1911 Raleigh Modele Superbe Ladies X Frame



The Raleigh Modele Superbe X Frame was the company’s top-of-the-range model. They explained that it was… “costly to manufacture, and for that reason we can only supply it as our highest-priced machine.” In fact, before World War One the Raleigh X Frame was the world’s most expensive bicycle.

Raleigh was the market leader in cross frames, but there was strong competition from other companies who had patented their own variations on the cross frame design. Elswick employed stage actress Mabel Love to promote their ‘cross truss frame’ and Raleigh likewise arranged for stage actress Miss Phyllis Dare to promote their ‘X Frame’.

1911 Raleigh Modele Superbe Ladies X Frame

‘Model No 16’ with

Concealed Roller Lever Brakes

24″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Frame No 341984

(Now sold)

There are few surviving Ladies’ Raleigh X Frames. The Gents’ model was made in large quantities until the mid-1930s, and sold well despite its higher price. Part of its appeal was the idea that a cross frame provided a much stronger bicycle; it was indeed a heavy duty model, and particularly suited to unmade roads. However, female riders did not need a stronger frame. Most of their riding was for pleasure and there was a very wide range of bicycles suited to their needs.

This example is in good all round condition. Its previous owner cherished it for many years but eventually gave up cycling. It’s an older restoration, and its paint is scratched in places. My only criticisms are that it has a metal headbadge whereas a transfer (decal) would have been used at this time, and there are a few dents in the chaincase. It has been fitted with a more modern Brooks B66 saddle and matching ‘Raleigh Industries’ pedals. Apart from those items, everything is correct for its age.

A particulrly interesting feature of the machine is its ‘Concealed Roller Lever Brake’ which was patented by Lea Francis, and promoted by Raleigh as an option for their 1910 and 1911 models.