Readers’ Rides: Barry Wicks Underbiking World Championships Raleigh Super Course


Readers’ Rides: Barry Wicks Underbiking World Championships Raleigh Super Course

Underbiking World Championships is precisely what it sounds like: a mixed-terrain race on classic road bikes. Think Rough Stuff Collective meets Single Speed Worlds. Today’s Readers’ Rides comes from Barry Wicks, a legendary multi-surface master, who shares his Underbiking Worlds Raleigh Super Course…

I wanted to show off my sweet whip for the Underbiking World Championships being held next weekend (Sept 9-10) in Canada (Geoff Kabush and Katerina Nash organize the event. To me, it seems to be the most appropriate and apropos example of an Ironic World Championship event as it embodies the spirit of the original Ironic World Championship event, Single Speed MTB Worlds, by the way that it is a pushback upon the Cycling Industry selling us ever complex and meaningless subcategories of bicycles, but, I digress.)

To me, underbiking is All About The Bike. Inasmuch as the event itself has no real competitive component and is just a fun gathering of bike people to ride ill-suited bicycles in an amazing location, I decided to select the only bike currently in my collection that has drop handlebars on it, as the limited information about the event includes the hashtag #dropbarsonsingletrack, With this as my guiding principle I forged ahead on curating the ultimate Underbiking Worlds bike.

The Raleigh Supercourse pictured here I originally acquired for Eroica California in 2018. At that event I rode it in all its original glory, and it was a quite frightening yet exceptionally enjoyable experience. I have made a few mods since that event, and as it sits now I feel confident that it will be (mostly) up for the rigors of the Hornby Island Singletrack.

The original 27″ 5spd freehub wheels were swapped for a set of haggard 700c Mavic Classic Pro wheels I obtained from an old racing buddy. At some point he wore through the rear rim and replaced it with a Stans Alpha ZTR rim, which he also nearly wore out, but it seems to still be working so far. The ancillary benefit of this rim swap is that I can run my rear Maxxis Refuse 700x32c tire tubeless, thus possibly eliminating a small percentage of the large number of flat tires I am nearly certain to acquire along the course of the event. Reducing the wheel size slightly also allowed me to cram some slightly larger tires in there, and we all know bigger tires are always better!

My favorite component on the bike, besides my well worn Brooks B17, is the ancient Shimano Dura Ace brakeset. I don’t know what vintage they are, but they certainly do not work very well, especially since the brake pads appear to be the original ones and the rubber is not really rubbery any longer, but the clout of having DA brakes is spectacular.

I did swap in a threaded to threadless stem adapter so I can run a long ass stem, as I am of quite a large stature.  The handlebar seems less prone to slippage with the modern clamping system as well.

I am running an 11/36 9speed cassette I bought on the internet for $12 for some extra gear range, and the stock 170mm Raleigh crankset with a 42/52T combo. The rear derailleur is a Suntour Cyclone, with a special feature that allows you to take the chain out of the cage without breaking it. I don’t know why you would want to do this, but it makes for some fun pit stops when the chain falls out of there on especially bumpy sections of trail. Up front the derailer just says “Shimano” on it and both it and the rear are operated by some beautiful Suntour Power friction downtube shifters. Front shifting is functional, but no matter where I set the limit screws the chain is highly prone to derailment going both directions unless extreme care is taken when performing a shift. The rear shifts immaculately.

As my good friend and car aficionado Carl Decker likes to say, driving a slow car fast is usually much more entertaining than driving a fast car, because just keeping up with traffic going to the grocery store can be very exciting when you are at the limit in your Citroen 2CV. Such will be my approach to Underbiking Worlds on the Raleigh Super Course. Staying alive just trying to get around the track on this thing will likely be as fun as and likely more fun than riding a modern gravel superbike on the same route. I may not be able to ultimately go as fast, but my full attention will be consumed keeping my bike and body in one piece as I carren around on green trails on this monstrosity, and isn’t that what we are really after in the first place?

So, there you have it, my Raleigh Super Course, set up for Underbiking Worlds Glory!

Build Spec:

  • Frame: Raleigh Super Course
  • Wheels: Mavic Classic Pro with Stans ALPHA ZTR rear rim swap
  • Handlebars: Pro Gravel 44cm
  • Stem: Kona 120mm
  • Saddle: Brooks B17
  • Tires: Maxxis Refuse 700x32c
  • Rear Der: Suntour Cyclone
  • Front Der: Shimano
  • Shifters: Suntour Power
  • Brakes: Dura Ace
  • Cranks: Raleigh
  • Brake Lever: Cane Creek
  • Pedals: Shimano XT Flats



We’d like to thank all of you who submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared here at The Radavist. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!