37 comments on “Raleigh Oakland reviewed

  1. Well, well, well!

    I was just re-searching prior to possibly puchasing a new Raleigh Oakland bicycle when I came across your very informative and helpfull review.

    It is now more than a year since you wrote your article and I wonder if you are still happy with your purchase?

    I have only ever owned Raleigh cycles and by and large have been very happy with them – I still have my wife’s original Shopper from 1975/76 although it is a bit rusty now, It seems really heavy compared with today’s machines! I also have retained 3 of my (2) daughters’ bicycles – various sizes, all in lilac colour, just in case they may come in handy for “the granchildren”.

    How is your Oakland reacting to mother nature – any signs of rust etc.? Also, did you find a more comfortable saddle? Do you find the 18 gears adequate and have they been trouble-free?

    I would be very interested to hear your reply, if you have the time.



  2. Stuart, if you look in the “categories” list on the right and click on “cycling” you should find more posts about the Raleigh Oakland and some of my cycling exploits. I have not cycled as much as I would have liked in the past year but remain perfectly happy with the Oakland.
    Bear in mind that this bike was (and is still I think) the cheapest of its type in the Raleigh range and I don’t think that I can complain about the few details that might not apply on more expensive bikes. Also, it was never intended to be used for high mileages and I am not the sort of cyclist who cares much about gear ratios or other finer details.
    It was not long before I changed to a Brooks saddle, with which I have been entirely happy. At the free after-sales service my Raleigh dealer told me that the height of the handlebars was not adjustable (an extra centimetre or two would have suited me better but I can live with it). There is a slight, occasional, judder from the rear brakes and I haven’t worked out why – though this is not specifically an Oakland problem I am sure. There is also a little creaking from the wheels which was not entirely eliminated when my dealer was asked to check/tighten the spokes. The gears needed readjusting in the early days, but that was my fault and they have been trouble-free since. They have been more than adequate – after all I was brought up on a diet of no more than five gears!
    The bike is in great condition still with no rust or other damage. It lives in a dry, ventilated garage. Admittedly I do handle it with care so I have not yet bent the rather thin mudguards or cracked the plastic chainguard – but if any of these components were sturdier they would also add weight – not that the weight bothers me that much as you can tell by the quantity of accessories (including panniers) that I have added.
    The last time I looked, the Oakland was £200, that is, £40 more than I paid for it 15 months ago. I still think it is a decent bike for the money and I do wonder just how much more you would have to pay for something genuinely better.

  3. I have also recently bought a new Raleigh Oakland bike however I have found it hard to attatch accessories (water bottle cage, pump pegs, panier, each with it’s own problems) and I was wondering whether you have had the same problems.

  4. Can I just add I have found your posts brilliant and informative, if only every possible purchase I make could have a review like this!

  5. Thank you Will. I am pleased that my “review” has been helpful even though I am no expert regarding bikes or cycling.
    As regards your problems: My water bottles (two for the price of one at Halfords at the time) and bottle carrier were bought at the same time. Screw holes in the carrier are a suitable distance apart to match the screws supplied in the bike’s frame – and the tyre pump mount is attached by the same screws.
    The pannier bags sit on the luggage rack that came with the bike and are held in place by the spring-loaded part of the rack, with extra support from straps (supplied with the panniers) through the luggage rack and around the rear wheel struts. This was all very easy so perhaps I was lucky in my choice of accessories.

  6. Thanks I just attatched my pannier and pump this morning however my own bike lacks the screw holes of which are needed in order to fit the bottle cage. However I went up to halfords and I was able to buy a rubber strap that goes around the frame and does the equivilant job. I would highly recomend this product as it is great if you want to attatch more water bottle cages, to the handle bar, for example. Again, thanks a lot for your help.

  7. I also noticed from the above picture that you have a bike stand( not sure about the technical name, I like you am by no means an expert!), I was just wondering whether it came with the bike when you bought it, or if you got it from a shop. If so was it expensive and easy to fit?

  8. Hi Will, the bike stand came from Halfords. I have forgotten the price (around £10 I think) and a more expensive version was available with two “legs” but I didn’t think it was needed and worried that it might collide with the chain.
    I am surprised that your bike has no fitting screws – a cost-cutting measure I suppose and a mistake in my opinion.

  9. I have just bought one myself, and I also agree it is a great buy. Mine was £199 I am very pleased with it. I am no mean weight or that fit, but I did a 5 mile ride the first day and found it very comfortable and I coped very well, especially as I have not owned a bike for a few years.

