Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (2022)

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Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (1)

The Raleigh Chopper brought the style of Easy Rider to the backstreets of Britain in the 1970s. It took the UK youth bike market by storm and saved Raleigh from financial disaster.

The Chopper was a different bike for young people and it was a first choice as a Christmas present, but experts had safety concerns. The 1980s' BMX craze killed it off.

Origins

The precursor to the Raleigh Chopper and the reason for its existence was the Schwinn Stingray.

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (2)

The Schwinn Stingray came about because of a craze for customising bikes. Kids in Californiawere taking bicycles made for younger children and turning them into something cool. They fitted high rise handlebars and banana seats bought from obsolete stock. Some fitted suspension forks and changed the front wheels for smaller ones.

Al Fritz, a Schwinn executive, noticed the trend. He persuaded the Schwinn bosses to introduce their ownversion called the Sting-Ray. It went on sale in 1963. [1]

The Sting-Ray had the same high rise handle bars and a banana seat. After a slow start, the Schwinn Sting-Raybecame a best seller.

Raleigh wanted a piece of this market. They introducedtwo models, the Rodeo and the Fireball, which looked like Sting-Ray clones. They flopped.

What happened next is not clear.

Both Raleigh's Chief Designer, Alan Oakley, who sadly passed away in 2012 and Ogle's former Managing Director, Tom Karen, have claimed to be the Chopper's designer.

Dr Tom Karen says that Raleigh approached Ogle in 1968 to help them come up with a design to rival the Schwinn bike that was better than their first attempt, the Raleigh Rodeo. Tom Karen showed his original sketches, which look remarkably like the final design, to the Daily Mail in May 2014 after fishing them out of his garage. [2]

Alan Oakley always maintained he sketched out the design for the Chopper on a flight back from the USA in 1967 after researching into the American teenage market. He sketched out the design for the Chopper on an airmail envelope on his way back.

Tom Karen has said that Oakley played a part in the engineering neededto get the Chopper to market, but that the original idea was his.

Whatever the truth, the Chopper was a huge hit. It took the Sting-Ray conceptand improved on it. The Sting-Ray might have been a great bike for the 60s. The Chopper with itswedge shaped frame was the ideal look for the 70s.

Neither bike was good design in terms of practicality. They don't offer any improved performance or ease of use over a conventional bike or one of the small wheel bikes such as Raleigh'sown RSW or the Moulton, which were redefining cycling in the 1960s.

What the Raleigh Chopper did was to take some features from adult products, cars and motorbikes, andreplicate them on a product designed for children. From the car, there was something that looked likean automatic gear shift. From some of the coolest motorbikes came the Hi-Rise handlebars, thepadded rear seat and the sissy bar. These features made the Chopper irrestiable to boys who wanted to begrown up. At the same time, it was a product adults couldn't themselves have.

The Chopper design led to excellent sales results for Raleigh. So commercially the design was a great success.

Raleigh Chopper Mk1

The Raleigh Chopper Mk1 launched in 1969 in the USA and in 1970 in the UK.

In the UK the Chopper launched as 'The Hot One' alongside two new adult small wheel bikes:the RSW MkIII, 'The Dolly One' and the Moulton MkIII, 'The Smooth One'.[3]

Like some versions of the Schwinn Sting-Ray, the Chopper had 16 inch front wheels and20 inch back wheels. The seat was large and padded.

The standard model had a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub controlled bya gear lever on the cross bar. It had a stand to prop it up with, like a motor bike.

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (3)

In the US market the Chopper was more evolution than revolution. In the UK market it was something new. On both sides of the Atlantic this style of bike was known as a Hi-Riser.

The movie Easy Rider premiered in 1969. In the film, Peter Fonda and Denis Hopper cruise around America on stripped down Chopper motorbikes. The film gave the Raleigh Chopper instant cool.

In 1971 Raleigh saw a 55% increase in cycle sales due to the Chopper. The cycle maker went through lean times in the 1950s and 1960s as sales of adult bikes slumped. With rising affluence, more people bought cars, motorbikes and scooters. The traditional push bike had a down market image.

Raleigh charged a premium for the Chopper over the price of a conventional children's bike. In 1970 it cost £34 19s (£360 in today's money). The Mk1 Chopper was also available with an extra high backrest for £2 more.

Read more: How much did a Raleigh Chopper cost in the 1970s?

