Wants & Desires | Raleigh Superbe

Something has come over me – maybe it is this New York heat wave – but I have become obsessed with the idea of owning a vintage Raleigh 3-speed bicycle. I’m not really into the idea of spending more than $200 for said bicycle (I already own three bikes), and the typical online auction destinations have yielded little within my budget. All that aside, I did discover one fantastic piece of hardware along the way which has me thinking twice. The below gem of a bike near Hartford, Connecticut, is a beautiful English made Raleigh Superbe 3 speed, in near mint condition. The auction is holding steady at the starting bid of $475 (which I think is a little much even for a bike in such good of shape), but if money isn’t an issue I say go for it.


Lesli at Archival Clothing also pointed out Kogswell of California, which is a more practical modern alternative to the heavy steel frame English bicycles from the 60’s and 70’s.






Comments on “Wants & Desires | Raleigh Superbe

    Sam on August 21, 2009 2:37 PM:

    damn that is pristine it’s almost worth the price tag

    steve on August 21, 2009 3:14 PM:

    I had one as a kid – chestnut brown with the same Brooks saddle and a black leather Brooks tool kit that hung off the back of the seat. It was a fine piece of machinery but I owned it at a time when Peugot and Motobecane 10 speeds were the “it” bikes. My Raleigh 3 speed was the ideal bike for city rambles, not suburban sprints, so eventually I ended up with a Bianchi 10 speed, the stately Raleigh relegated to a corner of the garage, and finally pawned for pocket change to a neighborhood kid. I wish I still had it.

    Jamie on August 21, 2009 3:16 PM:

    If you are in the market for a nice vintage Raleigh – Recylce Bicycle over on Ave. C is worth a shot. I think the inventory moves pretty fast – but I got a 1950s Raleigh Sport 3 Speed for $250 – came with original Brooks seat, decals, owner’s manual, and is real smooth. Looks like there is Dumbo outpost as well – plus any purchase helps win for the kids.


    vaughn on August 21, 2009 3:27 PM:
    jc on August 21, 2009 5:40 PM:

    sweet jeebus. i coveted these while living in copenhagen.
    specifically the tourist deluxe. (google image that!)

    jeremy on August 21, 2009 6:37 PM:

    I have a Kogswell P/R set up very much like a raleigh superbe. It’s a fantastic bike. http://mydutchbike.com/ is importing Oma and Opafiets that are similar as well, but they’ll set you back a little. Well worth it for a bike you ride daily though. Pashley also makes a good option in this market, and Linus Bikes have some less expensive alternatives.

    Note: I may be working with MyDutchBike soon.

    Lesli Larson on August 21, 2009 7:35 PM:

    Another Kogswell-as-Raleigh (now has a custom front rack)


    Wacky batch of Kogswell frames were selling for 350.00 (frame, fork and fenders).

    But above ACL’s pricepoint!

    My own recently released English 3-speed (Phillips, not Raleigh):


    I got tired of the fussy gearing adjustment for the bike. Went back to a nice, simplified, 1×7 speed drivetrain w/chainguard and fenders:


    Wm on August 21, 2009 9:52 PM:

    I got my Raleigh Sports 3 speed off craigslist for $200. Just gotta search every day on there for the deals.

    doug on August 21, 2009 11:31 PM:

    I’ve picked up two British bicycles around my area free in recent years-a ‘Robin Hood’, and a Dunelt. I happened to go by them when they were out at the street on garbage day.

    giuseppetimore on August 22, 2009 12:00 AM:

    It’s a little pricey, but those old Ealeighs, especially the Superbe, are worth it.

    I have a lot of bikes too. But what I always liked about my Raleigh Sports was that I could ride it in shoes and a sports coat. The chainguard, the upright stance, the wide and comfy leather saddle, all made for a great “dressy” ride…way more so than a ten speed or fixed gear ever did. Add a basket on the front and the things perfect.

    I got a matching pair, mens’ and ladies, off craigslist a couple of years ago for $120, $60 each. I say, if you really want one, keep looking. They built a lot of those things and they’re practically indestructible.

    Lush on August 22, 2009 9:40 AM:

    I have my Kogswell P/R set up this way as well (Brooks saddle, Sturmey-Archer 3 speed, etc.). It’s mainly just a grocery getter. I’m jonesing hard for a Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen now. Here’s my Kogs:


    Scooter on August 22, 2009 2:32 PM:

    On April 3, 1974, I bought a Raleigh Super Course 10 speed, which I still have and ride. It is the same color green as the 3-speed above. It has a Reynolds 531 frame aloong with the Brooks saddle. I wonder if this 3-speed has the same frame?
    How do I know the day I bought it? I bought the bike at 3:15pm and the worst tornado ever to hit Louisville, KY hit at 4:30pm. Epic.

    Pigus on August 22, 2009 3:09 PM:

    You’re obviously on the first rung of discovering how beautiful British 3-speed bicycles are, but I should tell you now that the one to get is a Rudge. Before Raleigh bought them all up and became the biggest bicycle manufacturer in the world, there were a whole host of smaller companies producing this type of bicycle, and Rudge was one of the finest. I’ve owned plenty of 3-speeds – in England we also call them ‘sit up and beg’ bicycles – as well as buying and selling them with another English friend of mine here in New York, but my burgundy-red Rudge with all original components including well worn Brooks saddle was the most beautiful… Just look at the chain-ring on one!

