Raleigh Chopper - Cool or Not?

skyd0g Posts: 2,540
edited April 2010 in The bottom bracket
Following on from the 'Cool Wall' for the Kia Wardrobe, I thought this icon of the Seventies would be a worthy of a discussion.
Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you the Raleigh Chopper.

Now, amongst many out there this is possibly the first 'proper bike' that they had without stabilisers. It may also be the one on which they had their first kiss, or gave their first 'seater' and so may hold a special place in their hearts. You may therefore suppose that this would easily make it onto the cool wall.

Personally, I would put this bke as 'un-cool'. For those who actually remember this bike, you may recall its weight, it was as heavy as an over-occupied wendy house with similar aerodynamic qualities. It was probably the first bike that would have given you a taste of speed wobble - at any speed over 12mph due to its tubby miniscule front wheel. And then there's that gear-lever - how many gentlemen out there can recall slipping forwards on the banana seat and discovering the most delicate part of their anatomy in close contact with the handily placed lever? It is a bike that truely put form over function.

However, the reason I would class it as uncool is that it was the bike to have and at a stroke it made the 'racer' old hat.
Cycling weakly


  • Alinshearah
    Alinshearah Posts: 339
    cool. end of
  • Smokin Joe
    Smokin Joe Posts: 2,706

    Just because you lost your cherry in the back of an Austin Aleggro does not make it a cool car. Similar with the Raleigh Chopper, whatever it did for you at the time it is still an embarrassing pile of shite.
  • My parents couldn't afford a Chopper, so I had the gearless Scrambler - similar style in a hideous orange colour. Therefore, the Chopper was a thing of beauty and desire, so definitely cool. How on earth can you compare an iconic design with something as dross as an Allegro? However, the Austin 1100 / 1300 predecessor most certainly was / is cool.
  • Smokin Joe
    Smokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    How on earth can you compare an iconic design with something as dross as an Allegro? .
    My dog's just done an iconic design in the back garden.

    But it ain't art.
  • Art is not necessarilycool. Ugly can be cool. In fact anything could be, its a matter of the vibe it generates.
  • Smokin Joe
    Smokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    If a vehicle is to be considered cool, it has to work as well as look good. A Ducati is cool because it is fantastic to ride, a Harley is only cool to the easily impressed, a joke to serious bikers.

    Choppers just didn't work.
  • I think I have to come down on the 'not cool' side.

    Loved the bike at the time, got me into riding, but it is iconic of the 70's and as everyone knows (especially the people that lived through them) the 70's were not cool.
  • COOL
  • verylonglegs
    verylonglegs Posts: 4,019
    Uncool for me. A bike best forgotten about.
  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Uncool - maybe not in the 70s but definitely now. An Allegro on the other hand is cool - I had one in beige with a vinyl roof about 10 years ago, £50 from some old boy, lasted about 3 months and every time I started it there was a cloud of smoke that enveloped the street. It was quite a nice drive though so long as you didn't want to get anywhere fast.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Lancslad
    Lancslad Posts: 307
    We couldnt afford a chopper so I was given its baby brother instead a tommahawk it had no gears but was great for wheelies.

    Choppers are uncool tommahawks are cool.

    Novice runner & novice cyclist
    Specialized Tricross
    Orbea (Enol I think)
  • Learnt to ride a bike on a chopper. Seriously uncool though

    £1.25 for sign up http://www.quidco.com/user/491172/42301

    Cashback on wiggle,CRC,evans follow the link
  • AndyD2574
    AndyD2574 Posts: 1,034

    I want one..................but one of teh originals
    Specialized S Works Venge
    Argon18 E114
    Specialized Langster Single Speed
    Scott Spark Expert 29'er
    GT Avalanche
  • Dunk_911
    Dunk_911 Posts: 239
    you aint seen a chopper till youve seen this;


    That is ajem of a site, enjoy fellas.
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Cool now, not in the seventies which was why I posted it on the other thread. Because they are rare you can't ride one and so the myth perpetuates. I always wanted a Laverda Jota motorbike and thought they were supercool, until I rode one and realised what apile of junk they were.
  • Frank the tank
    Frank the tank Posts: 6,553
    Bloke was parked up outside my local last week with an original chopper in almost mint condition.

    I told him as a child I always wanted one but they were £36.00 and my parents couldn't afford one, I'd have loved one.

    The thing is as a bike they're not very practical, in fact, they were machines of torture, but every kid wanted one. Great marketing by raleigh.

    So I would say cycling purists, put the practicalities to one side and appreciate it for what it is a childs toy. I would still love to own one even if it was only to look at it hanging up on the garage wall.

