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Raleigh History Past and Present
In the year 1887, Frank Bowden purchased a bicycle shop on Raleigh Street in Nottingham, England. By 1890 he took the name from the street, forming the ‘Raleigh Bicycle Company‘ which is one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world.
During 1921 Sir Frank Bowden died leaving his son, Sir Harold Bowden with the company, who took over as chairman and chief executive. Harold worked with strong leadership and devotion towards the company reaching 62,000 cycles a year and retiring by 1932.
Raleigh is known for their brilliant bicycles, but what most don’t know is that there was a period of time when they made motor vehicles. In 1899 Raleigh started to build motorcycles and later introduced the Raleighette, which only lasted until 1908. After a couple of decades in 1930, the company acquired the rights to the Ivy Karryall. The Raleigh version was called Light Delivery Van, which had a cabin for cargo and a hood for the driver. This vehicle was soon discontinued but the idea of 3-wheeled vehicles wasn’t over. The last motor vehicle that Raleigh made were mopeds, which started in the 1950’s and ended at 1971.
A major breakthrough that Raleigh is know for is being the first to manufacture the 3 speed hub under the Sturmey-Archer name. Although this was accomplished in 1903, Raleigh became part of the Sturmey-Archer group in 1902. From their partnership the development of bicycles and their efficiency.
Between the 1950’s and 1960’s the bicycle market was declining because of the popularity of automobiles causing expansions and merges. In 1970 the Raleigh Chopper came in the market which brought interest with its 3-speed Sturmey-Archer gear hub, unusual frame, long padded seat with backrest, sprung suspension at the back, high-rise handlebars, and differently sized front and rear wheels. Becoming an enormous success, which was a key factor in reviving the company’s fortune.
In 1980 Joop Zoetemelk won the Tour de France, five years before Raleigh introduces the Vektar. This bike was another innovation that had a ‘Star Wars’ style and ‘Knightrider’ technology, which included a trip meter and FM radio with presets.
By this period of history Raleigh had many expansions but one of the biggest changes was the Huffy Corporation licensed the right to manufacture and distribute Raleigh in the USA. This caused the Raleigh Cycle Company to spit into two with one being America and the other England. From 1982 and newer, the United States only got Raleigh bikes from Raleigh Cycle Company of America and everyone else got Raleigh bikes from England.
After the 20th century had past and the start of the 21st century Raleigh relaunched a couple of successful bikes with a more modern look. The Raleigh Chopper was the first to be relaunched and then the Bumer BMX, which both received great success. All this has lead to the legacy of being one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world, hitting their 125th birthday in 2012.
Raleigh has always been a forward thinking company with a tradition of innovation. Now as Raleigh continues in the 21st century that tradition and forward thinking will bring new designs that utilize advanced technologies and materials.
The newest technology that Raleigh has brought to the table is their Talus Carbon Frame which is on the Talus Carbon Pro and is a must-have for any race quiver. At only 1270 grams, it’s the lightest mountain bike frame they’ve ever made. Fabricated out of high modulus carbon fibers utilizing Direct Connect frame construction technology, it yields a responsive and fast on-trail ride.
Another innovation that Raleigh has brought in the 21st century is their 27.5″ wheel on the Tokul 4130. This size is incredibly versatile in varying trail conditions. It’s capable of rolling over rocks and roots with ease just like the larger 29er wheel, yet nimble in hard-to-navigate situations. These elements combine to make a wheel adept in any kind of terrain and all conditions, while also giving confidence to riders when dealing with sharp turns.
Raleigh has high in value bikes and one of the most complete product lines in the industry. Their youth bikes have been appreciated for their style and durability. Raleigh also is known for their market on adult performance, hybrid and comfort models in price, weight, and ride.
Raleigh’s futures looks bright with the legacy of 125 years and their incredible line of products, but what’s more impressive is their forward thinking and tradition of innovation. due to their numerous Raleigh bicycle dealer shops around the world it’s hard not to see Raleigh. So it is fair to say that Raleigh isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Information Provided by Global Bikes #1 Raleigh Dealer in Arizon