A Brief History Of The Dawes Galaxy Touring Bicycle

Exploring the Evolution of the Dawes Galaxy Touring Bicycle

The mere mention of the Dawes Galaxy touring bicycle is enough to transport avid cyclists and nostalgic adventurers on a journey through time. With its timeless design, quality build, and enduring legacy, the Dawes Galaxy has become more than just a bike – a symbol of exploration, freedom, and unforgettable adventures.

In this article, we’ll explore the Dawes Galaxy through history and how it transformed bicycle touring and made it accessible. We’ll quickly compare the classic, Super and Ultra models. Also, we’ll share our buyers’ guide for a second-hand bike and celebrate the Dawes Galaxy through the years with vintage and rare editions.

So saddle up, strap in and let’s take a spin through the fascinating history of this legendary touring bicycle!

bike tourindawes galaxy in tandemg proverb- the road is your friend
Old bike touring proverb: the road is your friend and Dawes Galaxy are the best

The Dawes Galaxy: A Classic Touring Bicycle

Every bicycle tourer has a story; for many, those stories begin with the iconic Dawes Galaxy. This classic touring bicycle has impressed riders for decades, evoking a sense of adventure. Similarly, with its elegant frame design, reliable performance, and tough build quality, the Dawes Galaxy holds a special place in the hearts of long-distance cyclists worldwide.

For those who have enjoyed riding this beloved two-wheeler, memories come flooding back as they recall epic overland journeys. The mere sight of a vintage Dawes Galaxy touring bike can transport them back to epic journeys. Moments filled with laughter, challenges overcome, and friendships forged along winding roads. Something about this timeless bicycle ignites a feeling that captures the essence of exploration and freedom on wheels.

Unearthing Fond Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Ah, the memories! The mere mention of the name recalls memories of a journey or beautiful moment. For those who have enjoyed riding this iconic steel touring bicycle, Galaxy is almost synonymous with bicycle travel.

The Dawes brand and the Galaxy models that I’ve owned and enjoyed mean freedom!

For many tourers, their first encounter with a Dawes Galaxy was a moment they will never forget. The sleek design, sturdy frame, and smooth ride captivated riders from day one. This touring bicycle became linked with freedom and exploration from family outings to solo expeditions. And oh, how it brought joy to countless miles travelled!

A Dawes Galaxy on the Dalmatian Coast circa 2015
A Dawes Galaxy on the Dalmatian Coast circa 2015

Reflecting on the Enduring Legacy of the Galaxy

The Dawes Galaxy has left an indelible mark on the bicycle touring world, standing as a testament to its enduring legacy. This classic touring bicycle has impressed riders for decades with its timeless design and build quality. Its reputation for reliability and performance has made it a favourite among adventurers and long-distance cyclists.

At a time when bicycle touring was uber-niche and expensive – a touring bike was a custom build back then – the Galaxy paved the way for all. As one of the first off-the-peg touring bicycles to gain popularity, Dawes became the go-to marque for adventurous rides around the world.

Dawes established a reputation for quality and momentum gathered to propel the Galaxy into the consciousness of the cycling mainstream.

Beyond its physical attributes, something about the Dawes Galaxy stirs emotions and sparks memories. It represents freedom, exploration, and a sense of connection with nature. With each pedal stroke, riders are transported to adventure’s past.

The Spirit of Adventure

The Dawes Galaxy’s influence reaches far beyond just nostalgia. Its name continues to inspire new generations of cyclists around the globe. From solo expeditions across continents to weekend bikepacking trips. This iconic bicycle is a symbol of adventure and self-discovery.

The enduring popularity of the Dawes Galaxy can be attributed to its simple design and the loyal community it has fostered. Cyclists from all walks of life come together to share stories of their adventures.

Through social media platforms bike tourers join local meetups organised by passionate riders. The Dawes Galaxy community offers a space for connections and shared experiences.

In 1971, the Galaxy was an off-the-shelf tourer when touring bikes were most often custom-built and expensive


Steel is real; a Dawes Ultra Galaxy 853 touring bike in Europe
Steel is real: a Dawes Ultra Galaxy 853 touring bike in Europe

Built for Touring

  • Dawes Galaxy – 1970s: The Steel Pioneer

Frame Material: Reynolds 531 Double Butted Steel

Year of Production: Early 1970s

The Dawes Galaxy made its mark in the 1970s with the renowned Reynolds 531 double-butted steel frame. This vintage gem was sturdy and reliable and embraced the classic aesthetics of the era. Riders from this time often speak of the Galaxy’s resilience, making it a favourite for those embarking on long-distance journeys.

