About The Raleigh Twenty Folding Bicycle

The Raleigh "Twenty," sometimes known as the "Shopper," was a folding and "fixed" small-wheeled bicycle that Raleigh produced from 1968 until the early 1980s.
The Raleigh "Twenty," sometimes known as the "Shopper," was a folding and "fixed" small-wheeled bicycle that Raleigh produced from 1968 until the early 1980s.

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Raleigh Twenty-Folding Bicycle

The Raleigh “Twenty,” sometimes known as the “Shopper,” was a folding and “fixed” small-wheeled bicycle.

The Raleigh "Twenty," sometimes known as the "Shopper," was a folding and "fixed" small-wheeled bicycle that Raleigh produced from 1968 until the early 1980s.
1975, non-folding, three-speed Raleigh Twenty

Raleigh produced from 1968 until the early 1980s. It was the company’s response to the Dawes Kingpin, which had been available since 1964.

The Twenty was a more successful companion model to the RSW 16, which had been Raleigh’s rival to the Moulton since 1965 and continued to be produced long after the RSW was phased out.

Background of the Twenty

When the Twenty was first released in 1968, it was not as heavily marketed as the RSW, despite being a much better bicycle due to its larger wheels and reduced rolling resistance. By 1970, the RSW was not selling well, so Raleigh decided to heavily market the “Twenty”; in 1971, a folding version was released under the former Moulton name, the “Stowaway” (anecdotal evidence suggests that they were available in Canada since 1969).

The RSW was phased out in 1974, and the “Twenty” took its place as Raleigh’s primary small-wheeled bicycle. In 1975, 140,000 of these were produced in the UK alone, almost matching the total sales of the Moulton between 1963 and 1974. Sales of the Raleigh Twenty peaked in 1977 and continued to decline thereafter. The Raleigh Twenty was produced for 16 years, ending in 1984.

Technical information

Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hub

Originally equipped with 20″ × 1-3/8″ wheels and tyres (ISO 35-451), the Raleigh “Twenty” was supplied with wheels and tyres that measured 20″ × 1.75″ (ISO 47-406), which is the same size as BMX bicycles for most export versions.

A lot of them were available with a Sturmey-Archer AW three-speed hub or as a single-speed with a coaster brake. The version made in New Zealand came with a duomatic two-speed hub that featured a built-in coaster brake and changed gears by pushing back on the pedals.

Variations and derivatives

Many significant modifications exist, such as handlebar designs, hub configurations, and carry rack configurations; most were simply variations of the same basic “Twenty,” marketed (for instance) as the “Shopper” with a front basket to boost carrying capacity.

Raleigh Eighteen

Introduced in 1972, the Eighteen was geared at youngsters and shorter people; it was essentially a Raleigh Twenty reduced in size by 10%. Unlike the larger model, it did away with the bracing struts at the bottom bracket.

Raleigh Commando

This was a youth-oriented Raleigh Eighteen with a seat akin to a motorcycle.

Raleigh Twenty-two

This was not only 10% larger than a Raleigh Twenty, but it also lacked the bracing struts at the bottom bracket.

Marketing

The “Twenty” was also manufactured in New Zealand due to local trade laws requiring 40% local content; the New Zealand-manufactured version is most easily identified by the lack of the extra bracing struts at the bottom bracket found on the UK and Canadian-built versions; an early-1980s advertisement offers a two-speed automatic (kick-back) hub, not found on other versions of the Raleigh “Twenty.” Raleigh owned several former competitors, and the “Twenty” was sold under many of these names, including Triumph, Sun, Hercules, New Hudson, and BSA.

Later, the look was brought back in a modernised version as part of a brief partnership with the clothing line Red or Dead.

In popular culture

The Raleigh Twenty appears in multiple sequences in the 2008 film Son of Rambow and is the bicycle that the main protagonist, Poppy, rides in the Happy-Go-Lucky title sequence.

The bicycle serves as the basis for the 2019 song Raleigh Twenty by the New Zealand band Fat Freddy’s Drop, and it is mentioned in the chorus of the British Sea Power song “No Lucifer.”

Just for the fun of it great!!!


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