2015 Sneak Peek: Raleigh Brings Back Steel, New Willard Gravel Bike, New Women’s MTB, and More!

©Earl Harper

It’s been great to see Raleigh reborn over the past few years, and our little glance into the future indicates they have no plans of slowing down any time soon. In 2014, the brand took a break from their steel classics series, but for 2015 they’re back. Not only is the company bringing Chromoly back, but the new bikes include bigger tires, more tire clearance, new geometry, and even a Ritchey Break-Away model at $2100 (above). In addition to a number of new options in steel, Raleigh is expanding their “gravel” line with the all new Willard – an aluminum version of the Tamland that’s both lighter and more affordable.

On the mountain bike side the Skarn full suspension bikes are in production now and will range from $2,500 to $4,000. Raleigh is also introducing a new price point, single pivot 27.5″ full suspension bike which starts at just $1,000. There’s even new women’s specific mountain bikes designed with input from Caroline Mani and Courtney McFadden. Raleigh has definitely been busy lately and the new product looks to be ideal for many – quality bikes with great design, that won’t break the bank.

Details on a few of the highlights, next…

Called the Grand Prix, Raleigh’s travel bike will use the Ritchey Break-Away system and include a travel bag all for just $2100. Designed for 28mm tires, the Reynolds 520 butted chromoly frame uses a matching 4130 lugged fork with long reach rim brakes and a Campagnolo Veloce 10 speed group. With a claimed weight of 22.7 lbs, the bike will be offered in 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, and 62cm sizes.

©Earl Harper

A very similar bike without the Break-Away system, the Record Ace is an all new frame that was also designed around 28mm tires. Rack and fender ready, the Reynolds 631 double butted frame and 4130 lugged fork carries the same Campagnolo Veloce 10 speed group. A 56cm has a claimed weight of 22.5lbs and comes in the same sizes as the Grand Prix for $1750.

©Earl Harper

The Grand Sport is a lower price point steel build that uses unnamed 4130 chromoly tubing and a custom fork to keep the price to just $800. Equipped with Shimano Claris 8 speed (11-30), the Grand Sport may be one of the most affordable steel road bikes on the market. Claimed weight is 24.9 lbs.

©Earl Harper

Along with the Clubman Disc, the Port Townsend looks like an awesome option for commuting with a fender equipped steel frame complete with Raleigh’s 12 pack Rack. Did we mention the Rainier themed paint? This killer build uses a Reynolds 520 butted chromoly frame, 4130 fork, Simano Sora 2×9 drivetrain, and 28mm Kenda Karv tires to create a commuter/grocery getter at 28.4 lbs. Offered in 50, 53, 55, 57, and 59cm frames, the Port Townsend will retail for just $800.

 

©Earl Harper

©Earl Harper

Gravel/all road/adventure road more your thing? Check out the new Willard 1 and 2. Designed off of the popular Tamland but with a lightweight 6061 alloy frame, the disc brake “gravel” bikes will provide lighter and cheaper options for the category. The 22.9 lb, $1,600 Willard 2 gets a full Shimano 105 drivetrain with 50/34t crank and 11-28 cassette, TRP Spyre mechanical brakes and Clement X’plor MSO 40mm tires and will be offered in even sizes from 52-62cm. Willard 1 has almost the identical spec with the exception of a Shimano Sora 2×9 speed drivetrain and a few other changes including the hubs. Available in the same sizes, the Willard 1 will retail for $1200.

 

©Earl Harper

©Earl Harper

While the prototype Skarn full suspension bike stole the show at Sea Otter, Raleigh has a lot of new mountain bike products including the new Women’s Ziva Expert and Comp. Designed with Women’s specific sizing and 27.5″ wheels, the Ziva is Raleigh’s race-ready bike for 2015. Zivas start out with the $1,500 Expert which uses the same 6061 SL Custom butted aluminum frame as the Comp. The difference comes from the components with the Expert receiving a SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain with Type 2 rear derailleur, Tektro Gemini hydraulic brakes, and a RockShox Recon Gold TK fork with 100mm travel. Sold in XS, SM, MD, and LG, the 25.6 lbs (SM) Expert will retail for $1,500.

At $1,000, the comp is a bit heavier at 27.4 lbs and includes a SRAM X5/X7 drivetrain, Tektro Gemini brakes, and a RockShox XC30 SoloAir 100mm fork with lockout. Both bikes include women’s specific saddles, grips, and brake levers.