    I would recommend it, and I am looking forward to going further afield now we have better weather.

  10. Pleased to hear that you like your Raleigh Oakland. Surprised to see that the price has gone up from £140 in approximately April 2008 to £199 now but even so, it is good value.

  11. I do not know if I should get panniers or a bag for the rack. This is a brilliant bike, so comfortable. It is really getting me fit as I am enjoying riding it, it does not tire me out and hopefully at some time I will get to do about 20 miles or so. I am already comfortably doing 10.
    Great review.
    Can you recommend some cheap but practacle baggage? About £20. Just want to be able to put the magazines in from the supermarket and a lock and puncture repair- inner tube and some tools.

  12. My pannier bags are from Tescos. Cost about £12 two years ago and perfectly adequate for local rides. Carry tools, bike locks, maps, emergency kits and waterproofs (for those days when the weather can’t make up its mind) with space to spare. Don’t see the point in spending more – especially as there is always a risk of the whole outfit being stolen anyway.

  13. This is the best review I could find online for this bike and influenced my decision to buy. I’m very pleased I did. It’s been such a pleasure to ride. I recently moved house and discovered I’m near a canal with a towpath, which is what initially sparked my interest. Within a couple of weeks I’d bought 40L panniers and was doing my shopping on it as well.

    My legs aren’t quite up to commuting standard yet but I’ll get there. (Actually, getting there isn’t the issue. It’s getting home up the hill.)

    Mine came mail order (and was ex-display) so my price tag was still down around 150. Being mail order though there were some issues:

    1) The bike needed the front wheel, handlebars and seat fitted along with things like the bell, reflectors and the like. All the necessary tools are supplied and it was a fairly simple process, even for someone who hasn’t touched a bike in more years than he cares to remember.

    I’m confused by the idea of the handlebars not being adjustable though as mentioned above. I didn’t read that prior to assembly (or the instructions for that matter) and tried them out in a couple of different positions. Maybe if the bike comes prebuilt a power tool has been used to tighten them in place, making them difficult to shift.

    2) The gears needed setting up. This was a bit daunting in advance – I never had derailleur gears when I was a kid so never really had a chance to fiddle with them before. It actually turned out to be quite a simple process though and was a simple matter of adjusting the cable tension. I found plenty of guides online to help guide a novice through it.

  14. Thanks vbfg. I am pleased to hear that my “review” was helpful and that you are happy with the bike. It seems that you have a bargain. Well done. I suppose the Oakland is not trendy enough for some people but there are several (brand new) on Ebay at about £170.
    I came across a review of some bikes recently – nothing particularly special and only intended for ordinary use – and was baffled by the prices. The first one I came to was around £1,200 and I don’t suppose it was significantly superior to the Oakland for everyday use. It certainly wasn’t worth over £1,000 more. Some folks must have more money than sense – even in these times when we are are supposed to be squeezed by the recession.

  15. I bought my Oakland today. £219 (although I have seen it as low as £169 online) from a local dealer. I am to mechanics what Herod was to small boys! First time on a bike in almost 40 years and I was surprised how quickly it felt comfortable. Since a heart scare 6 months ago I have been working hard on losing weight – 4 stone so far – and getting fit. I walk to work and back but it’s the quick visits to the shops etc that pushed me in the bicycle direction. I was determined not to spend more than £250 on the machine itself. Bike shops thought that I was crazy! “Not much under £350 sir”! I now have an affordable run around that I hope will last for years. I shall look for panniers though as the rack is fine for newspapers but anything bulkier doesn’t look like it will fit. This is a good bike for an old bloke not wanting to emulate Sir Chris Hoy! Slow and steady is all that I need. Thank you for an excellent review.

  16. Thanks Steve and full marks to you for not spending silly money. It is bad enough that the price appears to have increased by almost 40% in three years (during which inflation has been negligible – so we are told). No need to compound the pain by falling for some smart sales patter aimed at getting you to spend over the toip on something you don’t need.

    • I have had the bike just over two months now and have to say that it really has been a worthwhile purchase. I went from decrepit in the legs to striding up hills like a young buck. My breathing is better and I wonder why I didn’t take up cycle commuting years ago. I bought some very cheap (£6.99) panniers on E Bay that are great for light work although they did protest when I overloaded one side with a ream of copier paper! I do not envisage any touring, but for a sub-5 mile ride it is perfect. My only complain is that the plastic chain guard “bulged” causing the pedal shaft to scrape against it creating a “scraaaaape” noise. Years ago I used to spin for pike; I took a piece of trace wire, made two holes in the chain guard, threaded the wire through and crimped it secure. I just pray that my chain doesn’t come off and I have to dismantle it any time soon.

