Raleigh serial number dating
This is the easiest way to date a 3-speed bicycle, if it has its original rear wheel.Prior to 1925, genuine Raleighs (not necessarily brand names made by Raleigh) had a straightforward numerical frame number. (Info from the Nottinghamshire Archives) Note that the serial number information below is fragmentary and incomplete, and many bikes have proven to be much newer than the serial numbers would suggest.In 1974, an entirely different numbering system was introduced for the higher end (531 and subsequently 753) Raleighs. It indicates the year of manufacture, the decade being assumed (i.e.Serial numbers should begin with a "W", which stands for Worksop, the facility that produced theses frames. This alphabet indicates the fortnight in which the frame was built (i.e. "4" could be '74 or '84; it is up to the interpretor to know enough to tell if the frame is from the 70's or 80's). At this point, these appear to be some sort of sequence, but this has not been substantiated.Between 1925 and the cessation of cycle production during the Second World War, letters prefixed or suffixed the running frame number although no indication is given of the starting point of the numbers.They seem to reflect only the number of machines produced whilst each letter was in use. (Info from the Nottinghamshire Archives) A new numbering system was introduced in 1955, though this ran concurrently with the old one for two years. Reynolds 531) frames, and involved the placing of a character at the beginning of the serial number.
I did consider splitting it into 2 smaller posts, pre and post 1980, but as this is ultimately a timeline post, I wanted it to be unbroken, and to start and complete in one go.
If you are a fan of the SBDU or simply need to know these details, then please stick with me.
I learnt so much while researching and writing this post, hopefully I can pass this information on to whoever wants to read further!
The company was sold to a group of money manipulators who shut it down in hope of making a quick profit by selling off the assets.
The Taiwanese company Sunrace bought the equipment, stock and rights to the name and is back in business.