BSA Light Roadster c.1914

Finding a bicycle in this state of originality is a great rarity and exciting when it happens. With the exception of the saddle leather (replaced by me on the original frame) and tyres this machine is absolutely correct and in a remarkably fine state for nearly 100 years of age. It was supplied by the Birmingham Small Arms Company Ltd. agent G.W.Pyne of Chatsworth Road, Clapton (East London) around 1914. It is the rare and slightly unusual ‘light roadster’ configuration with a sloping ‘road racer’ style top tube but riser handlebars… A bit of a contradiction, presumably to provide a sporty looking, somewhat rakish, but nonetheless practical mount!

The black enamel and green lining is nearly complete, and the nicely preserved transfers testify to the poor quality of the available modern reproductions of the originals which are inaccurate in both design and colour. It is fitted with an Eadie coaster brake to the rear and a pull up brake to the front. All the fittings are the usual top quality BSA items, nickel plated, everything stamped with the BSA piled arms trademark, including the chain and the celluloid inflator. The wheels are beaded edge 26 x 1 1/2 inch, fitted with modern Maloya tyres as fitted to Swiss Army bikes, so thankfully still available! The final image shows an early Hutchinson beaded edge tyre fitted to the machine when I acquired it. The bicycle is light, quite highly geared at 74 inches, and a pleasure to ride. BSA’s are amongst my very favourite machines due to the superb quality of everything they made, particularly before the Great War.

It’s perhaps interesting to compare this bicycle to my somewhat ‘over restored’ BSA path racer.

Click on photographs for large scale detailed images