Showing posts with label Raleigh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raleigh. Show all posts

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Raleigh Superbe

The 2016 Raleigh Superbe.  Courtesy: Raleigh USA

The 2016 Raleigh Superbe is a 7-speed that comes with fenders, a chainguard, and a rear rack and has an MSRP of $450.

Last we checked, the Raleigh brand was owned by a Dutch conglomerate after being sold and resold several times.  So it's not the same company that was founded in Nottingham, England in 1887 and once dominated the bicycle industry in terms of quality and performance.  The old Raleighs, like our friend old Binnie, have held up to the test of time.  If you're feeling nostalgic, you should check out this promotional film made at the Nottingham factory.

Nevertheless, the Raleigh brand rides on, and the names of the most famous old Raleigh models are being recycled: first, with the Clubman model and now Superbe.

According to the late, great Sheldon Brown, the Raleigh Superbe model "was always the super-deluxe version of [Raleigh's] top-of-the-line bike."  Sheldon Brown's Superbe looked like this:

Sheldon Brown's 1954 Raleigh Superbe. Courtesy:

The 2016 Superbe is a poor imitation of the real thing.  That sounds harsh, but compare the 2016 model with Sheldon's 1954 model:

The 1954 model came with a dynohub light system.  The 2016 model does not include lights.

The 1954 model had an internal gear hub, protecting those gears from rainy English weather.  The 2016 model comes with a plastic derailer.

The 1954 model had a full chaincase, shielding the chain from moisture and the rider's pants from the drivetrain.  The 2016 model has a chainguard.

The 1954 model came standard with a leather Brooks B-66 sprung saddle. The 2016 model has a synthetic sprung saddle.

The 1954 model came with a pump and pump holder.  The 2016 model comes with neither.

The 2016 Superbe is a useful, functional bike.  It's just not superb, like the Superbe of yore.

2016 Specs:

Frame MaterialSteel
Bike Wheel Size700c
FrameRaleigh Classic Steel, Twin Tube Low Step-thru
ForkSteel 1" Threaded w/ Brake Bosses
CranksForged Alloy, 170mm w/ 42t Heron Chain Ring
Bottom BracketCartridge Steel w/ Oversize Bearings, Chromoly Spindle
Rear DerailleurShimano Tourney 7spd
ShifterShimano 7spd Revo Shifter
Brake LeversPromax Alloy
BrakesPromax Alloy V Brake, Silver
CogsetShimano Tourney 7spd 14-28
RimsWeinmann 700c Alloy 36h
TiresKenda 700x35 Skin Side Wall
PedalsVP Classic Steel Cage
HandlebarAlloy Silver 640 Width 60mm Sweep
StemSilver Anodized 1" Quill
SeatpostAlloy Micro Adjust 25.4x300mm
SeatRaleigh Comfort Saddle w/ Springs
HeadsetSilver, 1" Threaded
Front Hub36h Nutted
Rear Hub36h Nutted,
Spokes14g Zinc Plated Steel
GripsVelo Black Cork
ExtrasRack w/ bungee cords, Metal Fenders, Silver Kick Stand

Monday, November 25, 2013

#8 Peter's Repurposed Bikes

Today we return to hearing about readers' bikes with an entry from Peter, who has mastered the art of the repurposed bike (aka "RUB"):

Great blog- I'm happy to see people glorifying repurposed bikes and parts. Like Angus said, there are many bicycles already in existence which, with a little attention and modification, are better suited to many riders' and potential riders' needs and budgets than the majority of new bikes for sale in bike shops and department stores. The problem is simply that people are unwilling or unable to make the necessary adjustments, despite the beautiful simplicity of the bicycle and the many resources available. 

I've only bought one new bike- the rest of mine are salvaged and cobbled together to my liking.

My Schwinn World Sport has more miles on it than any bike I've owned. The 4130 frame is in great shape; I sanded off all the surface rust when I acquired the frame and sprayed it with a two-part hardening clear coat paint. I fitted the frame with Mavic Cosmos wheels and jumbled together old Shimano 105, 600, and ultegra parts to make up the drivetrain. All parts on the bike, aside from the brake calipers, cassette, and 6700 bar-ends, were bought used at the Iowa City Bike Library. Here's the result:

All photos credit Peter Szabo

I've commuted on this bike since 2009, ridden it on many miles of rural Iowa gravel roads, and taken it on its share of centuries. 

