Raleigh One Way: Something old, something new

The Raleigh One Way is a brand new bike from Raleigh, but the retro design hearkens back to Raleigh bicycles from the 50s and 60s. Raleigh designers, in particular, took their inspiration from the old Raleigh Clubman bicycle.

Raleigh Clubman bicycle

Like the modern One Way, the Clubman of old featured a relatively lightweight frame but with a frame geometry more relaxed than racing bicycles for more versatile riding. Like the One Way, the Clubman included fenders for year-round all-weather use. The retro front fork of the One Way even matches the rakish fork on the old Clubman bicycles.

While 3-speed hubs were popular in the UK for club ride bicycles, Raleigh sold some bikes with fixed/freewheel flip-flop hubs, just like the modern One Way. A unique feature of some Clubman bikes was the Sturmey-Archer ASC 3-speed fixed gear hub! You read that right: Sturmey-Archer sold a 3-speed hub without a freewheel — you could change gears, but you could not coast with this hub.

Unlike the new One Way with it’s rear-facing fork ends, the old Clubman bicycle has forward facing fork ends that allow the rear tire to drop out. While the rear wheel can be maneuvered out past the fender by completely deflating the rear tire, it’s still difficult to do. I hope Raleigh reconsiders this one design shortcoming in an update of the One Way. Track bikes have rear-facing fork ends to avoid problems with wheel slip, but I would think this would not be as much of a problem on a commuter bike like the One Way.

The Raleigh One Way is a nice riding bike. The retro fork rake makes this a very stable bike, while the relaxed angles and fat tires result in a very comfortable ride. I’ve gotten quite a few second looks and positive comments from cyclists and pedestrians who notice the retro design of the One Way.

Read much more about the old Clubman bike at RetroRaleighs.com.

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