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TECH NEWS

Dawes ends Galaxy touring bike line after 49 years

Iconic tourer a victim of low sales and massive demand for other bikes, says Dawes

Bike maker Dawes has discontinued the classic Galaxy range of touring bikes, bringing to an end a model that has been a favourite of touring cyclists since its introduction in 1971.

Gary Conway, senior product manager at Dawes parent company The Tandem Group, told road.cc in an email: "It’s with a heavy heart that the decision was made to discontinue the Galaxy range for 2021. Over the past few years sales have declined to a point where they were no longer feasible."

dawes-classic-galaxy-531-2015-touring-bike-green-EV238302-6000-1.jpg
The 2015 Galaxy Classic blended retro styling with modern components

Cycle touring has always been a fairly small part of the cycling universe, and in the last few years the Galaxy must have come under considerable pressure from the new breed of gravel and adventure bikes and the trend of super-lightweight 'bikepacking'. If you can strap bags to any bike, why buy a dedicated tourer optimised for racks and panniers?

The Galaxy will be missed nevertheless. Conway says: "Typically however, since that decision was taken I’ve received numerous emails asking about the range and some very disgruntled members of the public who it seems had been saving up for years to finally bite the bullet and buy a Galaxy."

FS 1984 Dawes Super Galaxy Touring Commuter Reynolds 531

A 1984 Dawes Super Galaxy Touring bike from a road.cc small ad by Chris_P_Bacon

During its 49-year run, the Galaxy was available in a huge range of configurations. Early examples, like the 1984 model above, had frames in Reynolds 531 steel, centre-pull brakes and gear systems capable of being set up with very low ratios even if they didn't necessarily come that way.

Centre-pull brakes were necessary to reach round 1 1/4-inch tyres and mudguards but didn't actually work very well, and soon gave way to first cantilevers and then disc brakes. The mountain bike boom of the late 1980s made gear systems with triple chainsets available, and many Galaxy models through the 90s and on sported triples, like the Super Galaxy we tested in 2012.

Dawes 2012 Super Galaxy in size Small

2012 Dawes Super Galaxy — a classic 'steel frame with cantilevers and triple chainset' configuration

While steel was the material of choice and tradition for most Galaxy models, there were aluminium-framed bikes at the cheaper end in the last few years and a luxury titanium version that cost a cool three grand in 2009.

2009 Dawes Ultra Galaxy titanium

2009 Dawes Ultra Galaxy titanium. Shiny!

There were Galaxy tandems too, a popular choice among tandemists whose budget didn't stretch to custom frames or high-zoot American models.

However, the Galaxy story might not be completely over.  

"We do intend on bringing the Galaxy name back in a year or two," says Conway. In a way it's been yet another victim of the chaos of 2020. Bike suppliers are flat-out trying to keep current models in stock.

"Development is taking longer than usual while everyone is doing all that they can to keep up with demand on current models," says Conway.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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