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November 2002
Raleigh Chopper mad
Philip Danton and Mark Rich
Mark Rich and the Chairman of Raleigh 'Philip Darnton'.
One of Nottingham's greatest exports is the Raleigh chopper. Mark Rich is the head of the Raleigh Choppers Owners Club, read our interview with him below.
SEE ALSO
Send us your pictures for the gallery:

Raleigh Chopper gallery

Facts and stats about the Chopper:

Raleigh Chopper stats

Send your Raleigh stories and pictures of you and your Raleigh Chopper here.
WEB LINKS
Raleigh Choppers Owners Club

Raleigh Chopper Owners Club

Raleigh Chopper.net

Dream targets : Raleigh Chopper

Choppers extreme

Raleigh factory pictures

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.
FACTS

Raleigh was founded in 1888 when Sir Frank Bowden bought an interest in a small bicycle company on Raleigh Street in Nottingham, England.

Its early commercial success was based on quality machines raced by international cycling champions. By 1892 Raleigh led the world in bicycle racing success, winning over 2,300 prizes worldwide.

The Raleigh Chopper was designed by Alan Oakley in the late sixties.
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Interview 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.

What 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.
Could 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.  
Why 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 a change.
Do 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 Chopper.
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