A 1977 Carlton Professional

This bike frame was advertised on ebay as "Rusty, needing a respray" and so I expected to see quite a bit of rust on it, and there was. The cost was $100, plus shipping from the UK (almost another $100, circa june 2006.) It arrived wrapped in 6" of bubble wrap on all sides, I felt as if I could bowl it across the yard! I was hoping that Evapo-Rust would literally suck the rust out of the paint finish. On a Raleigh/Carlton, the year is the 3rd digit of the serial number (WL7 ...)

Bottom Bracket Area

Figure 1. Bottom Bracket Area

The top-tube was almost as rusty as the downtube - it looked like the upper right-hand side of Figure #1.

Fork and Dropouts

Figure 2. Fork and Dropouts

Overall Photo of Carlton Pro 77

Figure 3. Overall Bike.

The seller is doing his best to hide the top-tube rust, which is the most noticeable flaw in the bike.

531 Decal

Figure 4. Reynolds 531 Decal.

The CARLTON transfers were pretty good, plus since they're just black, it would be possible to perform touch-ups to make the transfers perfect.

Evapo-Rust and Repainting

I bought the frame intending to see if Evapo-Rust could literally suck the rust right out of the paint :

Figure 5. My secret weapon.

I tried soaking the top-tube with Evapo-Rust in a cradle of plastic for 24 hours. It was very difficult to make a suitable cradle for soaking. I finally settled on some clear plastic, with lots of masking tape to keep the plastic watertight at both ends, and to close the seam along the length of the plastic. I used Evapo-Rust warmed up in the microwave (well-covered so as not to produce fumes) to maximize my chances of success.

After several rounds of soaking in Evapo-Rust, and using Scotch-Brite to remove blackened lumps, I ended up with a top tube whose clear coat was gone, and which appeared to have fine "spider veins" all the way down the tube. The main improvement was in losing the brown splotches against the silver background. Half of the improvement was from Evapo-Rust, and half was from the scotch-brite pads. Paint flaws which were once visible at 12 feet away, were now visible at only 6 feet away. This wasn't the great success I was looking for! And, there were some bad scrapes and large rust patches that cried out to me, "paint me, PLEASE !!!"

I used a paintbrush to clearcoat the decals with petroleum jelly (a tip from Brian Baylis), sanded the bad areas, sprayed them with primer, and then sprayed the entire front-end of the bike with silver mist duplicolor paint. In some areas I covered decals with masking tape but later regretted it because the tape lifted some transfers. Next time, I would cover the decals with brown modeling clay, so that I could verify that 100% (and no more) of each decal was covered.

I stopped right at the lug lining of the seat tube - the seat-lug, seat-tube, and rear end of the bike were not resprayed. The front of the bike is a lighter silver, because it lacks the yellowed clearcoat to turn it slightly "warm". I asked someone if they could spot the touchups - but they could not - like a good automotive paint job, the paint boundary is simply a tiny color change on either side of the lugs lined in black.

The focal points of the bike (head tube, top-tube, downtube) all look good. I didn't try to cover the head-tube mylar decal perfectly - I later regretted this as the CARLTON WORKSOP ENGLAND decal has two separate boundaries - decal and paint - now.

I wanted protect the bike and to improve the focal points - until I could afford a new paintjob. The overspray was much easier than lining the lugs with black paint - i must have tried 6 times with some shorelines!!! I decided to leave the rear end of the bike "as found", so that I could show people the results of my handiwork.

Final Result of Frame Touchup

Figure 6. The final and ultimate result!

Here's another picture (with a not-allowed Iscaselle Saddle) where my sons are showing what they think of the bike!

Ryan and Liam showing me what they think of the bike!

Figure 7. The ultimate 20-lb bike with my sons!

I call this a Nopagnolo Super-Record bicycle. The goal was to build a super record lookalike bike from japan but I had to resort to Simplex mechs and Mavic hubs for technical and economic reasons. Suntour Superbe was ruled out as being "a no-brainer solution". SR made probably the best Campagnolo copies (SR Royal) in ~1977.

The total investment was about $900, with most parts NOS or almost-new/Exc condition, including:

Carlton Pro 1977 Frameset, 24" C-T, 6 lbs (Fair)
Tange NL-1500 Alloy Headset NOS
Shimano UN-71 115mm BB NOS

SR Royal Bars (VG)
SR Royal Stem NOS
SR Royal Fluted Seatpost NOS

SR Royal SP-100BL Superleggara Pedals (G) - changed to MKS Sylvan Lites(NEW)
SR Royal Alloy Toe Clips NOS, Red Leather Straps NOS
SR Royal Crank Arms (G)
SR/Specialized 42T Chainring (VG)
SR Royal ESL 52T Chainring (Exc)
SR Royal ESL Titanium Chainring Bolts NOS
Dura-Ace 12-21 Freewheel (Exc)
SRAM PC-68 Chain NEW
Royal Gran-Compe Brakes (Exc)
Dia Compe drilled badged levers NOS
Suntour Superbe Hoods NOS
MAVIC 501 hubs (Exc)
Mavic GEL330 Rims (Exc)
Panaracer Practice 270gm tubulars NEW
VeloJet 200gm Titanium Saddle - NEW red suede installed by me.
Simplex SLJ 6600 rear mech (VG) - changed to SLJ 5500 with home-made black decal (VG)
Simplex SLJ front mech (Exc)
Simplex SLJ shifters
Cateye Red Bar Tape NOS
Minoura Stainless bottle cage NEW


Weight: 20 lbs

Reynolds Decal on Seat Tube Red Suede seat and Seatcluster Toptube, Downtube, Bars, Steam, Headset Right Dia Compe Drillium Brake Lever and Hood Engraved World Champion Bars with Drillium Simplex Rear SLJ 6600 and Dura Ace 12-21 Freewheel SR Royal Cranks with Strongligh 52T no. 106 Ring Drivetrain and one SR SP-100BL pedal

I finally settled on buying a Suntour Microlite freewheel and an FSA titanium bottom bracket. It seems impossible to find a vintage Sugino Titan or SR ESL titanium bottom bracket - I have never seen one on ebay.

- Don Gillies
San Diego, CA, USA
Page 3 from the 1977 Carlton Catalog showing 2 team members and
Carlton Pro frameset

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