    On another note, those Kogswells, like a lot of people making bikes now, unfortunately seem to miss the point, insofar as they are overly practical at the expense of bicycle esthetics and the spirit of cycling; you only have to see that the the top tube is not horizontal to realize that; and at $600 just for the frameset you can guarantee that you’ll never be able to lock it up outside without worrying about it getting stolen.

    – The bike in your picture is nice enough, especially as it has dynamo lights, which are hands-down the best lighting solution, but if the price goes any higher you might want to look for another one… Go down to Frank’s Bikes on Grand Street and have a look up in the rafters of the store and see if you can’t find a hidden gem… and Frank’s a diamond geezer, too!

    Jeremy on August 22, 2009 4:02 PM:

    The top-tube on my Kogwsell is horizontal. I chose the new Kogswell over used Raleigh for a few reasons. Mainly, I’m too tall to fit 99% of the local Raleighs for sale, and I also wanted something a bit more sophisticated in gearing (8 speed internal) because I frequently put 30 to 50 miles a day on that bike running errands. Despite the money I have into it, I lock it up all over town. Pitlocks on the wheels and headset help, plus I keep it inside at work.

    Without getting too deep into the economic realities of making bikes these days, $600 for a frame from a company that’s quite literally one guy designing and importing the frames is pretty reasonable.

    All that said, if I can ever get my hands on a tall enough Raleigh Superbe or Tourist for under $400, I will buy it in a second.

    hoganfe handmade handbag originals on August 22, 2009 6:36 PM:

    Oh I loved my Raleigh it was dark green & took me everywhere!


    melissa ahamad on August 22, 2009 8:23 PM:

    i got mine for… $65 bucks, sammme exact bike :)

    c.a. on August 23, 2009 11:53 AM:

    they’re single-speed, not three speed, but has anyone seen these bowery lane bicycles in person? http://www.bowerylanebicycles.com/

    supposedly made in nyc, and they look pretty sweet, but I guess they’re pretty new, so there’s very little in the way of info or reviews out there.

    Harold & Zooey on August 23, 2009 7:17 PM:

    One of the sexiest bikes I’ve ever seen. It’s sad thought — the pains of being poor.

    Cory Gomberg on August 23, 2009 11:08 PM:

    I own that very same bike. Identical. Mine is a ’63. Unfortunately, my headlight was recently stolen, but other that she is complete. Best of luck with the bidding.

    Tintin on August 24, 2009 10:22 AM:

    That would look great on a wall.

    My fear (and it’s my fear) is that if I did the bow tie thing with this bike, someone would beat me to a pulp and steal my bike.

    TM on August 25, 2009 9:03 AM:

    have 2 of these in Green I bought for $450..(for both) in Philly! both in perfect condition!

    Matt on August 25, 2009 11:07 AM:

    Just get on any bike and ride. Life’s too short – there are more interesting problems than how to consume this.

    Eric Channing Brewer on August 25, 2009 5:31 PM:

    My father bought me this same Raliegh 3 speed model that was gently used. I was in the 9th grade. It was the same color but without the wrack. I later added one with rear blinkers attached. Yes I was a nerd. I used it to commute for a year and then, being utterly incapable of respecting finely made things at that age, I mistreated and abused it. I do regret stupid things I’ve done in the past. These pictures have reminded me of that.

    TM on August 25, 2009 8:57 PM:

    Oh..Matt…is this a problem…? I thought we were riding and having fun !!!!!!

    Mike on August 26, 2009 11:54 AM:

    Maybe hold off. What about if BMX’s are ‘in’ next summer?

    Nik T on August 28, 2009 4:30 PM:

    You wouldn’t believe, 2 weekend ago I was riding my bike in Trinity Bellwoods park (Toronto) an a guy had a pop up lawn sale thing and he was selling this exact bike (minus brooks brother seat) for $60 CDN I couldn’t belive it and if I didn’t have 2 bikes already 1 the vintage Raliegh that I was riding and the vintage CCM galaxy that I am refurbishing I would have totally got it.

    Ruben on August 29, 2009 4:30 PM:

    My neighbor has a really cool and old Superbe for sale with the old square head light for sale in his garage. I told him there must be someone who appreciates these things. Anyone interested?

    Ruben 805-252-6046 Santa Barbara, Ca

    Michael Geller on September 20, 2009 7:16 PM:

    can anyone tell me what a 1977 Raleigh Tourist is worth…mens 24″ frame, ladies 22″ in good original condition. both black… thanks email me at geller@sfu.ca

    Fonkamex on November 3, 2009 8:21 PM:

    I have a Raleigh Superbe with a front Dynohub. This is the most beautiful cycle ever. I have a ladies Raleigh Sports for restoration project. I live in Montreal, Canada.

    Fonkamex on November 3, 2009 8:22 PM:


    My new Raleigh Superbe discussion group.

    carl on November 11, 2009 3:26 PM:

    Had a red Raleigh back then in 1969…..my first bike.Loved it.

    Jillo on December 16, 2009 10:16 PM:

    I have one of these and I LOVE it! They are heavy but so well-balanced that I don’t really notice it. I ride mine on errands around town and it performs very well even with both pannier baskets full. It’s a bit banged up, but the tire pump still works and I got it for about $100. If anything ever happened to it, I’d pay twice that to replace it, gladly.
    I replaced the seat with a Spongy Wonder and my headlight is a Flea USB-chargable. This bike gives me joy. I hope that whatever you find, it gives you joy, too.

    Andre on December 17, 2009 5:20 AM:

    I have Raleigh Superbe Mens 5 Speed Bicycle

Comments are closed.