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by Derek Roberts A useful aid to calculating the age of a bicycle might be its rear hub.
Though geared hubs were sometimes added to a bicycle subsequently to improve it, freewheel hubs are invariably original.
However, it seems that Sturmey-Archer produced relatively few three-speeds during the war.
In 1914 the Type X was abandoned in favour of the type A …thus the machinery previously used solely for the type X would have been liberated for Sturmey-Archer’s contribution to the war effort.
At the time Villiers made the best pedals and soon most of the cycle makers were using them. They had merged with Eadie, makers of the Fagan two-speed and a two-speed coaster brake, early in 1907.
His introduction to the subject is concise and easy to understand, so rather than summarizing it, I’ve reproduced a few pages below as a taster.It’s probably the ‘N’ which was current from 1910 to 1921.But Sturmey Archer introduced their model ‘C’ in 1907.Gear-changing involved back-pedalling so it was necessary to provide a free-wheel.
The first model had plain bearings but balls were soon added.
The Whippet Cycle Syndicate was registered on 8th September 1896 to take over the firm of Linley Biggs and to market the new gear.