  17. Because of what I read here I bought an Oakland three weeks ago. After over 400 miles on rough Irish backroads, I have no regrets. For the money this is a good bike. The only thing I would fault is the front chainwheels which are low quality. So change gear with care and they will last a good while. When they wear out replace them with quality components. I’m planning a major cycle tour (400 to 500 miles) of the west of Ireland in august and will service my oakland before I go. I am confident the Oakland is up to the tour.

    I am saving up now to buy one for my and one for my son. What can I say, I’ve bought one and am planning to buy two more. Great bike for the money.

  18. I am glad that you are pleased with your Oakland Kevin. As you say, a great bike for the money. Mine was bought with short trips in mind rather than daily commuting or long-distance touring – though I think it would be just as good for both of those as well.
    Your proposed cycle tour of the west of Ireland is just what I would love to do if I were a few years (decades) younger. Please let me know how you get on with three Oaklands on tour (pjrw2008@gmail.com). I will be very envious!

  19. I will let you know how I get on in the west of Ireland. Since I last posted I’ve put another 55 miles miles on the Oakland, still running very well. On steep down hills on rough roads I’ve had it up to 33 mph, so I am really testing this bike.

  20. This was a good review of this bike, i’d like to get one when the time is right. I had a Giant Expression a few years ago which is a similar bike but that was stolen- as was my carrera Subway but since then i’ve been using a heavy duty D-lock for the new carrera subway ltd i bought around xmas last year with Disc brakes etc. But then i bought a second bike for commuting from gumtree, a Falcon Explorer for £40 that is maybe ten years old or more. It needed a bit of fixing up but it runs great and i decided i didn’t want a flash Disc brake bike and sold the Carrera, I actually prefer the Falcon for comfort and that it’s not a big target for theft, got a bit fed up worrying about the Subway every time i locked it somewhere. So i’ve gone back to basics which i prefer and would like to get the Oakland at some point but for now the bike i have is fine, hope yours is still going well etc and you’ve managed to clock up a few more miles on it with no problems. Good to see this thread is still going and people still leaving comments!.Pete

  21. I’ve now done over 2000 miles on the Oakland. I took it the west of Ireland two weeks ago, my first plan didn’t work out as no one else in the family would come, so I went on my own and done 349 miles in 4 days.

    On day one I was carrying 15 kgs of gear and broke three back spokes, got a new wheel which cost 35 euro and shed about 5 kgs of gear and completed the tour with no further problem. As I wrote above I have been riding this bike at speeds of up to 33 mph on rough roads and had over 1400 miles done when the spokes broke. With a good quality back wheel I would now be confident in trying a tour with 15kgs of gear aboard. But that will have to wait until next year.

    I have been very careful while changing gear as the front chainwheels are not top quality, but I’ve got 2000 miles out of them and they ain’t done yet.

    After 2000 miles I still say this is a great bike for the money. I have not serviced it apart from a drop of lub on the chain, new back brake pads and the above mentioned wheel, I have rode it hard, and it is still running well. You could spend a lot more money on a hybrid bike than the modest price of an Oakland, but I doubt you will beat the Oakland on value for money. There is a great old Russian saying, the perfect is the enemy of the good enough, this to me sums up the Oakland.

    I took some photos in the west of Ireland, some of which include my Oakland, they are on my facebook page

    • Congratulations Kevin. What a marvellous achievement, by yourself and by the bike and I think your comments about the Oakland are very fair. You have reminded me that the only fault I could find on mine, when it was new, was that there was a great variation in tension among the wheel spokes. Perhaps this would have led to broken spokes had I rtidden the bike as hard as you have done before I managed to “tune” the spokes.

      • “You have reminded me that the only fault I could find on mine, when it was new, was that there was a great variation in tension among the wheel spokes”

        William that rings a bell alright, as my front wheel is just slightly out of true. From my time working in a factory I would speculate while the wheel builders have the skill to build perfect wheels but the pressures of time and production schedules are denying them the extra 5 or 10 minutes to get the wheel exactly right. I can still hear my former line manager saying “it’s good enough let it go”. Pity because this is a bad fault in an otherwise great bike.

