Lea & Francis Gentleman’s Roadster Bicycle c.1908
The most expensive bicycle of the time, in my opinion the Lea & Francis was the bicycle equivalent of the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The quality of the fittings and finish is truly outstanding.
This completely unrestored example was in one family ownership before I acquired it, and it was always kept inside the house when not being used… as it is today! Dating from c.1908, it is fitted with the Lea & Francis 3 speed gear ( I believe manufactured by The Micrometer Gear. Co. ), L & F patent alloy pedals, L & F alloy rear carrier, and patent L & F reflector. There is no rear step for mounting since it is fitted with the ‘trip motion’ device which locks the left hand crank in the 4 O’Clock position for mounting from the pedal, releasing automatically when riding forward. The concealed roller lever brakes are a work of art, the front one being easily adjusted by removing the cap at the centre of the bars and turning the adjusting bolt. The gear change is topped by an ivory knob. The finish is very restrained with no fancy lining to the black enamel, except for a thin red line on the rims. There are two transfers, one at the top of the head tube, largely missing, and the other on the rear mudguard in fine condition. Original L& F (Brooks) B90 saddle with oiler in seat pin, puncture repair kit concealed in handlebar grip, and correct period Powell & Hanmer ‘Kingfisher’ oil lamp.
The bicycle has clearly had little use… the mileometer reading of 5690 miles (about 500 are mine) is probably correct, and it still rides like a ‘Rolls’!
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