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Iconic figure No athlete did more for the company than Reg Harris, the brilliant Lancastrian who dominated track sprinting in the late 1940s and 1950s and whose bronze statue is in the Manchester Velodrome.
Decades before all leading brands closely aligned themselves to superstar athletes, Raleigh ensured it was synonymous with Harris in a career that included five world titles.
Introduction: In the 1960's Alex Moulton designed the original Small-Wheel bicycle.
It was revolutionary in it's design for the time with it's uni-sex step-through frame, tiny 16" wheels, and complete with front and rear suspension.
Bowden was so impressed by his purchase that he bought Ellis's shares and eventually took full control the company, renaming it after the Raleigh brand that the original owners had established. In an industry previously been dominated by small, artisan bike-builders, Bowden spotted the potential for growth and expanded so quickly that within 20 years Raleigh had become the biggest bike-building operation in the world, employing 850 employees and producing 56,000 bikes a year. Bowden was fortunate that his investment preceded two decades of innovations in bicycle design, most significantly the introduction of hub gears and cable brakes.
The name was based on its location: Raleigh Street. Adopting John Dunlop's pneumatic tyre also helped too, enabling Raleigh to broaden the bike's constituency from the Victorian gentleman to the working man.
eg 72-11 indicates a manufacture of November 1972, but the bicycle would be said to be a 1973 model.
The Headbadge has published the following information on the first letter of the Raleigh Serial numbers from 1974.They insisted on benevolent management and, as the decades passed, were careful always to celebrate the brand's rich heritage.Crucially, they also never allowed the quality of the product to decline, retaining all production within a Nottingham factory site that eventually ran to 40 acres.1962 - Moulton Bicycle Introduced1964 - Dawes Newpin (separating version) Produced this year only.1965 - Raleigh RSW-16 introduced (pictured right) - Dawes Kingpin introduced (Newpin name reused on another model)The "Twenty" Period: 1968 - Raleigh "Twenty" Introduced1969 - Folding "Twenty" sold in Canada (anecdotal) 1971 - Folding "Twenty" introduced 1974 - RSW discontinued - Moulton Mk.III (Manufactured by Raleigh) Discontinued1977 - 140,000 "Twentys" sold in UK - "Twenty" made in New Zealand (pictured right)1984 - Raleigh "Twenty" Discontinued Post-Twenty Period:1984 - H-frame "Twenty" replaced by a U-frame bicycle called the "Safari" 1987 - "Safari" renamed "Compact"1989 - Raleigh stops marketing adult-sized small-wheel and folding bicycles 1990's - Sheldon Brown publishes his web-page about the Raleigh Twenty2009 - Webmaster purchases a one-owner "Twenty" frame from Adelaide, South Australia - com established The first port of call for dating a "Twenty" is by looking at the date stamp on the rear hub. Sadly, quality of these stampings deteriorated during the 1970's.
However, Raleigh serial numbers are a hot topic of discussion on the internet, and new information is coming available all the time!