This past spring, I finished building up what has been vying for the top spot on my list of favorite bikes I own. (The list changes frequently and there are many ties): 

My Trek 520 has been my new bike of choice for long rides, gravel, trail, and the occasional commute. It doesn't feel as fast as the World Sport does, but on calm days I manage an average speed of around 18 mph on ~50 mile rides. Here it is in Des Moines:

This bike has been wonderful so far, and there is much I look forward to adding to it.

A year ago as I was preparing to move out of my apartment, I looked at my spare parts and thought that “there must be at least a full bike’s worth of parts there.”

I bought the clean white housing and the rear brake cable, but nearly everything else was just waiting to be put to use. I rode it a handful of times this past summer, but not enough to warrant keeping it around. I will probably sell it in the spring. 

Last week, I found a Univega frame at Working Bikes. You can guess why I've decided to sell the Raleigh. I built the Univega up as a beater cyclocross bike, but it is still awaiting a wheelset. It's pictured with the wheels from the 520. I haven't decided if I will race this season, but if I do, all I'll need is a set of appropriate tires:

The build was fun for a few reasons.  The trickiest part was putting together cantilever brakes that would reach from the 26” wheel positioned posts to the rims of the 700c wheels. Here’s how it turned out:

They were both finds in a spare parts drawer, and the springs needed to be replaced in order to suit the position of the arms.  The other wonky thing about this bike is the chain guide.  I wanted to make this bike a 1x9 because I didn’t want to buy a front derailleur, so this is how I’ve kept the chain on its ring so far:

It's parts from a reflector bracket, and so far the chain has not slipped from the front ring. I'll still be cautious while riding, but I've been pretty rigorous with it so far. 

 I'll wrap this up with the bike I'm working on currently. This project has been on the back burner for me for several months, partly because I haven't made up my mind exactly how I want it to end up. I've got a Trek Antelope frame that I'm converting into a three speed. I overhauled a nice Sturmey Archer in August:

Among a few other things, I can’t decide what color I want to paint the frame (or whether to paint it at all).  I’ve considered olive green with tan Big Bens and slate blue with gray cruiser tires, but right now the bike mostly still looks like that.  Feel free to offer advice!

These two are from the Schwinn in the field and the train:

The time I transported my ladder with my b.o.b. trailer and a skateboard:

The four mile trip went... without a hitch... :/

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Raleigh Tripper

2013 Raleigh Tripper. Courtesy Raleigh USA.
The Raleigh Tripper has an MSRP of $900 and is available at your local Raleigh dealer.

As a commenter recently pointed out,  Raleigh added the 2013 Tripper to its 2012 "Three's Company" cyclocross line-up of the Furley and Roper.  Here's hoping that in 2014 Raleigh offers a Snow in honor of Suzanne Somers' character Chrissy Snow or a Wood in tribute to Joyce DeWitt's character Janet Wood.

As with the Furley and Roper, the Tripper is all steel - in fact, it's available with a clear coat so you can really live the steel. The Tripper has a 3-speed IGH, disc brakes, and 700 x 32 tires. There are mounts for fenders and racks.

I'm personally not excited by the flat, straight handlebars, which they identify as the Avenir Short Drops.  It seems to be an attempt at an urban look, but I'd rather see some bars with curves so that there are more available hand positions.

The Tripper got some attention at the 2012 interbike, as reported by Cyclelicious and Bike Rumor.