  • Dawes Galaxy – 1984: Shifting Gears

Frame Material: Reynolds 501 Steel

Year of Production: 1984

In the mid-1980s, Dawes introduced the Galaxy with a frame crafted from Reynolds 501 steel. This shift in material maintained the Galaxy’s durability while offering a more budget-friendly option. Riders appreciated the balance between performance and affordability, making it an accessible choice for enthusiasts exploring the bicycle touring world.

  • Dawes Galaxy – 1990s: Aluminum Emerges

Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy

Year of Production: Late 1990s

As the cycling landscape evolved, so did the Dawes Galaxy. In the late 1990s, some models embraced the lightweight allure of aluminium alloy frames. This transition attracted a new generation of riders looking for a touring bike that blended efficiency with the classic Galaxy charm.

  • Dawes Galaxy – 2000s: The Return to Steel

Frame Material: Reynolds 631 Steel

Year of Production: Early 2000s

In the early 2000s, Dawes rekindled its love affair with steel, introducing the Galaxy with a Reynolds 631 frame. Marking a return to the cherished steel construction, catering to riders who appreciated the traditional ride quality and durability that defined the Galaxy series.

  • Dawes Galaxy – 2010s: Modern Elegance

Frame Material: Reynolds 853 Heat-Treated Steel

Year of Production: 2010s

As we entered the 2010s, Dawes continued to refine the Galaxy, introducing models with Reynolds 853 heat-treated steel frames. This modern iteration retained the classic styling while incorporating advancements in steel technology. Creating a bicycle that paid homage to its vintage roots while meeting the demands of contemporary riders.

Each era of Dawes Galaxy bicycles brings a unique flavour to the touring experience. Reflecting both the cycling trends of the time and the enduring spirit of exploration. Whether the classic steel frames of the 1970s or the modern elegance of the 2010s.

The Dawes Galaxy remains a symbol of adventure through the ages

Cyclist.co.uk asked in their review of 2011 if the Dawes Galaxy is the perfect bike.

Pair of Dawes Galaxy Touring BIkes made of Reynolds 853 Steel
Pair of Dawes Galaxy Touring BIkes made of Reynolds 853 Steel

Evolution of the Dawes Galaxy: From Past to Present

The Dawes Galaxy has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Born in the 1970s, this iconic touring bicycle has evolved and adapted over the decades to meet the changing needs of bicycle tourists worldwide.

In its early years, the Dawes Galaxy was a reliable workhorse, built to withstand long journeys and rugged terrains. Its steel frame and sturdy components quickly gained popularity among adventurers seeking to explore new horizons. Progress in steel production allowed for lighter materials and more streamlined designs as time passed.

The Galaxy embraced changing trends, incorporating sports geometry in their frames, improved gearing systems, and high-end groupsets for a smoother ride.

Navigating the Dawes Galaxy Series: A Trio of Touring Excellence

Every great bike trip demands the perfect companion. And within the Dawes Galaxy series, three stalwarts stand out: the Dawes Galaxy, Super Galaxy, and Ultra Galaxy. In this comparison, we delve into the unique features of each model, helping you choose the ideal steed for your next adventure.

Steel is Real – One Tube To Rule Them All

Dawes Galaxy

Material: Reynolds 531 Steel
Pros: A harmonious blend of strength and responsiveness, providing a classic steel ride feel.

Dawes Super Galaxy

Material: Reynolds 631/725 Steel
Pros: Equally robust frame material as the Galaxy, a touch lighter, with a slightly more aggressive touring geometry for enhanced performance.

Dawes Ultra Galaxy

Material: Reynolds 853 Steel
Pros: Elevating the game, the Ultra Galaxy boasts a Reynolds 853 frame, offering higher strength and lighter weight for those who prioritize efficiency without compromising on durability.

Rolling along on solid steel; the Dawes Ultra Galaxy 853 in MOrocco
Rolling along on solid steel, the Dawes Ultra Galaxy 853 in Morocco
Geometry and Riding Position

Dawes Galaxy

Geometry: Touring-specific, balancing stability and comfort.
Riding Position: Comfortable for long-distance journeys, keeping fatigue at bay.

