1903 Rudge-Whitworth Lady’s ‘No 2’ Aero-Special

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UK = £50. Europe inc Ireland & N.I = £100. USA = £150. Rest of world = £250

‘WELL-KNOWN ACTRESSES WHO CYCLE’

In these twentieth century days the bicycle is ubiquitous. It has devotees in every class of the community. In the commercial sphere, from the office boy to the manager; in theatrical circles, from the call boy to the leady lady – ALL CYCLE!

Here are photographs of a few leading ladies who, between the acts, so to speak, recuperate and find pleasure in cycling. Photographs are reproduced by arrangement with Messrs Rudge-Whitworth Ltd of Coventry (Cycle Manufacturers by Appointment to King Edward and the Prince of Wales), whose make of machine these talented ladies all ride.

– Cycling magazine, 27 May, 1908

 

 

1903 Rudge-Whitworth ‘No 2’ Aero-Special

Eadie Coaster 2-speed Gear (1st Pattern)

25″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Frame No 190028

 

With the end of the ‘bicycle boom’ years of the 1890s, Rudge-Whitworth dropped their prices and introduced a dynamic new lightweight Aero-Special model, which had unique fittings and was promoted heavily with paid advertisements and publicity campaigns. They already benfitted from Royal patronage. While the royal princes endorsed their Aero-Special ‘No 1′ – the gents’ model – Princess Victoria was photographed riding her Aero-Special ‘No 2’, the name given to their top-of-the-range lady’s model.

This ‘Aero-Special’ was a state-of-the-art machine for 1903, even more so as it sports an Eadie Coaster 2-speed gear, introduced in the summer of 1903. This style of chainwheel was changed for the 1904 season. Their 1903 catalogue explains: “The pattern of the chainwheel is the same on all three grades, but that used on the ‘Aero-Special’ is of lighter construction.”

Its frame number suggests that it was built in December 1902 or January, 1903. Rudge-Whitworth declared a production figure of 41,211 bicycles between 31 July 1902 (frame no 169,739) and 31 July 1903 (frame no 210,950). This machine, with frame No 190028, was presumably sold later in 1903, one of the first to be fitted with this new 2-Speed – which was a combination of the Fagan gear and the Eadie coaster brake. Its gear trigger is an attractive feature. By 1910, Sturmey-Archer and BSA (who bought the Eadie Coaster in 1907) dominated the market and gear trigger designs were standardized. The trigger controls used in the first few years of speed gears were made in a variety of styles, according to the maker, their designs also varying according the mounting position. Unfortunately, not many early gear sets survive today.

This example was restored and repainted by the previous owner 20 years ago, for his wife. It would have originally been fitted with a clear celluloid chaincase which is missing – they were very fragile and were usually removed. The wheel rims are newer, but everything else is original specification. In this era, the ‘Aero-Special’ had unique mudguards. As you can read in the catalogue page provided, their design is different from the more familiar V section Rudge style. Another interesting feature is the headbadge: at this time Rudge-Whitworth headbadges were contoured rather than flat. The split pedals are illustrated in the 1904 Rudge catalogue, being a slightly smaller version of the gents’ Aero-Special pedal. The nickel is tarnished in places, though it might polish up. The machine is still in very good condition cosmetically, is fully functional, and is ready to ride.

 

 

 

 

1903 RUDGE-WHITWORTH CATALOGUE EXTRACTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNDERSIDE OF THE 1903 RUDGE-WHITWORTH

 

 

1904 RUDGE-WHITWORTH CATALOGUE EXTRACTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRINCESS VICTORIA RIDING A 1900 RUDGE-WHITWORTH

EADIE COASTER 2 SPEED GEAR (1st PATTERN)

The Eadie 2-Speed Coaster was introduced in the summer of 1903: “The hub is simply a combination of the Eadie Coaster with the Fagan two-speed gear.”

 

 

 

CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR SHORT VIDEO OF EADIE 2 SPEED COASTER

1903 Rudge Whitworth with Eadie Coaster 2 Speed Gear

 

After purchase I’ll send you a paypal request for the shipping charge:

UK = £50. Europe inc Ireland & N.I = £100. USA = £150. Rest of world = £250