Raleigh is one of the oldest, most appreciated cycling brands globally and the leading bike manufacturer in the UK during the 1970s and the 1980s. Their high-quality bikes were practical, durable, and beautiful. Owning one of their older models is the ultimate experience for most bikers, so you should consider buying one if you enjoy this sport.
The vintage Raleigh bikes value depends on the model, condition, and production year. Be careful when checking the model you are interested in since determining the Raleigh bicycle age can be challenging.
Raleigh Cycle Company History
The Raleigh company is among the oldest global cycling brands and is famous for its impressive racing heritage. The story began in 1887 when Frank Bowden bought a small bicycle shop in Nottingham, England.
Thanks to increased demand, he soon founded a factory and showed 23 beautiful new bike designs at the Stanley Cycle Show in 1890. During the next few decades, this company perfected several crucial parts, including:
- 1892 – The tubular fork crown
- 1896 – Cross frame
- 1899 – Back peddling brake and silent freewheel hub
- 1903 – Three-speed hub under the name Sturmey-Archer
- 1923 – Racing frame without lugs
- 1925 – Rear fork end with quick release
- 1939 – Folding bicycle initially designed for World War II paratroopers
Raleigh models chronology
|Production year||Bike model|
|1974||Super Course Mk. II|
|1983||Sovereign (the US)|
|1983||Prestige (the US)|
|1983||Grand Sport (the US)|
|1983||Competition (the US)|
|1983||Super Course (the US)|
|1984||Team Racing USA (the US)|
|1988||Scott Tinley Tri-Lite|
These innovations made this brand the most respected in the UK. By many criteria, their bikes were the best in the world in the 1970s and 1980s.
Vintage Raleigh Bicycles Price
On average, vintage Raleigh bicycles’ value on the current market is several hundred dollars. As always, the most expensive are models in working order and with all original components.
Interestingly, smaller-framed women’s and children’s bikes from the same manufacturer will be significantly cheaper because of lower demand.
Unlike other antiques, vintage bicycles have fewer collectors, but people buy them because of their quality, durability, and beauty. Plus, many men are nostalgic and want their kids to ride the same models they had when they were young.
The most appreciated Raleigh’s vintage models are working bikes with adult-sized frames and multiple speeds, regardless of the budget. As you can guess, this nostalgic generation typically looks for bikes produced in the 1970s and 1980s. In most cases, only dedicated collectors want models from the immediate post-war period.
There is one more thing! The shape and technology of bikes manufactured in the second half of the 20th century resemble the modern models. Therefore, it is possible to transform them into contemporary recreational items with a vintage vibe.
Vintage Raleigh bikes value
|Production year||Raleigh bike type||Price|
|Unknown||Raleigh team pro track bicycle||$2,750|
|1979||Raleigh light roadster bicycle||$2,650|
|1934||Raleigh RRA bicycle||$2,500|
|1955 to 1965||Raleigh DL-1 roadster||$2,000|
|1987||Raleigh the edge mountain bike||$1,500|
|Unknown||Raleigh Professional bicycle||$1,400|
|1979||Raleigh professional road bicycle||$1,050|
|Unknown||Raleigh racing USA Grand Prix||$900|
|Unknown||Raleigh grifter BMX bicycle||$835|
|Unknown||Raleigh USA Grand Prix road bicycle||$750|
|1983||Chrome Raleigh R2500 survivor BMX||$750|
|1979||Raleigh Grand Prix mixte||$750|
|1972||Raleigh competition road bicycle||$695|
|The 1980s||Raleigh Grand Prix||$550|
|Unknown||Raleigh 3-speed bicycle||$500|
|Unknown||Raleigh sport 3-speed bicycle||$400|
|Unknown||Raleigh super burner BMX bike||$400|
|The 1980s||Raliegh record women’s road bike||$400|
|1969||Raleigh sports bicycle 3-speed||$350|
|1981||Raleigh speed bicycle||$325|
|1969||Raleigh sports bicycle||$300|
|The 1970s||Raleigh super-course road bicycle||$300|
|Unknown||Raleigh Grand Prix||$300|
|1974||Raleigh fixed-gear bicycle||$300|
|1957||Raleigh step-thru bicycle||$250|
|The 1970s||Raleigh DL-1 tourist Ladies’ bicycle||$250|
|The 1980s||Raleigh racing BMX bicycle||$250|
|1969||Raleigh Superbe 3-speed bicycle||$200|
|1972||Raleigh 3-speed road bicycle||$160|
|Unknown||Raleigh sports bicycle||$150|
You can quickly find most models in decent condition for approximately $150. However, those in original condition without service work for decades are typically worth only $80. The final price will depend on necessary repairs and parts that require replacement or repair.
