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Customer Story: Raleigh UK host Lord Sugar’s Apprentices

Friday October 25, 2019 at 1:07pm

This week’s episode of The Apprentice on BBC 1 challenged the show’s contestants to design and build an electric bike in only 1 day - and they headed nowhere other than Raleigh UK, our customer based in Nottingham.

Raleigh is one of the world's oldest and best known bike brands. Established in 1887 in Nottingham England, they are still based in their hometown. Chances are you rode a Raleigh when you were younger - and maybe you still do now.

They are renowned for iconic bikes such as the Burner, Grifter and Chopper, as well as cutting-edge bikes like TI-Raleigh Tour-de-France-winning 753 steel frames. Their bike design and wheel building still happens at their head office in Nottingham and it is a tradition they are proud to continue.

When the program’s contestants were challenged to create a prototype e-bike in just 1 day, our Customer Development Team manager, Lloyd Stevens, was called in to give an extra helping hand with SOLIDWORKS during filming. Adam Snow, Technical Manager at Raleigh, explained: “We did all the CAD design and prototype building in house, but we did require an additional SOLIDWORKS expert for the day of filming. Lloyd was working with a SOLIDWORKS assembly to bring the candidates’ vision to life as a 3D model and a rendered image using Visualize for their marketing campaign. Lloyd was able to jump in and facilitate the design of the bike with the candidates with very little preparation beforehand. His expertise with the software meant he was the ideal person to deliver this under pressure and in the spotlight of the camera.”


Images above: Lloyd Stevens from our Customer Development Team working with one of the contestants..

Adam continues, “The Apprentice design process would have been impossible without a CAD system like SOLIDWORKS. The episode doesn’t show all the design decisions made by the candidates but there were almost 4,000 possible part configurations, plus a large choice of colours and decals. Without all of these being pre-modelled in SOLIDWORKS and the ability to easily and quickly suppress and un-suppress parts, the design would have been impossible to complete in the few hours we had with the candidates.”

With less than 24 hours between Lord Sugar’s brief to candidates and prototype manufacture, the team at Raleigh worked round the clock to produce the prototypes and deliver them to London within 12 hours, which is not only a fantastic achievement, but also a testament to the quality and heritage behind their brand.

Adam has been working at Raleigh as Technical Manager for the last 3 years and is responsible for the engineering, quality and compliance of their products. “We use 3D design, Simulation and Visualisation products of SOLIDWORKS. We mainly use the software for bicycle frames and component designs. Modelling complete bicycle assemblies allows us to iron out any potential problems or compatibility issues very early in the process and has the benefit of giving us great concept renders. Once designs are signed off, we are then able to produce drawings for our manufacturing partners”, Adam comments. He continues, “There’s no doubt SOLIDWORKS accelerates the design process and reduces errors but it also gives us aftermarket material both for marketing purposes and service such as exploded diagrams.”

Adam comments on the training they invested in, “We use the Training Passports from Solid Solutions as we see it as great value.

The Customer Development Team came in and demonstrated the software when we were first looking at the product. The presentation and slick demonstration definitely sold the software to the management team here.”

This week Raleigh launched a limited edition Raleigh Super Tuff Burner, re-imagined 35 years after its original release. Adam describes this as a special and very interesting reverse engineering project for them.

Make sure to check all the buzz created around their launch at:

For more information about Raleigh UK, visit:

Click here to watch The Apprentice’s week 4 episode on BBC One iplayer.

Image above: Limited edition Raleigh Super Tuff Burner 

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