2013 Raleigh Tripper Specs:
Sizes:  50cm XS, 53cm SM, 55cm SM/MD, 57cm MD/LG, 59cm LG 
Frame:  Seamless Butted Chromoly, Integrated Headtube w/PF30 
Fork: 4130 Chromoly Cross w/Disc Tabs 
Cranks: Shimano Alfine FC-S500 39t 
F.Derail: N/A 
R.Derail: N/A 
Shifter: Shimano Nexus Revo SL-3S41E 3sp 
Br.Levers: Tektro RL-570 
Brakes: Shimano BR-M375 w/SM-RT53 160mm Center Lock Disc 
Gear: Shimano 20t Internal Hub Cog 
Rims: Weinmann DP30 Double Wall 
Tires: Kenda K1083A Happy Medium 700cx32c 
Pedals: Road Pedals w/Clips and Straps 
Handlebar: Avenir 200 Series 31.8 Short Drop 
Stem: Avenir 200 Series, 3D Forged, 31.8 
Seatpost: Avenir 200 Series 27.2x350mm 
Seat: Avenir Classic Road 
Headset: FSA Integrated Cartridge Bearings 
Colors: Steel/Brown 
Chain: KMC Z99  
Hubset: (F) Shimano HB-RM35 32h w/Center Lock Disc Mounts (R) Shimano 3-Speed Nexus SG-3D55 w/Center Lock 32h  
Spokes: 14g Stainless MAC w/Alloy Nipples 
Grips: Avenir Single Moto 
Extras: Water Bottle Mounts, Fender and Rack Mounts, Cateye Reflector Set, Clear Coat, Owner’s Manual

Monday, July 30, 2012

Raleigh Clubman Mixte

2013 Raleigh Clubman Mixte. Credit: Raleigh USA
For 2013, Raleigh is offering its Clubman as a mixte.  At this point, the price is TBD (check with your local Raleigh dealer).

Back in 2008, when this site was just getting underway, Raleigh USA decided to recapture Raleigh's glory days by producing some steel models.  Every year since then, Raleigh has come out with a "new" steel model.  In 2010, it was the Clubman, a name that harkens back to the all-steel era of Raleigh.  (Peter Kohler has an article on the original Clubmans here.)

There are many vintage Raleigh Clubman mixtes still on the road, and in a quick internet search I found a few for sale.  The old Clubman mixtes were quality bikes, as demontrated by the fact that they're still around after 50 or 60 years.  Nevertheless, when Raleigh decided to reintroduce the Clubman, it did not offer it as a mixte.  That oversight will be corrected in 2013.

We talk a lot about step-through bikes, but the term "mixte" has a more technical meaning.  Here's how Sheldon Brown defined "mixte":

A style of lady's frame in which the "top tube" consists of a pair of small diameter tubes running more-or-less straight from the upper head lug, past the seat tube, and on to the rear fork ends. A mixte frame thus has 3 sets of rear stays, instead of the usual two. A variant on the mixte uses a single, full sized top tube running from the upper head tube to the seat tube, but retains the middle set of stays. A lady's type bike that lacks the middle pair of stays is not a mixte.
Mixte frames are stronger than conventional lady's frames, particularly in resisting the tendency of the seat tube to get pushed backward in the middle when ridden by a heavy rider.
In French, "mixte" is pronounced "MEExt", but normal U.S. bicycle industry pronunciation is "MIX-ty".
The 2013 Clubman MEExt has some nice retro stylings, such as a lugged fork, matching painted fenders, and a Brooks Swift saddle.  Given the retro-cool vibe I think Raleigh is going for, I'm a bit surprised that it comes with STI levers.  I would have gone with something more retro (what's wrong with downtube shifters?), but I'm sure that places me in the minority.  In any event, as I said before, you can still find vintage Clubman mixtes if that's what you're after.

Here are the full specs on the 2013 Clubman mixte:

Sizes: 50cm XS, 53cm SM, 55cm SM/MD, 57cm MD/LG , 59cm LG, 62cm XL 

Frame: Reynolds 520 Butted Chromoly Tubing 

Fork: 4130 Chromoly Lugged Road  

Cranks: Shimano Tiagra FC-4650 2pc 50/34t 

BB: Shimano Outboard Bearing 

F.Derail: Shimano Tiagra FD-4600 

R.Derail: Shimano Tiagra RD-4601 

Shifter: Shimano Tiagra ST-4600 10spd STI, Shimano SP41 Shift housing  

Br.Levers: Shimano Tiagra STI 

Brakes: Tektro R539 Dual Pivot Long Reach w/Cartridge Pads 

Gear: Shimano Tiagra CS-4600 10spd (12-30t)  

Rims: Weinmann TR18 Double Wall 

Tires: Vittoria Zaffiro 700x25c 

Pedals: Steel Clips w/Leather Straps 

Handlebar: Classic Aluminum Drop 26.0 

Stem: Alloy 3D Forged Ahead 26.0 

Seatpost: Alloy Micro Adjust 27.2x350mm 

Seat: Brooks Swift w/Chromoly Rails 

Headset: Ahead 1-1/8" w/Alloy Cup

Colors: Ivory
Chain: Shimano Tiagra CN-4601  

Hubset: (F) Shimano Tiagra HB-4600 QR 32h (R) Shimano Tiagra HB-4600 QR 32h Cassette   

