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End of an age for Raleigh(16 posts)

End of an age for Raleighmuncher
Mar 15, 2002 3:36 AM
Raleigh ends British production
By Nick Britten
(Filed: 15/03/2002)

RALEIGH, once the only bicycle to be seen on, is to cease assembly in Britain, bringing to an end 115 years of production.

Staff, expecting a new site to be announced yesterday, were told instead that they would be made redundant as the company finally bowed to the pressure of cheaper foreign products and more fashionable bikes. About 280 jobs would be lost.

The company is to buy bikes abroad but will, if possible, design and distribute them from its base in Nottingham.

It blamed a surge in cheap Chinese imports and "increasing price sensitivity" in Britain, which made it "difficult to compete effectively and profitably against imported finished bicycles".

About 100 jobs are expected to remain associated with bicycle design, distribution and procurement from overseas.

Raleigh was founded in 1887 in Raleigh Street in Nottingham.

Sad day for the British bicycle indrustry, and a warning to other western home-producers?
re: End of an age for Raleighnetso
Mar 15, 2002 4:55 AM
I started riding Raleigh bicycles in the 1970's. I paid about $300 for my first new bike. I ended up with a Raleigh Pro, 221/2". It was a great bike. My wife rode a Raleigh prestige until just a year ago. Hate to see them go!
when I was a kid ...bianchi
Mar 15, 2002 5:07 AM
Back in the 60s, a Raleigh -- with a Brooks saddle, of course -- was about the best you could do on a bicycle. My best friend had a 3-speed Sturmy Archer Raleigh that was stolen, which was a sad day for him. I had a red 1-speed Schwinn with big tires, not too different from the one Humma Hah still rides. Wish I still had that bike. Sounds like Raleigh is going the way of Schwinn. Too bad.
Carlton factoryMike-Wisc
Mar 15, 2002 7:00 AM
Raleigh had the Carlton factory. Schwinn had the Waterford factory. Schwinn divested, purged, sold off, and I don't know where it is today except that the local Schwinn shop is now closed. Waterford seems to be doing fine and well with their Waterford and Gunner lines, as well as any other logo's they build under.

Does anyone know if the Carlton factory in England is still active? I had a Raleigh Competition Carlton built in the late 1970's, finally parted with it last year since I hadn't been on it for several years. Nice bike, class and style, handled well.

Maybe Waterford and Carlton should join forces. Lots of good frame building knowledge, seems a waste to let it die in England.
Moral of the StoryUncle Tim
Mar 15, 2002 7:11 AM
Buying Chinese bikes online is a good thing, isnt it?
Moral of the StoryMike-Wisc
Mar 15, 2002 8:39 AM
No, the food is cold by the time they ship it to you. :)
(sorry, I couldn't resist.)
re: End of an age for RaleighElefantino
Mar 15, 2002 7:43 AM
Bought myself a Raleigh with my McDonald's money back in the early '70s. Reynolds 531 steel; it began a love affair that lasted until I sold out for Trek Carbon three years ago. I even remember where I bought it: Stanyan Street Cyclery in San Francisco. Loved that bike. Did my first Tour de Tahoe on it when I was 17. (It wasn't organized back then. Just a bunch of us who were crazy enough.)

I'm saddened.

Funny thing ismuncher
Mar 15, 2002 7:54 AM
Down in the bike rack where I work, there's a thing about the weight of a truck called a Raleigh Bedale - a womans "touring" thing. Brown and cream, 10sp (total) shifters on the tops near the stem, GT brake levers (that's what they were called here anyway - they hinge on the hoods and operate your levers from the tops).

It hasn't been ridden for ever, (2-tone) tyres all perished, 3" of dust etc etc.

Thing is, I wonder if it's gone up in value overnight? Used to think of it as a PITA that got in my way twice a day, now look at it in an altogether fonder light.

Could this spark a retro resurgence in 70s super-gravity Raleighs? Already happening with Choppers - don't know if they were called that in the States - thing with a small front wheel and a large rear, motorcycle type seat, and a T-shaped 3-speed gear change on the top tube like a car...

