Sneak Peek: 2011 Raleigh Port Townsend

The Raleigh Port Townsend is another new steel transpo-oriented drop bar bike for 2011.

Frame: Reynolds 520 Butted Chromoly Tubing
Fork: 4130 Chromoly Cross
Cranks: Shimano Sora 2pc 34/50t
Derailleurs: Shimano Sora
Shifters: Shimano DuraAce 9spd Bar-End
Brakes: Shimano BR550 Canti
Tires: Vittoria Randonneur Touring 700x35c
MSRP: $849


28 Responses to “Sneak Peek: 2011 Raleigh Port Townsend”

  • arevee says:

    Looks like a well spec’d bike for the money. Does anyone know if the frame is lugged? It’s hard to tell from the photos and I didn’t see any mention of it on the Raleigh website. My guess would be that it is not. Nothing wrong with a brazed frame, but lugs are prettier IMHO.

  • Barturle says:

    I’ve begun seeing lots of these “stems” on new bikes. They seem to be one piece, but not true quill stems. What are the possibilities for adjustment? What if the stock part just doesn’t fit?

  • Alan says:


    At that price point I’m pretty sure it’s TIG welded.


  • Bob B says:

    I live in Port Townsend, Washington and volunteer at the local bike co-op We were all pretty excited to hear about this new bike.

  • Matt says:

    Not too crazy about the stem a flip flop stem, less angle and stacking washers and you have a lot more adjustability. I also think that short wheel base and short chain stays reduce its range of utility. Nonetheless overall I’m pretty impressed with some of the bikes Raleigh USA has been bringing to market lately.

  • Molnar says:

    What’s with all the bar end shifters? Do people actually like them or are they just a convenience for the manufacturer? I would have thought that the non-brifter default for drop bar bikes would be downtube shifters. Any thoughts?

  • Billi says:

    That stem can be replaced with a regular stem and stack of spacers if it’s like the ones I’ve seen on some other bikes. Any idea on chainstay length? 45ish maybe?

  • Fergie348 says:

    I may never understand the logic that dictates the spec that when everything else on the bike is silver, the stem is black. Looks wrong.

  • ethan says:


  • charles says:

    cons: bars too low…….lack of adjust-ability on the stem, front fender way too short and no mudflap, gearing not low enough ( at least use a 32-34 tooth max rear cog), make the cranks 46 x 30 if they are stuck on a double (this is the northwest, we have mountains)
    pros: the tire width is perfect for practical riding with most riders unless you weigh over 250, didn’t count the spokes but I assume 36, if so, that’s good, chrome moly tubing, always a plus (cheap, strong, good fatigue strength etc. etc.), front rack is nifty and useful, yaay ! fenders are absolutely a necessity here in the rainy N. W. (just include a long, almost to the ground, rubber mudflap, they are cheap ) canti brakes make sense if you are using rim brakes in the wet, toe clips while novel are not necessary, just use some BMX platform pedals with good grip…..that’s my review just looking at it.

  • Pete says:

    Wow. At “retail” the bar ends are 10% of the cost of the bike! Maybe Shimano will make some mid range bar ends now? I agree the black stem is a poor choice aesthetically. As for down tubes, I’m not sure an average buyer wouldn’t think they are are old fashioned. I think a lot of buyers consider shifters on the bar (somewhere) to be a “safety” issue.

  • Alexander says:

    I’m not usually a fan of black parts, but, with the black frame, this black stem looks quite nice IMO.

  • canali says:

    reminds me just at first glance of trek’s ‘portland’

  • Tim D. says:


    A lot of folks like bar end shifters. This bike looks like a mass produced rando bike aimed at the commuter market, and barcons aren’t uncommon in randonneuring circles. That’s just a guess.

  • Joseph E says:

    Raleigh now has separate “Steel Road” and “Steel hybrid” categories on their website:
    The emphasis on frame material seems odd to me, but I bet it will be good marketing, with the current trend back to steel frames.

  • Graham says:

    I’m confused by Charles statement that, “the tire width is perfect for practical riding with most riders unless you weigh over 250″. I agree that a higher spoke count for such riders (I use 36 and only break a couple a year), but I’m curious about the tire width comment. Is it common knowledge among bicyclists that ex football players and steel workers (clydesdales) need larger than 35 CC tires?

  • Inez says:

    @Molnar – Just got bar end shifters within the last several months and I love them. Love them better than downtube, better than brifters, better than mountain bike handlebar shifters. Love them. I find downtube shifters a bit awkward on a hill (God forbid there be a stop sign half way up to totally ruin my momentum…) whereas bar end shifters are always convenient — even if you’re riding the hoods you only have to move your hands about 4 inches instead of a foot or so, you don’t have to shift your weight at all. You should find a friend who has them and take their bike for a spin.

  • Androo says:

    I really dislike these one-piece stems (or 1-piece stem and bars!) Less adjustable, less attractive…less expensive? I guarantee it.