The Chopper was so popular in 1970 that retailers had to persuade adults it was not a suitable bike for them. A Raleigh advert from 1970 suggested that grown-upsshould try the Raleigh Moulton folding bike (Raleigh had bought Moulton) or theRSW, another small wheeled bike.

The Chopper gave the kids something different from an adult bike, something of their own. The Raleigh Chopper brought the style of Easy Rider to UK streets and to boys in the ten to fourteen age group.

The Chopper was joined in 1972 by a bike for younger children, the Tomahawk. But by then the safety record of the Chopper was being questioned. An Italian competitor, the Morando Easy Rider Bike, was withdrawn from sale due to safety concerns. Its UK distributors, the Barclay Group (Mobo, Chad Valley and Tri-ang), recalled models already sold.

Mk1 variants

1969 model year

The Chopper first featured in Raleigh's 1969 catalogue in the USA. There were four different versions withdifferent gears, brakes and colour choices.

ModelDescriptonDetailsColours
DL500CSTSingle speed with back pedal Coaster brakeYellow, red, green
DL510AW 3 speedRear caliper brakeYellow, orange, red, black, blue
DL520TCW 3 speed3 speed hub and Coaster brakeYellow, blue, green
DL5303 + 2 5 speedTwin shift gear leverYellow, orange, green, black

DL500 and DL520 had a Sturmey Archer Coaster hub brake. The other two had rear caliper brakes. The 3 + 2 twin shift was also called a 'Split T Dual Control'.

1970 model year

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (4)

The Chopper changed for the 1970 model year in the USA. They strengthened the frame and added suspension springsto the rear to make the ride more comfortable.

(Video) The Raleigh Chopper Story

There were two new models featuring Huret derailleur gears, a 5 speed and a 10 speed. There were also two models for girlsadded to the line up. The girl's bikes didn't have the cross bar.

ModelDetailsColours
Derailleur 10 speedPadded oversized sissy bar includedBlack, blue, orange
Derailleur 10 speedPadded oversized sissy bar includedYellow, orange, green, black, blue
TCW 3 Speed (boys)3 speed hubBlack, blue, orange, yellow
TCW 3 Speed (girls)Stem shifter (handlebar position)Blue or orange with black or white seat
AW 3 Speed (boys)Back pedal brakeBlack, blue, orange
AW 3 Speed (girls)Stem shifter, back pedal brakeBlue or orange
CST (boys)Single speed with back pedal Coaster brakeBlue or orange
CST (girls)Single speed with back pedal Coaster brakeBlue or orange

The 10 speed is the most highly prized of all Raleigh Choppers.

If you want one today, a perfect example will cost in the region of £2000.

Chopper Mk1 - UK market models

The Chopper was launched in the UK for the 1970 model year. The original colours were Golden Yellow, Flamboyant Green and Brilliant Orange.

In 1971 the colours were Brilliant Orange and Horizon Blue. There was also a new High Backrest model, which had a verytall backreset with extra padding. It also had its own unique colour, Mustard Yellow.

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (5)

Raleigh Chopper Mk2

A British Medical Journal report claimed that the high handle bars made steering unsafe. Others claimed that it was possible for two children to ride on one Chopper. Safety concerns prompted a revision to the basic design in 1972, with the Chopper Mk 2 having a shorter seat. Raleigh also made changes to the gear lever style and handle bars. Raleigh had to defend the safety of the Chopper when questions were raised in Parliament.

Raleigh assured a safety seal of approval by geting RoSPA to test the Mk2.

The Chopper Mk 2, or Chopper II as Raleigh called it, got new colour schemes, Infra Red and Ultra Violet. In1976 Raleigh added two new colours, Space Blue and Quicksilver.

The Chopper was a bike that put style before practicality. In the early years of the 1970s it might have been every boy's dream, but volunteers for a Which? report in 1972 found the Chopper slow and hard work. Most would have preferred a racing bike.

In spite of the style over substance approach, the Chopper won a place in the Council of Industrial Design (COID)'s Design Index.

Raleigh launched a new bike for the 9-14 age group in 1976, the Grifter. It had Sturmey Archer 3-speed gears, two sixteen inch wheels and off-road style studded tyres.

The last version of the Chopper was given a final makeover for the 80s. To fit in withthe new desire for off road bikes and the coming BMX craze, it had a new studded rear tyre and new brakes.It was finished in 'Jet Black' and had more of an 80s' rather than 70s' feel to it. However, therewas no hiding the original design. This was the last year Raleigh made the Chopper.

