I’m not sure how this bike came to have the distinctive name of ‘Raleigh’. Raleigh are the famous British manufacturer with a long and illustrious history who sponsored one of the top Pro cycle teams of the 1970s and 1980s. Recently, they have re-entered the high end road bike market to capitalise on their strong brand name. (see: Vintage Cycle Ads). This town shopper the ‘Raleigh Oxford, is quite the opposite to this high end market. Cheap components, one speed, and upright riding position A bold bid to enter the market for sub £200 town bikes.
It is heavy and slow just as a cheap town bike should be. The riding position is very upright, you almost feel like you’re sitting on a chair (except you’re not you are sitting on a small saddle). The saddle is actually well padded and is quite sufficient for the low duration rides it will be used for. The steering is a little harsh, turning the handlebars is difficult to do for small adjustments, it tends to be a bit fidgety.
A single speed means it’s nice and simple, there’s not much to do apart from pedal nice and slow and ‘amble’ around town.
The good news is that it comes ready to go. Mudguards, panniers, bell. Just jump on and you’re away. Except don’t try to pedal off without paying, as a quick shop assistant could probably soon catch up with you on foot.
I actually enjoyed riding it around Oxford. This is the way to cycle around this beautiful city – not on drop handlebars looking at all the potholes and state of the roads, but nice and slow – admiring the wonderful architecture.
The cheap tyres will be more prone to punctures, but apart from that the brakes work fine and there is not too much maintenance needed.
Would I Buy It?
I don’t think I could bring myself to spend so little on a bike. I couldn’t justify buying a bike when I’ve bought a saddle for twice the price.
Who Would Buy It?
Students wanting a cheap bike to ride within the Oxford ring road, and not particularly worried about it rusting away at the end of their three years at University.
It unfortunately reminds you of the Ammaco bikes from Cycle King. At least the Raleigh Oxford only has one gear so you don’t have to deal with the clunky 18 speed gear mechanism made out of plastic (OK, it’s not made out of plastic, but it looks like it is)
Is This A Good Marketing Strategy for Raleigh?
I tried to look at the Raleigh website for more technical specifications on the bike. I noticed there was no mention of this one speed delight. It even made me think perhaps some Chinese manufacturer slipped the Raleigh name on its bike and hoped no-one would notice.
Well, I can’t imagine BMW bringing out a three-wheelered version to appeal to the motorist who only wants to pay £1,000 for a new car. But, this is not cars, it’s bicycles and we all know a surprisingly large amount of people really think you should be able to get a bike for less than £100.
Well it does what is says on the tin. It’s cheap, and if you want to ride it 2 miles around Oxford, you’ll have a great time. Unfortunately, I won’t be doing a long term test on the bike. But, I do see many versions of this bike locked up around town.
A well used Oxford Raleigh.
The handlebars seem to rust, but it doesn’t stop it working. If you want a single speed under £170 it’s probably great value.
A similar price bracket is the Raleigh Urban – £179. This has 18 gears and is like a mountain bike based on AIRlite Aluminium frame