Dawes Super Galaxy

Geometry: Slightly more aggressive touring geometry.
Riding Position: A more forward-leaning position for riders seeking a balance of speed and comfort.

Dawes Ultra Galaxy

Geometry: Similar to the Super Galaxy with a focus on performance.
Riding Position: Geared towards efficiency, ideal for riders aiming for speed and responsiveness.

Components and Groupset

Dawes Galaxy

Components: Shimano drivetrain
Groupset: Offers reliable shifting and braking performance suitable for long tours

Dawes Super Galaxy

Components: Shimano Deore drivetrain
Groupset: Upgraded components for a broader gear range and enhanced braking with cantilever rim brakes

Dawes Ultra Galaxy

Components: Premium Shimano XT/Deore XT drivetrain
Groupset: High-quality components for precise shifting, a wider gear range, and Avid cantilever rim brakes for superior stopping power

A Dawes Ultra Galaxy 853 awaits adventure in Osh
A Dawes Ultra Galaxy 853 awaits adventure in Osh
Rider Reviews

Classic Galaxy

“My Dawes Galaxy has been my reliable companion on numerous journeys. It’s like riding on a cloud, absorbing the miles with ease.” – TouringNomad45

Super Galaxy

“The Super Galaxy’s geometry adds a sporty edge without compromising comfort. It’s the perfect balance for my style of touring.” – SpeedExplorer

Ultra Galaxy

“Upgraded to the Ultra Galaxy, and the difference is palpable. The 853 frame is a game-changer for those who want a bit more speed without sacrificing durability.” – UltraAdventurer

In the Dawes Galaxy series, each model caters to a distinct set of riders. Whether you opt for the classic comfort of the Galaxy. Or the enhanced performance of the Super Galaxy. Better still, with the cutting-edge tech of the Ultra Galaxy, you’re guaranteed a reliable companion for your touring adventures.

I found the upgrade from the Super to the Ultra to be a huge step up in comfort, range and performance. I loved the Super Galaxy 531 – it was a gold standard but the geometry and sizing didn’t quite work for me.

Riding the Ultra Galaxy 853, I found a better position for long rides, a tighter groupset and a more solid rack set-up. As the saying goes, ‘a new bike is the cheapest bike you’ll buy.’

The Dawes Galaxy: End Of The Road

The Dawes Galaxy achieved a great deal as a brand and an ambassador for long-distance bicycle travel.

The words became synonymous with bike travel. For decades, the Dawes Galaxy was THE bike to make adventurous rides with.

So, it was a sad day when the Galaxy was seemingly discontinued forever.

In an email, the Dawes brand owners, Tandem Group, said there were no plans to reintroduce any further Galaxy touring bicycles.

The Dawes Galaxy Community: Experiences and Adventures

The Dawes Galaxy has not only captured the hearts of individual riders, but it has also fostered a vibrant and passionate community. Within this community, there are countless stories of unforgettable experiences and thrilling adventures on their beloved touring bicycles.

These folks have pedalled through stunning landscapes and different cultures, and forged lifelong friendships. The camaraderie among fellow Dawes Galaxy enthusiasts is palpable as they come together to celebrate their shared love for this iconic bicycle.

Whether swapping travel tips or organising group rides, this tight-knit community supports and encourages one another in their bike trips. Their passion for adventure fuels an ongoing exchange of stories that inspire others.  To push their limits and embark on their remarkable journeys with a Dawes Galaxy by their side.

This sense of belonging makes being part of the Dawes Galaxy community special. It’s about more than just riding a bike. The real joy is connecting with like-minded individuals who enjoy exploration and open-ended possibilities.

The Second-Hand Dawes Galaxy Buyer’s Guide: Your Roadmap to Adventure

Embarking on buying a second-hand Galaxy is a thrilling venture. These classic touring bicycles have stood the test of time, and finding the right one can be the key to unlocking your next great cycling adventure. In this guide, we’ll navigate the landscape of second-hand Dawes Galaxies, providing tips on where to look and what to consider before sealing the deal.

Where to Look

Online Marketplaces:

Websites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace often feature a range of second-hand bikes, including Dawes Galaxies. Be sure to filter your search to find options within your location.