The Tomahawk also soldiered on to 1981. The model version was in 'Hot Red'.

Mk2 variants

These are UK market variants of the Mk2 Chopper:

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (6)

GT Sprint 1972-73

The GT Sprint was a Chopper with drop handle bars. It was available in two colours: flamboyant green (left) or fire bronze.

The Sprint had different tyres, a 'racing saddle' and a modified frame, but only 3 speeds.

It did not sell well. In 1973 Halfords offered the Chopper GT Sprint for £25.95, when a standardChopper Mk2 cost £33.45.

The Chopper GT Sprint is a rarity today. Of course that makes it all the more desirable and a top notch one will now cost from around £1000 to £1500.

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (7)

Raleigh Chopper 5 1972-1976

The Raleigh Chopper 5 had a new gear change based on the classic racing bike derailleur, but with the Chopper style gear shift.

Strangely, it was only available in pink, a colour guaranteed not to appeal to boys in the 1970s. TheRaleigh brochure called this 'Sharp Pink'. It also had red and yellow lettering.

Like the Sprint, it did not sell well and was quietly dropped in 1976.

It is, of course, highly collectable today. Expect to pay around £1000 for a good one.

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (8)

Special Edition 1976-1977

To celebrate 750,000 Chopper sales Raleigh released the Chopper Special Edition or Chopper SE in 1976.

It had diecast alloy wheels and a rear hub brake. The colour scheme was silver with black and chromedetail transfers.

The silver paint job fitted in with Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977. Although the Raleigh brochuredoes not mention this.

It was not a great seller and is also a rare bike today. You will need to spend around £1500 for one of these.

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (9)

Raleigh Chopper Mk3

Raleigh brought the Chopper back in April 2004. They launched the Raleigh Chopper Mk3. Justlike the original, it was a kids' bike, not an adults' bike.

The Raleigh Chopper Mk3 had a lightweight alloy frame. The gear shift was moved to the handlebars tocomply with modern safety regulations. The seat was in two parts. Much of the original style remained.

The Mk3 originally came in the 1970s' colour Infra Red. But purple, blue and black were soon added.

It sold for £199.99 at Halfords.

In 2015, personal trainer, Dave Sims rode the 2077 miles of the Tour de France route of that year on a Raleigh Chopper Mk3, whichwas only slightly modified. He wanted to prove that you did not need an expensive bike to do the Tour andhe raised money for the charity, Help for Heroes.[4]

Production of the Chopper finally ended in 2018.

(Video) Old and Rusted Bicycle Restoration - Vintage Raleigh Chopper

Competitors to the Raleigh Chopper

The success of the Chopper encouraged other manufacturers to bring out their own Hi-Riser bicycles.The following models were also available in the UK in 1972:

  • Dawes Zipper S/S - £31.30
  • Halfords Scrambler - £26.95
  • Puch Hi-Riser - £31.99
  • Unity Cycles Dragster (also known as the Tri-ang Dragster TT) - £39.95
  • Trusty Tracker - £35.60
  • Trusty Tuscan - £27.95
  • Viking Pepper - £32.69
  • Vindec High Riser - £32.50

Source: 'Bicycles for older children' published by the Consumers' Association in Which? February 1972

At that time (1972) a Raleigh Chopper cost £35.60. A conventional children's bike, such as a RaleighRebel, cost £26.70.

What did children think of the Raleigh Chopper?

In 1972 Which? conducted a test of children's bicycles. They included a selection of Hi-Riser bikes, including theRaleigh Chopper, as well as conventional lage wheel racing and touring bikes and modern (for the 1970s) small wheel bikes.

Only the boys were asked to rate the Hi-Risers. They found this type of bike wascomfortable and stylish, but they were difficult to ride, slow and hard work, particularly going up hills. Most boys in the survey preferred conventional racing bikes to the Hi-Risers. [5]

Although there were safety concerns around the Chopper, particularly the MkI, Which? found this type of bike was safeto ride, if ridden sensibly. Their testers didn't like the Hi-Risers generally, but if you had to have one they recommendedthe most expensive, the Unity Cycles Dragster.

A chopper for young children

Raleigh made several Chopper-like bikes for younger children.

