Image by Don't Panic via Wikimedia Commons.
The Raleigh bicycle company started making bicycles in Nottingham in 1887, but it wasn't until 1939 that the company's first dedicated bicycle factory opened. Key in reviving the company's fortunes in the 1970s was the Raleigh Chopper for children aged eight and older. It featured a car-like, frame-mounted gear stick, long padded seat and backrest, 40 cm (16 inch) front wheel, 50 cm (20 inch) rear wheel and high-rise handlebars. The Chopper went out of production in the late '70s and was reintroduced in 2004 and again in 2010.
"Infra red" with yellow decals was the first colour for Choppers and it has become the classic colour associated with them. This colour became "Hot Red" in 1979. According to the Everything Bicycling website, the Chopper's frame was built first and then the frame number was stamped on it. It was then booth-painted. Choppers were painted in batches of one colour, but the frame number is not an indication of colour. Once the paint had dried, decals were attached, depending on the colour of the frame and front forks.
Built to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977, the Raleigh Chopper Special Edition has become the single most sought-after Chopper model, because of its silver colour, which set it apart from other Choppers. The model was phased out after 1977.
With Chopper sales slowing in 1978, the company also added a black with prismatic graphics Chopper to the range, which continued and sold well right until the end of Chopper production in 1982. Between 1979 and 1982, the colour range was limited to "Hot Red," "Quick Silver," "Pearl Silver," "Space Blue" and black.
The girl's model Chopper in "Sharp Pink" was a failure and was discontinued quickly. Still, this model reportedly is the second most sought-after model because of its very limited production period and rarity.
- Image by Don't Panic via Wikimedia Commons.