THE IRISH X FRAME
“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, which was an option on the Irish X Frame and the Police models. It was built in Nottingham, and either assembled there or in the Raleigh factory at 35 Lower Abbey St, Dublin. 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.”
1937 Raleigh Irish X Frame
(Irish Raleigh Cycle Co Ltd)
Sturmey-Archer ‘Model AW’ 3-speed gear
Brooks Heavy duty Model B90 leather saddle
This 1937 Irish Raleigh X Frame is an older restoration, with its metalwork repainted over thirty years ago. It has the ‘heron’ head badge (which Raleigh introduced in 1928). The chrome parts (handlebar, wheels, pedal cranks) are in reasonable condition. The mudguards have rusted where the stays attach. I have a replacement pair of (shop soiled) new old stock Raleigh mudguards which I will include in the sale. The frame number is not easy to read.
The saddle is a rare and attractive heavy duty Brooks B90. The machine is in good mechanical condition, with new tyres recently fitted, and it is ready to ride.
1936 RALEIGH CATALOGUE
THE RALEIGH ‘IRISH’ X FRAME POLICE MODEL
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.