1910 Raleigh Ladies Bicycle

1910 Raleigh Ladies Light-Weight No. 17 Bicycle


The Raleigh Number 17 has 26″ wheels, light tyres, saddle and other fittings, being ‘specially designed for slender riders who do not need the comparatively heavy fittings of a full roadster, and for youthful athletic riders who like fast pace.’

With standard fittings, the Number 7 (the Gents equivalent) weighs 28 lbs, and the Lady’s slightly heavier.


Most bicycles 100 years ago were heavyweight machines. Transportation had previously been a male preserve. But women increasingly enjoyed the independence that a bicycle represented.

This new era of personal transportation was the biggest single factor to inspire the suffragette movement.

And new models like this Raleigh Light-Weight showed that the cycle industry acknowledged the importance of their female customers.



The Lucas Revolving Dome Bell is an interesting feature.



But the most intriguing aspect of this Light-Weight Raleigh is the leather chain-case. Considering chain-cases generally receive quite a battering during their lifetime, and many metal ones are replaced or removed, it’s remarkable that this delicate leather one still exists 100 years later.


During this bicycle’s restoration, the chain-case has been removed, cleaned and treated. New windows have been stitched into it. It’s ready for its next 100 years.

I’m unaware of any previous study of 100-year-old leather bicycle chain-cases. So I hope this might inspire some future interest in the subject.






Press Club, Birmingham, July 5th, 1911 – I have had my machine for 4 1/2 years and it shows no sign of deterioration. Beyond ordinary wear and tear incidental to all, it has needed no repair. Not only does the machine outwardly look well, but it runs as silently as ever. I have cycled all my life, but a sounder, safer, or swifter cycle I could not desire. W.J.G. Redpath









This lady’s saddle is particularly ornate.



The Leatheries Ltd, of Sampson Road North, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, was one of many saddle makers of the period. They were taken over by Brooks Saddles Ltd in the thirties.



This beautiful Raleigh was in a sorry state when I bought it. Its restoration was carried out over the past year by my dear friend Tony H in Gosport, and is a credit to his patience, perseverance and dedication to vintage bicycles. The bike now has good brakes, greased bearings, rustproofed wheels, is fully oiled. And it rides very well.

As you can see from the chart, it’s 1909-1910.




Photo locations: Lewes and Alfriston, Sussex.