Raleigh reaches end of assembly road



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http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4375417,00.html
Raleigh reaches end of assembly road

British manufacturing's decline accelerates with closure of famous cycle plant.

Geoff Gibbs
Guardian

Saturday March 16, 2002

More than a century of bicycle assembly will come to the end of the road in Nottingham this year following the decision of one of the most famous names in British light manufacturing to bow to the effects of cheap far eastern competition.

Raleigh, which at its peak employed 8,000 people in the city, said it was finding it increasingly difficult to compete against imported finished bicycles from countries such as China and Taiwan.

"Advances in the quality and cost of cycles from the far eas t over the past two years, and the likelihood that this region will become even more competitive, mean that reinvestment in a new assembly plant in the UK cannot now be financially justified."

The European industry's position has been further weakened by the collapse of anti-dumping duties against several far eastern countries. Even with high tariffs in place, Chinese imports surged last year.

Mr Darnton said Raleigh remained committed to supplying quality cycles built to its own standards by partner suppliers overseas. He said the company would seek different suppliers for different types of bikes but refused to identify the countries from which they were likely to be sourced.

The company, which started life in Raleigh Street, Nottingham 116 years ago, expects to retain about 100 staff in its sales, distribution and design departments following the assembly shutdown, which is due to take place at the end of the year.
 

Vo2

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Aug 11, 2001
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The new SA Microsoft Pro team have just been kitted with Raleigh racers. Back to De Rosa for them by the looks of it.
 
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Have they ever produced top racing bikes before? The only bikes produced by them that I am aware of, was the bikes we used to ride as kids in the sixties and seventies and then the Western Flyer racing bike later on. I had a look at their bikes displayed at the Argus expo and it looks like nice bikes to me.
 
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"Have they ever produced top racing bikes before? "
Yes, and for many years. Old Raleigh racers are much prized and highly collectable, esp. in the U.S.
A web search would turn up lots of Classic Raleigh Racers.

"The new SA m$ Pro team have just been kitted with Raleigh racers. Back to De Rosa for them by the looks of it."

Not neccessarily. Framebuilding for overseas Raleighs has been contracted out before, to first class framebuilders, of course. The U.S. Raleigh team did this years ago.

"Raleigh reaches end of assembly road.
British manufacturing's decline accelerates with closure of famous cycle plant."

Very strange. I was under the distinct impression that the Raleigh site was sold off over a year ago. Sold to the Nottingham University.

"Raleigh said it was finding it increasingly difficult to compete against imported finished bicycles from countries such as China and Taiwan."

Raleigh cycles made in Taiwan and/or Japan have been available here for quite a few years. They appear to be just as good as anything else. It's the viewers perception and bias of the country of origin that either condemns or approves them.

"Mr Darnton refused to identify the countries from which they were likely to be sourced."

Why such secrecy? No surprises there - Taiwan? Korea? Japan? Thailand? Indonesia? Mexico?

"Raleigh at its peak employed 8,000 people."
That was a long time ago.

"The company expects to retain about 100 staff in its sales, distribution and design departments."

That's about 90 too many. With a new warehouse, only two people will be required: One to take 'phone orders and one to
drive the forklift, loading the bike cartons onto delivery vehicles. Oh, and eight manager/supervisors. Rising prices can be easily attributed to the high cost of transport.

This is a common scenario. A once-proud and mighty local manufacturer closes down local operations, and has their products made overseas. All that is then required is to set up a storeroom/warehouse with shelves and racks, and a high roller door to permit the entry of containers on semi-trailers, straight from the wharf.

It's hard to choose what to believe - American propaganda, Russian cold war propaganda, British propaganda, or the facts. It's the latter which are the most unpalatable.
 
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Willie. You probably remember Reg Harris? I believe British World Track Champ back in the early 1950s? Rode for Rayleigh?
 
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Yes, I've heard of Reg Harris. He's been out here at least once. No doubt about it, he was a formidable racer. I first heard of him about 1965, when older chaps still spoke of him with awe. He wasn't beaten very often - I think Russell Mockridge trounced him once, on the boards, but I'm not sure.
Cheers.
 

