Raleigh Chopper chain wheel

Tom Karen

Classic design isn’t always the most practical, the most efficient, but can sum up an era just by looking at it. Tom Karen, who died recently (NYE 2022), was such a designer. During his time at Ogle Design (now Ogle Noor), Tom designed irrefutable classics, such as the Bond Bug; the game Marble Run; The Reliant Scimitar GTE; the Bush TR130 radio; and for me, the most exciting (though the Reliant Scimitar comes pretty close) the Raleigh Chopper.

There are many iconic bicycles but few that would widely still be viewed as classics in the wider ‘designiverse’. The Raleigh Chopper goes beyond bicycle design. It, like many of Tom Karen’s designs, frames the 1970s.

The picture above is a chain-wheel rescued from an early edition Raleigh Chopper. It hangs on the wall of Campbell Bike Workshop as a tribute to great design and now as a tribute to a great designer.


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