Note that the serial number information below is fragmentary and incomplete, and many bikes have proven to be much newer than the serial numbers would suggest. It appears that Raleigh recycled many of the older serial numbers in later years, so there are lots of bikes from the 60s and 70s that have serial numbers that would suggest much greater age. Most older Sturmey-Archer hubs have two or three-letter model codes, which are usually stamped onto the hub shell. Conveniently, they also usually have the month and the last two digits of the year of manufacture stamped onto the shell. This is the easiest way to date a 3-speed bicycle, if it has its original rear wheel.
Raleigh Chopper - Wikipedia
Most modern bicycles are designed with the primary intent to catch your eye on the sales floor, and persuade you to buy. That is not what a Raleigh Sports was about These bikes were built to last years, with reasonable care. From the mid 19th century, well into the 20th, the word "steel" was magic in Britain. Britain's rise to an industrial superpower on the crest of the Industrial Revolution was based, as much as anything else, on the steel industry and the new technologies it made possible: steel ships, steel bridges, steel buildings Raleigh originally introduced the slogan "The All Steel Bicycle" to differentiate Raleighs from competitors who used cast iron for some critical parts, a heavier and cruder technology. The mystique of steel caused the British cycle industry to be slow to adopt newfangled materials such as aluminum, and many British cyclists believed, even well into the 's, that steel rims, for instance, were superior to aluminum ones.
Determining the Age of a Raleigh
To quote from the article: "Nevertheless the Chopper was always the cool bike to own, and those who didn't have one were often envious of those who did. This may have been the case in the late 70s, but in my experience in the early 80s in the UK at any rate , the Chopper was pretty much a laughing stock, especially when the likes of the Grifter and BMXes arrived on the scene. It's not subjective, but it does relate purely to the period roughly between and It is also true that, at that time, those who didn't have one were often envious of those who did.
The Raleigh Chopper Owners Club. This site will be continually updated!! Before you all start about the "Frame Numbers" of the two Raleigh Choppers, which are competing to be the Oldest Ones, I would just like to say my bit. This page is for interest only, and the reward will stand. I know that if it ever came to his attention that the person he purchased this Raleigh Chopper from had made up the frame number, I am sure I would be the first to know.