The Top 4 Greatest Retro Bikes Of All Time
News article published on: 11th May 2019
Remember whizzing down a huge hill on your favourite bike as a kid?
Even though we’re all grown up with boring adult responsibilities like jobs and mortgages, the fun doesn’t have to stop there. Join us for a trip down memory lane with our favourite retro bikes. Spokey Dokeys optional.
Perhaps it’s a bit of an obvious choice, but it would be a crime to not include the Raleigh Chopper in this list. Probably the most iconic retro bike ever, the Chopper wheeled its way into the nation’s hearts with its ground-breaking design. Inspired by US motorcycles, with its distinctive ‘ape-hanger’ handlebars, odd-sized wheels and long seat (perfect for giving your mates a ‘backie’ on), it was like nothing ever seen before in the UK.
Okay, so it wasn’t the safest of bikes – it was notoriously plagued with some steering and balance issues which were ironed out in later versions – but boy did it look cool.
Original versions of the Chopper can sell for almost 4 figures today, but if you’re after something a little cheaper, Raleigh are due to release a special edition this Autumn for a more modest £275. The bad news? Kids size only.
2. Hetchins Magnum Bonum
The Magnum Bonum road bike, introduced in the 50s, has a classic outline, and can be spotted a mile off by any lightweight cycle aficionado, not least because of Hetchins’ famous curly stays.
Its other key feature, and the other that Hetchins is well-known for, is its heavily ornate lugs – miniature works of art in themselves.
The story behind the curly stays harks back to professional road-races in the 1930s, when advertising on athletes’ cycles wasn’t allowed. Hetchins introduced its trademark curved stays to stand out, and they remain sought-after today.
Not only does it look good, but it rides well too. There are a host of Hetchins enthusiasts around today, and if your wallet is big enough, you can join them too.
3. Schwinn Predator BMX
A total BMX classic, the Predator stood out from its competition due to its incredible durability. It boasted a full chrome-moly mainframe (quite a selling point back in the 80s!) and a specially designed low-profile stem, which both increased the steering precision and made it pretty much bomb-proof out on the dirt track.
And for those who wanted it purely for the street-cred, it came in a wide variety of colours. These were widely available and mass-manufactured, so it’s pretty easy to get your hands on one today for £150-ish.
4. Yeti FRO
One for the mountain bikers, the FRO (which stands for ‘For Racing Only’) was a popular choice in the late 80s. Its neat, smooth silhouette saw it be a stand-out candidate in the world of mountain biking.
From the one-piece curved rear end to the über-cool oval top tube, it had style in spades. Finished off with Yeti’s distinctive turquoise, and with Yeti’s awesome abominable snowman logo slapped on the front, it was popular with professionals and wannabes alike.
There are still a fair few of these about, as they’re not too ancient, so you can pick one up for between £400-800 depending on condition.
And thus ends our retro ride! Whether you’re a mountain biker, commuter or road-racer there’s simply got to be a place in every cyclist’s heart for a retro bicycle.