1938 Raleigh Irish X Frame (Irish Raleigh Cycle Co)

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The duties of the Force demand more than a mere ‘push-bike’ – supreme strength, easy running and unfailing reliability, in short the new Raleigh ‘Police Model.

Note the specially constructed steel ‘X’ frame. This added strength will meet the demand of the hardest service it is possible to give to a bicycle. But throughout it will maintain its flexibility. Bearings are specially hardened and accurately ground to ensure silken running. Raleigh brakes are a revelation in their smoothness and efficiency, while Raleigh chrome plating and special rust-proof enamelling make the All Steel bicycle ideal for all-weather riding.

No matter how much you pay, money cannot buy a better bicycle – the Raleigh is the standard by which all bicycles are judged.

– The Irish Raleigh Cycle Co Ltd, 35 Lower Abbey St, Dublin

According to the book ‘The Story of the Raleigh Cycle’, the Irish government launched its ‘Industrial Programme’ in the thirties to encourage firms to employ local labour. So Raleigh formed the Irish Raleigh Cycle Co Ltd in October, 1936 – ‘though its factory was only really an assembly plant and did not actually manufacture bicycles. The factory became operational early in 1937 and an average of 1000 machines per week were put together there until the outbreak of the Second World War.’ The factory resumed production after the war.

The Modele Superbe X Frame had been the star of Raleigh catalogues, but was ‘demoted’ from its pole position after 1932. As a result of the Great Depression, cycle companies now needed to focus on cheaply-produced machines. The X Frame was no longer promoted in Britain, though it was advertised in some years’ catalogues as either the ‘Service Model’, ‘Police Model’ or the ‘Irish X Frame.’

This example has three-speed gears and a chaincase, which were not fitted to the ‘Police’ or ‘Service’ models. So I believe it was assembled in the Raleigh factory at 35 Lower Abbey St, Dublin for the local civilian market. To quote the Irish Raleigh Cycle Co advertisement:

The Irish X Frame model, as its name implies, has been specially designed for use on the reputably bad roads often to be found in Ireland, or where the ground to be continually traversed is of a broken and exceedingly rough nature, thereby necessitating a frame of somewhat more substantial and stronger character than is usual.

1938 Raleigh Irish X Frame

(Irish Raleigh Cycle Co Ltd)

Black Enamel Finish

Sturmey-Archer Three Speed Gear

Brooks B90/3 saddle with Raleigh logo

26″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Frame No 52578A

This 1938 Irish Raleigh X Frame is an older restoration, with its metalwork repainted over twenty years ago. The transfers (decals) on the chaincase and rear mudguard are intact. It has the ‘heron’ head badge (which Raleigh introduced in 1928).

The chrome parts (handlebar, wheels, pedal cranks) are shiny. The saddle is rare, being the heavy duty ‘Model B90/3’ supplied directly by Brooks to Raleigh, with Raleigh’s logo stamped into the top of the leather. (Most surviving examples of these have black leather and are from the 1950s). The machine is in good mechanical condition and is ready to ride.














The special X formation used gives it the additional strength exactly where it is needed, and the machine readily stands up to the hardest of hard going.