It was just after Interbike back in 2009 when I stopped by the Raleigh offices just south of Seattle in Kent, Washington. I met with Raleigh's Marketing Manager, Brian Fornes. Brian was excited to show me a new steel road bike they were shipping for model year 2010, the Record Ace. A beautiful steel bike that harked back to the Raleigh's glory days. Raleigh had began releasing a "new" steel bike each year since 2008, that year they came out with the steel Clubman. A type of bike that gained popularity back in the 1930's, where riding in "clubs" was the thing to do. Club rides would include everything from short to long tours, slow and fast rides, and even racing. For most riders and clubs, the emphasis was more on camaraderie than anything else.
Fast forward a few years, and for 2013, Raeligh has continued with the steel tradition and will be offering a Clubman Mixte. The Mixte, traditionally a style of lady's frame in which the traditional top tube is eschewed in place of two smaller diameter tubes running from the headtube directly to the the rear drop outs, was so that women could ride while wearing skirts. The design provides a lower standover height that makes it easier for riders to mount and dismount easier. Though many of us here in the US tend to pronounce Mixte as "MIX-ty", Sheldon Brown pointed out that the proper French Pronunciation is "MEExt".
The 2013 Clubman "MEExt" just arrived and we're excited to put it through the ringer. From fast rides to pub crawls, this bike is going to run the full gamut of testing. This Clubman Mixte is a size 50cm and with the included pedals, weighed in at just over 27 pounds. With a frame constructed of Reynolds 520 Butted Chromoly tubing and a 4130 lugged fork, it's not far off from our estimates. The look is decidedly retro, but this bike comes with 10 speed STI's, some traditionalist will moan that it doesn't stay true to retro with downtube shifters, but we welcome the modern STIs. Metal painted to match fenders provide cover over Vittoria Zaffiro 25c tires, and a Brooks Swift Saddle round out some of the features found on this retro mixte.
Stay tuned for a full review in the coming weeks.
For more information on Raleigh USA check out their website here.