1979 All-Chrome Raleigh Superbe Roadster
This is a top-of-the-range Raleigh similar to those manufactured for the African market.
From the “Penguin Book of the Bicycle” by R.Watson and M.Gray (1978):
“By far Raleigh’s largest single foreign market is Nigeria. The cornerstone of African cycling is still the heavy-duty roadster. They are country cousins to the British Raleigh Superbe. We admired the roadster with two-inch balloon tyres and, most of all, the ‘boss bike’, an all-chromium-plated Superbe Roadster, a glittering status symbol.”
The chrome is a little tarnished here and there, but these photos were taken before I’ve set to with polish, and it will be interesting to see how it comes up afterwards.
According to the head-badge it was made in Nottingham rather than in the Raleigh factory in Kano, Nigeria.
The differences? It has a Sturmey Archer 3-Speed hub (dated 1979) rather than the coaster brake which was fitted to the Nigerian-built models. African Raleighs also had 2″ balloon tyres, while this has 28″ x 1 1/2.
It’s more likely that this particular All-Chrome was made for the German market, as I’ve seen mention of them being in German catalogues of the early 1980s. The All-Chrome was also a useful model for dealer displays.
THE CALL OF THE ROAD
Raleigh exported bicycles to the Commonwealth countries in Africa from the earliest days. The advert below is from 1927. Mr. A.J. Cook, aged 17, rode from Cape Town to Johannesburg in 28 days, on a Raleigh bought in 1900 and in continuous use ever since. In a tradition inherited from earlier days of intrepid British explorers, vehicle manufacturers often illustrated long journeys on their products to promote their reliability and sturdiness: “Only the All-Steel bicycle can endure such wear and tests, and all the time be running so easily. That is why it can be and is GUARANTEED FOR EVER.”