The Raleigh Heritage Timeline


  1800's 
  RALEIGH CHAMPION OF THE WORLD

RALEIGH CHAMPION OF THE WORLD

Raleigh was founded in 1887 and its early commercial success was based on quality machines raced by international cycling champions. By 1892 Raleigh led the world in bicycle sport success winning over 2,300 prizes worldwide. A. A. Zimmerman was the first of a long line of Raleigh world champions.

  • Sir Frank Bowden bought an interest in a small bicycle company on Raleigh Street in 1887
  • In 1890 The Raleigh Bicycle Company was formed and in 1896 what was then the largest cycle factory in the world was built on Faraday Road. This was demolished in 1989.
1900 - 1920's
  A BRITISH MASTERPIECE

A BRITISH MASTERPIECE

This picture formed the front cover of a pre first world war cycle catalogue and uses a military theme to emphasise the "All Steel Bicycle" quality image in association with a steel warship. (Raleigh was claimed to be the only bicycle that was all steel because the fork crown and bottom bracket were formed from steel not cast iron.)

  • In 1902 Raleigh bought the rights to a 3 speed hub gear invented by Henry Sturmey and James Acher. Sturmey Archer gears have been fitted to Raleigh bicycles ever since.
  • Frank Bowden had a good commercial mind and recognised the advantages of having his company products associated with cycle champions. He signed up most of the world champions of the day. Raleigh have continued this association with sporting excellence with an endless list of victors including 27 world champions, 2 Gold Olympic Medals and overall Tour de France winner. Currently the Raleigh Team is leading the British Mountain Bike scene with four British Champions in the last 4 years.
1920 - 1930's
  RALEIGH GIRL

RALEIGH GIRL

This picture was used on the front of the Raleigh 1922 catalogue and also as a poster. The image was intended to convey the suitability of cycling for the 'modern' woman.

  WAVING TO A PLANE

WAVING TO A PLANE

This was a poster developed in the early 20's illustrating the freedom that cycling could bring to the 'modern woman' and associates the Raleigh "All Steel Bicycle" theme with a steel plane.

1930 - 1940's
  KEY TO THE HIGHWAY

KEY TO THE HIGHWAY

This poster from the early 30's continues the quality theme of the "All Steel Bicycle" by associating the Raleigh bike with a quality steel key.

  RALEIGH FOR SPORTSMEN

RALEIGH FOR SPORTSMEN

This poster from the late 30's links cycling and Raleigh with other types of upmarket sporting activity like cricket and tennis.

1940 - 1950's
 
 
  • During the Second World War the factory was turned over to munitions but in the 1940's and 50's Raleigh expanded rapidly and acquired the Rudge, Triumph, BSA and Carlton Brand names.
1950 - 1960's
  CYCLES IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

CYCLES IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

This poster from the early 50's shows traditional roadster models and also the new Raleigh Lenton Sports, drop handlebar models and promotes the fact that Credit or 'Easy Terms' were available. (Raleigh Gradual Payments was Raleigh's own finance company.)

  RALEIGH ON THE MAGIC CARPET

RALEIGH ON THE MAGIC CARPET

This illustration is from the front of the 1958 Raleigh cycle catalogue and shows modern lighter weight bikes called Sports Light Roadsters or SLR's for short. It was the new 'lightness' which gave the magic carpet effect.

  • In 1952 the Duke of Edinburgh opened the 10 acre factory which has just been modernised. In these post war years Raleigh was manufacturing 5 million bikes a year of which 70% were exported to over 140 overseas markets.
1960 - 1970's
  THE WORLD RIDES A RALEIGH

THE WORLD RIDES A RALEIGH

This poster was developed in the early 60's to promote the fact that Raleigh was selling over 4 million bicycles a year in over 10 countries worldwide.

  THE RALEIGH LION POSTER

THE RALEIGH LION POSTER

This poster is of a 60's version of Raleigh's longest running campaign in Africa - which started just after the Second World War. The series of posters chart developing prosperity in Africa as original posters showed the rider in just shorts, but over the years he gained long trousers, a smart long sleeved shirt and finally a gold wrist watch!

  • In 1960 Raleigh was merged with TI (Tube Investments) and acquired the Hercules, Philips, Norman and Sun brands.
  • During the 60's the increasing use of cars meant that the use of commuting roadster bikes declined and Raleigh began to design and produce more innovative leisure bikes for adults, like the RSW 16 small wheel model and exciting childrens' bicycles like the Chopper, Bomber, Vektar and Burner during the 70's and early 80's.
1980 - 1990's
 
  • Despite all the developments and innovations, lack of investment and poor management by TI saw Raleigh slip into losses in the early 80's.
  • Raleigh was sold to a private company "Derby" in 1987 who immediately began a programme of investment and regeneration which still continues. Raleigh has been profitable ever since the sale.
1990 - 2000's
   
  • Raleigh currently produces just under 1 million bikes per year for people from 2 to 92. Mountain bikes are currently the most popular style and over 3 million have been produced to date.