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Raleigh One Way: Something old, something new

by Richard Masoner

The Raleigh One Way is a brand new bike from Raleigh, but the retro design hearkens back to Raleigh bicycles from the 50s and 60s. Raleigh designers, in particular, took their inspiration from the old Raleigh Clubman bicycle.

Raleigh Clubman bicycle

Like the modern One Way, the Clubman of old featured a relatively lightweight frame but with a frame geometry more relaxed than racing bicycles for more versatile riding. Like the One Way, the Clubman included fenders for year-round all-weather use. The retro front fork of the One Way even matches the rakish fork on the old Clubman bicycles.

While 3-speed hubs were popular in the UK for club ride bicycles, Raleigh sold some bikes with fixed/freewheel flip-flop hubs, just like the modern One Way. A unique feature of some Clubman bikes was the Sturmey-Archer ASC 3-speed fixed gear hub! You read that right: Sturmey-Archer sold a 3-speed hub without a freewheel — you could change gears, but you could not coast with this hub.

Unlike the new One Way with it’s rear-facing fork ends, the old Clubman bicycle has forward facing fork ends that allow the rear tire to drop out. While the rear wheel can be maneuvered out past the fender by completely deflating the rear tire, it’s still difficult to do. I hope Raleigh reconsiders this one design shortcoming in an update of the One Way. Track bikes have rear-facing fork ends to avoid problems with wheel slip, but I would think this would not be as much of a problem on a commuter bike like the One Way.

The Raleigh One Way is a nice riding bike. The retro fork rake makes this a very stable bike, while the relaxed angles and fat tires result in a very comfortable ride. I’ve gotten quite a few second looks and positive comments from cyclists and pedestrians who notice the retro design of the One Way.

Read much more about the old Clubman bike at RetroRaleighs.com.

 
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6 Responses to “Raleigh One Way: Something old, something new”

  1. Rex says:

    Interesting, this is very nearly the spec for my commuting bike that I built last year. A 70′s Nisiki (72 deg 72 deg) with Tange No. 2 tubing, flip flop hub (16 fixed & 17 free), with a 45 tooth crank, fenders, lights, & drop bars. I run 700 x 35c tires just to smooth things out, and I use a rear rack insted of saddle bag. It is the best bike I have ever owned.

  2. Stuart Grant says:

    Fritz, jut wondering if you’d had problems with the rear brake bosses on you one way?

  3. Fritz says:

    No real problems, Stuart. If you flip the wheel around you’ll need to move the brakes because the wheel position has changed.

  4. tcs says:

    Uh, the “Raleigh” under discussion is Raleigh USA, a different company from Raleigh UK. Raleigh USA’s heritage is bonded Technium derailleur bikes and that funky off road bike with the 24″ rear wheel, and not “all steel” three-speeds.

    BTW, Raleigh USA’s two 3 speed models use Shimano hubs, not Sturmey-Archer! LOL, and so much for channeling heritage.

  5. Fritz says:

    TCS is correct, but Raleigh USA designers told me that they looked to the old UK Raleigh club touring bikes of old for their design inspiration.

    Shimano has been around for nearly 100 years, but I don’t believe they were building 3-speed hubs for export in the 1940s and 50s. I’m certain the old Raleigh tourers used Sturmey Archer.

  6. utterly nutterly nutjob says:

    at last some one is having the brains to build a normal bike, not one of these comedy crackpot job bikes, which i have to buy today.
    this week i intend to buy a bike as you as showing, IF I CAN FIND ONE, but i don’t expect them to in the shops.

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