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22-Mar-2020 18:36

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Although many moaned about Carlton being yet one of many proud independents "swallowed up" by Raleigh, its name, brand recognition, sales and overall market impact in lightweight cycling increased exponentially not just at home but throughout a now truly global market under the aegis of TI Raleigh. The only models offered were the Franco-Suisse and the Catalina. If bicycle sales lagged in Britain, those in America, focused almost entirely on the leisure and sports market, increased in 1959-60 under Raleigh Industries of America (RIA). although only 60,000 of them were actually badged as Raleigh or associated marques, the others were sold under different house brands for the American market for Huffy, AMF and department stores as had long been the custom of the former British Cycle Corp., but at very low profit margins.Significantly, this now included the potentially enormous American market. In 1963, TI Raleigh exported an astonishing 802,000 cycles to the U. This would change in the mid 'sixties to a new marketing plan under the new President of RIA Ken Collins.As early as 1957, Raleigh explored setting up a specialist lightweight building unit in the old Sturmey-Archer gear works which was vacant after its new factory extension had opened.

Its trademark "blue mink" and silver paint, gold lug lining, lashings of lustrous chrome, characteristic "fastback" rear stays and all that much coveted Campagnolo componentry made it one of the most aesthetically pleasing and desired lightweights of the era and often a "pipe dream" machine for a generation of young cyclists on account of its very high cost.Moreover, starting in 1963 Carlton fielded its own racing team, Carlton-BMB (British Manufactured Bearings), comprised of George Shaw, Michael Coupe, Mike Harpham and Sean Ryan.Based on the vagaries of competing corporate marketing goals, the team would be variously called Carlton-BMB or Raleigh-BMB (1966, 1968) and in 1967 George Shaw became manager and the squad, composed of such star riders as Bob Addy, Bernard Burns and Arthur Metcalf, tallied 40 first-place wins in road, track and cyclo-cross competition. Owned by Raleigh since the previous year, the marque is still marketed under its original name.Carlton would now, in addition to its own range, manufacture lightweights for Raleigh, Triumph, Sun, Dunelt and others based on the Raleigh "branding" principle.

Finally, heading Carlton's design department was Gerald O' Donovan who proved one of the leading designers of racing bicycles both for professional use and also commercially.

Further, as Raleigh/Carlton got a bit inundated during the early 1970s "Bike Boom" in the U. Hence, we find the Mark II Pro Limited Edition advertised in the 1970 brochure was, by production date serial numbers, actually built in 1971.



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