Three Speeds Spotted: Raleigh DL-1 Tourist rod-braked roaster

Welcome to more of Three Speed Spotting! Glad you can join us. If one was thinking of Three Speed Spotting as a game, the numerous Raleigh Sports and the like would gain the least “points” due to their ubiquity. Spotting a rod-braked machine would garner more points due to their relative scarcity. So it’s always a special moment when I spot one.

This one is the most common of the rod-braked roadsters in the US, the Raleigh Tourist or DL-1. Most common because Raleigh was the most common British three-speed maker available in the American market. And the DL-1 was produced into the early ’80s, which meant you could get one from any Raleigh dealer (and there were many.) They were never super-popular due to the finickyness and lack of stopping power of rod brakes (especially when wet), but many liked the “Cadillac” ride quality.

This DL-1 was spotted in the bike rack of yet another grocery store. Note the lack of chaincase or chainguard. Most roadsters sole in the UK were equipped with a fully enclosed chaincase but few chaincases made it Stateside due to tariffs. (The roadsters were so heavy that the chaincase put them “over the limit” and they would get taxed at a higher rate.) Still, most DL-1s made it over here with the “hockey stick” chainguard. Maybe this one lost it at some point?

And yep, this Tourist uses 28-inch tires, also known as ISO 635. 635mm is the largest diameter wheelsize* that tires are still commercially available. This one uses what looks to be generic tires, which was the only option for this odd wheel size up until a few years ago, until Schwalbe started making Delta Cruisers in this size. (While I find the Pashley Guv’nor a bit much, it’s because of this bike Schwalbe even bothers to make good tires for ISO 635).

Otherwise, this bike looks to be 70’s vintage and in fantastic shape. Hopefully its owner gets a lot of enjoyment out of riding it!

*Yeah, 29-er tires are “bigger” in overall outer diameter width, but the wheel diameter is just plain ol’ 700C, aka ISO 622.

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2 thoughts on “Three Speeds Spotted: Raleigh DL-1 Tourist rod-braked roaster

  1. Brian Gefroh says:

    Hey! That’s my bike and I definitely enjoy the ride. I’ve recently had to replace the tires as the originals were cracking badly on the sidewalls. I ordered some Marathons from Schwalbe. Very smooth.

  2. Luke says:

    Very nice bike I just purchased a 1974 Raleigh tourist DL-1 tribute bike. It has Rid bars and is all original . I say tribute because the stickers appear to be from the 60s

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