  22. Has anyone had to change the back wheel on a Raleigh Oakland?
    I’ve just bought one and immediately had to replace the back tyre and now I can’t get the back wheel to line up.
    I’m worried that I’m damaging the wheel threads with all my attempted adjustments.
    I’m also having immense problems with the mudguards rubbing against the wheels.
    The pictures in the manuals are blurry and indistinct;


    • Edmund I had to fix a puncture two days ago, and took off the back wheel. I had none of these problems getting it back on. I can only suggest take it to a bike mechanic and get it done right, then mark it on both sides, for future reference.

      • Thanks for that, Kevin. Sadly, just the answer I didn’t want to hear.
        The 3 Bike mechanics/shops round here (St Albans) have long waiting times (2 to 3 weeks!) and charge £40 to £45 before they’ll even look at your bike (and everything seems to be ‘included as part of a service’). I gave up going in as I just had a similar run of bad luck with a Dahon foldable needing tweaks, in the end I sold it and bought the Rayleigh to try and break the cycle (pun intended).
        Blast. Don’t have the money even if I wanted to spend it!

        Any chance of pictures of your rear wheel on both sides and the nuts on the hubcaps? Perhaps I can set mine up the same instead?

  23. An Update.
    I’ve now done about 4000 miles on my Oakland. Last week the bottom bracket started squeaking and a little play developed. I striped it down and it was worn so I have changed it for a new sealed bottom bracket. Got it in Halfords and fitted it myself.


    When changing the BB I gave the bike a full service, so she is now fully roadworthy. The chainwheels are showing a lot of wear but with care I will get another few thousand miles out of them. Total cost so far 300 euro to buy, new back wheel 35 euro, new set of brake pads 3 euro, new bottom bracket 20 euro. Throw in a little grease and lub takes the cost to 360 euro. Still love this machine.

  24. Hi Kevin, great to hear from you and very interesting to read about the Oakland’s progress so far. I like the DiY element too. Well done you. Thanks for the link. It had not occured to me that the right spare parts might be so readily available.
    4000 miles is impressive, and at such a low cost. I always thought the Oakland was a sturdy, reliable sort of bike and good value. Nice to have all of this confirmed.

  25. Usually I don’t learn article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

  26. Very interesting stories on here. I’ve just bought a year old oakland, that needs some TLC, for… wait for it… £25. The chaingaurd is cracked (I’ll remove that) & the front mech doesn’t move too well, but will be an easy fix. There is a brand new saddle included.Looks like the bike hasn’t been looked after too well. For me its a bargain. Will post an update soon

  27. hi i have just bought a raleigh oakland 2 days ago second hand for £60,overall it looks a nice bike just a couple of scratches on the front forks due to i would imagine being stored next to other bikes in a shed garage or whatever,but will soon look better as my job is a spray painter.reading these reveiws as been a big help to me,i’m just looking forward to some nice fine weather in order to get a few trips out on it,bought myself a water bottle and cage which was simple to fit to the mounting on the machine,now looking forward to my ect panniers coming through the post which i bought off ebay for £14.99 for a triple bag set.will post my reveiw in a few weeks time when i’ve got a few miles under my belt.thank you everyone,it seems like i’ve bought myself a rather nice bike.

  28. Hi Bernard, It sounds as if you have got yourself a bargain.
    My Oakland is on its way to a new home. It was in near mint condition and I really became rather attached to it and didn’t want to part with it even though I hadn’t used it for a long time and was unlikely to do so again. Eventually, I had the bright idea that I could part with it while doing a bit of good. I gave the bike to the fund-raisers at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff (where I was treated) and suggested that they might like to raffle it at one of their many events. In this way they should be able to raise a lot more money than I could have done by simple selling the bike and giving them the proceeds. They thought it a very good idea and I now await news of the outcome.

  29. I have had my oakland for about 7-8 years now and love it. I must have done about 5000 miles on it and gone through a number of rear tyres and totally worn out the front tyre. Mainly used for my weekly bike ride of 12 miles. Strong solid bike… heavy but good for keeping fit. The only part I have changed is the bottom bracket bearing… this I changed for a cassette bearing which has been brilliant. The only additions made to the bike were led lights and ‘slime strips’ in the tyre to stop punctures (very effective – no punctures in the last seven years). Disappointed they have stopped making them however I think another firm may have taken over the design. Fantastic bike!

    • …. also… when I bought the bike I had to tighten everything up including tightening up the wheels and the spokes seemed loose. Good Idea to check all the bolts etc until things stop coming loose….then forget about them….

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