Classic, but with a few tweaks. You don’t mess with perfection - that’s why the new Raleigh Chopper is as close to the original MK2 as possible today.
We’re relaunching one of the most iconic bikes of all time: the Raleigh Chopper. Back in all its original glory, this limited-edition 2023 edition is almost an exact replica of the old-school Chopper MK2 – from the U-shaped handlebars down to the chunky rear wheel.
Through a process of reverse engineering, consulting archived technical drawings and gathering insights from lifelong Chopper fans, we’ve worked hard to create a Chopper that’s as technically similar as possible to the original bike – and as wonderfully iconic. But, like most rereleases, there had to be a couple of small tweaks to make sure it fits modern safety standards.
So, for all you diehard fans out there, here’s a complete breakdown of the new Raleigh Chopper – and how it lines up with the original.
What's the same?
First off, let’s take a look at all the elements that replicate the original MK2 Chopper design.
For the bike’s frame, we used original measurements to make sure the geometry of the tubing is as close as possible to the OG bike. The same goes for the pedals, mudguards and chainguard, all of which were designed using the original technical drawings to create exact replicas of the original parts.
Those iconic U-shaped handlebars – one of the defining features of the Chopper – haven’t gone anywhere either. Thanks to our studies of the old Chopper (along with outside counsel from some expert fans), these updated handlebars are a close match to the original, with handlebar grips and brake levers that are close to replicas.
Another iconic feature of the Chopper is its wheels – particularly that mullet setup. And that’s exactly the same design you’ll find here. The tyres are based on the mould used in the original Chopper production, and the rims are still that classic chrome-plated steel. To make sure we matched the original, we created a bespoke design for the spoke protector, and the rear hub is a modern-day equivalent of the original Sturmey-Archer.
Other replicated elements include the light bracket (which can fit one original light), the seat strap, the R nuts and the kickstand.
As for finishing touches, the reissued Chopper comes in Infra Red and Ultra Violet – the same iconic colourways that featured in the original MK2 launch. We’re also using the same numbering logic for the serial numbers – so they’ll fit in right alongside the original models.
It’s been over half a century since the launch of that very first Chopper – and, naturally, things have changed a bit since then. Manufacturing processes are better, and safety standards are higher. Which means that, for a classic like the Chopper, we’ve had to make a few small tweaks to fit modern standards.
Luckily, by following the original technical drawings, we were able to make sure these changes stayed true to the classic design.
Let’s start with the frame. Although the geometry is the same, the welding technique is slightly different due to modern assembly processes, and tig welding has been used on some of the joins to make the bike stronger. The dropouts and cleats are also slightly thicker to pass modern testing standards.
There’s a couple of other components that needed to be thicker to pass today’s standards, including the welded stem and the fork tubing. The rear carrier has also been strengthened to meet these rules.
Although every part of the bike has been expertly matched to the original, some of these elements are slightly different to improve rider safety. The rear reflector, for example, matches the size and pattern of the original, but doesn't contain any metal. Similarly, we’ve fitted the bike with modern brakes, but replicated the classic design (so you can’t see a difference). The chainset now features a square taper bottom bracket instead of a cotter pin bottom bracket, and the headbadge is no longer riveted to the frame. The gear shifter has a slightly altered internal mechanism, while still retaining the original function.
The most noticeable change is to the bike’s sissy bar. To meet modern safety standards, which sets out a maximum height for sissy bars and saddles, both the bar and saddle are slightly lower than on the original bike.
Explore the Raleigh Chopper aftermarket
Got an old Chopper knocking around in your garage? Well, we’ve got good news for you. Along with the re-released Raleigh Chopper, we’re also launching a whole aftermarket of Chopper parts!
Designed to be compatible with both the 2023 Raleigh Chopper and all the OG models, these spare parts give you the chance to refurb any old components, or customise the updated Chopper to your specifications. All the Chopper parts will be available to shop through our website, ready for you to customise and tweak to your heart’s content.
Here’s a list of everything that’ll be available on the Raleigh Chopper aftermarket:
Bar and stem
Front and rear mudguards