Spokes: 14g Stainless MAC w/Alloy Nipples 

Grips: Gel Tape 

Extras: Fenders, Rack and Fender Mounts, Water Bottle Mounts, Cateye Reflector Set, Clear Coat, Owner's Manual  

Note: Specifications are Subject to Change

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Raleigh Roper and Furley

The 2012 Raleigh Roper.  Credit: Raleigh USA
The Raleigh Roper sells for $1,500 at Revolution Cycles.

Some people look at Raleigh's new-for-2012 offerings - the Roper and the Furley (what's up with the Three's Company references?) - and conclude that Raleigh is getting serious about cyclocross.  I look at them and see bikes for the rest of us.

They're steel, take wide tires, have fender and rack mounts, and disc brakes. The components are high quality - the Roper has FSA cranks and Shimano 105 derailers.  I love what Urban Velo had to say about the Roper: "The Roper is a bike that I'd expect to see from a much smaller operation than Raleigh; it is more similar to the bikes you see bike geeks build up for themselves from some obscure frame maker than that offered by a major manufacturer."

Ha!  Bike geeks... they're so weird.

Here are the Roper specs:

Sizes: 50cm XS, 53cm SM, 55cm SM/MD, 57cm MD/LG, 59cm LG

Frame: Seamless Butted Chromoly, Integrated Headtube w/BB30

Fork: 4130 Chromoly Cross w/Disc Tabs

Cranks:  FSA Gossamer Pro BB30 34/50t


F.Derail: Shimano 105

R.Derail: Shimano 105

Shifter: Shimano 105 10spd STI

Br.Levers: Shimano 105/Tektro RL721

Brakes: Shimano R505 Disc, 160mm Rotors

Gear: Shimano 105 (11-28t)

Rims:Weinmann DP30 Double Wall

Tires: Kenda K1083A Happy Medium 700cx32c

Pedals: Road Pedals w/Clips and Straps

Handlebar: Avenir 200 Series 31.8 Short Drop

Stem: Avenir 200 Series, 3D Forged, 31.8

Seatpost: Avenir 200 Series 27.2x350mm

Seat: Avenir Classic Road

Headset: FSA Integrated Cartridge Bearings

Colors: Charcoal

Chain: KMC X10

Hubset: (F) Joytech Alloy Disc QR 32h (R) Joytech Alloy Disc Cassette QR 32h

Spokes: 14g Stainless MAC w/Alloy Nipples

Grips: Gel Tape

Extras: Water Bottle Mounts, Fender and Rack Mounts, Cateye Reflector Set, Clear Coat, Owner’s Manual.

The 2012 Raleigh Furley. Credit: Raleigh USA

The Furley is a single-speed with a little different set-up, but same general idea.  It goes for $820 at Revolution Cycles.  Like the Roper, the Furley has fender and rack mounts and space for wide tires.  You know what a bike geek might do with this baby?  Swap the drops for mustache bars and add an 8-speed internal gear hub for a really cool all-arounder.

I'm guessing. Who knows what bike geeks are thinking? Weirdos.

Here's the (stock) specs for the Furley:

