The relaunch by Raleigh of the Chopper bike, which had its heyday in the Seventies, received much coverage last week. The original Choppers were ridden by tough kids. They used the "ape-hanger" handlebars, the stick-shift and the generally preposterous riding posture to suggest that, for them, effete cycling would soon give way to something more motorised. Of all the features of cycling in the Seventies, the Chopper is not the first one I would have brought back. From a purely aesthetic point of view, I'd like to see the return of black steel cycle clips rather than fiddly, reflective "trouser bands".
Plenty of Fish
The Raleigh Chopper Owners Club
Note that the serial number information below is fragmentary and incomplete, and many bikes have proven to be much newer than the serial numbers would suggest. It appears that Raleigh recycled many of the older serial numbers in later years, so there are lots of bikes from the 60s and 70s that have serial numbers that would suggest much greater age. Most older Sturmey-Archer hubs have two or three-letter model codes, which are usually stamped onto the hub shell. Conveniently, they also usually have the month and the last two digits of the year of manufacture stamped onto the shell. This is the easiest way to date a 3-speed bicycle, if it has its original rear wheel. Some of the mid's straight gauge frames had serial numbers starting with a single letter which was towards the end of the alphabet. A, followed by four numerals
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