    The owner of the said bike addmitted it was not a very comfy ride but no way would he part with it. Steel tubes and all.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • guilliano
    guilliano Posts: 5,495
    My Raleigh Budgie was better, but I was too small for a chopper. Then when I graduated it was to a Strika! They were cool!!!
  • Stewie Griffin
    Stewie Griffin Posts: 4,330
    Uncool. Terrible bikes to look at and to ride. As a former grifter owner (and they weighed a ton) I would enjoy a belly laugh at any of my mates with a chopper who suggested a swap for the day.

    To top it off, I learnt to drive in an orange allegro and I wasnt ever as embarrassed as I was while on a chopper :lol: .
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Oh wow very, very cool. I had mine in 1973 when i was 10. Mk II in purple. Fu$k was it cool. I came off it twice which resulted in stitches both times and still have the scars to prove it, but I loved that bike ....... the Grifter wasn't nearly as good. Or cool .....
  • mocev
    mocev Posts: 9
    I'd have to say "un-cool". As was the Grifter.
    Neither could compare with the back-breaking weight of the first bike I ever thought was cool - the Raleigh Vektar.
    My brother was lucky enough to win one in the Xmas edition of the Barnsley Chronicle and for the next two months (until rain frazzled the computer), he'd cruise around firing lasers at people and forming everybody within earshot of the current temperature and his average speed..

    As you can see, it hasn't aged at all...

  • mtb-idle
    mtb-idle Posts: 2,179
    it was something that raised a fuss with the establishment at the time so was therefore 'cool'

    What do i mean? Loads of newspaper articles and news stories about how 'unsafe' they were.

    I took my cycling proficiency course on mine (do they still call it that?) and was told 'if you stand up at any point on the test that's an instant fail'.

    all b*llsh*t as usual from authority figures. i loved mine.

    Here's the only picture I can find of my mum cleaning mine. You can probably guess it's an original pic from my mum's awesome 70's style (no, of course I didnt clean my own bike back then, I was ten!)

    FCN = 4
  • toontra
    toontra Posts: 1,160
    A guy on the CTC forum is doing Land's End - John o'Groats on an original Chopper with very few modifications next month. Oh, and he'll also be towing a trailer!

    a serious case of small cogs
  • Buckled_Rims
    Buckled_Rims Posts: 1,648
    I was in my teens when the chopper came out and I loved it. My mum and dad never bought me one, but my friend got his and it was so cool in those days. I just loved to ride on it.

    It was cool then, and it's cool now...but only for short trips :lol:
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • rwsbike971
    rwsbike971 Posts: 40
    edited April 2010
    Uncool; I remember some of my mates having Raleigh Choppers, but I thought they were horrible to ride, as I was used to riding a 'proper' bike. The 'gears' were next to useless and I remember the forks had a habit of bending forward if you landed hard from a wheelie, which could lock the front wheel and send you sliding forward off the seat straight onto the gearstick - ouch!
    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
  • My brother had a Chopper in the early 70's. He was really into his electrical sets (can you still get those?) and festooned his Chopper with light bulbs powered by several HP2 batteries connected by acres of wire strapped to the frame with insulation tape. His piece de resistance was a huge garden cane lashed to the sissy bar with a flashing bulb stuck on top. What a complete tool I thought as we roamed the streets feral like in the autumnal evenings with my bro and his Chopper lit up like a Blackpool tram. I never envisaged that over three decades later I would be riding a bike with numerous flashing lights on and even one fixed to a lump of polystyrene strapped to my head.

    Purely, because of that memory, Choppers = uncool.
  • freehub
    freehub Posts: 4,257
    Looks horrible.
  • oscarbudgie
    oscarbudgie Posts: 850
    Not cool then, not cool now, not cool between then and now.

    Wayne Hemingway can shove it up his ar5e and see if he can get a G-Plan table and Tretchikoff green lady in after it.
    Cannondale Supersix / CAAD9 / Boardman 9.0 / Benotto 3000
  • seemunkee
    seemunkee Posts: 206
    What about the Schwinn Orange Krate? Five speed stick chift, front drum brake, front suspension, Mag wheel styled chain ring. Cousin of mine had one and I thought it was awesome.
  • oscarbudgie
    oscarbudgie Posts: 850
    seemunkee wrote:
    What about the Schwinn Orange Krate? Five speed stick chift, front drum brake, front suspension, Mag wheel styled chain ring. Cousin of mine had one and I thought it was awesome.

    Crikey that gearshift could really spoil your prospects. And I though the Chopper's was bad
    Cannondale Supersix / CAAD9 / Boardman 9.0 / Benotto 3000