Be aware that you need to set aside $200 to $500 for a reconditioned Raleigh bicycle. On the other side, some collectible pieces can reach up to $3,000 at auctions.
What Makes a Vintage Raleigh Bicycle Valuable
The vintage Raleigh bicycle value is what a collector or any other buyer is prepared to pay for it. Since collector interest often varies, depending on current trends, you should understand the crucial attributes that affect each model’s price.
The rule of thumb is that hand-built bicycles with high-end components this company produced before the 1980s are always of higher value.
The condition always significantly impacts vintage item value, including Raleigh bicycles. Most collectors follow a one-to-ten system to determine the bike’s condition.
In other words, the tenth grade equals a mint original, while the grade one indicates worthless, typically broken, and damaged bicycles.
However, some collectors look for these pieces, mainly when they come with original paint and decals. They can be a valuable source of original parts.
Finally, be careful with restored bikes. Many collectors appreciate patina, so every repairing or repainting significantly reduces a vintage bicycle’s cost. Paradoxically, a perfectly restored model often costs like the same bike in original condition with scratches, meaning you will lose the money spent on the material.
Collectors like branded bicycles, so you can be sure they will appreciate models with a famous manufacturer’s mark.
The fact is that collectors prefer some vintage Raleigh bicycle types more than others. Therefore, you will pay more for:
- Schwinn Krate and City
- Road racing and BMX
- Touring and Track
- Randonneur and Cruiser
Rarity and original features
Rarity is often a crucial factor in estimating vintage Raleigh bicycle value. Remember that models with all-original parts almost always cost more than repaired ones.
Collectors will also look for bikes with deluxe and unique features and those containing bells and whistles. Finally, never underestimate the color of a vintage bike!
Frame type (gender)
Typically, collectible men’s bikes, including vintage Raleigh bicycles, are more sought after. Therefore, they are worth more than women’s models. The reason is the higher number of male collectors and their nostalgia for bikes used during childhood.
Vintage Raleigh bicycles with historical significance always come with a higher price. For instance, celebrities who use a particular model will make it famous and more costly. Some pieces are a part of well-known riders’ collections, making them valuable.
There is one more interesting fact! The purchaser’s nationality often impacts the particular model and brand’s popularity. In other words, demand for vintage Raleigh bicycles will be different in the UK, the US, and other countries in Europe.
Ways to Date Your Vintage Raleigh Bicycle
One of the crucial things you need to determine is the vintage Raleigh bicycle production year. Since this company has produced bikes for over a century, you can find thousands of them on the market.
The only way to determine their age is by a few typical features characteristic of each model.
The first thing to look for when determining the Raleigh bike age is a serial number stamped during the production. Most Raleigh bikes have the production year and model on the bottom bracket, under the seat, on the seat lug front, or its side part.
It is the quickest way to check necessary data, but be aware that you can find a bike with replaced parts. In that case, the serial number can mislead you.
The excellent thing is that Raleigh has a specific way of putting serial numbers on their bikes. Once you know how to read them, determining the production year will be a piece of cake.