Alfaro

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Aug 17, 2003
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Raleigh is amongst a few "purebreed" bicycles. In fact they had a small Specialist Bicycle Developments Unit at Ilkeston, where custom handmade one of one kind frameset and bicycles were built under Gerald V. O'Donovan supervision and sometimes by himself.
Usually they were made of Reynolds 531 or 753, with the best components available.
As a sample the Raleigh 753 Pro Super was possible the best frame ever made by Raleigh, you can see it at: http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/Catalogs/Raleigh84/ral84_15.jpg

In Raleigh framesets were won several World Road Championships the latest in 1978 and 1979, at least one Tour of france of 1980. Also Raleigh pioneered the lugless frames, titanium and aluminum, composites, metal matrix and many, many improvements long before than any other bicycling company in the world. Raleigh has a truly rich history, and every bicycle made today has at least some feature than can be owed to Raleigh.

No many bicycle makers can make such a claim!
 

hohobike

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They used to make top of the line frames in the
70's and early 80's. I used to ride a Professional.
Reynolds 531 tubing with Campy Record. It was
a very good bike, top of the line, at those times.
 

HellonWheels

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Originally posted by hohobike
They used to make top of the line frames in the
70's and early 80's. I used to ride a Professional.
Reynolds 531 tubing with Campy Record. It was
a very good bike, top of the line, at those times.


This is sad news, Raleigh closing down. I own a Raleigh my father bought for me in the mid 1970s...its my first adult bike, a 3 speed, black. I still have it.
 

ireman_1

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My first "real" mountain bike was a raleigh "John Tomac" edtion with the then "new" Rock Shocks Mag 21 and natural colored tioga tires!!!!!! I loved that bike, a lot. I rode the hell out of it. Kept upgrading it (forks, shifters, etc) I killed the frame one day messing around doing some urban assault junk. I keep the frame out of sentiment. I don't think I'd ever get rid of it. Thanks for this posting. I love thinking how much that bike made me fall in love with crashing. Ride on and keep the rubber side down.

K.
 

JohnO

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What a shame - my first two bikes were Raleighs - bought one used in late 1975 when I had just started college. Green/black frame, with the name in script, and a steel Stronglight crankset. It was an old bike, even then.

Followed that on with a cherry red 531 frame (not the team pro, just an intermediate frameset) a year later, which I built up with slightly better components. Back then, oriental frames were flexy flyers. If you wanted a serious bike, it was either British, Italian, or maybe French.

Those Raleighs and I traversed most of South Florida at one time or another in the late 70's. Those were the days - not a lot of responsibility or worries, just me and the road.
 

rob12

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Aug 2, 2003
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"Have they ever produced top racing bikes before? "


Yeah, I have an 80's road bike that was built in the U.S.

First they built in England, then tried USA for a few years, later Japan, now taiwan. I hear they are moving into mainland China next. It's just a name now like everything else.

Local bike shop guys will try to tell you there is no difference. I always say "really? This bike made in Taiwan by someone for 20-50 cents and hour is as good as a bike built in the USA, Japan, Italy, or France." they said yes. Then I point out that Taiwan is booming and people quit and go to work for the factory next door. With huge employee overturn rates qualty sucks. They tell me I am wrong. Whatever, I worked a company that makes **** in Taiwan and China. Quality control sucks to the point where much more is dead on arrival then when it was made in the states. Many of the local companies here with a high turn over rate build ****. I don't see what makes Tawian special.
 

HellonWheels

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Originally posted by rob12
"Have they ever produced top racing bikes before? "


Yeah, I have an 80's road bike that was built in the U.S.

First they built in England, then tried USA for a few years, later Japan, now taiwan. I hear they are moving into mainland China next. It's just a name now like everything else.

Local bike shop guys will try to tell you there is no difference. I always say "really? This bike made in Taiwan by someone for 20-50 cents and hour is as good as a bike built in the USA, Japan, Italy, or France." they said yes. Then I point out that Taiwan is booming and people quit and go to work for the factory next door. With huge employee overturn rates qualty sucks. They tell me I am wrong. Whatever, I worked a company that makes **** in Taiwan and China. Quality control sucks to the point where much more is dead on arrival then when it was made in the states. Many of the local companies here with a high turn over rate build ****. I don't see what makes Tawian special.


