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Are Raleigh Bikes Up To A Daily Work Commute?

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As one of the oldest bike companies in the world, most cyclists will have heard of Raleigh. The British brand was founded in 1887 when Queen Victoria still reigned.

Raleigh has a reputation for manufacturing affordable, high-quality bikes. So, are their machines robust enough for getting to and from work each day?

This article discusses the possibility of a Raleigh commuter bike and looks at what models you may choose for the task.

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Are Raleigh Bikes Good For Commuting?

In short, yes, Raleigh bikes are good for commuting. Not least among their attributes is general affordability, which makes sense when you’re looking for a practical commuter bike.

Frame & Materials

Most bikes in the Raleigh range are made from aluminum or steel, which helps to keep their price down. Aluminum is well known for its strength-to-weight ratio, whereas steel has a reputation for being compliant and comfortable.

If you need to climb many hills on your commute, an aluminum bike may be better for you because of its relative lightness. Raleigh does make carbon road bikes, too, which are lighter still.

Video: Steel vs Aluminum Bike Frames

Gearing

The number of gears found on Raleigh bikes varies enormously. You don’t need a huge number of gears on typical commutes, but if you’re planning on carrying hefty panniers over steep hills, more is good!

A gear ratio of 1:1 or more is exceptionally low and needs less force to push over hills. For example, a 34t front chainring driving a 34t rear sprocket is a 1:1 ratio. You might need that on steep hills, but it’s good for carrying heavy loads over modest ones, too.

Wheels & Tires

Raleigh commuter and fitness bikes allow plenty of clearance for wide, comfortable tires. If you’re commuting by road, you might want to study the tire width and tread, as a fairly narrow, slick tire will be faster and more efficient than a fat, knobby tire.

Raleigh commuter, hybrid, and fitness bikes usually feature double-wall wheel rims laced with 32 or 36 spokes (32H or 36H). The number of spokes contribute to the rim’s strength and rigidity and ability to bear weight.

Read more: The big benefits of riding a bike to work

Top 3 Best Raleigh Commuter Bikes

What Raleigh bike would you choose for a commute? Below are three suggestions.

1. Raleigh Redux 2 Urban / Commuter Bike (best Raleigh overall)

  • Frame Material: 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Groupset: Shimano Alivio/Acera (Tektro brakes)
  • Weight: Approx. 25 lb. (11.34 kg)

A bike designed for the rigors of urban commutes is the Raleigh Redux 2 Commuter Bike. This city bike is robustly made with a 6061 aluminum double-butted frame and double-wall 32H wheels (32 spokes for strength).

The bike has a Shimano Alivio rear derailleur and Shimano Acera M3000 shifter, which are part of its MTB-inspired design. You get a useful 9 gears, with an 11-34t cassette driven by a 40t chainring. This will help you over most gradients on a commute.

What we like:

  • Robust – sturdy build quality well-suited to urban commutes.
  • Parts – mixture of good-value Shimano and Tektro parts.
  • Extras – useful rack and fender mounts built in.

What we don’t like:

  • QR – quick-release wheels and seatpost create extra security concerns.

2. Raleigh Propaganda Single-Speed Road Bicycle

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  • Frame Material: Chromoly Steel
  • Groupset: Single Speed
  • Weight: Approx. 30.86 lb. (14 kg)

One way to keep the cost and maintenance of a commuter bike down is to do away with gears. That’s where the Raleigh Propaganda Single-Speed Road Bicycle comes in. This bike can be ridden as a “fixie” or single-speed freewheel bike, thanks to its flip-flop hub.

This eye-catching bike comes with a high-quality Selle Royal Prestige saddle in brown and matching brown handlebar tape.

Unlike some single-speed bikes, this one comes with front and rear rim brakes.

The Propaganda also has strong 36H double-wall wheels and can withstand a lot of hard city riding. Lack of gears and a fairly heavy frame make this bike ideal for a flat commute, where it’s more than capable of delivering a fast ride.

What we like:

  • Simple – single-speed (42t/16t) keeps cost and maintenance down.
  • Looks – striking minimalistic style.
  • Speed – you can roll along quickly over flat roads.

What we don’t like:

  • Heavy – that compliant steel frame comes with a weight penalty.

3. Raleigh Cadent 2 Fitness Bike

  • Frame Material: 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Groupset: Mixed Shimano/Suntour/Tektro
  • Weight: Approx. 26.59 lb. (12.06 kg)

A more widely geared alternative to an urban bike is the Raleigh Cadent 2 Fitness Bike. This bike has a relaxed, stable geometry with a slacker head tube angle, longer wheelbase, and more bottom-bracket drop than the Redux.

You’ll be placed in a comfy upright position on the Cadent 2. It’s better suited to hilly commutes than our other two selections. A big gear range comes from triple 28/38/48t chainrings at the front and a 12-32t rear cassette.

The Cadent 2 includes fender and rack mounts. Reliable braking comes from Tektro mechanical disc brakes.

What we like:

  • Gearing – 3×8 gear range with easy low gears good for carrying stuff over hills.
  • Value – classic Raleigh value for money.
  • Strength – robust 6061 aluminum frame & double-wall 32H wheels.

What we don’t like:

  • Tires – replace for better speed and/or puncture resistance.

In Conclusion

To quickly revisit our three Raleigh commuter picks, the Raleigh Redux 2 Commuter Bike is a sturdy, lightweight all-rounder for the average route into work.

A fast bike for flat commutes is the Raleigh Propaganda Single-Speed Road Bicycle, which you can ride in fixie mode if you wish.

Hilly commutes are conquerable with the Raleigh Cadent 2 Fitness Bike, which includes a wide gear selection with some very easy gears.

The main differences between these bikes lie in choice of brakes (e.g., hydraulic disc vs mechanical disc), gearing, and frame materials. It’s hard to find a Raleigh bike that isn’t fun to ride and good value for money.

Bike Push - Mark W
Mark W
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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