Raleigh has expanded its road range significantly for model year 2014, focusing on performance by adding new models to the flagship Militis collection and introducing a lightweight, aluminium frame.
Raleigh has a 126-year history of manufacturing bicycles but, certainly since the Nottingham-based ended its association with its heavyweight teams of the 1970s and 1980s – TI-Raleigh and Raleigh Banana – has more recently been associated with children’s and leisure bikes.
The creation of the UCI Continental-registered Team Raleigh squad in 2010 gave the firm a platform to move back into the performance-focused road racing market and the range has grown steadily since. The team has enjoyed significant success under the stewardship of Cherie Pridham and Eddie White, winning the national circuit race championships with Graham Briggs, and the IG London Nocturne with Tom Scully.
Key changes for model year 2014 include an expanded Revenio ‘endurance’ range, with new carbon fibre and aluminium models introduced, an all-new Aura time trial bike, which will be used by Team Raleigh next year, a collection of four cyclo-cross bikes (two carbon fibre, two aluminium) and, of course, the revamped Militis range.
“We want to be able to be the single supplier to a retailer,” Terry Blackwood, Raleigh UK product manager, told RoadCyclingUK. “We now have a complete range.
“We work closely with Raleigh USA and that enables us to share skills, whether it be carbon manufacturing, or geometry, or model spec, which has allowed us to grow the range to a point where we cover all performance bases.”
For now, we’ll concentrate on the Militis, a frame used by Team Raleighand its riders in their various Tour Series, Premier Calendar and Continental engagements. Check back soon for more on the Revenio, Aura, and cyclo-cross collections.
Carbon fibre Militis range expanded to three models
The Militis is Raleigh’s flagship frame, made from high-modulus T800 carbon fibre for a low claimed frame weight of 880g, and used by Team Raleigh.
The 2014 frame is largely the same as the 2013 version (tapered headtube, PressFit bottom bracket, internal cable routing, carbon dropouts, and paired with Raleigh’s 395g C6 carbon fibre fork), except that it’s now Di2 compatible. The most significant development is the expansion of the Miltis range to three off-the-peg models.
“We’re not doing a Di2 model, mainly because our team ride with SRAM, but the option is to switch to an electronic groupset if someone wants to,” said Blackwood.
“We’re currently planning for 2015 frames and we sat down with the team with a blank sheet of paper and asked them what they want to change with the Militis. They said they’d like it a little lighter – but we’re already adding weight to the current team bike to make it 6.8kg [the UCI’a minimum weight] – but they said to not touch the handling, compliance and stiffness, so I’m quite happy with where we are.”
The Militis Team is the top-of-the-range 2014 model and is priced at £5,000 – double the price of the previous flagship model. The Team comes in a suitably high-end spec, with a full 11-speed SRAM Red 22 groupset (with mechanical rim brakes), Cole C38 Lite wheels and Schwalbe One tyres, carbon fibre FSA SLK handlebar and stem and Fizik R1 saddle for an all-up claimed weight of 6.9kg.
The mid-range Militis Race (£2,750, claimed weight 7.5kg) gets SRAM Force 22, again with mechanical rim brakes, with Cole Rollen Elite wheels, Schwalbe Durano wheels, FSA Omega handlebar and stem and Fizik Ardea saddle.
Finally, the Pro is the most affordable model in the Militis range at £2,275 and for that you get the same spec at the Militis Race, except SRAM Force 22 is swapped for Shimano 105, and the Fizik Ardea saddle is replaced by a Selle Royal Seta perch.
As for the future, “discs are on the agenda”, Blackwood told RoadCyclingUK. “We’re playing with it,” he said. “We’re experimenting and it’s something we’re looking at, but we need to see whether that extra modulation justifies the extra weight and expense.”
All-new, lightweight aluminium Militis frame introduced
Completely new for 2014 is an aluminium version of the Militis frame. Aluminium is making something of a comeback, with Cannondale the original specialists in high-performance aluminium, and Kinesis UK recently launching the 1,200g Racelight Aithein frame.
The double-butted frame shares the same aggressive geometry as the carbon fibre Militis, and it also paired with the same 395g C6 carbon fibre fork. The frame has many of the hallmarks of a carbon fibre equivalent, with a PressFit 30 bottom bracket, 1-1/8″ to 1-1/2″ tapered headtube and internal cable routing.
The aluminium Militis is designed to be “fast, lightweight and efficient”, with a competitive claimed frame weight of 1,300g. Blackwood describes it as a frame for “the entry-level racer – a cat. three or four racer – who wants a bike with a bit of punch but who can’t justify spending £2,500.”
“We’ve been working quite closely with Kinesis in Taiwan in regard to the developments they’re making with aluminium tubing,” said Blackwood.
“All those aluminium tube manufacturers, and particularly Kinesis, have made a big step to catch-up because they were losing volume to lower priced carbon. They’ve put a lot of money into developing their hydro-forming techniques and now we have a much nicer frame, which is more compliant than aluminium has been in the past, and it’s still got that stiff kick.”
The frame will be available in two builds. The Militis Comp (claimed weight 8.1kg) is equipped with a SRAM Rival, Cole Rollen Elite wheels wrapped in Schwalbe Durano tyres, FSA Omega handlebar and stem, and a Selle Royal Seta saddle for £1,500. The Militis Elite is £200 less and comes with SRAM Apex and Cole Rollen Lite wheels for a claimed weight of 8.5kg.
Check back tomorrow for more coverage from the Raleigh model year 2014 launch, when we’ll be taking a close look at the Revenio, TT and CX machines.