with Mark Rich
Tell us how you fell in love with the Raleigh Chopper?
My first love of the Raleigh Chopper was as a child. Most of the bigger boys
in the park had one. I remember I had a Raleigh Chipper (Small Chopper Bike),
and one day I was allowed to have a go on a Raleigh Chopper.
The biggest thing that sticks in my mind was, how BIG the front wheel was. The
whole feel of if it, was great, (but then so were flared jeans in those days!),
the wide handle bars, the gears like a car, the long seat, the motorbike rear
wheel What more could a child want? I never had a Raleigh Chopper as a child,
as I went on to buy a racing bike.
In November 2001, I was using a search engine, on the internet,
to look something up, and there I saw the words "Raleigh Chopper". All
those memories came rushing back, and I thought I must own one.
I purchased quite a few Raleigh Choppers that month, and the first thing that
struck me was, how SMALL the front wheel was. I then spent a bit of time looking
at some great Raleigh Chopper websites, and decided to launch the Raleigh Chopper
Owners Club, as the previous club had finished 4 years earlier.
That did cause a bit of a stir with the long running fans of this bike, but I
think now, most people seem to be happy with the club. It has taken hours and
hours of work to get the club website up to the size it is today. We have been
lucky enough as a club, to have a day at the Raleigh Factory which was great,
and Raleigh could not have done more for us.
do you think is the worldwide appeal of the Chopper?
I believe the world wide appeal of the Raleigh Chopper is mainly because,
there had never been anything like a Chopper in the cycle world before, and what
with the whole theme of the 70's, plus the back up of the name Raleigh, (Which
is known world wide) it had to work. Even today, if there is anything on the news
to do with Raleigh, they always seem to mention the Raleigh Chopper.
the Chopper ever make a comeback?
There could never be a Raleigh Chopper as we all know it, as it would not
get through today's safety rules, and the cost of production would be high, as
most of the parts would be purely for that one bike. (You would never see one
of those Chopper seats on a mountain bike?) I do believe one day Raleigh will
have another Raleigh Chopper, totally different, if for no other reason, than
the name would be easy to market.
did the Chopper fall out of fashion?
I believe the Raleigh Chopper fell out of fashion, because of its weight,
and it was very slow. It had a good run from 1969-1980 and kids were looking for
any famous people own Choppers?
David James, England and West ham goal keeper, collects Raleigh Choppers,
and Richard Herring went on his comedy tour this year with a Raleigh Chopper.
Full details on the Owners Club website.
Send us your pictures of you and your Raleigh