The mystique of steel caused the British cycle industry to be slow to adopt newfangled materials such as aluminum, and many British cyclists believed, even well into the 1960's, that steel rims, for instance, were superior to aluminum ones.
These days, this seems laughable..if you look at an older Dunlop steel rim, you'll find a very respectable, well-made product.
The men and women who built them, by and large, also rode them, as their primary means of transportation.
Most modern bicycles are designed with the primary intent to catch your eye on the sales floor, and persuade you to buy.
The fact that Raleigh 3-speeds are made of steel shouldn't fool you into thinking that these bikes were cheap or inferior in any way..were not..were the finest utility bicycles money could buy.
Raleigh 3-speed bicycles were introduced around the turn of the century, and kept improving in technology over the years, reaching a peak in quality probably in the mid-to-late 1950s.
That is not what a Raleigh Sports was about...these were designed to provide solid, dependable transportation for the British public, at a time when only the upper classes had motorcars.
I know, I know: The frame is cooler (and better) than my 70’s Raleigh Wayfarer, but the larger frame on the Wayfarer fits me better. Here are the pertinent details: Rudge Sports, estimated to be from 1953 (yep, a 60 year old bike!They continued to be built in Nottingham until the mid-1970's, when the glamour of the 10-speed fad pushed them out of favor with the rising baby boom generation.When a modern company sets out to build a bicycle, what they really build is the frame (if that.) They buy sets of tubing from a tubing company, cut and weld them together into a frame, paint it and install parts which they buy different specialized parts companies.Contemporary bicycles have many parts made of aluminum (or "aluminium," if you prefer) for lightness, strength and corrosion resistance.Contemporary bicycles that have steel rims, or cranks, or handlebars, or brakes do so as a way of cutting corners and saving a little bit of money, for a low-end bicycle.Raleigh, in its glory years (up into the 1960's) was the absolute opposite.