  • Budgie - c1976 to c1981
  • Chipper - 1971
  • Tomahawk - 1971 to c1981
  • Formula 3 - c1976

Budgie

The Budgie was a scaled down Chopper lookalike for very small children. The brochures often showed them withstabilisers suggesting it was a child's first two wheeled bike.

The Budgie was first advertised in 1976 and continued until at least 1981.

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (10)

Tomahawk

The Tomahawk came along in 1971.

It was for children in the six to nine age group. It looked like a mini version of the Chopper.

The Tomahawk had an 11 inch front wheel and a 16 inch rear wheel. It had the same Hi-Rise handle bars andpadded saddle as the Chopper. But it did not have the Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub. There was no gear stick on the cross bar. A plastic plate looking like the one on the Chopper took the space where the gear stick wouldhave been.

It was for children with inside leg measurements of 21 inches to 25 inches. The colour choices were Infra Red or Fuschia (pink).

By 1981 the Tomahawk had the Formula 3's cut down saddle (see below) and was only available in 'Hot Red'.

Chipper

The Chipper was available from 1971.

The Chipper was a scaled down Chopper with a removable cross bar. Raleigh designed it to be suitable for boys or girls.Although they did show older girls riding the original Chopper in their publicity.

The removable cross bar meant that the Chipper was not adjustable. It was only suitable for children with a 21 inch inside leg.

It had the Hi-Rise handlebars and the banana saddle, but lacked the Chopper's arrow shaped frame. In looks it harked backto earlier Hi-Riser bikes.

The Chipper was available in flame (red), orange or purple.

Formular 3

The Formnula 3 was a deluxe version of the Tomahawk. It came along around 1976. It had new diecast wheels and a new cut down Chopper style saddle without the high back. It also had a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub. Unlike the Chopper, the Formula 3's gear change was in the normal position on the handlebars.

Fake Choppers

Towards the end of the 1970s and into the early 1980s a number of Taiwan-made fake Raleigh Choppers appearedin the UK. Raleigh had found examples all over the world of bikes sold under names such as 'Choper', 'Cropper', 'Clopper' and 'Rally Chopper'. [6]

There was still a problem in 1981, when a batch of fake Choppers were found with Nottingham spelt wrong.[7] The badgesaid 'Chopper Nottinghan'.

Raleigh Choppers on TV

A group of tearaways aged fourteen to sixteen terrorise residents on a housing estate in 'No Names', an episode of 'The Main Chance' broadcast on 23 May 1975. The two ringleaders have Raleigh Choppers with extended back rests.

These teenagers were a bit too old for Choppers. Other kids in the same gang have racing bikes which was more usual for teenagers in the1970s. Perhaps the producers of the show picked up on the Chopper's image with grown-ups as a bad boys' bike.

In an episode of The Good Life, 'I Talk to the Trees' broadcast in 1976, Tomand Barbara Good are going through Surbiton on their cart powered by a rotary cultivator. They are persued by a group of children playing Cowboys and Indians. One of the children is riding a Raleigh Chopper. (perhaps a Tomahawk might have been a better choice!)

Raleigh Chopper values

The Chopper Mk 1 is worth a little more than the Mk2. The Mk1 is rare and more desirable. If you want a good, usable Chopper, look for a Mk2 in presentable, but not perfect condition. You should be able to find one for around £400. Perfect examples of both models are worth more than double this price.

Chopper Mk1

  • Restoration project £100 to £300
  • Good presentable and useable condition £500 to £800
  • Excellent condition £800 to £1000
  • Restored to factory condition or better £1000+

Buy Raleigh Chopper Mk1s on eBay.

Chopper Mk2

  • Restoration project £50 to £200
  • Good presentable and useable condition £300 to £500
  • Restored to factory condition or better £800 to £1000+

Buy Raleigh Chopper Mk2s on eBay.

Chopper Mk3 (2004 reproduction model)

After the Mk3 ceased production in 2018, values of mint examples in original packaging have soared.

  • Average £50 to £100
  • Good £100 to £200
  • Mint £200 to £400

Mk3s can be found in their original packaging and will fetch upwards of £300.

Buy Raleigh Chopper Mk3s on eBay.

