Dating raleigh bicycles

In October 1960, a licensing agreement was drawn up allowing Raleigh to make the new, small-wheeled, unisex, dual-suspension Moulton bicycle.

Production was scheduled to commence in November 1961 but in September, Raleigh imposed a moratorium: Leslie Roberts, Raleigh’s incoming managing director, did not believe the Moulton could yield a reasonable profit.

Here, in a constantly updated version of a paper written for the 11th International Cycle History Conference held at Osaka in August 2000, TONY HADLAND catalogues the ups and downs for Britain's best known bicycle manufacturer (latterly an assembler, now to be an importer only) Raleigh UK, once the world’s biggest manufacturer of cycles, recently stopped volume production of cycle frames.

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This includes sales trends, product management, the treatment of high-end products and the transfer of ownership from Tube Investments to Derby International.

Thereafter there are sections on marketing and production facilities.

To provide context, a brief historical background is provided.

There then follows a detailed review of products presented in broadly chronological order.

In spring 1960 Raleigh, having stopped making quality lightweight cycles at Nottingham, bought Carlton Cycles, a respected hand-built racing cycle specialist company based nearby at Worksop.

Raleigh urgently needed to increase volume sales to the man and woman in the street.Alex Moulton therefore built his own factory and started delivering Moultons to the trade in March 1963.The new machine was an immediate success, and most production had to be farmed out to Fisher & Ludlow, a subsidiary of the British Motor Corporation.This led Raleigh in 1958 to resume moped production and later to launch a motor scooter.More significantly, during this period Raleigh acquired two major rival groups: Triumph and Three Spires in 1954, and BSA (including New Hudson and Sunbeam) in 1957.Raleigh itself was then taken over by Tube Investments (TI), whose British Cycle Corporation owned Phillips, Hercules, Norman and Sun.

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