Specialized Cycling Forums:

Explore cycling forums such as BikeRadar or the Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide on Reddit. These platforms often have dedicated sections for buying and selling, where cycling enthusiasts may offer well-maintained Dawes Galaxies.

Local Bike Shops:

Check with your local bike shops. Sometimes, they may sell second-hand bikes or be aware of customers looking to part with their Dawes Galaxies.

Dawes Galaxy Lost in France
Dawes Galaxy Lost in France

What to Look For:

Frame Condition:

Inspect the frame for any signs of rust, dents, or cracks. Minor scratches are common, but major structural issues may affect the bike’s integrity.


Check the condition of the drivetrain (chain, cassette, and chainrings) for wear. Examine the brake pads, tires, and wheels. Ensure that the gears shift smoothly and the brakes are responsive.

Frame Size:

Confirm that the bike’s frame size suits your height and riding preferences. A comfortable fit is crucial for long-distance touring.

Maintenance Records:

If available, ask the seller for maintenance records. Bikes with a documented history of regular service are likely to be in better condition.

Test Ride:

Whenever possible, take the bike for a test ride. Pay attention to how it handles, shifts gears, and brakes. A test ride provides valuable insights into the bike’s overall condition.

Negotiating and Finalizing the Deal:

Research Comparable Prices:

Before making a deal, research the prices of similar Dawes Galaxies in the market. This means you can make a fair offer.

Be Prepared to Walk Away:

If the seller is unwilling to negotiate or has issues with the bike, be prepared to walk away. Patience often pays off in finding the right deal.

Payment and Paperwork:

If the deal is good, agree on a payment method and ensure you receive a receipt or proof of purchase. Verify the seller’s ID to prevent potential issues later.

With this guide, you’re ready to find a second-hand Dawes Galaxy. Each bike has its own story to tell, and by being thorough in your search and mindful of the details, you’ll soon be pedalling off into the sunset on your adventure.

Dawes does Dutch; Ultra Galaxy 853 in Holland
Dawes does Dutch; Ultra Galaxy 853 in Holland

Collecting and Restoring Vintage Dawes Galaxy Bicycles

Collecting and restoring vintage Dawes bicycles is a passion many keen tourers share. There’s something special about bringing these classic bikes back to life, preserving their history, and experiencing the joy of riding them again.

For collectors, finding a vintage Dawes Galaxy is like discovering buried treasure. Each bike has its own unique story to tell, with every scratch and dent serving as a reminder of the adventures it has been on.

Restoring these bicycles requires patience and attention to detail, but the result is worth it. With care and expertise, old frames are repainted, components are replaced or refurbished, and original features are restored to their former glory. The process can be challenging but rewarding for those who appreciate the craft of yesteryear.

Uncovering Rare and Limited Edition Dawes Galaxy Bicycles

For avid collectors and enthusiasts, there is a thrill in uncovering rare and limited edition Dawes bicycles. These unique gems are highly sought for their historical significance and distinctive features. The Steel is Real Facebook group is an Aladdins Cave of vintage bicycles and memorabilia.

One of the rare finds is the limited edition 1984 Dawes Galaxy Super Tourer. Its sleek black frame adorned with chrome accents makes it a true standout. Another coveted model is the 1978 Reynolds 531 Competition Special Edition, known for its superior craftsmanship and performance.

A Dawes with a Thorn in its side
A Dawes with a Thorn in its side

Finding these treasures takes research, patience, and sometimes a bit of luck. Online forums and classified ads can be valuable resources in connecting with fellow collectors. Or stumbling upon that elusive gem tucked away in someone’s garage.

Whether it’s an early model or one built for a special event, each rare find adds another layer to the legend of the Galaxy lineage.

These rarities often come with interesting stories attached—tales of epic adventures undertaken by previous owners or unique modifications made over time. Restoring them to their former glory requires attention to detail and sourcing original parts whenever possible.

The process becomes more than just restoring; it becomes an act of preservation—a way to honour the timeless beauty of these limited-edition bicycles.

Preserving these rare bikes ensures that future generations can appreciate and learn from their design heritage. So next time you stumble upon an ad for a limited edition Dawes bicycle tucked away somewhere – buy it!

Remember that you’re not just getting a bike but becoming part of a bicycle touring dynasty.

Keeping alive the legacy of these exceptional machines!

