Classic Lightweights UK
Readers' Bikes  

Raleigh track machine: 1947 - 1952

As ridden by Reg Harris and Oscar Plattner

Owned by: David Rapley (Australia)

Raleigh Plattner 1

Reg Harris lent one of his frames to Oscar Plattner several months before the 1952 World Championships.  Plattner had desired one for some time and Harris obliged him 'through the back door'. It was painted black and carried the signage of Plattner's sponsor. However there was no disguising the Raleigh forks or head badge.

Plattner won the 1952 World Championship and on Harris's instigation was signed up on the spot to the Raleigh team. Raleigh had won another World title! The frame was immediately painted in team colour and Plattner was contracted to them for another six years. He later had a least one other Harris Raleigh easily distinguished by its partly chrome plated forks.

Plattner raced several times in Australia during the European 'off' season and after one of these visits left this machine with the English Olympian Peter Brotherton who had settled here. Brotherton had been at the 1952 championships and knew the frame well. It was raced sparingly in Australia, Brotherton winning the prestigious Bendigo Golden Mile and once defeating Sid Patterson in a Match Race on it.

Peter Brotherton winner of the 'Bendigo Golden Mile' , 1957 with the
Harris/Plattner Raleigh track machine. 'O P' (Oscar Plattner) can clearly be seen on the seat tube .
Detail below

When Brotherton retired from his cycle business the frame passed to the Australian Olympian Daryl Perkins who preserved it and later assisted in its restoration.

I acquired the frame last year still in its 1952 paint, which unfortunately was beyond keeping, but the colour match was there. As a complete bike it had a variety of parts fitted but has been returned to near 1952 specs.
To complete the restoration I am looking for a pair of Raleigh Record Ace pedals and one of the rare Cinelli adjustable stems which Plattner used.

Below is an updated (2009 January) image of this fine machine now with Cinell adjustable stem and the Reg Harris signature red Airlite hubs
Raleigh Plattner 6
Now all it needs are the Raleigh pedals

I must thank John Wheatley, Peter Brotherton and Peter Underwood for their historical assistance.

Frame 'Harris Raleigh' No 2842. Seat tube 22 9/16". Top tube 22 7/16". Wheel base 40". Chain stay 16 1/4". 73 degree angles.
Wheels Fiamme sprint rims on Airlite large flanged fixed gear hubs 40/32 spoking fitted with Clement silk tubs
Chainset Williams 5-pin with inch-pitch block chain
Pedals Will be Record Ace when a pair can be traced
Gears Fixed 90"
Brakes N/A
Stem/Bars Fiamme stem and Cinelli 14 Pista bars
Headset Raleigh Record Ace
Saddle Brooks B17
Extra details This frame has a unique number not in the RP series of the other Harris Raleigh’s, why this is I don’t yet know, possibly it is the first prototype.  There is evidence of two proto types and a production run of fifteen with RP numbers. The actual frame sizes differ in various period and later literature but 2842 seems to be very close to the first prototype sizes.  What became of the second prototype is currently unknown but of the subsequent fifteen it is believed five went to Harris and others to the likes of Cyril Peacock, Cyril Bardsley, Lloyd Binch, Don Skene and at least one more to Oscar Plattner.

When 2842 was actually made remains unknown, it certainly existed in 1952 but could have been built possibly four years before, what testing or use Harris actually put it to may never be learnt .

In original paint they seem to have generally had the riders initials on the seat tube which you will note in the many pictures of Harris in action.  There were also other 'special' Raleigh with RP numbers like the Ray Booty machines.    

raleigh-plattner9 raleigh-plattner10 raleigh-plattner11
Three detail shots showing flat-plate track ends (left), bottom bracket with reinforced chainstays and cutout on shell to allow access
 to bolts on 5-pin chainset (
centre), another view of bottom bracket showing cut-out nearly lined up with chainwheel bolt (right)
Inside the bottom bracket shell, strengtheners can be seen inside chain stay
The milled out section to allow bolt access is unique to the 'Harris' run of frames

See Classic Builders for further technical information on the Raleigh track frames built for Reg Harris and others.

Raleigh Plattner 2 Raleigh Plattner 3
Above: Two images of head lugs and the trademark Raleigh track forks with ultra close-clearance

Raleigh Plattner 4
Image showing the classic lines of a close-clearance track machine