I bought the bike a few days ago.
Any idea of the year when it was made?
I had first thought that it was early to mid '60s; the chain guard and top tube shifter style along with decals should put it into a fairly small window of year(s) of manufacture. Also, the Prestube rack should help to date it, not sure when Raleigh stopped using them. The rear derailleur is a Huret "Allvit", but I do not know if it was made in the '60s (I have one on a '66 bike, but an earlier version); that version was definitely used extensively in the early '70s. So maybe a very late '60s to early '70s model if the rear derailleur is original. I know some early Sprites were 10 speeds so your bike should be later than those models. Internal hub 5 speed bikes were also made in the '60s so I figure it is later than those models as well. All guesses based on what I've seen and ride. A very nice looking bike!
I've seen one of these in Iowa here for sale. It was/is black with a white head tube. They claim it was a 1967. I was nearly tempted to buy it. It's an intriguing model. I once bought a chain-wheel like that for another bike. I didn't know what it came off of. Doing a search for 'Raleigh Decals' or serial numbers should get you close.
I have the "Dunelt" version of the same bike, the best I could tell it was 1970/'71/'72 era. I don't think Raleigh used that chain guard very long. I've also seen versions badged as Hercules, which explains the chain guard on mine. Yours should clean up nice! https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/dunelt-5-speed.121771/
That Raleigh graphic originated in 1962, but the Sprite then was 27", drop-bar with downtube shifter
The Sprite reintroduced in '67 had a full-length chain guard.
Your chain guard showed up in 1969 View attachment 1287089
Serial No. should be on the bottom bracket View attachment 1287097
Good catch there bulldog! I was trying to wrap my head around that chain guard; makes it look like a much older bike, but I knew it actually had to be post '67 or so with all the other features. I wouldn't mind that guard on my '75 Sprite giving it a more classic look. It just seems odd to have that type of guard for the time period it was built in. Do you know if they had ever used that design decades earlier (maybe had some spares needing to be utilized?)?
Looks to me to be a mid- late 60's 26" Sprite. 26" Frame, wheels and tires, with the same center rib fenders as the 26" Raleigh Sports....basically a Sports with a 5 speed. Early Sprites were 5 speeds with an internal SA 5 speed, then to a 5 speed derailleur with the shifter on the top tube. A dead give-away to dating this bike are the 2 white/black/gold stripes on the seat tube that would date it to the mid-late 1960's Also, it has the standard rear rack. I had 3 of them, and still have 2 fender sets left.
The next version of the Sprite was a 27", 5 speed originally, but then a 10 speed, with fenders that are the same style as a DL-1 28" bike, rounded, without a center rib. The shifters moved from the top tube to the handlebar stem. My 1965 DL-1 has the same gold bands on the downtube.
Thanks for all your replies. I will check the serial number.
Actually I bought a pair of Raleighs Sprite.
The second one is a 5 speed internal hub SA, dated 1967.
I have looked at my Raleighs (Sports and Sprites, 4 bikes total) from 1969-1975, and they all use the same "Raleigh" script that is on your chainguard. I think your red Sprite was the first year (give or take one) that used the S-A 5 speed; which wasn't utilized for more than a year or two I believe; but I need to verify that data.
That Sturmey 5-speed set up is from the first generation where they used the light-duty bell crank and the small plastic armed shifter. They later went to an improved bell crank and the larger shifters with metal arms.
Interesting note: As I was searching through eBay for Favorit parts, a Sprite (poor condition, not rideable; listed as "for parts or repair")was for sale at $1800 (yes!). I contacted the seller (USA based) as a courtesy to inform that individual about the bike its general history and value. I asked if the price was a mistake. Was it supposed to be $180? No reply, but the bike is now being sold for a steal at $900; 50% off, get it while it's a bargain (sorry, it just hurts to think about it!)!
You're better off using the hub date on the girl's bike, and 1967-68 would appear to be about right for that one. The issue was that the first style bell cranks tended to either get broken or flex to the point that cable adjustment could be difficult. In typical late 1960s fashion, they tried to "go cheap" with the bell cranks and use under-spec stamped metal pieces. The other issue was the shifter was also under-spec, with the levers tending to bend or break. In both cases, Raleigh actually had to go to a more expensive part - the later bell crank and the metal stick shifters. If the bike is going to see a lot of use, some people skip over the metal stick shifters and go straight for a friction shifter to the bell crank and a standard Sturmey handlebar click shifter for the drive side shifter cable.