Sunday, May 22, 2016

Raleigh Superbe

The 2016 Raleigh Superbe.  Courtesy: Raleigh USA

The 2016 Raleigh Superbe is a 7-speed that comes with fenders, a chainguard, and a rear rack and has an MSRP of $450.

Last we checked, the Raleigh brand was owned by a Dutch conglomerate after being sold and resold several times.  So it's not the same company that was founded in Nottingham, England in 1887 and once dominated the bicycle industry in terms of quality and performance.  The old Raleighs, like our friend old Binnie, have held up to the test of time.  If you're feeling nostalgic, you should check out this promotional film made at the Nottingham factory.

Nevertheless, the Raleigh brand rides on, and the names of the most famous old Raleigh models are being recycled: first, with the Clubman model and now Superbe.

According to the late, great Sheldon Brown, the Raleigh Superbe model "was always the super-deluxe version of [Raleigh's] top-of-the-line bike."  Sheldon Brown's Superbe looked like this:

Sheldon Brown's 1954 Raleigh Superbe. Courtesy: sheldonbrown.com

The 2016 Superbe is a poor imitation of the real thing.  That sounds harsh, but compare the 2016 model with Sheldon's 1954 model:

The 1954 model came with a dynohub light system.  The 2016 model does not include lights.

The 1954 model had an internal gear hub, protecting those gears from rainy English weather.  The 2016 model comes with a plastic derailer.

The 1954 model had a full chaincase, shielding the chain from moisture and the rider's pants from the drivetrain.  The 2016 model has a chainguard.

The 1954 model came standard with a leather Brooks B-66 sprung saddle. The 2016 model has a synthetic sprung saddle.

The 1954 model came with a pump and pump holder.  The 2016 model comes with neither.



The 2016 Superbe is a useful, functional bike.  It's just not superb, like the Superbe of yore.

2016 Specs:

Frame MaterialSteel
Bike Wheel Size700c
FrameRaleigh Classic Steel, Twin Tube Low Step-thru
ForkSteel 1" Threaded w/ Brake Bosses
CranksForged Alloy, 170mm w/ 42t Heron Chain Ring
Bottom BracketCartridge Steel w/ Oversize Bearings, Chromoly Spindle
Rear DerailleurShimano Tourney 7spd
ShifterShimano 7spd Revo Shifter
Brake LeversPromax Alloy
BrakesPromax Alloy V Brake, Silver
CogsetShimano Tourney 7spd 14-28
RimsWeinmann 700c Alloy 36h
TiresKenda 700x35 Skin Side Wall
PedalsVP Classic Steel Cage
HandlebarAlloy Silver 640 Width 60mm Sweep
StemSilver Anodized 1" Quill
SeatpostAlloy Micro Adjust 25.4x300mm
SeatRaleigh Comfort Saddle w/ Springs
HeadsetSilver, 1" Threaded
ChainKMC
Front Hub36h Nutted
Rear Hub36h Nutted,
Spokes14g Zinc Plated Steel
GripsVelo Black Cork
ExtrasRack w/ bungee cords, Metal Fenders, Silver Kick Stand


http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/city/classics/superbe

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/org/superbe54.html






3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I should add to my comment above that I also put fenders, a rack and a kickstand on my Harlan, since they don't come stock on any of the diamond-frame models in this line.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, for some reason my first comment didn't appear. I said that I have a 3-speed Harlan, which is one of the diamond-frame bikes in this line. I was looking for a reasonably priced upright bike to use as a commuter that I didn't have to worry too much about leaving locked outside all day, and the Harlan fits the bill nicely. I love the internal gears and the disc brakes (which aren't found on the Superbe). The only thing I didn't like were the stock pedals, which I replaced with MKS3000Rs. Old school!

Freewheel said...

Anon, the Harlan looks like a nice ride!