Tag Archives: bikes

Retro Raleighs: a trip down memory lane

A rather nice, vintage Raleigh mountain bike came up for sale recently on retrobike, which set me tripping on nostalgia via google image search.

Raleigh did some excellent mountain bikes back in the day – see my titanium Dynatech Diablo and my titanium M Trax 300, for example. But by the early 90s, Raleigh’s steel framed bikes had come to be seen as a bit naff, unfairly some might say in hindsight.

Their Dynatechs were still a bit cool, but other UK brands or imported American mountain bikes were the new must-haves for the coolest mountain bikers. At least this is how I remember things as a teenaged mountain biker…

However, twenty years on a bit of digging on google and retrobike yields some great examples of surviving 90s Raleighs. And while they don’t have the overt XC racy looks of rival brands like Marin, Cannondale, or Orange, I still find them visually appealing in a way that’s hard to explain.

Perhaps this is partly down to details like the lugged frame design and the Raleigh head badge, which hint at the heritage of bicycle manufacture at Raleigh and give a vintage feel to an already retro bicycle.

Reblogged below are a just few of the fabulous Raleighs I’ve come across:

Raleigh Thunder Road.

Pure awesomeness in the form of a Reynolds 531 mang-moly steel frame. Photo from a retrobike thread dedicated to Raleigh MTBs. I’m now currently building one of these myself.

Raleigh Yukon

… from the same retrobike thread as the Thunder Road. Another 501 frame.

Raleigh Moonshine

… again, from the a retrobike thread. Reynolds 531.

If you like what you’ve seen, then please do go and check out the ‘get ya raleighs out for the lads’ thread on retrobike.

Ten of the Most Awesome Boutique Vintage Mountain Bike Parts

The 90s saw an explosion of boutique aftermarket parts for upgrading or adding style to your mountain bike. Usually CNC-machined from aluminium (aluminum) billet and finished with brightly coloured anodizing, many of these products were the must-have add-ons for any 90s mountain biker. Or at least for those who could afford the often exorbitant retail prices!

Ironically, while their high prices implied superior quality compared to mass produced, forged parts from the likes of Shimano and others, the reality was rather different: CNC-machining often resulted in comparatively weaker, or shorter-lived components, as many long-term user of Hope’s titanium hubs (like me) or Ringle’s Zooka stems will attest. For a deeper discussion of the merits of CNC-machining versus forging, see here.

Here’s my entirely subjective list of the top ten boutique components from the 1990s:

Ringle

Hope Titanium Hubs

Pace

Grafton Speed Controller Brakes

Machine tech

Kooka

Chris King

Paul’s Components