1984 Raleigh Portage 650B

What an eBay score! This is my main “fast” bike and was 100% original down to the tires, racks and reflectors when I purchased it. I changed a few parts for reliability, fit and comfort, but retained the friction shifting and classic bike feel. The Portage was only produced by Raleigh for a few of years and was billed as their top of the line touring bike. Oh, and this is not a 650b conversion, it was originally produced by Raleigh as a 650b bicycle. I’ve ridden this bike on many long rides and brevets and can’t imagine a more comfortable “road bike”.

  • Frameset: 1984 Raleigh Portage 650B 53CM
  • Wheelset: Shimano Silent hub packed with Phil Wood grease on a Weinmann Rim in back with a Shimano LX dynamo hub on a Velocity rim in front.
  • Tires: Soma 650B x38 Xpress Kevlar in terracotta color
  • Fenders: Velo Orange 650B Hammered 45mm with a homemade leather mudflap
  • Brakes, Shifters, Derailleurs: Shimano Deore Dearhead touring group

Shimano Deore Downtube Shifters

  • Crankset: Shimano Tourney XT 30-40-48
  • Pedals: Crankbrothers Candy or Welgo platforms
  • Cassette: Sram PG850 11-30 8 Speed
  • Handlebar: Salsa Bell Lap 44cm double wrapped with cork and cotton tape
  • Stem: Velo Orange Grand Cru

Ride Home 1

  • Saddle: Well loved Brooks B17 Special Edition
  • Seat Post: UNO – easy to adjust single bolt.
  • Front Rack: VO Constructeur
  • Bags: Ostrich is the front, Zimbale in the back
  • Lighting: Supernova E3 Pro Lefty with the mount flipped and extension removed in front, Planet Bike Superflash in back.

Raleigh Portage

9 thoughts on “1984 Raleigh Portage 650B

  1. I had a Raleigh portage 1984 like yours – mine had a rack in the rear – how do you find replacement tires? – I could not find replacement tires that would fit the weird sized rims – mine was stolen in 1991 from a bike rack across from the Greek Theater in Griffith Park in L.A. – I had happily lived on it and ridden all around half of California from Yosemite to Mexico.

  2. I am the original owner of my 1984 Portage and at 25,000 miles it’s seen many long rides. I changed the shifters to Sun Tour bar end almost the day I bought it and have always loved the setup. I’ve kept it in good repair and (sadly) had to paint it a few years ago due to severe finish wear. I love the bike as much as the day I got it and would honestly rather lose my car to a thief than the Raleigh!

  3. Awesome bike and build!
    I really like the look and size of the saddlebag/seatbag in black on the first picture! Who makes these bags? Is it mounted on a carradice bagman for support and do you feel like that is enough support without a rear rack/decaleur even when the bag is fully loaded?
    Again; that is one heck of a beauty!!!

    1. Thanks Tobias. The bag is a Carradice Camper Longflap that has been well used since this photo was taken. It definitely needs some sort of support and for lighter loads the Bagman is fine, but for heavier loads something more substantial is in order. On the GDMBR I used the Bagman 2 Expedition, but even that broke, although it was abused more than it was ever designed for.

  4. Nice build! I’m looking a Portage on the exact same size. How does it ride compared to a 700c touring bike? Is it low trail? Also what are the top tube, seat tube and stand over measurements if you don’t mind?


    1. Thanks Cory. I don’t know what 700c touring bike you want to use as a comparison, but compared to a 26″ Long Haul Trucker it’s much more nimble but not nearly as quick as my 700c Gilmour road bike. Descending mountain passes the bike handles almost perfect – stable, with the thin frame tubes and larger tires absorbing the bumps. The geometry is low trail and in my opinion it actually handles better with weight in the front bag than unloaded. The weight helps to slow the steering down. As for the numbers, both the top tube and seat tube are 54cm center to center and the stand over is 78cm. If the Portage is a reasonable price and in good condition, I wouldn’t hesitate to snap it up.

    1. I’m 5’8″ with a 30′ inseam and the bike fits me perfect. The only thing I wish was different is the seat tube could be a centimetre or so longer, but the seatpost and stem make up the difference just fine.

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