Lea and Francis Light Roadster c.1903/4 – A study in rust

Sometimes a bicycle is useful for study purposes and little else, being so badly rusted as to be beyond use. This completely original Lea and Francis Light Roadster from 1903/4 is one such example. Despite being very distressed it still retains half of its chain case celluloid, and the puncture repair kit concealed in the handlebar grip. The illustrations below are from the 1904 catalogue, where it was priced at £25 10s. It was almost certainly the most expensive bicycle available at that time. For instance, a Centaur Featherweight was priced at under £20 that year, and a Dursley Pedersen about £17. Note the lovely scalloped cranks and the beautiful concealed roller brake levers. You can see my completely original but rather better preserved 1908 Lea and Francis here. Before you say that this this machine doesn’t look THAT bad, the rust around the bottom bracket is very serious indeed and would affect the structural integrity of the bike. Pity… but its still a thing of beauty!

click on photo for large scale image