1979 All-Chrome Raleigh Superbe Roadster
Three-Speed Sturmey Archer Gears
Raleigh embossed Saddle
Raleigh handlebar grips
This is a top-of-the-range Raleigh used for exhibitions and shop displays, and similar to the ‘Boss Bike’ manufactured for the African market.
From the Penguin Book of the Bicycle by R.Watson and M.Gray (1978):
‘By far Raleigh’s largest single foreign market is Nigeria. The cornerstone of African cycling is still the heavy-duty roadster. They are country cousins to the British Raleigh Superbe. We admired the roadster with two-inch balloon tyres and, most of all, the ‘boss bike’, an all-chromium-plated Superbe Roadster, a glittering status symbol.’
I bought this All-Chrome in 2007. A friend insisted on buying it from me a few years ago; he recently gave up cycling so I bought all his bikes (ie bikes I used to own).
The chrome is a little tarnished here and there. A good polishing would help it shine. If you want to turn it into a display bike, you could also replace a few components with new shiny parts.
The All-Crome is one of the rarest Raleigh models, and is ideal for both a collector looking for investment and a bike rider who likes to stand out from the crowd.
According to the head-badge it was made in Nottingham rather than in the Raleigh factory in Kano, Nigeria.
The difference between a British All-Chrome display Raleigh and its African cousin?
– This one has a Sturmey Archer 3-Speed hub (dated 1979) rather than the coaster brake which was fitted to the Nigerian-built models. African Raleighs also had 2″ balloon tyres, while this has standard 28″ x 1 1/2.
This All-Chrome was perhaps made for the German market, as I’ve seen mention of them being in German catalogues of the early 1980s.
Or it might have been used in Great Britain for exhibitions and shop displays by a Raleigh cycle agent.
THE CALL OF THE ROAD
Raleigh exported bicycles to the Commonwealth countries in Africa from the earliest days. The advert below is from 1927. Mr. A.J. Cook, aged 17, rode from Cape Town to Johannesburg in 28 days, on a Raleigh bought in 1900 and in continuous use ever since. In a tradition inherited from earlier days of intrepid British explorers, vehicle manufacturers often illustrated long journeys on their products to promote their reliability and sturdiness: “Only the All-Steel bicycle can endure such wear and tests, and all the time be running so easily. That is why it can be and is GUARANTEED FOR EVER.”