1947 to 1955
The company used six digits and the letter P or T in serial numbers in this early period. If you notice the letter P, you can be sure that the bike was manufactured until 1950.
From the mid-1950s, Raleigh used the letter T. The only exception was bikes produced in 1948. They were marked with 4 or 5 digits, followed by two random letters.
1955 to 1964
The new serial system got a prefix RB or RA followed by 4 to 5 digits. It also included the letter N for Nottingham, a region of bike manufacturing.
1963 to 1969
The company changed a serial system once again, and you can find a series with seven digits at the bottom bracket.
1970 to 1972
In this period, Raleigh reintroduced the old serial system with 5 or 6 digits. All Super Course and Grand Prix models produced during these two years were marked this way.
The most famous Raleigh bicycles manufactured this year contained the new serial system with seven digits starting with zero.
1973 to 1982+
During this decade, the company standardized the serial system. It started with two letters followed by six digits in a row. The first letter always determines the production factory:
- N for Nottingham
- H for Handsworth
- W for Workshop
- G for Gazelle
- D for Ireland
- E for Enid, USA
- R for Canada
- M for Malaysia
The following number indicated the frame production month and year.
Raleigh USA serial system
This serial number system was applied for frames produced in Japan or Taiwan. You can find them on the bike’s bottom bracket.
Team professional serials (SBDU)
This current serial system for bikes produced in Raleigh’s Ilkeston factory comes with an SB letter and four digits.
The company changed bicycle seat shapes several times over the years, so you can use this to determine your bike age. For instance, models created in the 1960s and 1970s featured elongated seats, while those from the 1980s were wider and cushioned.
Vintage Raleigh bicycles were painted in popular colors typical for a particular period.
Most models from the 1960s and 1970s came with vibrant colors, including orange, rust red, and green. On the other hand, bikes painted in white, blue, and red were typical for the 1980s.
The company also changed the bike handlebars’ appearance, so their shape can be an excellent indicator of age. High-rise bicycles with U-shaped handlebars in a motorcycle style were trendy in the 1960s and the 1970s. Remember that Raleigh produced the first Chopper model for kids in 1969.
Number of speeds
Most bikes Raleigh produced from the 1950s to the 1980s had three or five speeds. The first bikes with ten speeds appeared on the American market in the 1970s.
Standard components and parts the owner haven’t changed over time can also help in dating. Always check the frame, friction shifters, and suspension forks that are always typical for the particular production period.
Places to Find the Vintage Raleigh Bicycle Value
Since this company has existed for so long, the quickest way to determine your vintage Raleigh bike’s age and value is to check the literature available online and offline.
You can also ask an expert from a bike shop for professional expertise or directly contact the British National Cycle Club or National Cycle Archive. However, there are a few other options, such as:
- Bicycle clubs
- Bicycle shops that deal in vintage bikes
- Auction houses
- Online vintage bicycle experts
- Google search
- Classic rendezvous list
- Swap meets and flea markets
- Pawn shops
You can also look for help on bike forums, like:
- The CABE
- Bike Radar
- Classic Vintage Cycles
- Cycle Chat
- Road Bike Review
- Rat Rod Bikes
- Schwinn Bike Forum
Finally, sales sites are a relevant source of information, including the most popular:
Becoming a vintage Raleigh bike owner is an ultimate experience because of its history and unique story that goes with each one. If you are nostalgic or want your kid to ride such a beautiful bike, you can find numerous vintage models online or at auctions. Let’s go for it!
3 thoughts on “Vintage Raleigh Bikes Value (Identification & Price Guides)”
Don’t see anything about “Sprite 27″s. I got a white one, 5 speed. Am told was built in ’62. Any idea how much is worth?
Looking for the value of a Raleigh Professional with all Campy components, 10 speed. Mink color, 1970s vintage.
I was under the impression that if u have to ask someone about the worth & value then ur not a serious collector of the bike therefore seen as rookies.