Raleigh Competition NOS 1980
The Raleigh Bicycle Company is a bicycle manufacturer based in Nottingham, England. Founded by Woodhead and Angois in 1885, who used Raleigh as their brand name, it is one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world. After being acquired by Frank Bowden, it became The Raleigh Cycle Company in December 1888. By 1913, it was the biggest bicycle manufacturing company in the world.
Raleigh used to make some high end bikes, like the Raleigh Record Ace (butted 531), Clubman, Lenton Sports, Lenton Tourist and the Lenton Grand Prix (all straight gauge 531) at their Nottingham factory. Around 1960 they were bought up by TI, which had already bought up most of the bicycle factories in England by this time; so TI closed the other plants (Hercules, Phillips, Norman, etc) and moved production of their brands to the Raleigh plant, which from then on concentrated on turning out huge numbers of hi-ten frames. They had no room for fooling around with fancy tubing anymore, so for several years in the early 60's Raleigh offered no bikes with 531 frames.
In 1982, club cyclists were often rather snobby about Raleighs, since they were standard bikes, not made to measure for the owner and produced in huge quantities. Raleigh had sought to address this image problem by acquiring Carlton, later bringing production of these hand made steeds into the main factory. The quality rubbed off on the mass-produced frames. More of them used 531, the lugwork became finer, the fluted tops to the seat stays were attached more carefully, Campag-like ends appeared. By 1982, the Nottingham-built Raleigh Record Ace was a very fine road bike, well-equipped with Campagnolo, Suntour, Mavic and Weinmann parts.
Let's get back to the Raleigh I own. As you can imagine, this is an Carlton made Raleigh bike. I've Bought the bike from the first owner, who was a former director of a sawmill. Bike hanged for more then 30 years in the sawmill and was practically never used. According to the son of the owner his father only has used the bike twice, during the first week that he bought the bike. The Bike is in a new condition, has only some very small flaws, as you can see in the pictures. The bike is completely original, decals look like they are new. Everything is original, handlebar tape, etc. The frame itself is made out of reynolds 531C tubes and has chromed fork and rearstays. The lugwork is a feast for your eyes, they are chromed and luglined. Furthermore is the bike equiped with the best Suntour had to offer in those days. A complete NOS Superbe groupset. A true masterpiece for every collector who once something special in his collection.