How to tell a Mk1 from a Mk2 Chopper

Gear lever

The most obvious difference is the gear lever. See the pictures below:

(Video) Man Has Impressive Raleigh Chopper Collection Worth Over £40K

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (11)
Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (12)

Rear stays

The most significant difference is the frame. The Mk2 had an improved frame designed to address safety concerns. Theobvious way to tell which is which is to look at the rear stays. On the Mk1, they are straight. They are curved on the Mk2. See below:

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (13)
Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (14)

Saddle

The Mk2 also had a shorter saddle. The change to the shape of the rear stays allowed a shorter saddle. Look at thepictures below. You can see that the Mk1 saddle goes further back.

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (15)
Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (16)

Colours

The Mk1 and Mk2 Choppers had completely different colour schemes:

Mk1: Golden Yellow (1969-71), Flamboyant Green (1969-71), Brilliant Orange (1969-72), Horizon Blue (1971-72) or Mustard Yellow (High Backrest model - 1971-72)

Mk2: Infra Red (1972 onwards), Ultra Violet (1972 onwards), Space Blue (1976 onwards), Quicksilver (1976 onwards), Jet Black (c1981)

Raleigh Chopper in South Africa

Raleigh had a factory in South Africa. The Raleigh and TI subsidiaries merged in South Africa in 1959, before the two companies merged in the UK.

Raleigh made similar bikes to those made in the UK, including the Chopper. Those made in South Africa have a badge that says 'Raleigh Springs South Africa'. They also used some different colours from those available in the UK.

More on the Raleigh Chopper

See the Raleigh Chopper Owners' Club and Raleigh Chopper on Wikipedia.

Look for Raleigh Choppers on eBay

References

[1] The Moulton Bicycle: A History of the Innovative Compact Design by Bruce D. Epperson, published MacFarland, 2018, pages 106-8

[2] The Raleigh Chopper's beginnings revealed: Early design sketches show the bike's iconic features before its 1969 debut by Sarah Griffiths, published in the Daily Mail online, 9 May 2014

[3] The F-frame Moultons by Tony Hadland, published by Lit, 2014 page 49

[4] This man rode the Tour de France route on a Raleigh Chopper, published in the Daily Telegraph, 31 Jul 2015

[5] 'Bicycles for older children' published by the Consumers' Association in Which? February 1972 pages 40-41

[6] 'Taiwan imitation goods cost UK firms millions' by Nick Davies, published in The Guardian, 6 December 1979, page 2

[7] 'Watch out for these toy fakes' by Len Collis, published in The Daily Express, 6 May 1981, page 24.

Your comments on the Raleigh Chopper

"I had a Chopper bike. I used it from the age of ten to fourteen. It was fantastic, red colour, the ease of lowrider seat. The banana seat was very comfortable and the gear position was attractive.

My Difficulties were: whobbles, wheelies were not uncommon, hard to run or make long distances with it." Chopper Lowerider

"i had a 'Raleigh chipper' (it was the smaller brother of the chopper) my dad brought back from the dump and restored it, but nether fixed the broken front seat bracket, so the whole seat used to tilt upwards exposing the stem, once i was out over the park on it, stood up to give it fast burst of accelaration and sat back down, you can guess the rest! it was about a week before i was able to ride it again! thanks dad." robert

"I rode a yellow Raleigh chopper from the mid-seventies right up into the mid-eighties and came off it most memorably as it wobbled out of control while I was freewheeling down a hill. I lost half an eyebrow and bear the scar to this day. Another time I almost castrated myself on the famously malpositioned gear lever. Not long after that I got a racer but missed the upright sitting position and the comfort of the wide saddle with its sturdy suspension." Chopper cropper

"hi ive just got one im having dowts on weather its a mk1 or mk2 its got gear solector in between your legs witch is the T bar shaped and the top of the seat back grab rail is curved squair not like a arch if you can help please contact me thanks damo" damion milner

Raleigh Chopper: The definitive history and collectors' guide (17)

Hi Damo, It sounds like a Mk2 to me. The Mark 1 gear stick is left, the Mk2 is as illustrated above. Retrowow

"eek, i have vivid memories about the 'purple raleigh chopper' and that 't' bar geat changer....it almost turned me into a gelding... after one particular top spec crash....lol great days" tim

"I have just discovered that my mk2 Raleigh Chopper is actually a Mk1. However, it has mk2 gears and pedals. My parents bought it second hand for me 29 years ago. We think it is dated 1970 from the crank. Anybody got any ideas why it would have the wrong gear?? Thanks!" Lor

"I am now 49 years of age and in the 1970s had an original chopper bike, I still remember it to this day as it was such a sturdy and fun bike to ride. probably the best bike I have ever owned . I am looking to buy an original chopper in good condition soon if I can find one and keep it for prosperity." kevin hull

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FAQs

How do I tell what year my Raleigh bike is? ›

For Raleigh bikes, you would often notice both the model and the year the bike was made. You can see the serial numbers on the side of the seat lug, front of the seat lug, or even in the bottom bracket. The serial number is the easiest way to determine the age of your Raleigh bike and the vintage Raleigh bike value.

