New Raleigh Chopper inspired by golden era of motorsport

Limited edition model is gloss black with gold graphics

by Mat Brett   August 15, 2014  

A new limited edition Raleigh Chopper is designed to pay homage to a golden era of motorsport.

Featuring a small 16in front wheel, a 20in back wheel and ape hanger bars, the new Chopper takes basic components of the iconic British-designed bike and brings in some modern features like a denim two-piece saddle rather than the original super-long saddle design, a lightweight aluminium frame and Shimano 6-speed chainset. Oh, and the new Chopper doesn’t have the gearstick shifter of years gone by.

The 2015 Chopper follows the Mk 1 and Mk 2 Choppers of the 1970s, and several re-issues in the 2000s, including last year's limited edition Beano special

This version is gloss black with gold graphics that are designed to evoke memories of Formula 1 motor racing. 

“Big side burns, champagne-soaked podiums, BBC Grandstand, Murray Walker, burning rubber and big engines; these bad boys are set to tear up and down high streets this autumn,” say Raleigh. And we salute them for saying that.

The 2015 Chopper is set to retail for £250 and can be ordered via any Raleigh stockist. www.raleigh.co.uk.

37 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Agreed. The literally half-arsed saddle is a disgrace. The one with the white belt across was an iconic part of the original. It's akin to remaking the classic E-Type Jag and thinking 'Let's not bother remaking the spoked wheels.' Lazy and counter productive.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1059 posts]
15th August 2014 - 14:35

49 Likes

I was a Strika man, well boy. Broke my arm when I was 4 falling off that thing. Crying

posted by Beatnik69 [102 posts]
15th August 2014 - 15:09

43 Likes

Fail.

Sorry, but I thought the love for the original chopper was because it was a chopper. The seat, the gear stick etc, etc. Why go to all the trouble to do your own version? It's not for doing a sportive on, it's for messing around on your estate. No gear stick? Get out-a-here man.

Strange.

posted by ronin [142 posts]
15th August 2014 - 15:16

34 Likes

That is not a Chopper!
It's nothing like a Chopper. Either make a proper Raleigh Chopper or don't, but for crying out loud stop chucking the Chopper name at any bit of dross you want to make money out of At Wits End

posted by Binky [111 posts]
15th August 2014 - 15:22

31 Likes

Binky wrote:
That is not a Chopper!
It's nothing like a Chopper. Either make a proper Raleigh Chopper or don't, but for crying out loud stop chucking the Chopper name at any bit of dross you want to make money out of At Wits End

Well to be fair it's a bit like the mini. No it's not a real Mini because they stopped making the real ones when people stopped buying them. Like the Chopper really.

Let's call it a "Chopper(ish) shaped" item of memorabilia.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [638 posts]
15th August 2014 - 15:51

48 Likes

ronin wrote:
Fail.

Sorry, but I thought the love for the original chopper was because it was a chopper. The seat, the gear stick etc, etc. Why go to all the trouble to do your own version? It's not for doing a sportive on, it's for messing around on your estate. No gear stick? Get out-a-here man.

Strange.

Some of the very first Choppers didn't have a gear stick as they had no gears. 3 speed and 5 speed were "optional extras".

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [638 posts]
15th August 2014 - 15:56

41 Likes

truffy wrote:
I remember a mate slamming on the anchors and going THROUGH the handlebars. Oh how we laughed.

Argh, just remembered why we (and by "we" I mean the spectators, not my mate) laughed. As he lay on the ground in front of the bike, it didn't stop, travelled halfway up his back, then fell over. THEN we laughed.

Innocent times.

posted by truffy [330 posts]
15th August 2014 - 16:01

34 Likes

And does anyone remember the smaller version, the Chipper?

posted by truffy [330 posts]
15th August 2014 - 16:02

37 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
ronin wrote:
Fail.

Sorry, but I thought the love for the original chopper was because it was a chopper. The seat, the gear stick etc, etc. Why go to all the trouble to do your own version? It's not for doing a sportive on, it's for messing around on your estate. No gear stick? Get out-a-here man.

Strange.

Some of the very first Choppers didn't have a gear stick as they had no gears. 3 speed and 5 speed were "optional extras".

Next you're gonna be telling me that I don't need flares to ride one and afro's are optional Wink

One fact you don't know is, gear sticks are way faster than standard shifters - and that's the same for 3 or 5 speed.

posted by ronin [142 posts]
15th August 2014 - 16:31

39 Likes

parksey wrote:
Liking the Lotus-themed paintjob, but £250 for a retro toy is a bit steep.

Besides, I was the generation that had the Raleigh Burner BMX. If they remade that then it might be a different matter...

like this:

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/raleigh/mag-burner-replica-2011-bmx-...

still want one? They weren't really that great. I had one but always lusted after a PK Ripper or a Kuwahara.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [825 posts]
15th August 2014 - 16:57

41 Likes

No Sturmey Archer, no sale.

493rd in GC Fantasy TdF 2014

posted by Sanderville [215 posts]
15th August 2014 - 17:45

41 Likes

Aww...not the same if it's not like the Mk2.... It's gotta have a one piece loooong seat and stick shift sturmey!
Missed opportunity!

Philly Applause

philly's picture

posted by philly [16 posts]
15th August 2014 - 19:31

27 Likes

For the record, British Standards told Raleigh they couldn't produce the new Chopper in the original design for health and safety reasons. Raleigh did look into this before producing the new design. Obviously Raleigh loves the original design as much as everyone else - why would they change a classic unless they had to.

posted by billsdon [29 posts]
15th August 2014 - 19:37

31 Likes

Remember my bro breaking his Mk1 Chopper and the local agricultural engineer welding the frame back together. They don't build em like that these days......