Tips for Maintaining and Caring for a Touring Bike

Maintaining and caring for your Galaxy ensures its long life and peak performance. To that end, here are some tips to help you keep your beloved bicycle in shape.

Regular cleaning is crucial. Use a mild detergent and warm water to scrub dirt and grime from the frame, wheels, and components gently. Remember to dry it thoroughly afterwards to prevent rusting. Finally, check the tire pressure regularly, as proper inflation ensures a smooth ride and prevents unnecessary wear on the tires.

Additionally, inspect the brakes for any wear or damage, adjusting them if necessary for the best stopping power. Remember to oil up! Apply suitable bike grease to the chain, mech pulleys, and other moving parts to reduce friction and maintain smooth operation.

Caring for your Dawes Galaxy keeps it looking great and ensures every ride is enjoyable and safe. By following these tips, you can extend your cherished bicycle’s life while experiencing all this classic model has to offer!

Taking in the View in North East India
Taking in the View in North East India

Exploring the Global Impact and Popularity of the Galaxy Touring Bicycle

The Dawes Galaxy has been pivotal in making bicycle touring accessible since its launch in the 1970s. Here are several ways in which the Dawes Galaxy contributed to the popularity of bicycle touring and the format we know today as bikepacking.

Durable Construction:
The Galaxy’s initial models featured a robust Reynolds steel frame, known for its durability and ability to absorb shocks. Significantly, this made the bike well-suited for the demands of long-distance touring, offering riders a reliable and sturdy platform for their adventures.

Comfortable Touring Geometry:
The Galaxy’s design was a touring-specific geometry. In other words, this balance provided a comfortable riding position, reducing strain on the rider during long journeys. The focus on comfort made the Galaxy appeal to a wide range of cyclists, including those new to touring.

Made For Rough Stuff:
The Galaxy’s design allowed it to handle a variety of terrains, from smooth roads to rough trails. This meant that cyclists could use the same bike for different types of touring experiences. Hence, making it a great option for those who want to explore diverse landscapes.

climbing the steep road to darjeeling a cycle touring bike rests for a chai
Climbing the steep road to Darjeeling a cycle touring bike rests for a chai

Bicycle Touring Preferences

Made With Tourers In Mind:
Over the years, Dawes adapted the Galaxy to changing tastes and trends. Moreover, shifts in frame materials from steel to aluminium and back to steel cater to a range of riding styles. The Galaxy made it possible for cyclists with different touring styles and requirements.

Reasonable Price Points:
Dawes positioned the Galaxy at various price points, making it accessible to a broader audience. The different models allowed cyclists to choose a Galaxy that suited both their budget and touring needs. Therefore, making touring bikes affordable for the first time.

Rider Reviews:
The Galaxy built a reputation for reliability and happy rider stories. Word of mouth and reviews from cyclists who had toured with the Dawes Galaxy created a sense of trust and confidence among buyers. Certainly, this encouraged more people to consider the Galaxy for their bike trips.

Global Presence:
Dawes, as a brand, made efforts to distribute the Galaxy globally. This increased access to the bike in different regions, ensuring that it wasn’t limited to a specific market.

In summary, the Galaxy had it all. Tough, comfy, practical, good price, and positive rider experiences. Consequently, these factors made bicycle touring available to a wider audience. Welcoming both seasoned tourers and newcomers to the world of long-distance cycling.

touring bike rests with an old fashioned digger
An iconic touring bike rests with an old-fashioned machine

Reflections Of Bike Touring Icon

To sum up, it’s clear that this iconic bike has left an indelible mark on cycling enthusiasts around the world. Thus, with its rich heritage, timeless design, and commitment to quality, the Dawes Galaxy continues to captivate riders old and new.

Thanks for the memories!

As long as adventurers seek open roads and thrilling journeys, there will always be a place for the Galaxy. As a result of its enduring legacy, the name continues to inspire bike travellers to push boundaries, explore new horizons, and create lifelong memories.

So whether you’re a vintage enthusiast or a modern rider embracing the bikepacking craze, there’s a Dawes for you. Finally, let’s celebrate this remarkable bicycle as a mode of transport and a symbol of freedom, discovery, and pure joy.

Farewell, Dawes Galaxy touring bicycle! Above all, may we carry your spirit forward as we pedal towards exciting adventures yet to come. Happy riding!