Classic British marque Raleigh have enjoyed a
resurgence in recent years and are doing plenty to re-establish themselves as one of
the best brands around. Their return
to road racing sponsorship
is already beginning to pay off, with feedback
from pro riders clearly influencing the new range.

The Race has had a major
overhaul for 2012. The frame has lost some weight, mainly through the adoption
of a BB30 bottom bracket shell and inclusion of an ITM carbon fork, and this
results in an impressive all-in bike weight of just over 8kg (58cm size).

to this a Shimano Ultegra groupset and RS30 wheels, plus quality kit from ITM,
FSA, Selle San Marco and Schwalbe, and it’s an impressive package. Even more so
when you consider that bikes with an equivalent spec have a £100+ price premium
over the Race.

On the road the Raleigh,
if anything, feels even lighter. The handling has an impressive deftness to it.
Light steering paired with an impressively stiff fork gives the Race a truly
nimble feel. We revelled in pushing it as quickly as we dared through
switchbacks and consecutive corners.

into the hills and the light ride and decent wheels mean the Race is a great
companion for tough climbs, even with its 53/39-tooth standard chainset.
Steeper slopes may offer more of a challenge than with a compact or triple, but
once you’ve crested the rise you’ll love pushing on the pedals to whip that
53-tooth ring up to impressive speeds, in the knowledge that the Raleigh’s sharp handling
will get you safely down the road ahead.

may see the FSA Energy chainset as a downgrade. It’s the need for a
BB30-specific crank that’s dictated its use, and we’ve found it just as quick
to shift as the Ultegra unit it replaces, with the deep, machined chainrings
offering ample resistance to flex.

all, we’ve been mightily impressed with the Raleigh. It’s a true racer’s bike – sharp, stiff,
fast and light, and with a great price to boot. It’s not the most comfortable
of rides but it’s sublimely efficient at getting the job done quickly, and for
that reason we’d happily recommend it.

This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2012 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 260, on sale Friday 2 March.