Sizes: 50cm XS, 53cm SM, 55cm SM/MD, 57cm MD/LG, 59cm LG

Frame: Seamless Butted Chromoly, Integrated Headtube w/BB30

Fork: 4130 Chromoly Cross w/Disc Tabs

Cranks: Shimano Alfine 39t

BB: FSA BB30 Eccentric w/Sealed Bearings

Br.Levers: Tektro RL-340/Tektro RL721

Brakes: Promax 720RA Disc, 160mm Rotors

Gear: 18t w/Single Speed Spacer Kit

Rims: Weinmann DP30 Double Wall

Tires: Kenda K1083A Happy Medium 700cx32c

Pedals: Road Pedals w/Clips and Straps

Handlebar: Avenir 200 Series 31.8 Short Drop

Stem: Avenir 200 Series, 3D Forged, 31.8

Seatpost: Avenir 200 Series 27.2x350mm

Seat: Avenir Classic Road

Headset: FSA Integrated Cartridge Bearings

Colors: Orange

Chain: KMC Z99

Hubset: (F) Joytech Alloy Disc QR 32h (R) Joytech Alloy Disc Cassette QR 32h

Spokes: 14g Stainless MAC w/Alloy Nipples

Grips: Gel Tape

Extras: Water Bottle Mounts, Fender and Rack Mounts, Cateye Reflector Set, Clear Coat, Owner’s Manual
If you own a Roper or Furley, please comment and let us know how you like it.  Bike geeks can comment, too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Advice: ISO New Bike After Last 2 Were Stolen

From the mailbox, another request for advice.  You can advise, too, in the comments.

Hey guys,

Quick story: I'm a student at American University in DC (looking at your blog it looks like you're in the area too). Last Summer I decided it was time to ditch my old Giant Mountain Bike that I'd had since I was 14 and get something better suited for the area. I didn't, and still don't really, know a lot about bikes but I'm a patient, thorough shopper and I looked all over the place. I went to Big Wheel Bikes in Georgetown and also the bigger store in Arlington. I went to that other Georgetown bike shop I don't remember the name of. I went to Hudson Trail in Tenleytown. I went to the Bike Rack on Q st. And I went to District Hardware on L st.

Even though I didn't know much about biking, I quickly figured out what I wanted. I wanted a chainguard, backrack, and fenders. And I needed it to be able to get up Mass Ave because AU is at the top of the hill that is DC. I almost bought a Breezer for $900 but ended up buying the Raleigh Detour 3.5 for $370 from District Hardware.

Raleigh Detour 3.5. Credit: Raleigh USA

I added the backrack and fenders and the guys at DH were even able to put on a chain guard on it despite it being a 21 speed. I didn't even know that was possible. That got it up to $575 which was still a great deal. So that was a pretty great bike.

It was stolen last night. The front tire was U-Locked to a bike rack and the frame cable locked to the U-lock and the whole set up was in the basement of my apartment building which is supposed to be locked all the time. Somebody got in somehow, cut the cable, stole somebody else's front tire and left me bike-less (as a side note, I had my old Giant stolen last Summer too from the same basement but at least I already had the new bike. Fool me once...).

So I need a new bike or CaBi [Capital Bikeshare] membership. Any recommendations?

I know I still want the backrack, chainguard, and fenders. I'd like a light for nighttime but can add that myself. I'm indifferent about handlebars but I like to stand up while biking up hills sometimes (I remember one bike I tried made that really awkward).

Also, since many of my friends do not have bikes of their own, what are your thoughts on passengers on the backrack? It seems pretty common in Europe and I'd love to be able to have a pretty lady along for a ride. But the backrack I had wouldn't have been solid enough. So if you can consider that in your recommendation it would be greatly appreciated. Of course, if it is stupid and dangerous just tell me.

Thanks in advance and keep up the good work on the blog,




My condolences on the theft of your bikes. It's especially a shame that you lost your new Raleigh Detour. Unfortunately, bike thefts always seem to be more prevalent around campuses. For that reason, I usually recommend beater bikes to college students.

However, I like your idea about getting a CaBi membership even better.

CaBi is still expanding. A map of bike stations is available on the CaBi website.

I don't see how you can go wrong. You won't have to worry about storage or theft. After you dock the bike at a CaBi station, it's no longer your problem. There is a CaBi station in Ward Circle. While you're riding around on your CaBi bike, you can think about what bike you'd like to invest in for the long term, including your post-college days.

As for your last question, about having passengers ride on your back rack, that one's easy. Absolutely not. Even the sturdiest racks available, which are made for loaded touring, only have a weight capacity of 75 lbs. (regular racks can hold about 50 lbs). So unless your lady friend is an elf, you don't want to carry her around on your rack. Use your new CaBi membership to rent her a bike so she ride along with you.

Best of luck,


p.s. - if you want more advice on your options, I can post this and you may get some helpful advice in the comments.



Thanks for the response. I would like to see if there is any more advice in the comments. Also, a quick update: it looks like I have about $1000 to spend and so far the bike I like best is actually the Raleigh Detour Deluxe. Kind of funny if I end up getting a better version of what I already had.


