Dating raleigh frame numbers
Frank Bowden, a successful lawyer and convert to cycling, bought the firm in 1887 and in December 1888 founded The Raleigh Cycle Company as a limited liability private company.
It grew rapidly and within a few years was a large public company capitalised at £100,000 (equivalent to about £5m today).
You might not find the correct house, but you will at least end up in the right neighbourhood. Execute an online search for Raleigh serial numbers and see what happens! For example, some Raleighs were built in the Carlton factory in Worksop England.
Let's assume, for the moment, that cutting edge Velo technology is reserved for top of the line, or close to it, models. That would be an important clue to have on hand, assuming one knows a bit about the Carlton factory, and its interaction with Raleigh.
With decades in mind, consider vintage road bicycles from the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties. Regardless, the older a bicycle is, the more likely it will be made from some form of steel, be it straight gauge steel, high tensile steel or some alloy offering great strength and light weight.
Though the bikes all look much the same, as they blend through the years, there are distinct frame characteristic differences that suggest age. So, most bicycles, from the beginning of time, right through to the early eighties, will be made of some form of steel pipe or tubing.
But the SB numbering at the end of ’74 is one of the more difficult periods to date reference because we just don’t know when the SBDU started.
The very first frames from the SBDU had yellow head tubes before quickly switching to the more well known black head tube. A few frames between SB6 and SB19 are documented with original yellow head tubes – sadly there is no available information about SB20 to SB47.
In other words, this article will act as a guide, rather than a map, revealing land marks, rather than sign posts. Raleigh, is the first that comes to mind but others are available. None the less, if you do stumble across a data base of serial numbers and corresponding information, then chances are you will know when the bike was built, in what month and, perhaps even where made.
This only applies to a genuine Raleigh, not to other makes.