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [267 posts]
15th August 2014 - 19:42

38 Likes

Back in the day, my mum bought me the Mk 1 in scarlet / orange. Seem to remember that she paid approx £30 for it which was roughly twice the going rate for a kids' bike back then.

It was a 30lb beast but it inspired a love of bikes in me which has lasted to this day. I'm now 53 and have never even had a driving lesson.

michophull's picture

posted by michophull [98 posts]
15th August 2014 - 20:00

34 Likes

The product range was Chipper, Tomahawk then Chopper... there was also the Chopper Sprint with drop handlebars!

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [365 posts]
15th August 2014 - 21:53

33 Likes

truffy wrote:
And does anyone remember the smaller version, the Chipper?

I had a purple one and my cousin had a red MK1 Chopper. The lasting memory of my Chipper is riding through the old shopping precinct in Bath, where Southgate now is, and attempting a wheelie and ending up flat on my back having flipped the bike which caused my merriment for my cousin and no sympathy from my father who just told me to get up off the floor.

Redvee's picture

posted by Redvee [73 posts]
16th August 2014 - 0:10

30 Likes

British Standards told them not to use Sturmey Archer? I don't believe it. Even if they could not have the castrating gear lever, the hub gears should have stayed.

posted by a.jumper [706 posts]
16th August 2014 - 8:42

31 Likes

we don't want this Raleigh, we want how it was, like the Mk 2 in the picture, brilliant bikes, I had exactly that bike, in the purple, fab. Stop faffing around with the seat, and the gear stick, and have it as it was ....

posted by Karbon Kev [677 posts]
16th August 2014 - 8:42

21 Likes

I had an original decided to take a mate on the back down a long fast hill in town, we all know the end of course crashed and burned. I actually passed out having picked myself off the ground, blood pouring from both elbows no skin now, and the same on tops of my pelvis (front).

A trip to the hospital where they cleaned the debris out more agony and daily trips back for the dressings to be ripped off, ah memories, the good old days Sick

I still loved it though it was the first bike I had ever owned that was new, closing my eyes I can still see it.

posted by 124g [15 posts]
16th August 2014 - 10:31

27 Likes

They should just leave it, I know they can't replicate the gear stick and banana saddle because if the standards, so it's never going to be the same.

Still a three speed thumb shift and a better saddle would help, the original was actually made by Brooks.

'This vehicle is not designed to carry passengers'

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [557 posts]
16th August 2014 - 11:15

20 Likes

They were awful. Difficult to ride out of the saddle up hills, terminally unstable going down, rubbish handling and braking and heavier than a heavy thing.

One of those "retro" items we should just quietly forget about.

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [63 posts]
16th August 2014 - 11:53

26 Likes

Bigfoz wrote:
They were awful. Difficult to ride out of the saddle up hills, terminally unstable going down, rubbish handling and braking and heavier than a heavy thing.

One of those "retro" items we should just quietly forget about.

I believe that the trick is to stay in the seat when going up hill...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNaqRgGOuQQ

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [423 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:29

38 Likes

They were truly awful, but that made an excellent training aid for future bike handling.

I managed to shear the handlebars off at the stem....going round a roundabout! My dad's welding repair and subsequent matt black painting of the bars lasted about 3 days.

That's one ultra violet mark 2 that ended up in the skip!

And 2nd gear always slipped into neutral.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [557 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:48

22 Likes

All this evokes for me are memories of the 'rich kid' in my street who of course was the only child to have a chopper bike.

Though in retrospect he was only 'rich' in the sense that 'posh spice' is posh. C2, C1 at best! I think his dad was actually a bus driver, but dammit his family were 'aspirational', he always had far more expensive stuff than the rest of us.

And thanks to him, this style of bike is now forever linked in my mind to casual racism. I concede this association might not be objectively justifiable.

It retrospectively cheers me greatly to read about how bad they were to actually ride!

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [684 posts]
16th August 2014 - 13:02

24 Likes

What could British Standard ( was a pair of initials ever so apt..?) have against the original one piece curved saddle?

Is it an attempt to stop 'backies' perhaps?

I had the sensible pale blue Raleigh 5 speed racer but my mate owned one and they were truly dreadful to steer. How a split saddle will improve steering I can't imagine.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1059 posts]
16th August 2014 - 15:49

11 Likes

Good ole H&S. I wonder if anyone can dig up an actual documented case of .. er .. Chopper castration?

posted by sidesaddle [70 posts]
16th August 2014 - 17:30

14 Likes

MercuryOne wrote:
What could British Standard ( was a pair of initials ever so apt..?) have against the original one piece curved saddle?

Is it an attempt to stop 'backies' perhaps?.

I believe it is, yes.

I'm sure they could sell one as a piece or art or an ornament and sign the risk over to the user to pledge not to ride it.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [557 posts]
17th August 2014 - 8:07

5 Likes

My mate David Neal had one of these and my mum banned me from riding it, because they were so dangerous. Of course I ignored her and had a spin down his long downhill drive on it, which ended with me having only about 20% of my skin left intact. I had to tell her I fell off MY bike, and I can remember my old man look from my perfectly intact bike to me and back, with a quizzical look on his face, but fair play, he kept his mouth shut.

posted by wayno265 [6 posts]
17th August 2014 - 10:42

12 Likes

I think they castrate the bollocks rather than the chopper...

posted by wayno265 [6 posts]
17th August 2014 - 10:43

10 Likes