My advice remains the same.  You can leave your suggestions for Ben in the comments.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Raleigh Port Townsend

Ready to roll. Credit: Raleigh USA.
The Raleigh Port Townsend is currently selling for $880 at REI.  There are many things to like about the Port Townsend: its retro, butted steel tubing, fenders are included, front rack is included (it has braze-ons for a rear rack), 9-speed bar end shifters, and cantilever brakes.  Basically, it's Raleigh doing the types of things that made Raleigh a well-respected name in bikes.

Here are the Port Townsend specs:

Sizes: 50, 53, 55, 57, 59cm

Frame: Reynolds 520 Butted Chromoly Tubing

Fork: 4130 Chromoly Cross

Cranks: Shimano Sora 2pc 34/50t

BB: Shimano Outboard Bearing

F.Derail: Shimano Sora

R.Derail: Shimano Sora

Shifter: Shimano DuraAce 9spd Bar-End

Br.Levers: Tektro R200 Aero Road

Brakes: Shimano BR550 Canti

Gear: Shimano HG50 9spd (11-25t)

Rims: Weinmann TR18 Double Wall

Tires: Vittoria Randonneur Touring 700x35c

Pedals: Steel Clips w/Leather Straps

Handlebar: Classic Aluminum Drop 26.0

Stem: Custom Chromoly Single-Bolt 26.0

Seatpost: Alloy Micro Adjust 27.2x350mm

Seat: Avenir Classic Road

Headset: Ahead 1-1/8" w/Alloy Cup

Colors: Black

Spokes: 14g Stainless MAC w/Alloy Nipples

Grips: Gel Tape

Extras: Fenders, Front Rack, Rack and Fender Mounts, Water Bottle Mounts, Cateye Reflector Set, Clear Coat, Owner's Manual

There have been some early reviews by the Bicycling Times (reviewer Adam Newman took it out on the C and O trail) and at EcoVelo.  It has also shown up in the 2011 gear guides put out by Momentum Magazine and Outside Magazine.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ye Olde English 3-speeds

Meet Binnie. Courtesy: Mark.
Binnie is a 1930's Raleigh 3-speed that belongs to Mark in Charlottesville.

Most English 3-speeds were built with fenders and chaincases or chainguards, and an internal gear hub that can withstand the wet English weather.  They were built for transportation, and they were built to last. That's why so many of them are still around.

Nice touch - Binnie has a pump holder. Courtesy: Mark.

For more on English 3-speeds, check out Sheldon Brown's website, or better yet, listen to his September 25, 2005 podcast.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Raleigh Detour Deluxe 2011

Raleigh Detour Deluxe 2011
The Raleigh Detour Deluxe was featured here two years ago, but deserves a repeat look.

Totally redesigned for 2011, with a new frame and different components, the Raleigh Detour Deluxe is a big change from the other bikes that go by the Detour name. The Deluxe has a different frame, based on the frame of the Raleigh Alley Way, with an interesting integrated rear rack, and a tall headset and high handlebar position, which allows a partially upright riding position despite the threadless stem.

Raleigh also includes an Alfine Nexus 8 speed Shimano internal gear hub (Corrected based on spec of Alan's review bike) and the slick Alfine trigger shifter (supposedly much more precise than the usual twist-shifter), and a front generator hub. Paired with the midrange Shimano rollerbrakes (which look a little like disks due to large cooling fins, and are supposed to work better on long downhill grades or with heavy loads), these hubs mean the shifting and lighting systems are completely enclosed and integrated. Other nice touches include an eccentric bottom bracket, which allows chain tension to be adjusted with the replaceable vertical drop-outs, and internal routing of wires thru the frame and rack for the rear light.

And what's this? Could that be a "O-lock" on the rear wheel, which allows you to lock the wheel to the frame, or prevent ride-off theft for short stops? It is, and it's not a $10 Chinese lock, but a $50 Axa Defender.

Unfortunately, the aggressive-looking rear rack is too low to use as a platform or support for a trunk bag or saddlebag, and despite being designed for panniers, there is not attachment point for a lower hook or latch. Don't plan to replace it; the rear rack is welded on. Front rack eyelets on the fork ends, and braze-ons in the middle of the fork would make it easy to add a good front rack or basket, however.