What's the difference between MK1 and Mk2 Raleigh Chopper? ›

Mk2 Improvements

The gear lever shifter changed from a knob to a T-bar-style shifter, and this is the easiest way to differentiate between the Mk1 and Mk2. The seat was moved slightly forward and was shorter for improved balance which helped to prevent the bike from tipping backwards.

What were the original Colours of a Raleigh Chopper? ›

Original models

MK1 - available only as a 3 speed model, Brilliant Orange, Golden Yellow, Flamboyant Green, Targa Mustard (HBR model), and Horizon Blue. Sprint GT - available in either Bronze or Flamboyant Green.

What year did the Mk2 Raleigh Chopper come out? ›

Most of us kids probably rode the MK2 Chopper which was first released in 1972. For the MK2 they bent the seat stays forward so you wouldn't be sitting so far back over the rear wheel compared to the MK1 version.

How do you tell what year a bike is by the serial number? ›

Each manufacturer has their own identification system. But the first numbers usually indicate the year, and then month of manufacture. And the remaining numbers indicate the specific ID of that bike. The best way to read a bicycle serial number is to search the web for “[brand name] bike serial number decoder”.

Can you look up a bike serial number? ›

Almost all bicycles will have a unique identification number all so known as a bike serial number engraved on the bottom of its bottom bracket on the frame. You are looking for a number that is around six and ten digits long. And you need to register and can check the serial number in the bicycle registers database.

How much was a Chopper bike in 1975? ›

How much did a Raleigh Chopper cost in the 1970s?
YearPriceIn today's money
1972 - Mk2£35.99£340
1973 - Chopper Sprint£25.95£225
1973 - Mk2£33.75 (RRP £37.50)£290
1975£37.95£230
9 more rows
9 Jun 2021

Are Raleigh bikes made in China? ›

All Raleigh Cycle Company of America parts and frames from 1995 on were then mass-produced in China and Taiwan and assembled in other plants.

Why is a bike called a Chopper? ›

The term “chopper” came from motorcycle owners “chopping” every non-essential part they could off their motorcycles to make them as light and fast as possible, often with little to no regard for safety.

Are Raleigh Chopper bikes still made? ›

Besides a limited run in 2004, fans of the iconic British-built kids' bike can now get their hands on a new Chopper for the first time since it went out of production in 1980. The Chopper is a cult classic.

How many gears does a Chopper have? ›

Most modern choppers use either five- or six-speed transmissions -- only older choppers or bikes designed to look like vintage models use a four-speed transmission.

When was the first Chopper bike made? ›

The first Chopper went into production in 1969 and became a cultural icon of the 1970s. The first version of the bike featured a gear hub selected using a frame-mounted lever.

How many gears did the original Chopper bike have? ›

Original Chopper Models

MK1 – The original. The original Chopper came in a choice of either single speed, three speed or five-speed hub gears and in a range of colours including Orange, Green, Blue and Yellow.

What are the bikes in Stranger things? ›

The show definitely harkens back to the iconic Schwinn Sting-Ray bike that would have been very prevalent at the time the show takes place in and it is something we are familiar with so figuring out the parts and pieces of it was pretty easy.

Who invented the Raleigh Chopper? ›

Designed in the late 1960s by Raleigh employee Alan Oakley, [although some contest it was the work of Tom Karen of the Ogle] the Chopper was a departure from the standard bicycle design.

How do I find the manufacture date of my bike? ›

The month of Manufacture and Serial Number

The last six characters i.e, from the twelfth to seventeenth represent the vehicle's serial number. The Twelfth character usually represents the Month of Manufacture.

How can I tell what model my bike is? ›

The majority of serial numbers are located under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks meet. Turn your bike upside down and record the number. If there is no serial number near the cranks, you should check other common places including the front headset or rear stays.

Is bike frame number same as serial number? ›

Yes, “serial number” and “frame number” are the same thing. The number on the sticker should match the number on your bike. Depending on the age of your bike, it will be in one of two places. Bikes built before mid-1999 will have the frame number stamped on the driveside dropout.

