Saturday, September 12, 2009

Raleigh Japan

Yesterday I followed a link from Archival Clothing to the Guu-Watanabe site and spent some time looking at the amazing handmade handlebar bags and panniers that this little shop produces. Next to one of the photos I found a link to Raleigh Bicycles Japan. It was interesting to see the bikes available to the Japanese that aren't available here. That's too bad as I believe bikes like the Club Sport and Club Special would be very popular in the states. By the way, Guu-Watanabe bags can be purchased through Wallingford Bicycle Parts.

The Guu-Watanabe shop.

These are some awesome, classic looking bags.

This is the picture with the link to Raleigh Japan. The bike in the photo is a Raleigh Club Sport.

The Club Sport, equipped with fenders, cantilever brakes, a sprung leather saddle, and a triple crankset. I believe this is an older model, possibly 2006.

2009 Club Sport with a quill stem. This one is also equipped with v-brakes instead of cantilevers.

Club Sport in red.

The Japanese Raleigh touring bikes come equipped with what appear to be Nitto M-12 front racks.

Raleigh Club Special in green. Note the downtube shifters, cantilever brakes, and non-aero brake levers.

Trent Sport with an 8 speed Nexus hub.

RSW Special. I thought that this was a folder when I first saw, it's not. If it doesn't fold, what's the benefit other than a slightly smaller footprint?

If you go to the Japanese site there many pages of scanned posters from various British bicycle companies.


  1. Wonderful find. Thanks. I'd never have thought to look for Raleigh stuff like this in Japan.

    It was interesting to see that their "cross" bikes have suspension front forks and flat bars. Their touring bikes are closest to our "cross" bikes.

  2. Great post, RTP. Thank you!

    Is the folder-looking bike one of those full-size bicycles with smaller wheels? There is a technical name for them which I forget.

    The GUU bags look great too!

    I wonder if these Raleighs are built in Japan or China. They sure look nice!

    I saw a "constructeur" looking bicycle made by Electra, which looked like an older Alex Singer.

    Peace :)

  3. Club Sport looks like stuff North Americans pay a lot for, or create because it's not sold in the mainstream. Very cool.

  4. Nice article and pics of the Japanese Raleighs and bags. The old posters are real cool too. What kind of...where do I get handlebars like those of the Surly at the top of the page?

  5. The full-size bikes with small wheels are called "mini-velo", and are quite popular in Japan. Masi, Cannondale, Bianchi...lots of different brands available there, but none here.

    Small apartments, and tight stairwells make them pretty handy, but the full-size frame allows for a more normal-feeling ride.

  6. There is one mini-velo available here, it is called the Piccolo and it is made by Siggley.

    I wish that Raleigh would bring back the twenty folder with a more normal drop bar setup with an Alfine hub,and disc brakes. I would by one in a heartbeat,especially if it was in that cool green color that the old ones were.

  7. Steve-I like stumbling across stuff like that. You should take a look at the link from the Raleigh site to the Araya randonet bikes.

    Chandra-I've seen the Electra that you're talking about. Very interesting.

    Like you, I wonder if they still mass produce bikes in Japan.

    Rantwick-We do end up paying alot for old, low tech gear. It's crazy.

    rorschandt-They are steel Albatross bars. I bought them from Rivendell but they can be found on other bike sites. They were extremely comfortable. I highly recommend them.

    Jon-Thanks for the info. The Japanese are fond of shrinking everything. I've seen several episodes of House Hunters International in Japan. Living spaces are small and expensive in the cities. I guess I can see why these bikes might be popular.

    frankenbiker-I searched for the Siggley but couldn't find anything on it.

    After checking out 2whls3spds Twenties, I decided that I'd like to buy one some day. I think an Alfine hub would be perfect on a folder.

  8. Sorry, I spelled it wrong. The address is and it is also in the advertiser roll on the right side of the fixed gear gallery site.

  9. The RSW special is called a Minivello in Japan.A lot of manufacturers make them.Very popular amongst young city dwellers,not only small footprint but take up little room at home.Folding bike are also available but too many to note and very few look like this.

  10. llewellyn-Thanks for the info Llewellyn. I've added a link to your blog.