  • Pete says:

    I agree about the stem/bar combo, but some people dislike the pile of spacers that you need if you are mounting a threadless stem anywhere but right on top of the headtube. I’ve seen several stems that include a taller fork clamp (called “high-rise” by some) specifically to get rid of spacers. This seems no different. It’s only slightly less adjustable than a normal threadless. I guess not being able to lower it or flip it over could be an issue. My only gripe with threadless stems is that it’s hard to raise them, and that always seems to be direction I need to go!

  • thinking of hamptsen bianca strada vs other idea: gunnar, riv rambo, ebisu etc says:

    […] […]

  • charles says:

    For Graham……..yes, big guys (I’m including myself) need wider tires and should not ride any tire narrower than about 32mm @90-95 psi and only on smooth pavement. I’m not saying you can’t ride narrower but your wheels and frame will take more abuse not to mention your body. A simple comparison would be a 18 wheeler hauling a heavy load, there is a reason for all that rubber. The same thing applies to bicycles in a little different way. On rough roads 35mm is the narrowest tire I will ride and I much prefer a 38 to 40mm pumped to between 65-80 psi for all around comfort on varied surfaces. Most cyclists, not to mention, most semi athletic people are under 200 pounds when you start getting around 250-275 you run into bicycle companies weight limits for their various bike models. Much over 300 and you need a fairly beefy frame, high spoke count wheels and high volume tires. No uber light carbon fiber frames with 23mm wide tires @125 psi and wimpy 10 or 11 speed drive trains. Big powerful guys can snap that stuff like pretzels. Go wide with pride !

  • Cafn8 says:

    Not to get too hung up on “Big Guy” bike design, but speaking as a 200 plus pound rider who generally has a 20lb rear pack I concur with most of what’s been said on that subject. When I resumed riding to work a few years ago after a couple of years off, I was riding an old hard-tail mountain bike with 26″ wheels and 2.1″ knobbies, or 40mm slicks, depending on the conditions (I enjoy a couple of offroad shortcuts when I’m on the mountain bike). It was generally quite durable and dependable and has held up to unspeakable abuses, but is a bit slow on pavement.

    I also have a road bike (restricted to pavement), which has evolved from an old 12-speed into what it is today, leaving a trail of broken parts behind it. Rear hubs with thread-on freewheels have generally been very fragile, suffering frequent bent axles. Rear wheels with low spoke counts tend to break spokes and bend rims. Narrow tires suffer frequent pinch flats, and require religious attention to pressure. (usually on the rear- see a pattern?)

    My current setup has 36 spoke wide rims, fitted with 32mm tires- high enough air volume, and fast enough. The rear hub is an old internally geared 3-speed- rugged and reliable with no dish to the spokes. It’s a bit crude, but laughs at the rain and grime, takes little attantion and has been very rugged so far.

    It also looks a fair amount like the bike in the photo, minus derailers

  • Daniel says:

    I think the 2010 model had a Brooks saddle…

  • Evad the Slayer says:

    As to the bar end shifters…I have them on one of my bikes, a Surly LHT, and they are great. Much less complicated than Shimano combo brake and shifter units and much less expensive. One of the reasons it is used here is that the bike has very wide tires and uses cantilever brakes. I do not believe anyone makes a STI shifter for canti brakes. Also, being much less expensive, they use Dura Ace bar shifters….top of the line stuff. I believe that they can be set to “notched” as well as un-notched. It is very easy to use if you are in the tuck position.

  • Evad the Slayer says:

    So nice to see steel frames being offered by a major name. I am tired of carbon fiber and their lack of longevity. Bar end shifters are a great way to go as they are far less expensive and complicated than STI. Also, these frames are NOT lugged. Need to get into the $2,000 “frame only” range to see those. And for that price you would expect some customization as well. I can only hope Raleigh sells a lot of these and other makers wake up to the fact that carbon is great for racer boys who throw them away after 3 months, but not for the average rider.

  • Evad the Slayer says:

    By the way, Bicycle Quarterly recently had a series of articles on tires and comfort and speed. Recommend wide (32 mm and up) tires with low (70 psi) pressures for both comfort and speed. Only hard core racer nuts with 135 lb bodies should venture into the 22 mm tire arena. The feedback from overinflated tires is misleading. “Feels” as if you are going faster, but not true.

  • paul says:

    A steel frame and fork, comes with wide tires, fenders and a front rack. It even has retro look and styling. I would trade my old aluminum bike that can only fit 28mm tires for one of these any day.

  • James says:

    As the proud new owner of a Port Townsend, I can say it is everything I wanted right out the bikeshop door. $800 can’t be beat for the build quality and features on this bike: Small Randonneur front rack, fenders and upright city/commuting position.
    The ride is very well mannered and the bike tracks even better with a small load up front.
    This is the perfect daily commuter as is. Add a rear rack and the Port Townsend should shine as a light duty tourer and certainly a weekend grocery go getter. I’m thinking a good upgrade will be the Velo Orange Porteur Rack in place of the stock one.
    I do agree with some of the othe comments that the gear ratios could be better. This bike could definitely benefit from tighter ratios – the step down from the big chainring to the small is a bit much, but even for San Francisco, I’m almost always on the big ring and it’s OK for my commute.
    If you are on the fence about this bike – give it a test ride. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The Port Townsend is a great bike – a little English Club mixed with some French Randonneur. Love it.

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