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Help narrowing down bicycle identity and age! Long shot question.

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Kennewick Man

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Hi all,

I'm new to the CABE and have found quite a bit of helpful information on the forum today. I have a bit of a conundrum in identifying and figuring out the age of a bike I recently purchased. The guy I bought the bike from stated that it was given to him by a British expat who was/is a professor in Boston. He told that the guy always referred to the bike as a Birmingham. I'm aware that throughout history, there were quite a few firms producing bicycles in Birmingham, England but my mind immediately went to the most famous(?) Birmingham brand, B.S.A.

The bike itself has been clearly spray painted a few times over it's life span so there aren't very many visible identification marks; no headbadge or tubing logos, no visible serial number. The geometry of the frame and the 28" wheels suggests to me that it's an older European bike (maybe 1930's) and it's surprisingly lightweight. I own a few bikes (Dutch, Japanese, Italian) from the 50's, 60's and 70's and this bike is significantly lighter than any of them. In fact, it's almost as light as a modern road bike I once owned. Because I don't have a ton of experience with early 20th century/Pre War bicycles, I don't know if the lightweight nature of the bike is common for that era. Also, the pedals appear to be plastic with reflectors which suggests to me that maybe its post 1960's. It's highly likely that the bike has been modified in many ways so this may not be significant. I also noticed that it has a rear coaster brake only, with no front brake at all. The coaster hub is made by the American company Bendix which adds to the confusion. This suggests that either it's an older, modified British bike or an American bike (though I've never come across many American bikes with this geometry). It has a Brooks saddle with a bit of bicycle chain attached (which is something I've only ever seen on older British bikes).

If any one could help narrow it down based on these photos, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!!

IMG_1969.jpg


IMG_1970.jpg


IMG_1974.jpg


IMG_2844.JPG


IMG_4551.JPG


IMG_0310.JPG
 

Mercian

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Hi @Kennewick Man

And Welcome (-:

I come originally from the UK (very near to Birmingham, in fact), so have experience of UK bikes.

This appears to be an early BSA, the chainwheel style and horizontal dropouts dating it to roughly 1904 to 1908.

Here is a similar one (sorry, it's all in French), post 16 Juin 2013 shows the chainwheel variations. You can also see a similar frame geometry and horizontal dropouts. The fork appears different, but could be a different model/Date/replacement. Who knows?


I would suggest repeating this question in the pre 1933 section.


Best Regards,

Adrian
 

Kennewick Man

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Hi @Kennewick Man

And Welcome (-:

I come originally from the UK (very near to Birmingham, in fact), so have experience of UK bikes.

This appears to be an early BSA, the chainwheel style and horizontal dropouts dating it to roughly 1904 to 1908.

Here is a similar one (sorry, it's all in French), post 16 Juin 2013 shows the chainwheel variations. You can also see a similar frame geometry and horizontal dropouts. The fork appears different, but could be a different model/Date/replacement. Who knows?


I would suggest repeating this question in the pre 1933 section.


Best Regards,

Adrian
Thank you so much, Adrian! Trying to identify a bike that's been as heavily altered as this one would have been a complete shot in the dark, so this info is incredibly helpful. I gotta spend some time doing a deep dive into the link you posted.

Kindly,

TaVaris
 

Mercian

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dear TaVaris,

@Kennewick Man

Yes, it's part of the fun identifying these mysteries. Luckily you had the enigmatic 'Birmingham', and after that it was the chainwheel...

There's quite a bit more information here (in english), and the bike seems to have the same fork as yours.


The owner of the site is a member here. @Wing Your Heel

Have fun with your search.

Best Regards,

Adrian
 
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Kennewick Man

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Ride it and enjoy it!
Yeah, it's amazing how fun it can be to ride given it's age. It's a bit of a head turner. The guy I purchased it from stated to me that he had ridden it quite hard even over the very challenging bridges here in NYC.
 

Kennewick Man

'Lil Knee Scuffer
I can see that seeing someone riding a bike like that, would be an experience. Takes time back a bit...
Even though it's still in pre-restoration stage, I still ride it to work almost every day. I won't pretend its easy on the knees or is a breeze up hill, but I thoroughly enjoy it. That feeling of experiencing what it was like to ride bikes a century ago.
 

dnc1

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Even though it's still in pre-restoration stage, I still ride it to work almost every day. I won't pretend its easy on the knees or is a breeze up hill, but I thoroughly enjoy it. That feeling of experiencing what it was like to ride bikes a century ago.
Good to hear it's being used regularly.
A few shots of your rides around NY would be great to see!
 

Kennewick Man

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Good to hear it's being used regularly.
A few shots of your rides around NY would be great to see!
Once the restoration is complete, I hope to take it for a spin in some of the older parts of the city that don't have modern sky scrapers. Places with cobble stone streets like DUMBO or South Street Sea Port. I'll definitely post some photos then.
 

dasberger

Finally riding a big boys bike
Dear TaVaris,

@Kennewick Man

Yes, it's part of the fun identifying these mysteries. Luckily you had the enigmatic 'Birmingham', and after that it was the chainwheel...

There's quite a bit more information here (in english), and the bike seems to have the same fork as yours.


The owner of the site is a member here. @Wing Your Heel

Have fun with your search.

Best Regards,

Adrian
While we're on the subject... picked this up a while back but haven't been able to ID... Assumed it's British and 20's-30's. Looks like it could be BSA parts after reading this thread. Any ideas?

Best,
Josh






1311762


1311763


1311764


1311765
 
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