The Raleigh P.U.B.
In past years, I had refurbished and driven old Series IIA Land Rovers, and I liked the utilitarian aspect of them. I wanted to translate it into a bike. Roadster bikes, however, are not widely available in the US, the closest thing being a retro cruiser, an antique, or a custom build. After purchasing a Raleigh hybrid bike, like many people I went online to research what I had already purchased. I went to the Raleigh website, and there I found the Raleigh Public Utility Bike.
The Raleigh Public Utility Bike, or P.U.B. is billed as a bike on which to go for coffee or burritos. The color combination is called "stout", which translates to brown and yellow. A nice design feature is that Raleigh decided to place the seat tube at a more obtuse angle, which moves the crank set forward and allows the rider to put both feet on the ground and still get the proper fit. Combined with the long handlebars, an upright riding posture is assured.
The frame is aluminum, shod with 26X2.125 road tires. Braking is supplied by a Joytech coaster brake. The front forks are a springer design, which effectively dampen bumps in the road, working in concert with the heavily sprung seat. The result is a retro-utilitarian cruiser styled bike that is easy to pedal and comfortable to ride.
Raleigh did miss the boat on a couple of points though. A fully enclosed British style chaincase would have been sweet, as would fenders. For some untold reason Raleigh mounted alloy platform pedals to the cranks. I quickly swapped these out for the old fashioned rubber type. There is no provision for a rack on the rear fork ends. Thus, I sought out an alternative method for carrying cargo. Mounting the rack up front allows me to see what I am carrying as I tool along, plus, it adds to the British flavor of the bike. Powdercoating the handlebars, forks and crankset would have added finish durability, but the alloy underneath will not rust. Instead, as the finish wears, I expect a nice patina of use will emerge. This bicycle was not meant to appear new, after all.
The Public Utility Bike is a fun and relaxing bicycle to ride. It easily conquers the streets, and it can handle light trails. It turns heads and garners attention anywhere I stop. It makes people smile. Sadly, Raleigh produced this bicycle for only one year, 2006. I do not know why it was discontinued, perhaps it was because of the oddball frame hampering mass production of multiple models using the same basic frame. For whatever reason, it is disappointing. Other manufacturers are testing the waters of retro styling, Electra with the Amsterdam, and Felt with the 1903, and of course, there are always the Raleigh Retroglides. The Raleigh PUB, though is unique, in that it took the best of modern construction, an aluminum frame and a forward crankset design, and styled it as a retro/utilitarian bicycle. Plus the beer opener frame gusset is just plain cool.
The PUB gets waterskirts.
The Raleigh PUB 1 Year Later