Raleigh's contracted factory in East Asia is able to assemble this bike cheaply enough that it is listed for only $800 at REI. By comparison, the Breezer Uptown is an aluminum alloy bike made in Taiwan, but costs a couple hundred more for similar components. The Raleigh is made with classic chromoly steel, and has the pricier Alfine level components, compared to the Nexus parts on the Breezer.. If that's what you are in to, this bike will be hundreds less than the nearest competitors, and even less than assembling the same components on a vintage steel frame; the front and rear hub and shifter alone will set you back $500.


Frame:  Reynold 520 Butted Chromoly steel w/CNC Dropouts, w/Integrated Pannier Rack 
Fork:  4130 Chromoly steel, straight blades
Rims:  700C; Weinmann XC260 Double Wallalloy
Tires:  700x35c Kenda K1053 w/Kshield and Reflective Sides
Spokes:  14g Stainless Steel
Front hub: Dynamo hub
Rear hub:  Shimano Alfine Nexus 8spd (Corrected; the Alfine is only for disk or rim brakes; the Nexus works with roller brakes)
Shifter:  Shimano Alfine 8spd Trigger (Yes, the Alfine trigger shifter works with the Nexus hub)
Crankset:   Forged Aluminum 42t w/Alloy Guard
Bottom bracket:   Sealed Cartridge 
Rear cog:  20t
Pedals:  Wellgo M21, Alloy Body/Cage
Front & rear Brake:  Shimano Roller Brake, BR-IM50
Brake levers:  Tektro Comfort Alloy
Handlebar:  Alloy flat bar, 27 degree sweep
Stem:  Threadless, 2D Forged, 17 degree rise
Headset:  Ahead 1-1/8"
Grips:  Avenir Comfort
Seat post:  Alloy Micro Adjust 27.2x400mm 
Saddle:  Avenir City 100
Chainguard:  Partial, with chainring
Kickstand:  Single
Fenders:  Painted alloy
Rack/Basket:  Rear pannier rack welded to frame
Lights:  Basta Sprint Steady Front/Rear Riff Light w/ On/Off/Steady modes
Extras:  Axa Defender rear wheel lock ("O-lock")
Colors:  Silver
Sizes:  S 16", M 17.5", L 19.5"

The frame geometry is what you would expect from a "steel hybrid," as Raleigh calls it. The seat tube and head tube angles are fairly standard for this style bike, fitting with the "aggressive" look of the rack, frame, saddle and handlebars. But this is somewhat counteracted by the relatively high handlebar position, and a reasonably short top tube length, which allow a fairly upright riding position. And the 71 degree headtube, plus a small fork offset, mean the steering should be stable enough to ride "no hands."

Unfortunately, the shortest riders may not be satisfied with the small frame, and those over 6'6" will find even the "XL" frame to be too cramped. A smaller version with 26" wheels (perhaps with a step-thru frame?), and a larger "XXL" frame would be nice additions, but are uncommon in this price range.

Frame Geometry

Seat Tube Length 405mm445mm495mm
Standover Height760mm792mm826mm
Top Tube Length 580mm600mm620mm
Head Tube Length180mm200mm220mm
Head Angle717171
Seat Angle737373
Wheel Base1082mm1103mm1123mm
Chain Stay Length465mm465mm465mm
Fork Offset45mm45mm45mm
BB Drop80mm80mm80mm
Stem Length100mm100mm100mm
Handlebar Width700mm700mm700mm
Crank Length170mm175mm175mm
Seat Post Length400mm400mm400mm

Since this is a new bike, there are no outside reviews, yet. Hopefully it holds up well to real world use. If anyone has real-life photos or reviews, please let us know in the comments.

Update 12/12/10: Alan at Ecovelo has a bike on hand, and has photos and a mini-review. He will be putting up a full review in a month or two. He also confirms that the rear hub is a Nexus 8 speed, not a more pricy Alfine.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Raleigh Calispel i8 and Circa i8

We have mention Raleigh's bikes several times before, but these two models had previously escaped notice.

Raleigh USA sells two very similar bikes with 8 speed Shimano Nexus internal gear hubs. The Calispel i8 is marketed as a hybrid and has 700C (622 mm) wheels with moderately wide tires, while the Circa i8 is listed as a "comfort bike", with cushy 26" x 1.95" tires. Otherwise, the frame geometry, components and accessories are about the same, including an unfortunate lack of fenders, despite the inclusion of kickstands and ample chainguards.