Meaningless nonsense, but there you go...
"choppers" were Schwinn Stingrays in the USTig
Mar 15, 2002 8:19 AM
My brother had a purple Stingray. There are reproductions of them being made now. An original in good shape is worth quite a bit.

My ex-wife's new husband worked at the Raleigh factory as a college student in the QA department. He has all kinds of cool stories about the place. They were experimenting with titanium and aluminum alloys back then, but never caught the train some other older bike companies did. Too bad. The competition is too aggressive for a company to relax at all.

My first mountain bike in '83 was a Raleigh. It had the bull moose handlebars and all. The early production MTB's were basically road bikes with flat bars, 26" wheels, and a little more tire clearance.
Chopper was a RaleighKerry
Mar 15, 2002 5:30 PM
While the term came from motorcycles, and Sting Rays got the nick name "choppers", Raleigh actually made a bike called the Chopper (like the Schwinn Orange Crate, etc.). Amazing what kind of useless crap you can remember!
My first "real" bike was a RaleighSpoke Wrench
Mar 15, 2002 8:02 AM
It was a Grand Prix made in Worksop. My wife bought it second hand for me in about 1970. She paid $85.00 which, at the time, was all the money we had in the world. Through the years it suffered the indignities of several of my makeovers. It once had a triple on the front and a straight block 14/18 five speed on the back. I'd sequence through 5 gears, make a big double shift and then do it again.

I finally gave the frame to a co-worker about 3 years ago. I think he was going to make a table out of it.
Still have mineHoward
Mar 15, 2002 9:32 AM
Not only do I still have mine - a 1979 Raleigh Super Course - but I rode it to work today (about 14 miles for the round trip)! The Reynolds 531 tubing still produces a comfortable ride after all these years.
The writing's been on the wall for a long timeterry b
Mar 15, 2002 9:36 AM
My first real 10 speed was a department store bike with Suntour. I'm presuming it was made in Japan since I'm not sure that China was producing frames then (1972.) Interestingly, a friend bought a 10 speed from one of the local ski shops - it was branded CCM (the Canadian hockey equipment maker) and it was the exact same bike as mine. Diffence was he paid a lot more. So, 30 years ago we were already seeing bikes coming from APAC making inroads.

More to the topic, I sold that bike to a college friend and replaced it with a used Raleigh Grand Prix - white with gold pinstriping. Traded for it with a Kodak pocket 110 camera that I had built from spare parts during a summer job repairing the little buggers. Rode it all through college and my twenties until I moved out here to the desert and lived on a dirt road. At that point my delightful ex-wife suggested it be moved to Goodwill so off it went. Wish I had it now, it might be a fun restoration project.
Spark a resurgence? It has already happened...Lone Gunman
Mar 15, 2002 12:48 PM
I joined board list called Classic Rendevouz sp? that is dedicated to the resurrection, preservation, and restoration of 60's through early 80's lightweight road bikes. Masi, Raleigh, Schwinn P's you name it, if it was old and light weight for those days, someone on that list has information on it. And these guys get together in their wool jerseys and do organized rides. Some of the board traffic is minutia like bushings on Mafac CP brakes (brass, plastic, or bronze) and why some stuff works better than others (kinda like here) but the prices for some of the old bikes easily rival todays offerings. Old Campy parts are just off the charts. You find something like that in a yard sale and want to take the time to strip and clean up the parts, you could make a few dollars selling off the parts or as a package.
re: End of an age for RaleighSteven
Mar 15, 2002 1:30 PM
Got my Raleigh Grand Sports around 1968. I still have it with all original equipment, including original bar tape.
Mar 15, 2002 3:01 PM
Raleigh was the first high grade 10 speed from England that I ever saw, so like losing the original Schwinn, this is sad to me. Think I will make a stronger effort to acquire a friend's Raleigh International (about a 1975 or so) with great looking fancy lugs. Get it refinished and add it to my English fleet, along with the Bob Jackson and Mercian.