TRIGWELL & CO. Regent

January 16, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

TRIGWELL & CO. Regent In Britain in the late 1880s there were more tricycles than bicycles—not because tricycles were inherently more popular, but because, in part, they were more expensive than bicycles, and so the upper classes perceived them as exclusive.   Husbands also considered them safer for their wives to ride than two-wheelers. Industrial tricycles had been used since […]

SWIFT Safety Bicycle

January 16, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

SWIFT Safety Bicycle   By the 1880s, ordinary bikes were well established but remained dangerous to ride. If cycling was ever to develop from an eccentric indulgence of the rich into a universal transportation method, the odds against completing a bike journey without mishap or injury needed drastic shortening. This urgent requirement inspired a flurry of new designs as the […]

OTTO Dicycle

January 16, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

OTTO Dicycle In one workshop in London, the Quadrant Cycle Company was trying to make improvements to the basic design of the bicycle. In the building next door was the Otto Cycle Company. If Quadrant was experimental, Otto was completely bizarre. Some historians have since suggested that the two companies were probably connected—they must each have known what the otherwas […]

SMITH STARLEY Ariel

January 16, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

SMITH STARLEY Ariel Early bikes had wooden wheels with metal tires like those on horse-drawn carriages. They were heavy to push and uncomfortable to ride. James Starley had a gift for mechanical problem solving, which he first demonstrated in his work with sewing machines. In 1871, he saw an early French boneshaker bike and had the idea of increasing its […]

EAGLE Ordinary

January 16, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

EAGLE Ordinary The ordinary bikes that were all the rage at the end of the nineteenth century had a major safety flaw: Riders could easily be flipped forward over the handlebars Such spills known as “headers-could cause serious injury, as the rider was perched high above the front wheel and had around 5 ft (1.5 m) to fall. The enthusiasts […]

CRYPTO Bantam

January 16, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

CRYPTO Bantam The Crypto Bantam was a milestone in bicycle design; the evolutionary link between the giddy heights of the penny-farthing and the coming era of the safety bikes. It first appeared when wheeled transport was beginning to take off everywhere. In 1891, 150,000 bicycles were sold in the United States alone, doubling its cycling population. Here at last was […]

PREMIER A93

January 16, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

PREMIER A93 The Premier Cycle Company of Coventry, England, was the first bike maker to fit a frame with helical tubing, which reduced weight and increased strength. Premier’s first helical bikes were experimental; their frames were too light and thin for extensive practical use. But the A93 was an altogether sturdier production weighing 32 lb (14.5 kg) and with 28-in. […]

GLADIATOR Tandem

January 9, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

GLADIATOR Tandem The Gladiator Tandem’s main claim to fame is its appearance in the promotional poster—a detail of which is shown here—commissioned by the makers from the celebrated Art Nouveau painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The Gladiator featured an intriguing lever chain, designed by William Simpson, that comprised a string of linked protruding triangles. The inside of the chain was driven […]

SPARKBROOK No. 7 Racing Safety

January 9, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

SPARKBROOK No. 7 Racing Safety     Founded in 1893 in Coventry, England, the Sparkbrook Manufacturing Company quickly gained a reputation for quality bicycles with an uncommon attention to detail and a high-grade finish. It began by building ordinaries (penny-farthings) and tricycles, and then released the Sparkbrook No. 7 Racing Safety. The No. 7 featured some tantalizing hints of sports […]

ORDINARY Penny-Farthing

January 9, 2017 thewheelsofsteel 0

ORDINARY Penny-Farthing In Victorian Britain, they called them spider wheels, -gh-wheelers, or, most commonly, “ordinary” bicycles, “heir common characteristic was a leading wheel that was several times larger than the trailing wheel. Although the first bikes to be configured in this way were produced by James Starley in 1871, it would be anachronistic to call his creations penny-farthings. The term […]