Raleigh Chopper
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Dating Your Chopper.
O.K. Taking it for a few beers and a cheap curry isn’t really what this page is about:
By Dating, I mean finding out the date your Chopper left the factory. For some reason, people seem fascinated by the age of their bike, so lets get a few facts into line.
Your Chopper had its frame built first, and a frame number stamped onto it. This is the first dateable part of the bike. Then it went to the paint booth and was painted. Choppers were painted in batches of one colour. The frame number doesn’t indicate the colour. It was painted depending upon which colour was assigned to the batch the frame was in.
Next, a couple of days later, when the paint was good and hard, and it had had stickers attached; it joined a matching colour set of front forks and entered the assembly line.
The bike was assembled and had a rear wheel fitted, the Sturmey Archer rear hubs were built in the Raleigh factory about the same time and in parallel with the bikes. The rear hub has a date on it and this date will be approximately the same date as the frame... depending upon backlogs at the production line. So it is safe to say that both the frame number and the rear hub dates should tally and are the only ways of accurately dating your bikes build date.

As Choppers were in high demand throughout most of their production run, they would have been in a shop window within 4/5 weeks of leaving the production line. So it is fairly safe to say your Chopper was sold the month following the hub date.... Except it is fairly safe to say that most of October November bikes hit the floor running an or around the 25th of December!
We’re concentrating on U.K. bikes here, so if you own a U.K. issue Chopper, it should be dated from 1969 to 1980... Yes, I know bikes were on sale well into 1983, but frame dates stop at October 1980 indicating that was when the last frame was braised together at the factory. The last batch were all painted black with diffraction tape decals, and were put into stock.... only to be assembled into full bikes when ordered from a dealer.... Therefore the rear hub dates carry on well into 1982, but frame dates stop at Oct 1980.