Page 100. 1959 Raleigh RM1C Showroom Condition SOLD £995

1959 Raleigh RM1C in Showroom Condition


This is a unique opportunity to purchase a 1959 Raleigh RM1C that looks like new. Apart from its superb condition, it has two other distinguishing features: it has a clutch – so is very usable – and the colour is, unusually, black.

Though this was a colour option at the time, in the late fifties most people associated black with earlier eras of austerity when black was the only colour choice; so they tended to opt for one of the brighter range of colours that Raleigh offered.

Although this RM1C (the ‘C’ denotes ‘clutch’) was built in 1959 (June 1959, according to the stamp on the engine, as seen in one of the photos), it was not registered until 1963, as 305 VBF, and I wonder if its colour was the result of it remaining unsold for 4 years, until that time?

The Raleigh RM1 was one of only a few genuinely British-built machines in an era dominated by European competition. It was only produced for 2 years; most had no clutch, so were not successful sellers. By 1960 Raleigh started importing the Motobecane Mobylette from France and subsequently sold it as the Raleigh. As the RM1 was Raleigh’s first model, and so many of us grew up around later Raleigh and Mobylette mopeds, the RM1 has a special place in the hearts of British cyclemotor collectors and riders.


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Raleigh Moped History

Like most cycle manufacturers, Raleigh Industries decided to have a go at making mopeds, and in 1955 they launched the Hercules Grey Wolf, renamed the Her-cu-Motor. (The company, as TI, had already purchased Hercules in 1947). You can read its full story on Page 7 of the Cyclemaster Museum. As mentioned there, its production ceased in 1958.

That same year, presumably to replace the Her-cu-Motor, Raleigh introduced a more conventional moped than the Her-cu-Motor, which was called the Raleigh ‘Moped.

That name might seem a bit daft retrospectively, as ‘moped’ is now obviously a generic term for this style of machine. However, in the late fifties, the word ‘moped’ or ‘mo-ped’ was still new (a combination of the words ‘motor’ and ‘pedals’) and the French company Motobecane had successfully used the name ‘Mobylette’ for their machine, the word ‘mobylette’ or ‘moby’ becoming the generic term in France for mopeds. In Great Britain, the Motobecane moped was marketed as a ‘Mobylette’ and most people thought that was the name of the manufacturer

Despite such cunning marketing strategies, the Raleigh ‘Moped’ – now known by collectors as the RM1 – was not a success in the extremely competitive new 49cc market. Though it was sturdily built, the Raleigh had no suspension, and no gearbox or clutch. The model was only made for 2 years, and in 1960 Raleigh imported and sold the French Mobylette as its replacement.

Interestingly, the Raleigh Moped RM1 – a British-built machine sold at a time when the 49cc market was dominated by foreign competition – had another claim to fame – because the engine of the RM1 is actually derived from the Minimotor

“Externally it appears a quite neat and original design, but internal examination reveals that the porting and combustion chamber shape are derived from the Trojan Mini-Motor. Although the engine carried the name Sturmey-Archer and Raleigh claimed it was “designed by Sturmey-Archer Technicians” it was in fact built for Raleigh by BSA and designed by the Italian engineer Vincenti Piatti. Piatti was the designer of the Mini-Motor and he reused this design for the Sturmey-Archer engine. Mechanically, the engine is quite different from the Mini-Motor but the piston, porting and combustion chamber designs are the same.

This is revealed in Andrew Pattle’s article on the RM1 first published in March 1997, and found here:

Andrew’s summary of the RM1 illustrates its shortcomings:

“This, of course, meant that from the outset the RM1 was saddled with an engine which was already 10 years out of date. A Mini-Motor will push a pedal-cycle along quite adequately but the additional weight and drag of the Moped with its fat 2 inch tyre was hard work for the Sturmey-Archer engine and performance was sluggish, especially at low revs. Things were improved a little when Raleigh started to fit clutches to the RM1 (a conversion kit was available for older models). This manual clutch made the RM1 awkward to ride – much better than the almost-impossible-to-ride clutch-less version. Being a manual clutch led to an excess of levers on the handlebars. To save the rider the problem of growing an extra arm, Raleigh fitted coupled brakes. The right hand lever operated two cables, one to each brake. The left hand brake lever was now not needed but was retained, operating the rear brake, thus complying with the legal requirement to have two independent braking systems.”

This text taken from my article on the Cyclemaster Museum website, page 13 –


‘…Is this your life?’ As the advert above points out, why waste your life spent at bus stops when ‘it could so easily be this?’ Even the Routemaster bus in the picture advertises the Raleigh Moped.
This is one of the prettiest cyclemotors I’ve ever come across. I’ve exhibited it at a show (as you can see in some of the photos).

It is in running order (though it has not been started for 2 months). Though the gold lining was applied by a previous owner, the paint appears to be original.

It is not registered, though I do have the original 1963 logbook. It was originally purchased by a Mr. Bertram Stanley Jennings of Wootton in Derbyshire on 9th May 1963.

This RM1C would grace any collection, it could be used for publicity or advertising work, to take to shows and rallies, or simply to put on the road and ride.














OWNER: BuyVintage Online Auctions

LOCATION: Brighton, E.Sussex, United Kingdom

DELIVERY: is not included in this auction. Our website contains details of recommended delivery services.

United Kingdom – delivery is £70 for a 2-wheeler to most parts of the UK.

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North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan – we’ll organize shipping for you.

PAYMENT: Paypal is okay for cheap items; otherwise deposit only on paypal please.

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AFTER PURCHASE: Please email me your phone numbers; I prefer to speak to all purchasers personally.

FEEDBACK: I do everything I can to make your purchase a pleasurable experience. But I only leave feedback when someone has taken the trouble to leave it for me.

VEHICLE CONDITION: Vintage vehicles are wonderful beasts – but each has an individual personality and they sometimes have bad days just like you and me.

You will need basic mechanical skills (or a local mechanic) to use one on a regular basis.

2-Stroke engines – and cyclemotors in particular – are notoriously unreliable. Basic servicing is generally required if unused for even a few weeks.

These are rare vehicles whose values are not necessarily based on running order.

Unless an auction description specifically states that the vehicle is running, THE VEHICLE IS SOLD FOR RESTORATION.



If you have any questions about this (or any other vehicle in these BuyVintage Online Auctions),

you can contact Colin in our Customer Service Department between 9am and 7pm daily:

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Published on April 29, 2008 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  

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