The iconic Raleigh Chopper bike was first made available in the UK in 1969. It was made as a fun bike for children. The design was totally different than any bicycle that had preceded it, with different size wheels, wide tyres, low frame, high handlebars, padded long seat, roll bar, central gear stick, for its three gears and a stand. The bike was available in Brilliant Orange, Golden Yellow, Flamboyant Green, Targa Mustard and Horizon Blue. Raleigh announced the Chopper on its launch as ‘The Hot One’, whilst two new small wheeled bikes for adults were named ‘The Smooth One’ and ‘The Dolly One’.
The Chopper was highly successful and a ‘must have’ for many a child. It had a ‘cool’ image and was fun to ride. It could perform wheelies, almost too easily and a Mark Two Chopper followed in 1972 with some safety improvements. The bike fell out of fashion, when all terrain BMX bikes were introduced and production ceased in 1980. The Chopper has since become a collectors’ item and examples are advertised for hundreds of pounds.
The image here might well have been thought of as of the full sized bicycle, but the condition and cleanliness give a clue that it is a toy model of a Chopper. It was made in China and marketed by Toyway, a toy wholesaler in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. The scale is 1:12 and it has a die-cast metal frame with chrome plated plastic parts. It features working steering and pedal/chain movement. The tyres are made of black PVC vinyl and have a detailed tread pattern. Unlike the real bike, the toy version is widely available brand new, with prices in 2021 around £20.