©Earl Harper

©Earl Harper

While a lot of research and development has gone into the 29″ Skarn, Raleigh admits they’re not trying to break new ground with the new Kodiak. Instead, the bike is meant to bring full suspension to a new level and offer a bike at a price point that will get people excited so they will continue to grow with the sport. Using a simple single pivot design, Raleigh was able to get the price on the Kodiak down to $1,500 for the SRAM X5/X7, RockShox XC32/Monarch R Equipped 2, and $1,000 for the Shimano Altus/Acera 3×8, and Suntour XCR 32/Raidon R air equipped 1. Both models include a 120mm travel aluminum frame with thru axles front and rear, tapered head tubes, and hydraulic brakes. Pretty impressive spec for the price.

Expect to see a lot more out of Raleigh in the coming year!

Comments

pdxfixed - 07/29/14 - 6:39pm

D*mn, I was just about to order a Tamland and they drop the Willard bomb right on my head.

groghunter - 07/29/14 - 7:00pm

Steel is real. The more I think about it, don’t think I’ll ever own an aluminum road bike again, I’d just rather have the compliance of steel or carbon.

Velociraptor - 07/29/14 - 7:02pm

What about the Raleigh Maverick? (steel frame, disc brakes)

Velociraptor - 07/29/14 - 7:08pm

Raleigh Maverick Comp
————————–
•Reynolds 631 Butted CrMo Disc frame
•CrMo Disc Fork
•Gravel Road geometry with clearance for large volume tyres
•Rival 22 groupset
•TRP HyRD cable actuated hydraulic disc brakes

Steel is an alloy. - 07/29/14 - 7:24pm

Rainier-themed paint, not “Ranier”. Out-of-staters say it wrong all the time, so maybe don’t help them, okay? Thanks.
Otherwise, glad to see Raleigh back on the steel bus. Good looking stuff.

alex - 07/29/14 - 8:13pm

A $1500 full suspension bike with Rockshox parts? Nice Job Raleigh- in a world of $10,000 bikes, this is refreshing to see.

PBJoe - 07/29/14 - 9:11pm

I have a Breezer Venturi, but gave serious consideration to the Record Ace before I bought it. I love steel road bikes. Especially for a guy like me who is 190 pounds in mid-season shape.

Sure Carbon is great, and I’d gladly own one, I store my bikes in a shed next to other bikes, and tools and other items, I don’t want to worry about a damaged frame because something hit it.

Steel is real!

wall - 07/29/14 - 9:31pm

That full suspension made me cringe. But hey you can’t complain for that price

Mikd - 07/29/14 - 10:01pm

I was really hoping the travel bike would be a disc road bike.

Endoman - 07/29/14 - 10:53pm

Willard gravel bike looks sweet.
I love my Talus Comp 29er. Raleigh
makes good bikes.

Jupes - 07/29/14 - 11:00pm

It’s really super to see Raleigh coming back with well designed (and thoughtfully designed for their price point) bikes. Classy colors, good component selection… Keep up the great work!

Ajax - 07/29/14 - 11:26pm

Steel is real, alright….real heavy.

I love the ride of steel, but it’s just heavy.

Krzysztof - 07/30/14 - 7:18am

The 800 USD roadie and the Heckler-like full-sus look just right. I wonder what prices will there be in the UK.

nagomano - 07/30/14 - 9:15am

It is truly awesome to see some new production bikes spec’ed with Campagnolo parts. Keep em’ coming Raleigh!

Chris L - 07/30/14 - 10:12am

@Groghunter:

You do realize that aluminum is MORE flexible than steel, right? That’s not my opinion, that’s a scientific fact. Why do you think track sprinters use steel bars instead of alloy bars? What makes Cannondale and some other bikes ride so harsh isn’t the aluminum but rather the diameter of the tube. A steel tube drawn to similar diameters would also be horribly stiff. Conversely, go ride a Vitus 979 – those frames were aluminum and probably the most comfortable frame every ridden in the pro ranks. There’s a reason so many pros would swap out their normal steel frames for a Vitus when Paris-Roubaix came up. Also a reason why the aluminum Alan cyclocross frame was pretty much the standard frame for most pros for over a decade.

