Mark I Raleigh Chopper Bicycle

Contributed by Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

A 1970 Raleigh Chopper formerly housed in the Raleigh Factory Museum in Nottingham © NCMG

This design classic of the 1970s was redesigned several times to overcome handling problems and was relaunched in 2004.Designed in the late 1960s by Raleigh employee Alan Oakley, [although some contest it was the work of Tom Karen of the Ogle] the Chopper was a departure from the standard bicycle design. Made specifically for children and incorporating the radical new long 'Polo' seat, wide tyres with coloured line decoration, a three speed gear stick and a distinctive frame, it was available in a variety of colours. All these traits helped to make it one of the most popular and much desired bikes of the 1970s, a design classic of its time. The Chopper, however, was not without problems, particularly regarding the handling, as the centre of gravity had been moved further back than usual. Several redesigns reduced the impact of these issues. However, with the rise of the BMX, the Chopper fell out of favour. In 1984 production ceased but not before 1.5 million had been sold. In 2004, with 1970s nostalgia in the air, Raleigh revived the model.

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  • 2 comments
  • 1. At 20:59 on 21 May 2010, salty wrote:

    I Bought a Chopper bike when I was a teenager, I had a paper round to pay weekly payments to the Catalogue company.
    It was one of the best bikes of the time, and you could lower the handle bars, so you looked cooler. used to really enjoy riding the Bike.

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  • 2. At 12:02 on 23 October 2010, Ken Holmes wrote:

    Wonderful. I had a ''Pseudo Chopper'' made by Edwardes Bicycles in Camberwell Green. Choppers were the real thing though. Thanks for sharing.

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