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Thursday

Raleigh Vektar

Now, I received an email from a friend yesterday that asked if I remembered a bike from the 80's that was white, and had a futuristic control panel in the middle, that had lights and noises etc.

I did indeed remember such a bike, and duly went about trying to find out what it was called by doing some R&D on the web.

It was then that I stumbled across This blog. It's by a girl who is keeping the 80's alive by riding around on a pimped out Raleigh Grifter. Cool.

Not only did her blog make me laugh, it also had a post about the bike in question! I had found the holy grail! I immiediatley knew that Hans post summed the bike up perfectly, and I would not be able to do it justice. So, with Hans kind permission, her post is copied below. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Cakey Voice, July 5th 2005.

"A Shadowy Flight into the dangerous world of a bike I do not own....."

"So, my front bike tyre has developed an unsightly, not to mention dangerous, hernia. The tyres on my bike are almost completely bald. They are, like, 25 years old or something. I had been holding out on buying new ones because I wanted some original Raleigh Grifter tyres, but it's looking like I'm gonna have to get myself some cheapo BMX tyres to tide me over. I have already compromised my bike's historical integrity by fitting it with new and inauthentic brake blocks. Don't tell anyone."

"Me and my bike have been together for a year. In that time we have had many adventures. There was that time it slipped out of gear and I smashed my kneecap into the handlebars and had to get off and sit down for a bit until I stopped feeling funny. Then there was that time we went on a LONG ride up some very steep hills and then just as we were getting ready to come back I got a puncture and we had to walk back down instead of gaily hurtling down at 40mph as was the original plan. Then last week, during a thunderstorm of biblical proportions, I misjudged a kerb and careered through the air, dashing myself on the wet gravelly pavement. Upon impact I expelled a surprising noise, like a kicked bagpipe. Yep, I love my bike.Yet despite this, once again my eye has been wandering. You might want to sit down or something, because LOOK AT THIS:"

"Woah. The Raleigh Vektar. The bike of choice for overprivileged 80's kids. The one in this picture sold on eBay recently for £36. £36!!!! I am in love with this bike. I MUST have one. You see, this Battlestar Galactica beauty not only LOOKS like a bike you might ride around on in space, it sports some futuristic Knight Rider technology in the form of THIS control panel: "


"According to the spiel on this eBay sale, the onboard computer features elapsed time, distance travelled, speed and maximum speed achieved. Optional add-ons include a Computer Module accessory pack (trip meter, speedo) Radio Accessory pack (3 preset AM stations) and - OH MY GOD - Sound Synthesiser with 8 built in digital sounds, paddle, shifter and speakers."

"And so my obsession begins. You see, in my mind, this bike can go up to 300mph. It is equipped with a bullet and flame resistant protective shell. It can drive itself, and has the ability to jam electronic signals. It has auto-pursuit & auto collision avoidance, radar, sonar and x-ray surveillance capabilities and is programmed never to take a human life.Dear God, if you can fix it for me to find one of these in a skip I promise to spend 4 hours a week on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless and the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law. Mint condition please, and it has to have that synthesiser. "

Awesome. Brilliant. Thanks to Han for permission to copy your post onto Life in The 80s. That bike is so damn cool. Check her blog out. It’s unusual, and made me laugh out load!

Thanks to Andy also for reminding me about this Street Hawk like machine!

29 comments:

Jen said...

I remember those bikes very vaguely because everyone I grew up around had a Huffy bike of some kind! They had Huffy bikes for both boys and girls! I always wanted a pink and white Huffy bike, but instead ended up with a Sundance peach and orange bike. Huffy bikes were all the rage.

Life in the 80's said...

Still are! My little sister has a Huffy BMX and loves it. Retro rules!

Ragnar said...

Wh.wh.wh.wh. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT SQUARE THING WITH WHEELS ?

Dana said...

I don't remember that particular bike! But to be honest, I was a grade schooler in the late 70's and a teen in the 80's, so it would be after my time.

Life in the 80's said...

yeah i think they were only available in the UK, and, as Han put it, they also belong in Space, and in the future!

Ricardo said...

I have never seen such a super cool bike here in the States growing up, but if I did...what times I would have. This is the Knight Rider of bikes! I love it.

Gressy said...

The natural progression growing up was: Raleigh Boxer, then a Raleigh Striker (with the fake suspension forks) then the Grifter... Along came the BMX which was half the weight of the Grifter.

Anonymous said...

F A N T A S T I C! Was just talking to a friend about the old bikes of our youth, and I remembered one that I used to have that I thought was a Streethawk bike... this is it!!! But mine was black, secondhand and none of the buttons did anything (probably due to lack of batteries.) None of that mattered though - a very cool bike.

Shame there was no proper spokes for my spokey dokeys though.....

hotrodzombie said...

Fantastic bikes!

Take a look here: raleighgrifter.co.uk

and check out the forum too - loads of pics of these old school rides. :)

hard format said...

I had this bike, the radio never tuned into any recognisable stations but the sound effects more than made up for it. I can clearly remember that my highest ever speed was 31 miles an hour, achieved by going down a very steep hill. What no photos show on the web is that it should have an arial on the rear, a massive thick black thing with a red bobble on top. The weight of it meant that it often fell off and dragged along behind you, ruining your nightrider-like street cred.

Anonymous said...

These Bikes are really unusual. I love them! I've restored 3 of the 4 models produced and the final one is in sight. Check out the Raleigh Wildcat. It looked similar but wasn't as 'trick'. I got one of those too! I can afford them now i'm no longer a child!!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, saw a kid with a bike a bit like the vectar bike only the other week from the mid eighties, got my mind going back.

I had to do some serious research on google to find the name of them again.

There was one kid on our estate who had one, we soooo wanted one, ha ha, (wow nearly twenty five years on, must be getting old)

Mark said...

I had one of those in the eighties and early nineties. In fact I sold it to a friend who has had it stored in his mums loft ever since.

It looked ace and I loved it, but it did have a few problems. Firstly like most eighties electronics it ate batteries in no time. The radio was hard to hear when you were riding along and only a couple of the sound effects were any good. It also weighed a ton so a wheelie was pretty hard to do. However - thanks to the three speed sturmey archer back wheel it was pretty quick. Shortly before I stopped riding it a friend and I fitted a mountain bike three speed crank which give it a total of nine gears. Top gear was just rediculous - you couldn't use it at all until you were going over 15mph. I had it up to an indicated 39mph going downhill on one occasion and overtook a few cars lol. Very scary indeed.

I'm off to go and get it from my mates loft and go for a burn...

Anonymous said...

the one i had was a Raleigh Steet Wolf. It looked like a Vector, but was black and made a couple of noises with a "radar" screen mounted on the handlebars. I was well proud of it. Ahhhh those were the days...

Anonymous said...

a kid in my street had one of those. he also had an 'outrider' (also by raleigh?), which was a kind of skateboard for people who were either too lazy or frightened to stand up.

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Anonymous said...

my friend owned one there were a few versions his had 3 speed sturmey archer hub gears aswell as all the computer gubbins underneath it all was a raleigh mag burner he used to race around on it and crash alot hence why his finally gave up and died it was an odd machine to be honest and once the computer packed in it was rubbish but it was cool to look at

Anonymous said...

I have a Raleigh wildcat in need of a little tlc or restoration forsale if anyone is interested. Im in stoke on trent. Email me boing07@hotmail.com. sensible offers please

Anonymous said...

I used to have a Vectar. I can remember counting the days till Christmas when I would finally have one. I can also remember how heavy it was. Hills were impossible to ride up. I eventually swopped it for a snooker table, which was slightly easier to ride up hills.

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