I agree. One of the 3 speed bikes I have is a Drake, which is a Raleigh-made-in-India. My dad bought it for me in I think 1974, it was my first "grown up" bike. I still have it and use it.

The parts are all British-made, but I guess it was assembled in India because of cheap labor. I've been advised by a guy I know who is an expert in 3 speeds that its really a Raleigh, just assembled outside the UK. I love the thing, it has lasted me all these years without a problem. 3 speeds rule!
 

menny

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Nov 20, 2001
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I'm still riding my RaleighTomac Special upgraded several times
The latest upgrade being a cane creek suspension seatpost.
I will probably have the bike forever. I love it!
Menny
Originally posted by ireman_1
My first "real" mountain bike was a raleigh "John Tomac" edtion with the then "new" Rock Shocks Mag 21 and natural colored tioga tires!!!!!! I loved that bike, a lot. I rode the hell out of it. Kept upgrading it (forks, shifters, etc) I killed the frame one day messing around doing some urban assault junk. I keep the frame out of sentiment. I don't think I'd ever get rid of it. Thanks for this posting. I love thinking how much that bike made me fall in love with crashing. Ride on and keep the rubber side down.

K.
 

ohiojeff

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Sep 10, 2003
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i have a raleigh fram hanging on my wall. it served me well, a good ol' steel bike from yesterday, but not spaced for all the new garbage out. left over from pre-indexing days. stays too tight to take any new hubs without bending it, so i guess it just outlived it's time. good bikes from a time before the asian's became kings of components and low cost frames.
 

RalleighOke

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Jan 29, 2003
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I think Raleigh is back on track again. They have just released their new range of Road, MTb and Fitness bikes in SA. You can even go view them.

www.raleigh.co.za

And imo it is still the best buy. high quality products and unbeatable prices....I almost sound like a salesman. :D
 

OHsingltrakr

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Sep 29, 2003
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Originally posted by ohiojeff
i have a raleigh fram hanging on my wall. it served me well, a good ol' steel bike from yesterday, but not spaced for all the new garbage out. left over from pre-indexing days. stays too tight to take any new hubs without bending it, so i guess it just outlived it's time. good bikes from a time before the asian's became kings of components and low cost frames.
There's typically several older Raleigh's on ebay at any given time, and most sell inexpensively. Buy one for parts and build up that "ol' steel bike". They're still fun on a nice fall day.
 

kubio

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Dec 5, 2003
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I have a Raleigh (which I ride) and I'm looking for more information about this bike. I have no idea how old it is, but the stronger I get, the better it seems to me. It has downtube shifters, and Shimano 105 components. On the frame is a sticker with the words Aluminum PRO Composite.
picture available here http://www.bikejournal.com/images/kubioraleigh.jpg
Can anyone shed some light? Any information appreciated.
kubio
 

Alnamvet

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Aug 17, 2003
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Originally posted by RalleighOke
I think Raleigh is back on track again. They have just released their new range of Road, MTb and Fitness bikes in SA. You can even go view them.

www.raleigh.co.za

And imo it is still the best buy. high quality products and unbeatable prices....I almost sound like a salesman. :D

Nice specs on the '04 mtb's...loads of xtr and Richey stuff...problem I have is with South Afrika, it's denial of the AIDS pandemic, policy of violent gov't sponsored take over of private property...this place makes the streets of the South Bronx look like nirvana. How in the world did Raleigh get from Britain to SA? That's like Ford going to Kandajar:confused:
 

RalleighOke

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Originally posted by Alnamvet
Nice specs on the '04 mtb's...loads of xtr and Richey stuff...problem I have is with South Afrika, it's denial of the AIDS pandemic, policy of violent gov't sponsored take over of private property...this place makes the streets of the South Bronx look like nirvana. How in the world did Raleigh get from Britain to SA? That's like Ford going to Kandajar:confused:

Hi Alnamvet,

One, AIDS is becoming more aware. They did a recent survey in the Finance Sector (more than 3500 people). More than 90% are aware of AIDS and what it is.

As for the Land Reform....I think you are ref. to Zimbabwe (spit, spit). In SA we also have Land reforming taken place, but the farmers are paid for their land (I know this because my Father-In-Law was also a farmer).

As for the Raleigh in SA...No idea, I just know that they do ship them in from the UK.

Cheers.