This splendid machine was first introduced in 1904 after a long series of experiments and trials, and was intended to compete in price with the unreliable machines of obscure jobbers and builders. Its success has been unprecedented, due to the fact that Ladies for the first time had offered to them a machine fully guaranteed in every detail including tyres, light and highly finished, at a price with the reach of every purse. Since its first introduction, experience has enabled us to add great improvements in detail and finish, and the large sale it has met with enables us to make a substanital reduction in the price.
– 1907 Rudge-Whitworth catalogue description
The statement above reveals the difficulties faced by the major cycle manufacturers because of the cheap and poorly-made bicycles that threatened to ruin the cycle market. The immediate solution for companies such as Rudge-Whitworth, Humber, Raleigh, etc was to reduce prices and provide a guarantee. But some manufacturers went further: instead of using components that were freely available and interchangeable, they made every part of their bicycles themselves so that the parts were unique.
Because nothing on a Rudge-Whitworth bicycle of this era can be installed from another manufacturer, when you come across one of these bikes now, over a century later, it’s important to ensure that the bicycle is complete and retains all its original parts. Luckily, this one is totally original …even down to its 1909 tyres, which still hold (1909?) air. It has some delightful touches, such as the channel for the rear brake cable which curves around the headstock above the front fork on the near-side. I also particularly like the Rudge-Whitworth ‘hand’ logo that appears on the oilers for the front and rear hubs and bottom bracket.
1909 Rudge-Whitworth No 61 Crescent Lady’s Bicycle
Frame No 516843
28″ Beaded Edge Wheel Rims with Original Tyres
This particular bicycle is one of the most original good condition machines I own. Normally I would keep it for the museum, but I have another very similar, and I always sell my duplicates.
Early Rudge-Whitworth bicycles have delightful little touches: on this one, a curved brake linkage cover on the headstock; small oilers on the bottom bracket and both hubs with the famous Rudge hand logo on them; Rudge’s unique angular mudguards; original front tyre, etc.
If you fancy a bike that you can ride regularly, but will also attract envious looks if you take it to shows and displays, this might well be the bike for you 🙂
RUDGE WHITWORTH FREE WHEEL CLUTCH