Raleigh Panasonic Team Replica 12 restoration

T’was an overcast August morning and I was watching live coverage of the Tour de France from my New York apartment. My wife, Lisa, was on the Bowflex exercise bike and because of the time difference, I was still having breakfast. The exercise bike was a relatively new addition to the alleged 1½ bedroom apartment since the Coronavirus pandemic had forced gyms to close and non-essential workers to stay at home. The NBCSN coverage is chock full of commercials until the last 10 miles or so and the same commercials play all the time. One of them is the ad for Zwift, which shows a bunch of professional athletes including Geraint Thomas and Lucy Charles-Barclay, all using proper racing bikes mounted on stationary bike stands.

I thought about how this Bowflex exercise bike – and even the more expensive Peloton equivalents – all had a giant, unattractive knob sticking out of the frame that was used to control resistance, rather than say gears. Even the enormous indoor bikes you get at gyms have digital resistance control, rather than gears. Influenced by said Zwift commercial, I began thinking about how it would be nice to have a racing bike and a stationary bike stand. My wife could use the Bowflex, I could use a racing bike.

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The Team Replica 12 as it appeared in the 1984 UK Raleigh Racers catalogue (click for larger image)

And then I started thinking about how cool it would be to have an old racing bike, a classic. Finally, I started thinking about one of the coolest old bikes from the 80s and one that I could never afford when I was 13 years old, the Raleigh Panasonic Team Replica 12. And that was it, my mind was set.

All things considered, the price I’d more than likely end up paying now for putting this together would probably be about the same, when you adjust for inflation, as the original bike would’ve cost a 13-year old in 1985. Thankfully though, some 35 years later, I have a job that pays (marginally) better than my spine-crippling weekly paper-round did.

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Top, the Team Cadet 10 and bottom, the Team Replica 12 (click for larger image)

Both the Team Replica 12 and it’s considerably less expensive and lower spec’d sibling, the Team Cadet 10 feature a mostly white frame, with blue trim on the forks and yellow and red flashes. One of my best friends at school had the Team Cadet 10 whereas I could only afford a lesser Raleigh, the Pursuit. But I always dreamed of having the Team Replica 12. Features included Reynolds 531c tubing, a full Campagnolo brake and gear set up and Mavic GP4 alloy wheels.

Aside from the Reynolds 531c sticker at the bottom of the seat tube, at first glance there isn’t much to differentiate the Team Replica 12 and Team Cadet 10. However, there are quick ways to tell them apart. Firstly, double check the gear levers as the Team Cadet 10s were black plastic and not Campagnolo Nuovo Record steel. Secondly, check how the rear brake cables are attached to the crossbar, as the Team Cadet 10 had them placed on top of the top tube and the Team Replica 12 had them at an angle on the lower left hand side. And thirdly, the blue coloring at the top of the seat tube is painted in a curve, around the seat lug on the Team Replica 12 because the seat stay on the Team Cadet 10 has a slightly different point of attachment, below the seat pin.

And that’s how you tell them apart. From a distance.

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