Adding to their 130 year heritage, Raleigh has just announced a new urban bike line that combines classic styling with modern handling and finishing. Designed for everything from daily commuting to casually running errands around the city, Raleigh’s Director of Marketing Steve Westover calls the Carlton collection “a celebration of where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
The collection introduces two new models, the single-speed Carlton and the geared Carlton 8. Both bikes can be purchased with either traditional double-diamond or a lower-slung Mixte frame style, and the single-speed versions include flip-flop hubs in case you want to go fixie. If you think the Carlton series’ smooth, sleek looks suit your style, read on for all the details…
Raleigh was shooting to create a sleek overall appearance for the Carlton bikes, and I’d say they accomplished that goal. The Carltons’ steel frames feature curvy dropouts and a smooth downsweep at the seat mast, not to mention the one-piece alloy stem/bar combo. The twin top tubes add a touch of classic style, and the wooden inlaid front racks look great!
As stated earlier, the single and eight-speed versions are available in a traditional double-diamond shape or a lower-slung ‘Mixte’ frame style, which is not necessarily a women’s model: Raleigh’s promo video shows a man riding it, so if you’re looking for a bike that’s easier to get on and off, you can opt for a low-standover Mixte.
The double-diamond frames come in S-XL sizes, which should accommodate riders between 5’3” and 6’4”. The lower-slung Mixte frames come in S-L, fitting riders from 5’3”- 6’ tall.
The Carlton frames have a head tube angle of 73°, and their seat masts sit at 74°. Regardless of size the chainstays measure 450mm. The frames all utilize sealed-bearing 1-1/8th threadless headsets and include sealed bottom brackets.
Most of the components are common to all models; The Carlton’s forks are steel, and the wheels are 700c high-profile alloy rims wrapped with 32mm Kenda tires. A three piece alloy crank gets you moving, and Promax dual pivot brakes bring you to a halt. Other components include lock-on grips (a nice touch since they won’t throttle in rainy conditions), an alloy micro-adjust seat post and a riveted Classic Road saddle.
With commuting in mind the Carltons also feature chainring guards, reflective details on the downtube decals, bolted axles and seat clamps for urban security, and they even come with a bell.
The basic Carlton is a single-speed bike that comes with a 42t front ring. Out back is a 16t flip-flop hub so you can opt for freewheeling or fixed gear riding. The double-diamond or Mixte frame single speeds include plastic composite platform pedals, and pedal straps are included.
The Carlton 8 uses an eight speed Shimano drivetrain to provide some range for tackling hills or enjoying a more performance-oriented ride. The 42t front ring is paired with an 11-34t cassette. Shifting is handled by a SL-M310 trigger shifter and an Acera rear derailleur. The pedals are upgraded to alloy platforms, and the eight speed bikes also come with color-matched front and rear fenders.
The Carlton sells for $499 USD, and the Carlton 8 retails at $549. The basic Carlton model comes in Black, and the Carlton Mixte is available in Blue or Pink. The Carlton 8 is sold in Blue, and the 8-speed Mixte version can be had in green or purple.