Raleigh is one of the world's oldest and best-known bike brands. Established in 1887 in Nottingham, England, we’re still based in our hometown. Discover our more than 130-year old tradition, our passion for cycling and our vision for the future.
Bangers n’ mash. Westminster Abbey. A good cuppa. There are a few things that perfectly sum up British spirit – and Raleigh is one of them. Whether it’s for crossing the finish line at the Tour de France or crossing the street to your best mate’s house, our bikes are a well-loved part of British history.
From Burners and Choppers to Grifters and Vektars, we’ve imagined and reimagined the world of cycling more times than we could possibly count. 130 years of dreaming, designing, building, riding. And, after all that time, we’ve come to the same conclusion we started with – we just bloody love bikes.
So, what has changed?
Raleigh is now part of the Accell Group, a European company that owns a wide range of bike brands throughout Europe and North America. By partnering with Accell Group, we work with brands all over the world to share the latest knowledge and tech, giving us insider info that helps us make our bikes the best they can be.
But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten our roots. That’s why every single Raleigh bike is still designed in our hometown of Nottingham – always and forever.
Raleigh was founded in 1887 by Sir Frank Bowden. Bowden had discovered a love for cycling after experiencing its health benefits first hand after a spell of bad health.
Despite the rising popularity of the car, the 1920s saw Raleigh become a world leader in bicycles, capable of producing 100,000 cycles annually as well as 250,000 hub gears, 15,000 motorcycles and 50,000 motorcycle gearboxes.
During the Second World War (1939-45), Raleigh concentrated on munitions work. Despite the war, Raleigh saw healthy sales and production rose to an impressive 5,400 cycles per week.
1948 saw Reg Harris win two silver medals in the Olympic games; one for individual and the other tandem sprints. The following year, Raleigh signed Harris as a professional rider. Reg's famous red Raleigh bike is still kept at Raleigh HQ today.
In 1969 the infamous Raleigh Chopper was introduced to the market and a whole new segment of the market was opened up, both in the UK and other developed markets; toy cycles. The Chopper sold an incredible 1.5 million units!
It was quickly apparent that a follow up to the popular Chopper was needed, and so the Raleigh Grifter was born. The Grifter was launched in 1976 and resembled a BMX bike, but had mudguards and a 3-speed hub.
In 1980 cyclist Joop Zoetemelk won the Tour De France riding for the TI-Raleigh-Creda team; TI Raleigh also won the team prize, setting a new record for the number of stage wins.
The ’80s saw the launch of the Burner series which sold over a million units across the range and became the must-have bike of the times. Alongside the launch of the Burner Raleigh invested heavily in a BMX team, with Craig Schofield and Andy Ruffell being the most famous team members.
In 1985 the Raleigh BMX team took part in the World Championships in Canada. It was a huge event with 14 nations, 680 riders and 28 classes. The team came 5th in the medal count and Schofield won the Superclass 20 inch title; his bike was the Raleigh Team Aero Pro Burner.
In the ’90s, Raleigh was the first UK cycle maker to mass-produce suspension mountain bikes and to market electrically assisted bicycles.
2004 saw the relaunch of the iconic Raleigh Chopper after 30 years since its original launch in 1970. The classic 1970's bike once again hits the streets and was an instant success with children and adults alike!
In 2010, Raleigh re-entered the world of professional cycling with the relaunch of Team Raleigh. The international squad of riders picked up notable wins in the Welsh National Road Race Championship, British National Hill Climb Championship and the Tour Doon Hame.
In 2012 Raleigh was purchased by Netherlands-based bicycle company Accell Group. Accell is one of the largest bicycle companies in Europe, with a portfolio of 18 bicycle brands including Lapierre, Haibike and Winora. Accell Group’s position as the market leader in electric bikes has been invaluable to Raleigh’s product development through shared technologies and developments.
In 2017 Raleigh celebrated its 130 year anniversary. The year brought a number of changes to the business including the appointment of new Managing Director Pippa Wibberley, the relaunch of Raleigh.co.uk and a change in business direction to focus strongly on customer needs.
In July 2017, Raleigh launched the 35th Anniversary Aero Pro Burner with great success. Over 7,000 Burner fans pre-registered for the chance to get their hands on one of the 350 individually numbered bikes. A key part of the project’s success was in the replica’s integrity to the original bike, including carefully matched components and the fact that the bikes were manufactured in the original TANGE factory.
In 2018 Raleigh launched Pedalfest; a cycling festival promoting family fun and aiming to give people the opportunity to try out electric bikes from Raleigh and partner brands. The unlimited test rides are extremely popular with over 900 taking place over the weekend.
Our Future… The increased collaboration and knowledge sharing between the group brands, particularly in electric bikes, means you’ll be sure to see many exciting things from Raleigh over the coming years. The future is bright for this ever-changing bicycle company!