Enjoying the ride for more than a century.
Back in the late 1880's, co-founder of the Raleigh Bicycle Company, Frank Bowden wanted everyone to find the simple happiness that came with riding a bike. He made good on that wish by transforming a small shop on Raleigh Street in Nottingham, England into the largest bicycle manufacturer on the planet.
Raleigh bikes are everywhere. At the Tour de France, ridden by 1980 winner Joop Zoetemelk. In the Kevin Bacon, bike messenger film Quicksilver. And these days, alongside the championship Raleigh-Clement racing team. Not to mention countless trails, roads, bike racks and finish lines.
It's been over 125 years and Raleigh continues to show riders how much fun cycling can be. From the Roker Comp to the Urban Cross collection, Raleigh knows what it takes to enjoy the ride.
Richard Morriss Woodhead and Paul Eugene Louis Angois begun building bicycles in a small workshop on Raleigh Street, Nottingham
William Ellis joined Woodhead and Angois as the first principal financial investor. Thanks to the investment, the bicycle shop expanded around the corner onto Russell Street
Sir Frank Bowden, a recent convert to cycling, first saw a Raleigh bicycle in a shop window in Queen Victoria Street, London. Bowden purchases the Woodhead/Angois/Ellis bicycle shop on Raleigh Street and renames it the Raleigh Cycle Company. There are about a dozen employees and production is about three bicycles a week.
Raleigh has the world’s largest bicycle factory, occupying 7 ½ acres, employing 850 and producing 30,000 units per year
A.A. ‘Zimmy’ Zimmerman becomes Raleigh’s first world cycling champion. A fun-loving character, Zimmerman changed amateur racing from a sport for the wealthy to a sport with universal appeal
Raleigh started to build motorcycles
Raleigh comes known for ‘The All-Steel Bicycle’
Raleigh buys Sturmey-Archer. 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
Raleigh introduced the Raleighette, a belt-driven three-wheel motorcycle with the driver in the back and a wicker seat for the passenger between the two front wheels, production only lasted until 1908.
Over 50,000 cycles produced
founder of Raleigh Bicycles, Sir Frank Bowden dies
Factory is increased to 20 acres
Sir Harold Bowden, son of Sir Frank Bowden, and chairman/chief executive of Raleigh Bicycle Company retires after mean years of strong leadership and devotion to the company and the world of cycling. Production had reached a staggering 62,000 bicycles a year
After World War II, Raleigh became known for its lightweight sports roadster bicycles, often using Sturmey-Archer three and five-speed transmissions. These cycles were considerably lighter and quicker than either the old heavy English utility roadster or the American cruiser bikes. Raleigh accounted for 95% of the bicycles imported into the United States.
Factory increases to 28 acres and has over 5,000 employees
The Duke of Edinburgh arrived in November 1952 to open an extension to Raleigh’s factory space which is now 40 acres with 7,000 employees. It included a bridge between the old and new factories complete with overhead conveyor system
Raleigh Industries merged with TI (Tube Investments) Group, forming TI Raleigh. With this came control of the Phillips, Hercules, Norman and Sun brands, making Raleigh the world’s largest producers of two wheeled personal transport
Raleigh UK launches the Chopper. In the late 1960s Schwinn and other US cycle makers had discovered the grassroots Californian trend towards high-rise cycles for teens and were capitalizing on it. Responding to this, the Raleigh Chopper was first available for sale in North America as a children's bicycle. The Chopper featured a 3-speed Sturmey-Archer gear hub, shifted using a top-tube mounted gear lever reminiscent of the early Harley-Davidson. Other differences were the unusual frame, long padded seat with backrest, sprung suspension at the back, high-rise handlebars, and differently sized front (16") and rear (20") wheels. It was too expensive and too late for the North American market but the following year it was released in the UK where it was hugely successful.
In the USA the demand for lightweight ten-speed cycles increased. Raleigh Record and Grand Prix models were sold in massive numbers
Joop Zoetemelk of Hollard riding for TI Raleigh Creda wins the Tour de France
Riding Raleigh-badged bicycles, Team USA scored several impressive victories at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Raleigh also supplied bicycles to the French Système U team in the late 1980s where Laurent Fignon lost the 1989 Tour de France to Greg LeMond by 8 seconds
Raleigh USA creates Raleigh-Clement cyclocross and cross country race team
Raleigh celebrates 125th birthday
The Raleigh UK team received high profile wins in the Tour de Normandie, Tour of the Reservoir and Tour Series Rounds 1 and 2.
Raleigh-Clement rider Caroline Mani wins French nationals and takes silver at the Cyclocross World Championships in Belgium