How long is a bike serial number? ›

Most (but not all) bicycles have a serial number. They're usually referred to as a bicycle serial number, but also at times called a “frame number.” They are stamped onto the frame of a bike and range from six to ten digits long.

What is the serial number? ›

Serial Numbers. A serial number (SN) is a number assigned to each individual product in order to distinguish that product from all others. The serial number is sometimes used only for warranty control and sometimes used for both warranty control and for version control.

What is frame number on motorcycle? ›

A bike's Chassis Number is a part of the VIN.

It is used to identify a bike from the numbers mentioned. The last six characters of a VIN are the bike's Chassis Number.

How much does a chopper bike cost? ›

Average cost of each American Chopper bike ranges between $50K to $100K. According to a report from Top Gear, motorcycle builds commissioned through Orange County Choppers and Paul Junior Designs have ranged between $50,000 to $100,000 depending on what work needs to be done to the bikes.

What is a chopper push bike? ›

A chopper bicycle is a highly customized bicycle whose design, construction and style is similar to that of a chopper-style motorcycle.

Is Raleigh a good bike brand? ›

Yes, Raleigh is considered one of the best bike brands on the market. Raleigh bikes are known for being good-quality bikes. If you compare Raleigh bikes with other top-tier brands you will find that Raleigh uses better components at the same price or similar top quality components at a lower price.

What happened to Raleigh bikes? ›

Raleigh is now part of the Accell Group, a European company that owns a wide range of bike brands throughout Europe. By partnering with Accell Group, we work with brands all over the world to share the latest knowledge and tech, giving us insider info that helps us make our bikes the best they can be.

Are choppers hard to ride? ›

Choppers are very different from other motorcycles. That's because they have larger wheels and longer forks which can be overwhelming for first-time riders. So if your goal is to learn how to ride a chopper, it's best to start with a different type of bike.

Are choppers coming back? ›

Fortnite just released the 20.30 update for Chapter 3 Season 2, and a ton of new leaks have already surfaced. From new skins like the Omega Knight skin to a Doctor Strange NPC, the latest update is loaded with content.

Are choppers safe? ›

The answer, based on a TPG analysis of a decade of safety data: Like almost every other mode of transportation, flying in a helicopter is considerably more dangerous than airline travel. But it's far safer than riding in a car.

When did Raleigh stop making bikes in England? ›

Raleigh ceased frame production in the UK in 1999, and the final UK-assembled bikes rolled out of the factory in 2002.

Who invented the Chopper motorcycle? ›

Cliff Vaughs, largely credited with designing and building the choppers that starred in the 1960s counterculture motorcycle movie “Easy Rider,” died Saturday at his home in Templeton, Calif.

When did Raleigh Nottingham close? ›

BBC News | ENGLAND | Raleigh to close Nottingham factory. Raleigh has announced it is to close its last factory in Nottingham - ending 114 years of bicycle production in the city. The closure of the assembly plant at the end of 2002 will mean the loss of some 280 jobs.

How much is a Chopper worth? ›

Helicopters cost between $1.2 million and $15 million, depending on the size and type of machine.

What company manufactured the Chopper bicycle? ›

Raleigh 'Chopper' Mk2 bicycle. The Chopper is one of the most iconic children's bicycles and was first produced in 1968. Its design resembled an American Harley Davidson motorcycle and was unlike anything on the market, its success also helped by the film 'Easy Rider' released in 1969.

What's the difference between a motorcycle and a chopper? ›

A chopper is a type of custom motorcycle which emerged in the US state of California in the late 1950s. A chopper employs radically modified steering angles and lengthened forks for a stretched-out appearance. They can be built from an original motorcycle which is modified ("chopped") or built from scratch.

Is a chopper a cruiser? ›

The worlds best Chopper bike designers are Orange County Choppers. Cruiser bikes are mainly designed for longer rides and have more extra comfort in riding and handling, have very powerful engines and have solid muscular looks and are heavy.

Which bicycle makers chopper model became an icon of the 1970s? ›

The Raleigh Chopper is a children's bicycle, a wheelie bike, manufactured and marketed in the 1970s by the Raleigh Bicycle Company of Nottingham, England, UK. Its unique design became a cultural icon. The design was influenced by dragsters, 'chopped' motorcycles and beach buggys.

