Assembled from ‘A’ pattern (Road-Racing) BSA Fittings, this bicycle is exceedingly popular for racing and fast road riding purposes. The frame can be built either for 26in or 28in wheels, and with sloping or parallel top tube as desired.
– BSA Fittings catalogue description
BSA Fittings kick-started the cycle industry in many countries around the world, but particularly in Australia, New Zealand and France. Dominated by large manufacturers such as Peugeot and the Humber-Clement-Gladiator conglomerate, small firms in France found it difficult to obtain quality components to build their own machines and launch new cycle businesses. So, at first, to get into the cycle business, most operated as agencies to resell American and British bicycles.
But when Brown Bros fully launched their BSA Fittings business in France in 1899, small companies all over France could at last supply their customers with bicycles built from BSA parts of consistent high quality. Hundreds of small cycle makers around France used BSA parts to supply finished bicycles for their local area. As well as building machines to customers’ individual requirements, they would have had models like this in stock, such was the demand for quality machines …even in the 1910s era when the French cycle industry was in full swing.
A BSA company report in 1909 revealed that while there was a demand for complete BSA bicycles in Britain, there was still a huge demand and preference for BSA Fittings around the world. In France, the BSA Fittings Machine with a downward sloping top tube was more commonly known as a ‘BSA Modele Course sur Route’.
The sloping top tube on this example – with a one inch drop – can be seen more clearly against the bars of a farm gate, below.
1910s Road Racer built from BSA Fittings
‘BSA Modele Course sur Route’
with Sloping Top Tube (1″ Drop)
The illustration below is from a later French catalogue, with cable brakes rather than a coaster brake. But it shows the essence of the model that became popular in France from the late 1890s until the 1920s. As you can see, the example featured here had nickel forks.
Its open fork crown design is more commonly associated with an earlier era – BSA’s fittings were available for a long time after manufacture. A customer in Britain might prefer a more up-to-date style. But in France and other international markets, local cycle builders bought whatever was available because BSA fittings had the best reputation.
This ‘BSA Modele Course sur Route’ is in good all-round condition, and fitted with a retro coaster brake metal wheelset for maximum practicality. It has matching rat trap pedals and a superb handlebar. It’s ready to ride.
BSA FITTINGS CATALOGUE (FRENCH)
1912 BSA FITTINGS CATALOGUE (BRITISH)