Raleigh used to be the bike brand in the UK, not to mention farther afield, with a range of cycles that put Nottingham on the map and got plenty of us interested in the freedom of a two-wheeler.
That was a long time ago, though. The Raleigh name is still around, but a bike like the Array is more a compendium of parts from different sources nowhere near Nottingham, albeit assembled to make an interesting hybrid e-bike that offers great value.
This is certainly a bold attempt at producing a fun and funky e-bike, with a quirky touch of style that makes it stand out from the crowd. And, even if you’re not smitten by the two-tone paintwork, tan tyres along with matching saddle and handlebar grips, the Raleigh Array packs in enough quality components to make it a reasonably serious performer too.
There are five modes of power from a Suntour Canbus E25 rear-wheel motor, a seven-speed Suntour/Shimano gearing setup, and beefy Tektro brakes that provide plenty of stopping assistance.
The Raleigh Array e-bike also comes with a decent specification that includes front and rear lights, mudguards and a rear luggage carrier. While the bike is hindered by its own weight, much like other electric cycles at this price point, it’s a perfectly serviceable two-wheeler that is more than suitable for casual, rather than serious cyclists.
Price and release date
The Raleigh Array is available now for £1,595 (about $2,215 / AU$3,010) direct from Raleigh or via one of their stockists.
The design of the Raleigh Array e-bike is fairly understated, with a conventional frame setup that comes in either open, low-step or crossbar variants, and doesn’t offer any real surprises. It’s jazzed up, however, by the styling: a combination silver and blue colour scheme that adds a touch of dynamism to proceedings.
Raleigh has taken the styling a step further too, by adding tan coloured handlebar grips and a comfy saddle, augmented with tan coloured tyres. The effect is generally positive, even if it makes your wheels permanently appear as though you’ve just cycled through a pool of mud.
There’s some neat stuff going on with the less obvious areas as well, such as the way Raleigh has neatly channeled core cables in through the frame behind the forks.
The latter are sprung, which adds a nice bit of cushioning when you’re travelling and, along with the chunky tyres, helps to deliver a ride quality that is generally very good. Hit a bump or pothole and you’ll still notice it, especially at the rear with the hub motor and no suspension at the back producing the odd jolt at times.
Overall though, the Raleigh Array is comfy and perfect for longer runs when needed. The included rack at the back also makes it more than suitable for loading up with enough bits and bobs for a long day out.
Equally though, the Raleigh Array does feel heavy and at 24kgs it’s up there with other e-bikes when it comes to weightiness. This means it’s well planted on the road, but you wouldn’t want to have to lug it over a stile in the countryside.
The frame is apparently aluminium, but any gain there is largely cancelled out by the externally-mounted Suntour Canbus 400Wh battery on the front downtube and all of the hub gubbins including the Suntour Canbus E25 motor surrounding the rear wheel hub.
We were pretty pleased with the overal selection of components on offer though, with seven gears and a Suntour crankset and Shimano combination that’s been nicely put together.
Tektro mechanical disk brakes provide solid stopping power and the whole compendium of parts compliment each other very nicely indeed. This is an e-bike that looks stylish and, perhaps, more expensive than it actually is. At the same time, the laid-back styling doesn’t shout ‘look at me’ too much, despite those tan flourishes.
While it might not look like much of a performer, with a design that suggests you’ll enjoy a sedate journey with little in the way of suprises, the Raleigh Array is a definite revelation when you start cycling.
Powering up the e-bike seemed a little bit vague though. A press of the On/Off button on the battery and the same on the Suntour handlebar-mounted display doesn’t always seem to indicate whether the bike is switched on or not. This did seem more straightforward after dark, when it was easier to see if the power lights were activated on the battery pack.
Nevertheless, when moving off for the first time, the Raleigh Array proved decidedly sprightly. It’s easy to move up and down through the seven gears using the levers on the right-hand side of the handlebars, which is supplemented by a small gear indicator next to the grip.
The Suntour OLED display on the left-hand side, meanwhile, allows you to choose from a good selection of power options, five in all, plus a walk assist mode. There’s Eco, for example, if you’re aiming to take your time and conserve energy instead of heading up through the range to reach more power-packed options.
The bike computer is quick and easy to use, with up and down arrows allowing you to pick through the speed options. Another button lets you cycle through modes and reset trip options when you want. The screen is afflicted by sun reflecting off its surface though, much like most other bike computers.
Aside from that, the Raleigh Array delivers a simple-but-effective ride quality with a smooth cycling experience if you’re relying on pedal power alone, while those gear changes are slick and seamless. Add in power though, which is nicely incremental and never surprising, and you get a pedal/battery power combination that makes the bike a delight to ride.
Those brakes are more than adequate too, so roll it all into one and the Raleigh Array proves to be an e-bike that can eat up the miles, despite its bulkiness. An initial run of a few miles, out in the daylight and back in the dark, revealed the e-bike to be impressive, especially on the hills when you need an extra spurt of go-juice from the battery pack.
Being a rear hub-powered bike means you really feel the power getting behind you on steeper inclines. Downhill, meanwhile, the bike rolls along very nicely too, with momentum probably helped by the overall weight of the package. Returning home in the dark also gave us a chance to experience the built-in lights, with both front and rear versions providing more than enough illumination, even when we took a short cut through the woods.
The Raleigh Array also feels assured on less than great surfaces, with those dark, gravel-covered park lanes proving easy to navigate thanks to the wider tyres. Despite using the battery a lot during sucessive journeys the Raleigh Array looks to have a very resilient power pack. Raleigh claims its range to be up to 60 miles and, based on our experiences with the Array so far, that looks like it could be entirely possible. A full charge time is around five hours and our review example matched that pretty accurately too.
First reviewed August 2021.
Buy it if…
You want a sensible e-bikeDespite its colourful styling, the Raleigh Array offers few surprises and packs in plenty of practicality.
You like that conventional upright cycling experienceIt’s easy to get on down the road on the Raleigh Array and while it delivers sprightly performance, this isn’t really one for speedfreaks.
Short hops to the shops are on the cardsThe Raleigh Array is ideal for everyday shopping trips and other shorter journeys, plus it’s got a built-in cargo rack.
Don’t buy it if…
You need a lightwight solutionHeavy e-bikes can be hard work if you need to move or lift them manually, and the Raleigh Array is no exception.
You’re looking for sober stylingThose tan flourishes and a vibrant blue and silver paintjob make the Raleigh Array properly different to look at, so you might get some attention.
You’re looking for a high performance e-bikeThe Raleigh Array is perfectly suitable for everyday cycling needs and it’s comfortable too, but it’s no full-on racer.