Restoring the Wisp: decisions, decisions, decisions

Erik wrote in a post about the dilemma about replacing the brake pads on my Raleigh Wisp. We’ve made a small number of other changes and tried as far as we could to keep as close to the original as possible.

I wasn’t too sure I liked the original brake and gear cables with their transparency that showed the rusted wire within but I was pretty conflicted about changing them as I’m trying to keep as much of the original bike as possible. I ended up making the decision to change them though as the brakes were pretty awful. The front brake was very soft and the rear brake wouldn’t work at all. Replacing the old brake pads had helped on the front a little but not the back. I was considering white as a replacement but when I found VeloOrange metallic braid cable for both the brakes and gears I decided to go with that as it seemed to be as close to a modern version of what was there originally as I could get. They are also very pretty and far more interesting than the white cables.



The tyres were pretty ropey. The tread was strong, suggesting that they hadn’t been used very much but parts of the surface were peeling. It seemed particularly bad on the lower part that would have been tan. So, I replaced the Hutchinson tyres with modern Schwalbe Road Cruisers, also in 32mm with tan walls. They look very handsome.


I was tempted to keep the dark blue suede wrap on the handlebars but after riding a few miles changed my mind. It is very worn and very thin! I again bought as close as I could, going with VeloOrange comfy cotton bar tape – blue. The colour is very similar (though not in suede) but the fabric is a little thicker so it should make it more comfortable when riding over distance.



Another element that was like new was the mudguards on the bicycle which were covered in plastic wrap. When I unpeeled the plastic they were like new underneath. I was so happy!



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