I love a GOOD steel bike but lower end steel bikes feature very thick walled tubes that are no more compliant than many alloy bikes. I had a Reynolds 520 tubed bike and it absolutely was harsher riding than my Easton ProGram alloy framed bike. Classic steel bikes – those that feature non-oversized tubes and wall thickness of .9mm or less – are the way to go. Surly, Soma and a lot of the other inexpensive steel frames however use tubing that is oversized and thicker than this. If you think your Surly or Soma has the “feel of steel” than you clearly have never ridden a frame made from Reynolds 753, Columbus SL or Tange Prestige! Too bad for you. The Record Ace is made with 631 which is very nice tubing though Raleigh opted to spec an oversized down tube which is going add some harshness. Also a lot of frames are now shipping with Tange Prestige tubing. If you were around in the 80s/90s you’d know that Prestige was probably the best tubing made. However the Prestige they’re selling today is entirely different stuff.

bikeyams - 07/30/14 - 11:21am

@ Chris L,

Although a lot of what you say is true, the fatique strength of the two materials are vastly different. Aluminum has very low fatique resistance to strain. Becasue of this, aluminum frames tend to be made stiffer to prevent excess strain and the accompanying failure crack. But, better computational stress programs and tube forming methods (hydroformed), along with better testing have allowed engineers to trim excess aluminum where it isn’t needed resulting in some very nice riding frames. That said, a steel frame of equal compliance to that of an aluminum frame will likely last longer due to strain in normal riding, both well beyond what a normal rider will keep them for.

Now, to be light, a steel frame may be so thin walled as to be suceptible to impact damage. Ironically, the light steel frames being made today as “forever frames” are probably more susceptible to damage than a high quality carbon frame, although its damage may not be life ending liek it can with carbon (which can typically be repaired)

In the end, all bikes ride differently due to design and somewhat material. Ride and buy the one you like.

Sally - 07/30/14 - 12:08pm

@velociraptor RaleighUK took the Tamland and renamed it. Same frame, just a different name.

satisFACTORYrider - 07/30/14 - 12:35pm

modern steel is not that heavy. you’re just not that fit.

david - 07/30/14 - 1:20pm

Seems Raleigh understand the future of cycling isn’t just dentists dropping 10K on a bike they rarely ride, but encouraging people to start cycling with decent, well made equipment that won’t bankrupt them. Bravo, Raleigh.

Champs - 07/30/14 - 4:18pm

Materials rants: always accurate, never old.

Drew Southern - 07/30/14 - 6:54pm

Such as the “Soma uses bad steel” argument followed up by listing Tange Prestige as “good” steel, which, not incidentally, is what Soma actually uses on some of their frames. Also, saying Cannondale aluminium frames are harsh, when in most folks’ experience, they are actually smoother than some “good” steel. It definitely comes down to “if it feels good, it probably is.”

Rick - 07/30/14 - 10:03pm

Is the Kodiak a 29er or 27.5 I can’t tell ? Looking good for Raleigh !

The Conductor - 07/30/14 - 10:19pm

It’s been a loooooong time since i’ve seen a Vitus or Alan aluminum bike being ridden. Cracked and hanging on walls, yes.

Flexi, yes. Durable, I’m not so sure.

Raliegh has an impressive road lineup. The mountain bikes, not so much.

TerryB - 07/31/14 - 10:47am

Hi

The Maverick referred to by Velociraptor is the UK version of the Tamland. same frame and fork but specced for the UK market.

Velociraptor - 08/01/14 - 4:43am

Will any of the US versions be spec’d with TRP HyRD’s?

Sally - 08/01/14 - 12:48pm

@velociraptor All Spyre’s

Velo - 08/01/14 - 4:17pm

The Jamis Quest Elite seems to be a much better deal:

Raleigh Record Ace: 22.5 lbs, $1750
Jamis Quest Elite: 19.5 lbs, $1750

treetrunkthighs - 08/01/14 - 6:07pm

If you throw big enough tires on ‘em, most anything will ride smooth, especially if you are a plus 250 lb. slug like me!

sss - 08/02/14 - 8:42pm

Why are the steel frames built with sloping top tubes and ugly unicrown forks?

Kevin - 08/05/14 - 1:26am

What is this, 1991? Steel and Campy? It’s about time! Bikes for real people to enjoy that look and ride great! Keep it going Raleigh!

Slow Joe Crow - 08/05/14 - 5:50pm

The steel bikes are nice but it’s a shame they have the model hierarchy inverted. The classic 70s Raleigh lineup started with the Record, the Grand Prix and then the Carlton built 531 framed bikes, Super Course (531 main tubes), Grand Sport (all 531) and then some racier stuff culminating in the Team Professional with full 531 tubing and full Campagnolo Record parts.
I do applaud Raleigh for being one of the few OEMs to build a Campy equipped bike at a medium price point and for building a reasonably priced full suspension bike. I’m going to miss the old randonneur styled Port Townsend.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.