1911 Golden Sunbeam for Gentlemen (3 Speed)


Gears were still a relatively new innovation for bicycles in 1911, and they did not yet meet with universal approval. They were generally considered unnecessary. The 1910 catalogue illustration shows the top-of-the-range ‘Golden Sunbeam for Gentlemen’ as a single speed model with both two-speed and three-speed as an optional extra (priced at 1 guinea and two guineas extra respectively).

But Sturmey Archer introduced their excellent ‘Model X’ three-speed gear in 1910 and embarked on a major publicity drive to promote it, so leading manufacturers were obliged to follow suit.

The Sunbeam Three-Speed Gear was essentially a Sturmey Archer ‘Model X’ Three Speed with unmarked outer shell. Research has not absolutely revealed the train of circumstances behind its production, but it’s believed that it was made by Villiers. This gear subsequently became the BSA Three-Speed, so it’s interesting to come across it in one of its various incarnations.


1911 Golden Sunbeam for Gentlemen

with All Black Finish

Fitted with the Sunbeam Three Speed Gear

Aluminium ‘Roman’ Rims

Brooks ‘Model B10’ Saddle

24″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Frame No 109000

(Now sold)



This All-black Golden Sunbeam for Gentlemen has a Sunbeam Three-Speed gear and aluminium Roman Rims, and is in good unrestored original condition, with the box lining showing on he paintwork. The chaincase and head transfers (decals) are also intact.

The rear tyre and tube and the gear cable have recently been replaced. The rear mudguard needs some gentle easing to reshape it as previous owners have lifted the bicycle by the rear mudguard rather than the seat stay, causing slight bowing; its metal is sound however. The handlebar grips are not the usual Golden style with removable end caps; some Goldens were fitted with Royal handlebars or they may have been replaced. It has normal pedals rather than with split rubbers. The small bar that flips up to become the head lock is missing. These are minor issues. You can see that the machine has been well cared for throughout its lifetime – it’s in good order cosmetically and mechanically, an aristocratic bicycle from 105 years ago that you can be proud to own …and is ready to ride.