But what's really worth mentioning on these bikes is the list price. Both are available for only $550 at REI and at local bike shops, about the lowest price for a bike with an 8-speed internal gear hub in the North American market. Considering that the hub alone is listed at $300 and generally costs over $200, these bikes are a steal, even after adding $50 to install a set of good-quality fenders.

Raleigh Calispel i8

Raleigh Calispel i8 (W) - Tan Metallic - 2011

The Calispel is the "hybrid", meaning 700c x 40 mm tires and a slightly sporty look to the aluminum frame.

Geometry is "relaxed", with a 70 degree headtube and 68 degree seattube, similar to those found on classic roadsters or "Dutch" bikes. Combined with a high headtube and swept-back handlebars, and reasonable bottom bracket height, this provides an upright seating position and the ability to put a foot down easily at traffic lights. The shallow headtube angle and low fork offset (40 mm) should make the steering very stable.


SIZES:  M:15, 17, 19 W:13, 15, 17
FRAME:    Atomic 13 Aluminum Hybrid, w/EASE Comfort Geometry
FORK:    Aluminum
CRANKS:    Forged Aluminum 36t Chainring
BB:    Sealed Cartridge
SHIFTER:    Shimano SL-8S20 Nexus Revo 8spd
BR.LEVERS:    Tektro
BRAKES:    Tektro V-Brake
REAR COG:  Shimano 20t
RIMS:    Weinmann XC260 Double Wall
TIRES:    Kenda K-192 w/Kshield 700x40c
PEDALS:    Avenir Comfort Platform
HANDLEBAR:    Alloy Comfort Easy Reach
STEM:    Alloy Quill
SEATPOST:    Alloy Micro Adjust Bootless Suspension 27.2x350mm
SEAT:    Avenir Deluxe Comfort
HEADSET:    Threaded 1-1/8"
COLORS:    Tan Metallic (W); Brown Metallic (M)
SPOKES:    14g Stainless Steel
GRIPS:    Avenir Comfort
EXTRAS:    Rack and Fender Mounts, Water Bottle Mounts

Raleigh Calispel i8 (M) - Brown Metallic - 2011

Raleigh Circa i8

Raleigh Circa i8 (W) - Metallic Tan - 2011

The Circa has a slightly more laid-back look, with wider Kenda K841A w/Kshield 26x1.95 (47 mm) tires on shorter 26" (559 mm) wheels. Otherwise, the geometry and components are nearly identical, and the head tube and seat tube angles are still 70 and 68 degrees, respectively.

For shorter riders or those commuting on rougher roads the Circa would be a better option, but for most medium to tall riders the medium-width 700c tires on the Calispel may be preferable. I also happen to prefer the styling of the Calispel frame, but with these two bikes you get a choice.

Raleigh Circa i8 (M) - Metallic Black

Don't forget to check out our previous posts on other Bikes for the Rest of Us by Raleigh

The Raleigh brand, like Schwinn in the US, fell far from the days when it was the largest bicycle manufacturer in England, and I am not entirely sure who owns the brand today. But it appears the new owners have been putting a good deal of thought into their bikes for the last 4 years, and the East-Asian frames and components are the same you will find on a Trek or Specialized. And the price is right.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Raleigh Clubman

Raleigh has brought back one of its greatest hits, one of the classic Raleighs from the '40s and '50s, the Raleigh Clubman. It retails for $1130, but here's a tip... you can get the 2009 model on sale at REI right now for $930.

Most reviewers are quick to point out that this is not a touring bike. I'm not sure why... it's all steel and you could load it up and take off across country if you wanted to. In any event, it makes a nice all-purpose around-towner.


Frame: Reynolds 520 Butted Chromo Tubing.
Fork: Lugged 4130 Chromo Road.
Headset: Integrated 1-1/8 threadless.
Crankset: Shimano Tiagra 2pc 34/50t.
Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra.
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra.
Shifters: Shimano Tiagra 9spd STI.
Cassette: SRAM PG950 9spd (12-26t).
Brakes: Tektro Dual Pivot Long Reach w/Cartridge Pads.
Color: Brown.
Sizes: 50cm,53cm,55cm,57cm,59cm,62cm.