Raleigh track machine - 1947 to 1952
Posted: Wednesday 19th August 2020
Reg Harris lent one of his frames to Oscar Plattner several months before the 1952 World Championships. Plattner had desired one for some time and Harris obliged him ‘through the back door’. It was painted black and carried the signage of Plattner’s sponsor. However there was no disguising the Raleigh forks or head badge.
Plattner won the 1952 World Championship and on Harris’s instigation was signed up on the spot to the Raleigh team. Raleigh had won another World title! The frame was immediately painted in team colour and Plattner was contracted to them for another six years. He later had a least one other Harris Raleigh easily distinguished by its partly chrome plated forks.
Plattner raced several times in Australia during the European ‘off’ season and after one of these visits left this machine with the English Olympian Peter Brotherton who had settled here. Brotherton had been at the 1952 championships and knew the frame well. It was raced sparingly in Australia, Brotherton winning the prestigious Bendigo Golden Mile and once defeating Sid Patterson in a Match Race on it.
When Brotherton retired from his cycle business the frame passed to the Australian Olympian Daryl Perkins who preserved it and later assisted in its restoration.
I acquired the frame last year still in its 1952 paint, which unfortunately was beyond keeping, but the colour match was there. As a complete bike it had a variety of parts fitted but has been returned to near 1952 specs.
To complete the restoration I am looking for a pair of Raleigh Record Ace pedals and one of the rare Cinelli adjustable stems which Plattner used.
|Frame||'Harris Raleigh' No 2842. Seat tube 22 9/16". Top tube 22 7/16". Wheel base 40". Chain stay 16 1/4". 73 degree angles.|
|Wheels||Fiamme sprint rims on Airlite large flanged fixed gear hubs 40/32 spoking fitted with Clement silk tubs|
|Chainset||Williams 5-pin with inch-pitch block chain|
|Pedals||Will be Record Ace when a pair can be traced|
|Stem/Bars||Fiamme stem and Cinelli 14 Pista bars|
|Headset||Raleigh Record Ace|
|Extra details||This frame has a unique number not in the RP series of the other Harris Raleigh’s, why this is I don’t yet know, possibly it is the first prototype. There is evidence of two proto types and a production run of fifteen with RP numbers. The actual frame sizes differ in various period and later literature but 2842 seems to be very close to the first prototype sizes. What became of the second prototype is currently unknown but of the subsequent fifteen it is believed five went to Harris and others to the likes of Cyril Peacock, Cyril Bardsley, Lloyd Binch, Don Skene and at least one more to Oscar Plattner.
When 2842 was actually made remains unknown, it certainly existed in 1952 but could have been built possibly four years before, what testing or use Harris actually put it to may never be learnt .
In original paint they seem to have generally had the riders initials on the seat tube which you will note in the many pictures of Harris in action. There were also other 'special' Raleigh with RP numbers like the Ray Booty machines.
I must thank John Wheatley, Peter Brotherton and Peter Underwood for their historical assistance.
See Classic Builders for further technical information on the Raleigh track frames built for Reg Harris and others.