The President of Raleigh Electric met with me at their headquarters in Southern California to discuss the 2017 line of ebikes. Larry Pizzi has overseen many brands in the Accell Group fold including IZIP and Diamondback in the past. He brings a lot of experience and perspective so it’s fun to explore the different models with him and discover what makes their purpose-built e-bike models different from some of the other mid-level and DIY options out there today.
2017 is the third year for Raleigh to bring electric bikes into the USA. This is actually Raleigh’s 130th year anniversary! Raleigh uses TranzX, Shimano, Brose, and Bosch electric bike systems. Larry told me that for the Sprite iE, 80% of their sales are step-thru because they are so approachable. Raleigh has almost completely transitioned to middle-drive motor systems, only their Superbe iE now comes with a hub motor which tends to be cheaper and less efficient. The Accell Group owns Raleigh and acquired Currie Technologies which dates back to 1997 and has been focused on electric bicycles for the past 20 years. By combining the ebike experience with the size and reach of Accell and the history of Raleigh, you get a good warranty and dealer network with support for older models.
Larry Pizzi chairs the committee for the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association (BPSA) along with 14 other people from the bicycle industry and they are trying to standardize legal definitions for using electric bikes. They started in California and established three classes of ebikes which you can learn more about at https://electricbikereview.com/guides/electric-bike-classes/ Raleigh and IZIP now have commerce enabled websites where you can select and order specific models and either pick them up at the shop or have Beeline assemble and deliver to your house. Raleigh has product liability insurance and has good momentum and stability as a company. All Raleigh Electric Bike systems now use CAN bus which helps with diagnostics because it can check each system component vs. making shops guess. Towards the very end of our tour, Larry showed me a cutaway of the Brose motor which was really cool.
You can see all of my Raleigh Electric reviews at: https://electricbikereview.com/brand/raleigh/