The Raleigh Cheetah track bike is back from the dead and feline good

Limited edition frames to commemorate Nelson Vails

In celebration of road and track cyclist Nelson Vails, Raleigh has partnered with Kentucky-based framebuilder Don Walker to produce limited edition versions of the Cheetah track bike.

Vails (whose nickname was “The Cheetah”) was the first African-American to win an Olympic medal in cycling and earned a silver medal at the 1984 games in the individual track sprint.

Hand made steel lugs and tube, and Phil Wood cranks — what more could you want?
Hand made steel lugs and tube, and Phil Wood cranks — what more could you want?

There are two version of the bike available, a retro replica of Vails' race bike as well as a modern aero version.

“The Raleigh brand has a rich and deep heritage that spans over 130 years,” said Steve Westover, Raleigh’s director of marketing. “We felt it was time to celebrate our heritage with a series of projects. Our collaboration with Nelson Vails and Don Walker epitomizes that.”

The retro remake of the Cheetah is built using largely made-in-the-USA parts from Walker's one man shop in Kentucky. The tubing comes from Vari-Wall, which is based in Cincinnati, the lugs from Portland-based bike builder Henry James and the components are a mix of Phil Wood, Cane Creek and Velocity Rims.

The classic Cheetah is comprised of mostly made in America parts
The classic Cheetah is comprised of mostly made in America parts

“This is one of the most exciting projects I’ve been a part of in my career as a frame builder,” said Walker. “Not only do I get to build bikes for a legend like Nelson, but I get the added bonus of them being for my friend."

If the replica frame doesn’t do it for you, Raleigh will also be offering a modern Cheetah Fast model. This frame will again be built in Walker’s shop but will be made from TIG-welded Columbus tubing, have a carbon fork and Vision and FSA finishing kit.

Both bikes will be produced in a limited quantity, although Raleigh hasn’t yet said how many, and will be available in four sizes. Both bikes are set to cost $6,500, international pricing is to be confirmed.

The Cheetah Fast is built with TIG-welded Columbus tubing and FSA and Vision carbon finishing kit
The Cheetah Fast is built with TIG-welded Columbus tubing and FSA and Vision carbon finishing kit

Colin Levitch

Staff Writer, Australia
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Colin now resides in Sydney, Australia. Holding a media degree, Colin is focused on the adventure sport media world. Coming from a ski background, his former European pro father convinced him to try collegiate crit racing. Although his bright socks say full roadie, he enjoys the occasional mountain bike ride, too.
  • Discipline: Road, mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Tarmac mountain climbs into snow-covered hills
  • Current Bikes: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9
  • Dream Bike: Mosaic Cycles RT-1
  • Beer of Choice: New Belgium La Folie
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

Related Articles

Back to top