The Modele Superbe X Frame had been the star of Raleigh catalogues, but was absent after 1932. 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 rare single-speed example was exported to Holland, where there had always been a healthy demand for cross frame bicycles.
1936 Raleigh ‘Modele Superbe’ X Frame
Black Enamel Finish with 22 ct Gold Leaf Lining
Frame No W50471
This very well-preserved 1936 Raleigh X Frame, resplendent in its original black enamel and 22 ct Gold Leaf lining, is a brother to the green X Frame I bought from my friend Daan in Holland …some days he rode green, and other days he rode black!
The transfers (decals) on the headstock and chaincase have survived intact, though the down tube one is unreadable. There’s a good transfer on the rear mudguard too. The bike has original box lining throughout.
The chrome is shiny; it has period matching block pedals and cushion saddle; there’s a rod-operated front hub brake; the machine 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
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.’
‘ONE GREAT GAY ROAD’
The 1930 Raleigh catalogue appears to be the last time that Raleigh calls its crossframe the Superbe, giving it prime position in the catalogue. By 1932 it was no longer the top-of-the-range model, but renamed the Irish Crossframe. So it would appear to have changed in 1931 or 1932.
I’m not sure current cycle catalogues would describe the British cyclist’s route as ‘one Great Gay Road.’ But, as you may read for yourself, the catalogue does invoke the pleasures of cycling in a charming manner.