The famous British bicycle brand Raleigh is set to make a comeback this year, with the legendary Chopper due to be relaunched in June. Built to match the original Mk2 released in 1972 as closely as possible, the newly-resurrected Raleigh is the product of meticulous research and careful product design.
Certain products become synonymous with an era. Raleigh is one of those special brands, alongside Slinkys and Space Hoppers, that have come to define the Seventies. For readers of a certain age, the legendary Mk2 Chopper will bring to mind memories of long, endless summers cycling through the streets or that yearning heartbreak that you never got to own one for yourself. Well, for now, that is.
That's because Raleigh's most well-known bicycle is making a return this June. The Raleigh Chopper, recognisable by its distinctive, towering handlebars and rear-positioned seat, is due to become available again in a matter of months. News of the re-release will surely be music to the ears of fans and collectors, who otherwise have to stump up a small fortune for original models on online auctions.
Bringing back a classic from yesteryear often involves a few tweaks to make it suitable for modern audiences, and the Raleigh Chopper is no exception. The one-piece saddle, mid-frame gear shifter and sissy bars are all present and correct, but the sissy bars have had to be lowered ever so slightly to meet legal requirements.
The decision to bring back the Chopper ties into the success of heritage remakes that Raleigh has seen in recent years. Crucial to these revivals, though, is painstaking attention to detail. To that end, Raleigh stayed true to its source material by using 3D modelling of original Mk2 bikes in order to produce CAD designs for the new frame.
The Nottinghamshire-based bicycle brand adds that it spent four years agonising over the details of its new Chopper to ensure that it is as special as its predecessor. From the decals to the CNC head tube, the working spring one-piece saddle to the one-piece handlebar and stem, everything has been carefully considered so that even people who can remember it back in the day will be satisfied. And yes, the working three-speed shifter unit is still made in the UK.
Lee Kidger, Managing Director at Raleigh, said, "The Raleigh Chopper is the most iconic bike Raleigh has ever made, arguably the most iconic bike in British history. Selling millions of units worldwide during the '70s, the Chopper cemented its place in British culture and, to this day, evokes a feeling of nostalgia for the era.
"This new model is as close as we could get to the original Mk2 released in 1972 while still meeting today's required standards. The Chopper is still seen by the Raleigh team as the jewel in the brand's crown. A legacy to be admired, protected, and never forgotten."
The new Choppers will be available in the bicycle's two original colours, namely infrared and ultraviolet. Available to buy online from the Raleigh shop on 20 June at noon, the limited edition run will be back compatible with spares from different Chopper models and retail for a cool £950. Start putting your pocket money aside now.