Dating raleigh bicycles serial
This phased out the mass off brand imports and instead stressed selling only Raleigh brands (including Rudge and Humber) through an extended network of carefully selected dealers serviced by regional distribution centres.
In 1966, 132,000 "real" Raleighs were sold increasing to 153,000 the following year all at substantially greater profit margins and expanding Raleigh's brand recognition as well.
It not only had the reputation among clubmen that Raleigh lacked, but its product and production offered an unusual but very effective means of selling "custom made" bicycles within a set range of options and features that gave most of the benefits of a truly bespoke frame, but at a lower price point. So it was that in March 1960 that Raleigh acquired all of the share capital of Carlton Cycles Ltd.
Such was its reputation and capability, that Carlton's name, design and manufacturing capacity (at Worksop, 24 miles from Raleigh's Nottingham's works) was not only retained but expanded to be the centre of all high-end racing bike and Reynolds 531 production for the whole of the Raleigh "empire" which now included all of British Cycle Corporation's brand and markets.
In production from 1971 to 1981 with no fewer than four "marks" or versions, the Professionals Marks II-IV were built by Carlton in Worksop rather than by Raleigh in Nottingham and were essentially rebadged variants of the Carlton Giro d'Italia frame.
The final version and also Worksop-built, the Mark V, was based on the Tour de France winning Raleigh Team machines built by the SBDU.
Moreover, starting in 1963 Carlton fielded its own racing team, Carlton-BMB (British Manufactured Bearings), comprised of George Shaw, Michael Coupe, Mike Harpham and Sean Ryan.
Based on the vagaries of competing corporate marketing goals, the team would be variously called Carlton-BMB or Raleigh-BMB (1966, 1968) and in 1967 George Shaw became manager and the squad, composed of such star riders as Bob Addy, Bernard Burns and Arthur Metcalf, tallied 40 first-place wins in road, track and cyclo-cross competition. Owned by Raleigh since the previous year, the marque is still marketed under its original name.
Worse, there were Mark II, III and Mark IVs all built the same year and Mark IIIs portrayed as Mark IVs in the 1972 catalogue, etc. Founded in 1898 by Fred Hanstock in the village of Carlton, Nottinghamshire, Carlton Cycles moved to Worksop in 1934 and began to concentrate solely on lightweight club and racing cycles.Any racing enthusiast who wants the very best will find this custom-built bicycle completely satisfying.The frame geometry assures a lively and responsive performance.Indeed, Raleigh was so wedded to the hub gear through its ownership of Sturmey-Archer that it was ill-served when the derailleur came to dominate sports and racing cycling.
Moreover as the epitome of bicycle mass production, Raleigh had little penetration of the discerning club market which always favoured small independent bespoke frame builders.Even more than most Raleigh models of this era, dating and identifying Professionals can be a bit of a minefield especially if one falls into the "brochure trap" of trying to reconcile production machines with the blandishments of a paper brochure.