With a company
as large as Raleigh producing so many bikes, it was inevitable and
cost friendly to share a large percentage of parts between models.
The Chopper was no exception, having components pulled from the
same parts bin as many other “lesser” models.
One of these models was the Raleigh RSW16, that’s Raleigh Small
Wheels 16”. Introduced in 1965, this was Raleigh’s answer
to the Moulton cycle. These usually crop up at the tip or second
hand bike shops and whilst not popular now, can be bought quite
Now, before we go any further, I don’t condone breaking old
Raleighs just for a fulcrum clip or an axle, but some Chopper parts
are becoming so scarce, it would be a crime for an RSW 16 to be
scrapped off when it can provide so much.
is a model similar to the one I picked up recently for £15.
Whilst comfortable to ride the public humiliation was just too much.
Above is an indication of what parts can be used on a chopper. The
rims were the dimpled Mk1 style 28 hole, the dynamo and dyno hub
will come in handy for something, the rear hub and hub brake will
be kept and the front forks are the same as chopper but the length
of the steering tube is longer than standard chopper. Along with
a bag full of useful nuts and bolts, the front crank is larger and
the rear sprocket is smaller to compensate for the reduced sized
wheels. Fitted to a chopper, this would increase top speed at the
expense of acceleration.
Finally, I came across proof of the RSW 16’s racing heritage
with this photo dating back to the 70’s.
to Simon Daniels for this article