The Super Tuff Burner captured the hearts of children, teenagers and BMX enthusiasts in 1983.
The iconic MK1 Raleigh Super Tuff Burner is once more setting pulses racing and, as the last of our 35th Anniversary models are about to sell out, we thought we'd offer up a sneak peek into the manufacturing and development process at Raleigh.
The making of the Burner is impressive. The highly skilled workers at our assembly factory have lovingly crafted each frame to the highest standard to ensure that the riders of 2019 can relive their 1983 nostalgia to the max.
To match the original 1983 Super Tuff Burner as closely as possible, we have designed the re-imagined Burner following the original frame design using today's tubing sizes. The frame geometry has been updated to accommodate the original Burner lovers who are now in their mid-40’s, with more room up front to reduce knee banging on the handlebars. The 1983 original has been reverse engineered in house and a 3D model produced.
Virtual testing is carried out using FEA (finite element analysis). Various forces are applied to the model in different areas to ensure the frame can withstand real world use. Once the samples are produced, the forces are verified with physical testing to international safety standards.
Once the design is approved, manufacturing drawings are produced for the factory to follow.
Colour and decals are applied to a 3D render. This allows the decals to be accurately sized and gives a first glimpse of the final product.
The main structure of the bike has been developed with pin point accuracy.
The tubing is cut & mitred to the closest degree of precision, so every joint can fit together with seamless ease before being TIG welded together. TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding is a process which uses a tungsten electrode to produce the weld to fuse two metals directly together.
The weld beads are objects of precision themselves and a good weld ultimately comes down to professional craftsmanship and experienced welding engineers.
Throughout the process, everything is welded by hand to create a handmade piece of precision engineering. Each piece of the bike is treated with care and quality checked as the work is carried out. At this stage, the Super Tuff Burner components are beginning to gather momentum and we can begin to visualise the finished product.
After all pieces of the frame tubing have been welded together, they are moved to the alignment table for quality checks. The alignment process ensures that the frame is straight and true, meaning the bike will ride perfectly.
The fork assembly is also then welded by hand and follows a similar process to the frame. Accuracy and quality are the key considerations throughout the process. The forks are finished on the alignment table to ensure the wheel fits in perfectly straight and both fork blades are parallel.
Once the frame and forks have left the welding department, they move through to chrome plating. Each tube must be polished and smoothed before the process can start. Strong preparation ensures a high-quality end result and a flawless finish. The level of chrome plating used is the same ‘Grade A’ finish used on the AERO PRO Burner, a 2018 re-make. We love our special re-launches and work tirelessly to ensure the end result is nothing less than perfect.
After the frames have been chrome plated, they are chemically cleaned in preparation for their gold ‘Super Chrome’ finish. The 1980’s Super Tuff Burner ‘Super Chrome’ was an epoxy paint, whereas todays finish is a more modern water based translucent lacquer. There are two coats of the Gold Super Chrome finish applied before a further two coats of clear lacquer are applied to seal and protect the flawless finish.
After the paint has been applied, the bikes are then cured in an oven. Once out of the oven, the frames and forks are then ready to move through to the decal application department. Each frame decal is applied with absolute accuracy to the same location on every bike. Each work station shows the measurements and positioning on an overhead screen to ensure consistency.
The artwork for the decals has been replicated from an original 1980’s Super Tuff Burner set kindly loaned to us. We recreated the design using today's digital software.
Raleigh bikes from the 1980’s can be easily identified by their frame numbering system. This system allows you to find out when and where the bike was produced. To make a true Super Tuff Burner re-edition, we have replicated this for 2019.
The system works as follows:
T = Taiwan
N = October
19 = 2019
Followed by a 4-digit number, unique to each bike.
As all elements begin to come together, the team can start to assemble the bike. The manufacturing process of the bike is similar to creating and completing a puzzle. Each component must be developed with precision to ensure an accurate fit and every piece needs to form a cohesive and flawless end product.
Now that all the components are ready, assembly can begin. This is the really exciting part of the process because this is when you can really start to see the Burner coming to life. Each bike is hand assembled along a moving track, with individual work stations handling various parts. The team of highly skilled craftsman work in sync with pin-point accuracy and incredible efficiency to assemble top quality finished Burners.
As with the previous Team Aero Pro and Aero Pro Burner release bikes, they are double boxed for added protection. The inner carton features a bonus special limited-edition colour print design, a must-have for all Super Tuff Burner collectors and enthusiasts.
The finished Burner in all its glory.
The process is fascinating, and we have loved seeing it come to life first hand. The team who enable the Burner vision to become a reality are highly skilled and passionate about what they do and we’re very impressed with the finished product. We love to see the Burners in action.
Were you one of the original trendsetters? Can you remember the overwhelming excitement during your first ride? Or the looks you got from your friends when you rocked up on the coolest BMX around?
Whether you’re 14 or 40, the Super Tuff Burner is relying on you to answer the call. Take on the adventure. Throw caution to the wind. And most importantly, enjoy the ride.
The Super Tuff Burner was released as a limited edition in 2019 and is no longer available to purchase.