Raleigh Chopper with Twist Grip Gears

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
The Grifter was the first of my two defining childhood bikes and the fact it came a few years after the Chopper probably carbon dates me pretty accurately. A mate had a Tomahawk but that was regarded as past it by then, with the 3 speed twist grip Grifter (in shiny silver, red or blue) eclipsing those chopper copying Raleigh stable mates with its sheer modernity and shipyard built awesomeness. **

The Grifter *was* heavy. Really heavy. But you could actually ramp jump it if you put some grunt into it, and it was so sturdy for off road paths with its big knobbly tyres, almost like Raleigh saw the era of the mountain bike coming. (An accident I'm sure!)

** (I admit, I still wanted a Chopper, we all did!)
 

DRM

Veteran
Location
West Yorks
The Grifter was the first of my two defining childhood bikes and the fact it came a few years after the Chopper probably carbon dates me pretty accurately. A mate had a Tomahawk but that was regarded as past it by then, with the 3 speed twist grip Grifter (in shiny silver, red or blue) eclipsing those chopper copying Raleigh stable mates with its sheer modernity and shipyard built awesomeness. **

The Grifter *was* heavy. Really heavy. But you could actually ramp jump it if you put some grunt into it, and it was so sturdy for off road paths with its big knobbly tyres, almost like Raleigh saw the era of the mountain bike coming. (An accident I'm sure!)

** (I admit, I still wanted a Chopper, we all did!)
I'll agree with them being sturdy, my mate got a Grifter for xmas, came round to show off so we had a race down the street for the first ride, me on the Chopper, him on brand new Grifter, we lived on a cul de sac & for some reason he pushed his luck to far & hit the garden wall of the last house, flew over the handle bars & the wall, landed on the lawn, the bike didn't have a mark on it & I, being a good mate didn't laugh.......too much
 

FrankCrank

Professional layabout
The 'Holy Grail' of Choppers, A Mk1 Ten speed,

View attachment 523281
The Grifter was the first of my two defining childhood bikes and the fact it came a few years after the Chopper probably carbon dates me pretty accurately. A mate had a Tomahawk but that was regarded as past it by then, with the 3 speed twist grip Grifter (in shiny silver, red or blue) eclipsing those chopper copying Raleigh stable mates with its sheer modernity and shipyard built awesomeness. **

The Grifter *was* heavy. Really heavy. But you could actually ramp jump it if you put some grunt into it, and it was so sturdy for off road paths with its big knobbly tyres, almost like Raleigh saw the era of the mountain bike coming. (An accident I'm sure!)

** (I admit, I still wanted a Chopper, we all did!)
Thing with the Chopper was, fun bike for doing all that pre-BMX stuff, but the frame would end up broken. Mine did, had to get gussets added, and I'm sure many others did. The rear end was not well designed, more for 'show', but every kid wanted one. Great memories.
 

EltonFrog

Yup, no, that didn’t work.
I coveted a Raleigh chopper when I was a kid too, never got one, not only my single parent mother couldn’t afford to buy it, her bloke who told her it would be dangerous wasn’t having any of it.

The only way I was getting a new bike was if I bought it. My mother’s bloke ( a man I hated obviously) offered to buy me the bike but I had to pay him back from my after school/Saturday job money,(working at Morris’ Butcher shop in Paddington) . However another condition was that he chose the bike. For reasons I can’t remember a Dawes Kingpin was his choice. I wanted a Chopper. It wasn’t an option.

I do remember however looking at the Dawes brochure and choosing the spec and colour, Blue, with Dynohub lights, rack and bag plus a yellow waterproof cape. It was late 1970. The bike was bought from a shop in the Upper Richmond Road, and it cost £38 15s 3d. I had to pay back 10s a week later 50p a week. ( I’m not sure how I did that).
Anyway the Kingpin arrived and I was delighted with it, though it wasn’t cool, I got the piss taken at school because I had a girls bike ( it wasn’t) .

I went everywhere on that bike, in the school holidays I cycled from Willesden Junction to Welling, Kent to stay with my aunt. Imagine a 12/13 year old doing that journey today. I used to ride my bike around Hyde Park before work, loads of kids did after school but they were all on Choppers.

I still wanted a Chopper though, for years right into adulthood. I finally got one too, free, Purple all I had to do was collect it. I never got round to it and was dumped! D’oh.

Last year my Brother acquired a restored one I had a a quick go on it. It was feckin awful. Do I still want a Chopper? No, I’m over it.

523508

My brother’s Chopper.

I do have a Kingpin though.
523509
 

FrankCrank

Professional layabout
A lad 2 doors away had a Chopper before me. I was always round there trying to cadge a go on it. My day obviously knew what a great deal it meant to me, so he went out and got one, payed in installments. I was the happiest kid in the neighbourhood, and didn't at that time appreciate what a lucky 10yo I was. We grew up on a council estate, dad the wage earner (railway track maintenance) and mum a housewife, trying to raise 5 kids. As to the bike, it was passed down to younger brothers, served us well over the years. They were uncomfortable even for kids to ride - just shows the power of marketing. I think the Twenty/Kingpin would have been the more sensible choice, but tell that to a kid in the seventies eh:laugh:
 

Paulus

Started young, and still going.
Location
Barnet,
I seem to be in a minority in that I never wanted a Chopper. My mate got one for his birthday, and I did have a go on it, but it was just so uncomfortable. When standing up on the pedals the handlebars were flexing. I went back to my ordinary 3 speed Raleigh happy.^_^
 

raleighnut

Guru
Location
On 3 Wheels
I seem to be in a minority in that I never wanted a Chopper. My mate got one for his birthday, and I did have a go on it, but it was just so uncomfortable. When standing up on the pedals the handlebars were flexing. I went back to my ordinary 3 speed Raleigh happy.^_^
Similar here, had a go on one and not impressed and I didn't like the Puch Steyr that my Cousin had either,

Original Steyr Puch 5 Speed Chopper Muscle Bike Bicycle Like ...

Although TBH it rode better but I stuck with my 3 speed 'tracker' bike. I did however lust after another cousins Carlton Clubman and borrowed it on and off from 76 before finally being given it in about 79-80................................still got it. :becool:
 

FrankCrank

Professional layabout
When I see pics of the old MK1, some have the doorknob style shifter, and some a 'T' handle style. They would each cause the same degree of pain I should imagine, but wonder where/why the changeover happened.
Is there a resident Chopperologist on here who can shed any light?
 

DRM

Veteran
Location
West Yorks
When I see pics of the old MK1, some have the doorknob style shifter, and some a 'T' handle style. They would each cause the same degree of pain I should imagine, but wonder where/why the changeover happened.
Is there a resident Chopperologist on here who can shed any light?
I can't comment on why/where the gear knob changed, but believe me it could definitely make your eyes water at a minimum :cursing:
 

DiddlyDodds

Random Resident
Location
Littleborough
The first Mk1's had a round knob as it was copied from (correct me if i am wrong) Alan Okleys Ford Granada and later changed to the T handle on the MK2
 
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