At a time when the whole world is suffering from financial chaos and trade depression, we feel a special pride in being able this year to announce a substantial reduction in the price of all Raleigh bicycles. Realising the need at this critical period of a stimulant to trade, and the provision of employment for the thousands of British workpeople, it was decided to bring our prices well within limits of the sadly depleted purchasing ability of the public.
Headful of our worldwide reputation for products only of the very first class, we emphasise that, in spite of the reductions, the quality – always associated with the Raleigh – has been fully maintained, and again we renew for the ‘All-Steel’ Raleigh our world-famous ‘Forever’ guarantee.
Introduction to the 1932 Raleigh catalogue; October, 1931
The most noticeable result of Raleigh’s price-cutting because of the Great Depression, was the absence of the Modele Superbe X Frame, which had previously received star-billing in all Raleigh catalogues. From now on, it was not heavily promoted, though it was advertised in some years’ catalogues as either the ‘Service Model’ or ‘Irish X Frame.’ There was still some demand for it, however, from overseas: Raleigh were able to reduce its production price by exporting it in parts for local assembly, so they continued to supply it for special order in this way until all the old parts were used up.
This example was exported to Holland, where there had always been a healthy demand for cross frame bicycles.
1934 Raleigh Tourist X Frame
Green Enamel Finish with 22 ct Gold Leaf Lining
Sturmey Archer ‘Model AB8’ 3-Speed Gear with Hub Brake
Sturmey Archer Dynohub Lighting Set
Frame No U54463
I found this top condition 1934 Raleigh X Frame, in its original green enamel and 22 ct Gold Leaf lining, in Holland. It seems that even after Raleigh stopped advertising the X Frame in England, they continued to export them to Europe.
Coincidentally, earlier this year I had purchased a similar bike, with frame number #U54464. This one is frame number #U54463 – it is extremely unusual to come across bicycles with consecutive frame numbers.
This one is in much better condition than its ‘brother.’ It was kept as a display bike for many years. The paintwork is 100% original, with all its transfers (decals): on the headstock, rear mudguard, chaincase and also two on the down tube. One says ‘The All Steel’ and the other, at the top, reveals that this particular ‘Export Model’ was marketed as a ‘Tourist.’ The saddle has been replaced; the wheels and hubs and other chrome parts are excellent; it is in good mechanical condition and is ready to ride.
1936 RALEIGH CATALOGUE
The RALEIGH ALL-STEEL ‘IRISH’ CROSS-FRAME POLICE MODEL
The duties of the Force demand more than a mere ‘push-bike’ – supreme strength, easy running and unfailing reliability, in short the new Raleigh ‘Police Model.
Note the specially constructed steel ‘X’ frame. This added strength will meet the demand of the hardest service it is possible to give to a bicycle. But throughout it will maintain its flexibility. Bearings are specially hardened and accurately ground to ensure silken running. Raleigh brakes are a revelation in their smoothness and efficiency, while Raleigh chrome plating and special rust-proof enamelling make the All Steel bicycle ideal for all-weather riding.
No matter how much you pay, money cannot buy a better bicycle – the Raleigh is the standard by which all bicycles are judged.
– The Raleigh Cycle Co Ltd, 35 Lower Abbey St, Dublin
While the Raleigh X Frame was sold in Holland as a top model, in Ireland it was downgraded to a cheap utility machine, painted black without pin-striping, and without gears.
The Irish X Frame model, as its name implies, has been specially designed for use on the reputably bad roads often to be found in Ireland, or where the ground to be continually traversed is of a broken and exceedingly rough nature, thereby necessitating a frame of somewhat more substantial and stronger character than is usual.
The ‘Model Superbe’ Crosss-Frame had been Raleigh’s top-of-the-line model since 1900 but, by the early 1930s, the company started to phase it out. As it still appeared under other guises for several years, I suspect that it was available by special order. It was subsequently renamed the Police Model, as you can see below, and no longer given prime billing in the catalogue.
It also appeared in Raleigh catalogues as the ‘Irish X-Frame’ – The special X formation used gives it the additional strength exactly where it is needed, and the machine readily stands up to the hardest of hard going. The adverts below show Raleigh’s Dublin address as well as Nottingham.
According to the book The Story of the Raleigh Cycle, the Irish government launched its ‘Industrial Programme’ in the thirties to encourage firms to employ local labour. So Raleigh formed the Irish Raleigh Cycle Co Ltd in October, 1936, ‘though its factory was only really an assembly plant and did not actually manufacture bicycles. The factory became operational early in 1937 and an average of 1000 machines per week were put together there until the outbreak of the Second World War.’
1934 RALEIGH X FRAME #U54464
Here is the ‘brother’ Raleigh X Frame to #U54463. It’s extremely unusual to discover two machines that were alongside each other in the factory 81 years ago.