Back in the early 1980s in the UK, one bike company was responsible for turning the humble bicycle from a tool for simply getting around into one that took you on a journey. The hard times of the ’70s were over and with the optimism of a new decade, the youth of the UK were given a bike that could take them where they wanted to go, strong enough to take on anything and encourage them to explore further and further.
That company was Raleigh, and the bike was the Burner.
It’s no exaggeration to say that, with the Burner, along with their other iconic bike from the time, the Chopper, Raleigh sent cycling in the UK along the path where it finds itself today. Before the Burner came along, no one thought you could really ride through the woods, you had to ride around them. Muddy parks and trails were off-limits; tyres and brakes just couldn’t handle them. No one thought about hitting jumps – bikes weren’t strong enough.
But with the Burner, Raleigh changed the game. Kids began to ride their bikes with a smile. They started building jumps, pulling wheelies and holding epic skid competitions down the local rec. They rode where they wanted to, and had a whole lot of fun while doing it. The Burner was not just a bike to get you to school, it was a way of life. In the ’80s the Burner changed cycling for a whole generation and it was a revelation.
Jump on an MTB today, heck even sling your legs over a gravel grinder, and you can ride almost anywhere. It’s all thanks to the good old Burner, a bike with tyres, brakes and a frame designed to take it all on, capable of going and going until your mum finally dragged you home for tea.
Raleigh has been releasing special edition models of their Burner over the last few years. There is something really exciting about putting one in our window here at the Bike Factory – a guaranteed head-turner, a Burner pulls in loads of people who just want to see it, to rekindle that flame and ride one again. So we’re not ashamed to admit that the release of the Super Tuff Burner, the best-selling model from 1983, has got us all pretty excited.
The Super Tuff Burner was a hit from the moment it first landed back when Spandau Ballet and fluorescent socks were de rigueur. Standing out first and foremost was the stunning Super Chrome steel frame. Imagine waking up on Christmas morning to see that gleaming under the tree – no amount of snow or sweet-talking to see what Grandma had bought you would get in the way; you’re going for a ride!
Raleigh was one of the first bike companies to use Mag wheels, which used a super-tough and heavy-duty five-spoke nylon construction to handle everything riders could throw at them. The fact they looked pretty cool played its part, sure, but the 20” size and sturdy build were a sensible choice for teenagers who just wanted to ride anywhere and off anything.
Other features were as sweet but also just as well thought through. Dia-Compe MX-890 brakes, a Tange MX-2 headset and CST Comp 3 tyres turned the whole town into one big playground. They probably didn’t realise it at the time but those lucky nippers in the ’80s were blessed. They could ride their Burners just about anywhere, something that even a few years earlier was unthinkable.
BMX riding exploded in the UK in the 1980s. It turned every day into a massive adventure. And the Burner was there, for every pedal stroke.
We’ll have our first shipment in-store by the time you read this. But don’t hang about – if the last few editions are anything to go by, the Super Tuff Burner will fly off the shelves.
Some kids in the ’80s didn’t get one and always regretted it. Don’t miss out this time!