Kids who grew up in the seventies and eighties were blessed with a golden age of bicycle production. At the turn of the seventies Nottingham company Raleigh began producing a number of now collectable and iconic models.
Inspired by the American dragster motorbikes, the Raleigh Chopper brought a touch of Easy Rider to the streets of British suburbia, becoming an icon of the era. Smaller models for younger children such as the Tomahawk, Chipper and Budgie came soon after, followed by the Chopper MK 2 in 1972.
Other classic models were produced during the decade, including the rather bulky Raleigh Grifter in 1976, this came in a choice of either metallic blue or red, complete with a twist grip gear shift. It’s smaller relations the Boxer & Strika later followed.
Enter the eighties and the BMX scene found its way over the Atlantic, once again the Raleigh design team produced the goods. This time it was the Raleigh Burner that turned heads when it was released in 1982. A later model the ‘Tuff Burner’ came complete with yellow skyway mag wheels, an addition to make your friends that little more envious.
Growing up during these times there was always an abundance of kids playing out in the streets, making makeshift ramps using bricks and a plank of wood or trying to perfect bunny hops.
It was a great time to be young and these bikes gave us the freedom to explore our local areas & estates, helped us on our paper rounds and took us on many adventures.
Our gallery below revisits both decades with some of our favourite bike images.
Dodging waves at Roker, Sunderland, 1980s. Photo George Plemper.
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