Raleigh History

For 130 years, Raleigh has been making quality bicycles in Nottingham. Chances are that you rode a Raleigh when you were younger - and maybe you still do now.

Renowned for our iconic bikes such as the Burner, Grifter and Chopper, as well as our cutting-edge bikes like TI-Raleigh Tour de France winning 853 steel frames or our Militis carbon race machine. But today we’re much more than just a bike brand. We own several other bike and accessory brands, including Diamondback and RSP, and we distribute a whole lot more to cycle shops around the UK.

Although production of our bicycles no longer happens in Nottingham, our designs, wheel building and bicycle building still does and is a tradition that will continue.

With over 130 years’ experience in designing some of the most iconic bikes in cycling history as well us one of the biggest cycle accessory distribution arms in the United Kingdom, we are one of the largest bicycle companies in the United Kingdom.

The Bicycles

We design them, we play with them, we ride them, we race them and we commute on them. Our bicycles are a product of the passion that started in the1800s.

Bicycles mean more than just saving money, or being an accessory to the latest trend, or a status symbol to grab attention. We look at bicycles as an extension of ourselves, our history but most of all we consider the people who will be riding them.

The Raleigh bicycle of today is designed by local people for local people. A Raleigh bicycle in Holland is not the same as a Raleigh bicycle in South Africa; the climate is different, the geography is different, the economy is different, the culture is different, so why offer the same bicycle? Raleigh doesn’t; in fact we believe this is a strength of our business and embracing differences in cultures is one of the reasons Raleigh is a worldwide name in bicycles.

Raleigh’s bicycle ranges currently include models for road riding, fitness, mountain biking, leisure riding, commuting and for playing, models for children, models for big kids, for mums and dads and models for professional racers. From pre-school to peleton we like to say, or first bike to fastest.

We are also a market leader in the eBikes; the future of cycling. Our relationship with our global partners allows us share new technologies and innovations, ensuring we stay ahead of the competition and provide our customers with superior quality and the very latest technology advancements.

Raleigh Values

Right from the start the bicycles that were produced were high quality and innovative, but it became more and more evident that a Raleigh bicycle had to be seen as value for money. Value for money has never meant cheap in a Raleigh factory, it means what is says, getting the most for your money. We pride ourselves on our innovative designs, best in industry technology and quality products. Our wheels are the only bicycle wheels which run 100% Tru and each one is still individually checked by our wheel engineers based in our Nottingham distribution centre. All our bicycles go through an in-depth 32 point quality inspection checks by our trained technicians before they leave our distribution centre, to ensure all our customers receive a safe and quality product.

Team Sponorship

Raleigh has been involved with bicycle sport all its life. Sir Frank Bowden got involved in the world of racing very early and in 1892 at least 2,300 bicycle races were won on Raleighs. Raleigh has sponsored many riders over the years including A.A. Zimmerman, Reg Harris, Joop Zoetemelk, Nicole Cook and most recently Team Raleigh, to which it still sponsors.

Raleigh has also spent much time and effort sponsoring local riders and it is something that is very important to us.

Worldwide Partners

Raleigh has created strong relationships with the manufacturers it uses. This relationship is crucial in making sure all products are to Raleigh standards. Engineers and designers from Nottingham and Seattle regularly visit Raleigh’s manufacturing partners, performing inspections, helping with production development and other required testing.

The close relationships that have been built up over the years, combined with the sharing of knowledge are now producing some of the best bicycles Raleigh has ever produced.

Raleigh also has many license partners who hold the distribution rights for a set area, and often get involved with local development of Raleigh bicycles. These partners work closely with Raleigh, encompassing the essence of Raleigh and yet adding a valuable local touch to the brand.

Raleigh licensing operations around the world are now handled by the Accell Group.

Timeline:

  • 1887: Sir Frank Bowden purchased an interest in a small bicycle company on Raleigh Street, Nottingham.
Taking its name from the street, the 'Raleigh Bicycle Company' was formed in 1890.
  • 1897: A.A. 'Zimmy' Zimmerman becomes Raleigh's first world cycling champion.
A fun-loving, agreeable character, Zimmerman changed amateur racing from a sport for the wealthy to a sport with universal appeal.
  • 1902: Sturmey Archer became part of the Raleigh group. The Sturmey Archer three-speed gear hub, the world's first practical gearing system, was offered to the public in 1903.
It became a technological breakthrough.
  • 1932: Sir Harold Bowden retires from Raleigh after many years of strong leadership and devotion to the company and the world of cycling.
Production had reached a staggering 62,000 cycles a year.
  • 1943: Raleigh bought the Rudge-Whitworth cycle company which dated back to 1869 when Dan Rudge built a 'boneshaker' cycle.

Their solid tyres transferred the impact on the ground upwards.
  • 1952: The Duke of Edinburgh arrived in November 1952 to open a £1,250,000 extension to Raleigh's factory space.
It included a bridge between the old and new factories complete with overhead conveyor system.
  • 1960: Raleigh Industries merged with TI Group.
With this came control of the Phillips, Hercules, Norman and Sun brands, making Raleigh the world's largest producers of two wheeled personal transport.
  • 1970: Raleigh launches the Chopper!
The Chopper with its large back wheel and small front wheel, and its angular, aggressive-looking seat was an enormous success in Britain and America.
  • 1980: Joop Zoetemelk of Holland riding for TI Raleigh Creda wins the Tour De France.
He completed the race in 109 hours, 19 minutes and 14 seconds, beating countryman Hennie Kuiper and Raymond Martin of France
  • 1985: Raleigh introduced another innovation - the Vektar.
With 'Star Wars' styling and 'Knightrider' technology including a trip meter and FM radio with pre-sets it becomes a 'must-have' for the 80's cool kids.
  • 1999: Raleigh acquires the world famous Diamondback Bicycle Company.
With the help of Raleigh, a new range of high quality Diamondback bikes are released; Sabbath, Axis, DBR become instant hits.
  • 2001: The Raleigh Company’s worldwide are acquired, by the management, from The Derby Cycle Corporation.
A new site is chosen in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire which is to be used as the main distribution outlet.
  • 2004: 2004 sees the relaunch of the iconic Raleigh Chopper after 30 years since its original launch in 1970.
This classic 1970's bike once again hits the streets and is an instant sucess with children and adults alike!
  • 2007: Raleigh relaunches the infamous Burner BMX in the summer of 2007
The BMX is received with great interest by previous original owners of this classic bike as well as new generations too.
  • 2010: Raleigh re-enter the world of professional cycling with the launch of Team Raleigh. The international squad of riders pick up notable wins in the Welsh National Road Race Championship, British National Hill Climb Championship and the Tour DoonHame.
  • 2012: Raleigh celebrates its 125th birthday
  • 2017: Raleigh celebrates its 130th year by investing heavily in future proofing. This included a re-vamp of its distribution centre to make way for larger stock levels of eBikes and a state of the art wheel building machine which focuses on Fat bike wheels and Carbon wheels.

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