For a certain set of generations the Raleigh brand is iconic: just a part of the culture. My personal Raleigh journey was Tomahawk -> Grifter -> Scorpio. My son had a Raleigh Sk8: a blue light alloy MTB that was strangely familiar…
My Scorpio lasted from my 15th birthday to 27, when it was stolen from outside St George’s Hospital Medical School in Tooting. Heavy lump as it was I loved that bike and it had carried me thousands of miles. Was worth next to nothing when stolen but my sentimental attachment was immense. I’d still be using it today if I had it, at least as a winter bike. Of course its worth more now, thanks to the fixie trend!
Raleigh continued to make some decent bikes ’til the ninties, especially in the early days of titanium, after which they caught British Industrial Disease. Some of those Ti frames are now very sought after.
The reason I’m rambling on sentimentally is that Raleigh seem to have actually put out a good road bike again! The company seems to have turned a corner and even started to get back into racing. Where’s the money coming from I wonder? Reading C+’s best bikes for 2011 test the Raleigh SP Race gets into the top four – a Carbon and Ultegra 18 pounder for £1,900:
I’m sure that under the badge, it’s yet another far eastern mass factory carbon clone, but that Badge, man, the Badge…
That’s still a lot more than I can afford without many many months scrimping, but until now my penny pinching has been aimed at the long term goal of an Enigma or Burls Titanium – both well over £2k.
Now, Raleigh put out a bike as good as any other at a lesser price than I was going to pay – and despite all my misgivings about carbon fibre, its bypassed my head and gone straight to the heart – this is one bike I’m going to test drive as soon as I can find a dealer…. thence to scrape a deposit together?
Rode one, and… a great RACE bike. However I am not a racer. I am a mamil, and like my long sportives and club runs. Too harsh for that I’m afraid. I will stick with the madone for now.