This was a brand which produced
cycles, mopeds, motorcycles, 3 wheelers, 3-wheeled cars, cars
and support parts for cycles.
All started with that three mates, Wodhead, Angois and Ellis
started to produce cycles 1887. Then the story is a repeat of
Frank Bowden had bought a cycle from one of these partners. He
found it to be a good subject and was willing to put money in
there firm. He offered them a sum of money for their company.
They accepted. Bowden was an investor and put money in companies
that were capable of development.
After three years the production had raised so much that new
larger locals were needed. The company moved to Russel Street in
Nottingham. The brand of the cycle changed just as the company
to Raleigh. The cause was that it moved away from Raleigh Street!
Frank Bowden died 1921 and his son Harold took over the
lead.. He kept it for another 17 years, or up to 1938.
In order to widen the sales, new production opened in Dublin
Ireland 1939. A cooperation was started with Sturmey-Archer,
which was the hub producer of the time. They also developed a
hub with several gears. This production lasted till 1976.
It must be known that there were several cycle producers in
England and several of them had factories in Nottingham. For
Sturmey-Archer, Norman Cycles in Ashford, Triumph and Hercules in
Ashford. There was also cooperation with Huffy in USA. With this last one
Raleigh got a very big partner.
After the war they produced a very popular cycle, which was
exported around the whole world. It was Raleigh Sport Roadster,
fully build in aluminum and equipped with the 3-5 gear hub from Sturmey-Archer. This
export was very large.
In order to offer a cycle for short transport distances, a
cycle with small wheels and open frame was constructed. This was
an imitate of Moulton Bicycle. This type had also springs and
rear luggage carrier.
There was no problem to copy the rear carrier, but the spring
system was more difficult to copy.
Instead a new type of tire was introduced, so called balloon
wheels. This tire could take the irregularities in the road
surface. This product was called Raleigh RSW.
During short periods between 1899 and 1906, 1919 and 1933
motorcycles were built. It was a three wheeler type with the
driver in the rear and passengers in front where the two wheels
1930 a trial with covered three wheeler were built on licenses.
Furthermore there was a variant with 4 wheels driven by a
But the board didn't like this and closed, and also the engine
production. The designer T.L. Williams left and started his own
production. He called his car for Reliant.
In the 50th when cycles had a declining selling, moped was on the
production list. The most popular moped was the RM6 which had an
rigid front fork of cycle type. This production continued
When the need for cycles decreased during late 50th, brittish
Cycle Corporation was established. This was coordinated with
Tube Investments, the pipe producer. Raleigh bought BSA Cycles. TI Investments
was the owner of Philips, Hercules, Sun,
Armstrong and Norman. All were cycle producers. TI then bought
Raleigh and founded TI-Raleigh. All production was moved to
Nottingham, except for Sun which stayed in Carlston. TI also
owned Brooks Saddle, Sturmey-Archer and Reynolds Tubing.
Great changes were made from 1980, when sub firms were
started in several countries like Denmark and Canada. The
production was reduced in UK. Later this was ceased and all
imported from Taiwan.
The help wheel on the Royal Enfield cycle is a separate
construction, by Wall Autowheel. A.O.
Smith in USA took over the production rights and by time
several different types showed like Briggs&Stratton and Johnsson. See the small picture , where the cycle also could be
All assembly was laid down 2003 and cycles were ready made,
Vietnam. 2012 a Dutch company Accell took over the charge of Raleigh UK, Canada
and USA. Just the same evaluation happened in Sweden.