What bike is Mike? ›

Manufactured by Schwinn, Mike's bike is a retro cruiser that comes with a banana seat, a springer front suspension fork, high rise handlebars, a rear “sissy” bar, and vintage whitewall tires. Apart from the Stranger Things logo on the chainguard, this bike truly could be mistaken for an original classic.

What bike does Lucas have in Stranger Things? ›

Schwinn Predator (Lucas Seson #3):

The world of Stranger Things comes to life with this special edition Lucas bike. Modeled after the bike Lucas Sinclair rides in Season 3 of the show, this BMX-style ride is loaded with 1980? s nostalgia and show-inspired details.

What bike does Dustin ride in Stranger Things? ›

"In Season one Will, Lucas and Dustin all have proper BMX bikes.

How do I tell what year my Raleigh bike is? ›

For Raleigh bikes, you would often notice both the model and the year the bike was made. You can see the serial numbers on the side of the seat lug, front of the seat lug, or even in the bottom bracket. The serial number is the easiest way to determine the age of your Raleigh bike and the vintage Raleigh bike value.

Where is the frame number on a Raleigh bike? ›

Cycle Insurance Quick Quote

Most bicycles have a frame number stamped into the metal under the bottom bracket. If it's a carbon frame, the number will be etched into the surface or displayed on a sticker. Occasionally, the frame number will be on the inside of the chain stay or on the down tube or top tube.

How can I tell what model my bike is? ›

The majority of serial numbers are located under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks meet. Turn your bike upside down and record the number. If there is no serial number near the cranks, you should check other common places including the front headset or rear stays.

When did Raleigh stop making bikes in Nottingham? ›

Raleigh staff were told the news at 2.30 this afternoon. The decision was made by the twelve members of the Executive of The Raleigh Cycle Group on 11th March. The Executive decided to cease assembly of cycles in the UK from the end of 2002.

What age is a vintage bicycle? ›

What is a vintage bicycle? Vintage bikes are typically defined as bikes that were produced between the 1920s and the 1990s, although the earlier date is open to debate. Mostly they are bicycles that have been made by hand and constructed with steel.

Are Raleigh bikes still made in England? ›

Raleigh ceased frame production in the UK in 1999, and the final UK-assembled bikes rolled out of the factory in 2002. While its return is welcome, Raleigh isn't alone in producing bikes in the UK.

How long is a bicycle serial number? ›

They're usually referred to as a bicycle serial number, but also at times called a “frame number.” They are stamped onto the frame of a bike and range from six to ten digits long.

What does bike serial number look like? ›

A bicycle serial number often referred to as a bike frame number, is a unique sequence of numbers typically between 6 and 10 digits long. Almost every bike manufacturer stamps a unique frame number onto the bikes they produce[1]. Occasionally before the serial number, there may be a couple of letters.

What is the serial number? ›

Serial Numbers. A serial number (SN) is a number assigned to each individual product in order to distinguish that product from all others. The serial number is sometimes used only for warranty control and sometimes used for both warranty control and for version control.

Is Raleigh a good bike brand? ›

Yes, Raleigh is considered one of the best bike brands on the market. Raleigh bikes are known for being good-quality bikes. If you compare Raleigh bikes with other top-tier brands you will find that Raleigh uses better components at the same price or similar top quality components at a lower price.

Did Raleigh bikes go out of business? ›

Raleigh is one of the world's oldest and best-known bike brands. Established in 1887 in Nottingham, England, we're still based in our hometown.

Who owns Raleigh bikes now? ›

US private equity firm KKR has bought Dutch company Accell Group, one of Europe's largest bike manufacturers and owner of Raleigh, for €1.56 billion (£1.31 billion).

What are Raleigh bikes known for? ›

Raleigh is one of the world's oldest & best-known bike brands. Famous for bikes like Burners, Choppers, Grifters & Vektars. Raleigh became a world leader in bicycles, producing 100,000 cycles annually in the 1920's only stopping production during the Second World War (1939-45); Raleigh concentrated on munitions work.

Are Raleigh bikes made in Canada? ›

Today, the brand is owned by a Dutch conglomerate, and most of its bicycles are assembled in Vietnam with components from all over the world. Along the way, Raleigh in Canada lost its cache.

When did the Raleigh activator come out? ›

Following the Activator launch (1992), Rix initiated a campaign to raise awareness of the Raleigh brand, rather than focusing on a particular model or range.

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