten how fun it was to ride around in the mud jumping off of things!

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