Chris’s Winter Ride: 1963 Raleigh Carlton

I got out today with the camera to shoot some photos of my Reynolds 531, 1963 Raleigh Carlton Gran Sport, a bike that has become my favorite ride. Check out the rest of the photos and the story behind the bike below.

I got this frame early last spring on a whim and built it up with some dirt drops, scorcher style. (Originally) The frame itself  belonged to the founder of Vermont Bicycle Tours, and has clearly seen its share of rides. It has a nice big ding in the top tube and some solid wear and tear just about everywhere else.

The frame features a Raleigh, Nottingham headbadge, but sports the Carlton text on the downtube. I haven’t found any explanation as to why this is, but if you have one to offer I’d love to hear it.

The bar/stem combo came off of my Supercourse.

The wrap around seat stays are a nice touch.

The wear and tear of winter have done a number on my drive train, but Chain-L lube has kept me moving despite.

A crane bell and set of planet bike lights top it all off.

The gear ratio is super small (36/16)  but perfect for the trails and even in the worst conditions I’ve yet to run into any trouble on the hills.


Mavic Open Pro/Dimension Track Hub, Alex CX Rim/Alex Front Hub, Brooks B17, Velo Orange Crescent Bag, GB bar stem combo, Salsa cork tape, Winemann levers/ Winemann centerpull calipers, MKS Sylvan Pedals, Soma 4 Gate Double Straps, Shimano 170mm Cranks, 36t QBP Chainring, Surly 16t cog, Nokian Hakkapalita studded front tire, Ritchie ProMax rear tire, Crane Bell, Planet Bike Lights.

  • Angelo

    Hey Christopher.

    I know this article was written three years ago, but as an owner of a similar coffee, 1963 Raleigh Carlton, I was wondering if you ever found an answer to the mix of Carlton and Nottingham factories.


  • Bob Karol

    I own a 1964 Raleigh Carlton (V4970). The 1964 catalog for that model states it was produced in their Carlton factory. It’s was intended to be an inexpensive Carlton. The wraparound stays are exclusive to Carlton frames, compared to the beveled Raleigh ones.