I'm going older! 129 years


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Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
394
790
Toronto, Canada
#1
My 5 year old fell asleep just as I was parking for the Auto Show, so while he catches some Zzzs, here's my latest find and my oldest bike! I think it's an 1890 Rudge Bicyclette Diamant No.2.

The crankset is loose, and it needs saddle leather, a few spokes, and tire rubber, but with those issues fixed I hope it will be a good rider. The "poor man's plating" has to go. Bare metal would be better than silver paint.

I'm excited to have a pre-diamond frame bike. I sold a pair of Solex carbs and related parts to raise some of the needed funds. I'm much happier with this machine than with some automotive paperweights that I would never use.

Info, comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome.
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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,887
5,331
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#2
Fantastic!
Here's a photo of a Rudge Military Bicyclette being ridden over here at 'Benson' last July......
C9ECA2CB-AD32-488F-A7FA-78C26A4AC139 (2).jpg


Apologies if you've seen it before, but it's one of my favourite photos from last year.
This is a 'Boer War' era machine chasing an 1860s 'Boneshaker'.
Not too dissimilar in age to your example, but a slightly different rear section of the frame.
 

bikejunk

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Nov 1, 2014
570
221
56
passaic NJ
#3
A great find and I agree buffed bare metal is better than spray paint chrome =also it is nice that the bike was stamped with its i.d. like that -no mystery at all great frame design it is a cross between my 1892 Victor and my 1891 Triumph
 

willswares1220

I live for the CABE
Dec 18, 2011
1,899
670
Port Washington, WI
#9
Should be an interesting and fun rider! Maybe you could do some parades now and then. Have a uniform made....:cool:
I'm always amazed at the people that don't ever ride their bikes, even when they have a solid bicycle with proper tiring.
With any luck, there might be traces of nickel plating under that silver paint!
 
Likes: dnc1

locomotion

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 15, 2011
2,510
1,457
PQ
#10
nice find Brian.
great seat.
the front spring seems broken, am I seeing it right? and it seems to be missing the front part of it to attach the leather to the frame
but I am sure someone makes reproductions of those parts .... what you have, is more than most have.

the most difficult part of the restoration to get this in riding condition will be the wheels, get those done by someone with experience .... not an easy job

I don't ride my bikes from this era unfortunately. I am scared for them to crumble under my 220 lbs body weight.
Most riders that I see riding those older bikes are around 150 lbs or less, and they are wearing silly outfits to match!!!
Max
 
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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,887
5,331
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#11
Those silly outfits are almost compulsory! Lol. @locomotion.
The Benson Veteran Cycle Rally prefers people to wear outfits contemporaneous with the machines they are riding. Those two riders are about half a mile into a fourteen mile ride, in temperatures exceeding 32 degrees Celsius! Up and down several climbs too. The best event in the world for seeing museum quality machines being put to proper use, in my opinion.
I thought I'd never resort to wearing tweed and woollen items, but when everyone else is ridiculously dressed it somehow seems less ridiculous. Then, one day, usually late at night after a few ciders have been enjoyed, you find yourself ordering plus fours via the internet
This is how it starts, who knows where it might end!
By the way, does anyone know where I can buy a knitted, woollen, one piece racing suit?
I feel the need, lol.
 

dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,887
5,331
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#12
It looks like you're definitely in the ballpark re. dating your lovely machine @Brian R.
Here's the House of Rudge family tree.....
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So that's a shortish period of a few years when they were "The Rudge Cycle Co.", 1887-1894.

(image modified from the V-CC library site).
 
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Likes: tripple3

Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
394
790
Toronto, Canada
#13
Thank you all. Max, I think I see what you mean about the saddle spring; it does look like it's broken. I'm told the front piece can be sourced from a donor saddle and made to fit. The bike looks fragile but it's very robust and heavy. I'm about 195lbs and I don't think it will have any trouble supporting me. I'd be nervous riding a 130 year old cross-frame though

The rims are very straight but it needs a few spokes of course.. A collector friend who knows the early bikes very well is doing some work on it now. I'll post an update later.

I agree that I'll need one of those silly outfits! I will research c.1890 photos for ideas. I'm not sure about sourcing it though; any suggestions?

Thanks for the Rudge info dnc1. As for the exact year of the bike, I've read online that this particular design was made only for about a year: 1889-1890. The serial number looks high to me so I thought 1890, but if anyone here knows these bikes and can offer insight, please let me know. Cheers.
 
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Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
394
790
Toronto, Canada
#14
Update: Here is what the bike looks like now. Thank you Rick! No more silver paint, crank bearing fixed, and new saddle leather. I rode it for the first time today. It's a bit wobbly but surprisingly comfortable. I just need to learn how to dismount properly ...and safely!
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Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
394
790
Toronto, Canada
#17
I'm told the front tire, (which is rock hard) is likely original, and the rear looks like a replacement from baby carriage tire rubber.

The saddle was done by a fellow collector here in southern Ontario. He fixed up the Rudge as a thanks for my helping him on a deal for a Coventry Swift cross-frame, so there was no cash price. I don't think he's on The CABE. If you want I could ask him if he does saddles for payment.

How about Ron Miller? He makes a replacement saddle leather for Brooks. Here is a link: http://www.bicyclepedalrubbers.com/new-pagesaddles
 
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Likes: dnc1

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