24 March 2008

Practical is chic: the Raleigh Twenty folding bike

For urban ladies with small apartments I offer a vintage folding option, the Raleigh Twenty. It's cute, it's small, it will fold up and fit in a closet, a balcony, a stairwell, whatever you have.

This folding bike is inexpensive (I've seen prices hovering in the $200 range) and can be made to look really sleek, or really cute.

In his completely charming way, Sheldon Brown loved his and provided a lot of useful information on maintaining Raleigh Twentys.

Chloe Sevigny's bike sure looks a lot like a Twenty.


Mike said...

Actually, Chloe is riding a generic U-tube folder from Europe. These are generally not as well regarded as the Raleigh 20.

I own one like Chloe Sevigny, but I haven't ridden a Raleigh 20, so I can't really compare.

Here is some info on my folder:

I just found your site today. It's great!

Frankie Weaver said...

I picked up a Raleigh twenty from a secondhand shop yesterday for $5 (aus)! It needs a little loving but it's so perfect for apartment living, you're right. And i can throw it in the back of the car without folding the seats down. It's perfect!

Toronto Bike Chic said...

ours is almost the same.. does yours have weinmann brakes and sturmey archer rims?


we have a new twenty blog.


Jym said...

Chloe's bike is a vintage Royce Union, and she has matching wallpaper

Mad Marty said...

I've been after a Folding Raleigh Twenty for some time, and am currently negotiating purchase of a frame and mudguards. I get free choice for the wheels, handlebars and saddle, which suits me perfectly because I'll get to fit exactly the components I want.

The ability to fold makes it perfect for apartment dwellers, though my space isn't so cramped in a suburban town-house, and it makes the perfect bicycle for mixed-mode commuter. In Sydney you have to pay extra to take your bicycle on the train during peak periods, but you can call a folding bicycle "luggage" and get away with it.

I've ridden an non-folding twenty (under the guise of the Raleigh "Utility"), and can say that they handle wonderfully and feel like a full-sized bicycle.

Oh, and you right, they are very, very (retro) chic.

lagatta à montréal said...

I saw one the other day - parked next to my Raleigh Sprite - and picked it up (these were both locked into a locking frame) and was pleasantly surprised that it was not to heavy for me to lift up a flight of stairs (I'm in my 50s and have bouts of arthritis) as some of the other folders are. I just lust after one, especially for my stays in Amsterdam (no hills, but a bloody lot of thieves).

It is so pretty too!

Charlotte, do you look at your older posts?

Charlotte said...

Lagatta, I do look at older posts!
I am about to publish a photo I took this morning of a very handsome gentleman on his Brompton. I think that if one has the money the Brompton is the way to go. It's such a great folding bike. I give the Raleigh first prize in its price category but if they go too high I'd get a Brompton every time.

Martin Hartley said...

I got my hands on a Raleigh Twenty. They ride so beautifully. It has a longer wheelbase compared to most folding bicycles, so it is more stable and cruisey, but still has very responsive handling. The Nylon bushing in the top of the headset makes it near to impossible to ride hands-free.

If you want to know more about the Raleigh Twenty, I created a website, which aims to be the ultimate online resource:


pj15 said...

I love old folders!

I live in the UK and spent £30 around 5 years ago on my folder 'Aggie'. I'm fixing her up a present as she has been having problems with her brakes.

There are no markings, but I think she is a 1970s Klapprad U-frame folder.

She is by far the best bike I ever owned and I wouldn't swap her for the world.

I'm told regularly get a new and better bike, but only by people who think style is a large price tag; poor lost souls!!!

Terr said...

It's not a Royce Union. It's a Bianchi. On better quality pictures you can read it lettering on the stem and the headbadge is recognisable. I believe it's one of their models from the 70s.