Diamondback Bikes

The History of Raleigh America,
the Owners of Diamondback Bikes

diamondback bikes

Diamondback Bikes is a manufacturer of several different types of bicycles which include full suspension, mountain hardtail, road, performance hybrid, comfort, cruiser, fitness, women’s, youth, and BMX bikes.

The company was started in 1978 in Camarillo, California but is currently based out of Kent, WA and is owned by Raleigh America, Inc. who purchased them in 1999. Prior to that, they were owned by the Derby Cycle Corporation who went bankrupt in the late 1990s to early 2000s. In the 90s, their bread and butter was mountain bikes but when that industry shrunk, so did their sales. Their main focus is on the production of low to midrange bicycles.

Raleigh America, Inc., who currently owns the Diamondback bicycle brand, has been in business since 1887 when it was founded by Frank Bowden in Nottingham, England. The bike shop that he opened began producing about 150 bicycles per year but in just forty years had increased production to over 100,000. They were also manufacturing motorcycles and a three wheeled car by the 1930s. Possibly due to the Great Depression, the company let go of its motorcycle and car manufacturing to concentrate on making bicycles. The company shipped their bicycles all around the world.

By the 1960s, the company was dipping its toes into several waters to expand its offerings. At one point they were manufacturing mopeds but discontinued that in the 1970s. In 1960, they purchased the right to produce the Moulton but the project went nowhere and was eventually killed a year later. At one point the company had been acquired by Tube Investments but even that influx of cash could not prevent them from experiencing financial difficulties when the demand for utility bicycles, their main seller, dropped drastically in England. They continued to decline until about the mid seventies when bicycle sales increase. At that point, Raleigh was shipping about 200,000 bicycles a year to Africa.

In 1969, Raleigh jumped in the burgeoning American demand for bicycles with the introduction of a chopper design. It didn’t do as well as they would’ve liked in the US but became very popular in the UK. The next year’s release of the chopper cycle helped them grab a good share of the market place and the company has been doing well since.

Over the years, the company has acquired a number of bicycling brands including Diamondback bikes and currently has a reputation as a leisure bicycle company. For more information about Diamondback bikes, join us in the forums.

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