1930's Malvern Star sports racer

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1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby LG » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:16 am

A friend of mine was visiting the tip recently when a guy pulled up with a trailer next to his. He noticed a bike on top, and asked whether he'd mind avoiding dumping it, and giving it to him instead. Thankfully for me, he was more than happy :D . So I'm now the proud new owner of this old Malvern Star. It's mighty dirty, but appears to be straight, with the only obvious damage being a small dent in a chain stay, and an inappropriate bend on one side of the handlebar.

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Just wondering whether anyone could shed info on approximate date of manufacture etc? I'm quessing 40's. It's an old 2 star, but appears to be better quality than most I've seen. Keyhole forks, BSA hubs and cranks, 28inch westwood rims, philco brakes, lovely curved stem and bars. The lugs are plain apart from the head tube, but the tubing appears to be quality thin walled stuff making a nice 'ping' noise when tapped. It takes around a 26.8mm or so seat post. There is a stamp on the right rear fork end, but I can't make out much from it. Will do a pencil rubbing at some stage to see if that helps.

Plan is to give it a good clean and polish, reassemble and protect whatever paint I can.

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Last edited by LG on Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:26 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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by BNA » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:20 am

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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby Old bloke » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:20 am

Why can't I have a great "dump" story to tell like this one? Maybe I should spend more time lurking there?
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby LG » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:24 am

Old bloke wrote:Why can't I have a great "dump" story to tell like this one? Maybe I should spend more time lurking there?

Mate, give it time and you'll get lucky one day... My wife even won a raffle 2 weeks ago for the first time in many years, so we're on a roll.
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby Stepr » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:18 pm

nice pickup indeed!

Going by the collective wisdom, square-shouldered bearing cups in the head tube suggest approximately 1930's or at least pre WW2 (1944).

INteresting to note the rear reflector is the same as the one I have on a 1955 speedwell ranger. I know its something easily replaced or added though - they must have been all the rage back then.
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby LG » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:20 am

Thanks for that, similar lines of thinking to mine. From memory, the continental style headset places it somewhere after the mid 30's, while the brakes can't be much later than the 40's. The bike is definitely a keeper, and happens to be my size as well :) .
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby larren » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:51 pm

Nice pickup! All of my vintage bikes have been saved from the dump.
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby bicyclepassion » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:10 pm

Can you decipher the frame number on the right hand rear fork end? It looks like a 1936 or 37 Sports Racer, the narrow 28" westwood rims, South East saddle and goose neck style stem would be original. Remarkable original condition.
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby LG » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:28 pm

bicyclepassion wrote:Can you decipher the frame number on the right hand rear fork end? It looks like a 1936 or 37 Sports Racer, the narrow 28" westwood rims, South East saddle and goose neck style stem would be original. Remarkable original condition.


Thanks for the info on saddle, stem etc. I'm on Tassie's north island at the moment (Melb) and will have more of a go with the serial no. when I get home in aboout 10 days. It's got some pretty thick gold paint on the fork end which obscures some of the numbers. I'm reluctant to remove paint if I don't absolutely have to. From what I could make out it appears to be ? 8 2 (or S) ? ?

Also, is this pre the malvern stars having diferent numbers of stars on the head tube to indicate build quality?
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:00 pm

LG wrote:Also, is this pre the malvern stars having diferent numbers of stars on the head tube to indicate build quality?


Dead right. This is a real beauty! I have a bicycle that is very similar but none of the components or paint are original and mine has the clamp style headset.
This was tentatively dated to the mid-thirties.
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:26 pm

LG wrote:It's mighty dirty, but appears to be straight, with the only obvious damage being a small dent in a chain stay, and an inappropriate bend on one side of the handlebar.


You might be able to save that handlebar with a length of wood, some creativity and a little brute force.
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Re: Malvern Star help please

Postby LG » Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:06 pm

hartleymartin wrote:You might be able to save that handlebar with a length of wood, some creativity and a little brute force.


Yeah I will be having a go at rectifying the bend. It's not really too bad and usable as it is, just bent in a wee bit on the left side. I'll post up more detailed photos of frame paint, parts etc once I get home and manage to get time to strip and clean the bike.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer *title edited*

Postby LG » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:43 pm

Subject title has been edited to more accurately depict the bike.

Serial number is 61827. I've just started to strip the bike and clean off the grime, with photos to follow at a later date. Drive side cotter pin is stuck of course, so is soaking in some CRC at the moment. The handlebars have been straightened. Looks like it will come up a treat.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer *title edited*

Postby bicyclepassion » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:06 am

The serial number 61827 would put it in the 1936/37 period. The model name is 'Sports Racer'. Most likely a 1937 model. Can you see 'Pacemaker' stamped into the rims anywhere? You will have to rub them back carefully with 1200 wet and dry to discover this.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer *title edited*

Postby LG » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:49 pm

Yep, I can confirm the rims have 'PACEMAKER 28 x 1 3/8' stamped around 2 inches from the valve holes. Not a very prominent stamp, but definitely there. From what I have read, they seem like pretty rare rims now. My shed door will be locked tonight :wink: .

I was going to give my mate a bottle of home brew as a thanks for the bike, but think I might stretch it to a 6 pack instead :) .

Warren, thanks also for your time providing information. My knowledge of these early Malvern Stars has been limited, but is growing. I now have more of an appreciation of the relative rarity of this bike in its original condition. Detailed photos will be posted when I can take them.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer *title edited*

Postby flashrider » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:42 pm

If you are going to bend the bars back into shape, see if you can get hold of a plumber's bending spring. It slides into copper tube, allowing the pipe to be bent without kinking it.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer *title edited*

Postby LG » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:26 pm

The bike has been dismantled, cleaned and is in the process of being put back together. The headset has come up pretty well on the visible surfaces, almost rust free.

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Unfortunately the ball bearings in the cups at the bottom of the head tube were knackered and the bearing cups were rubbing on each other. The bearing races themselves appear ok, but the edges of the cups are broken. I need to head to a bearing shop next week to pick up some 1/8 balls.
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The cranks are in reasonable nick apart from the chainring pin holes becoming oval and some of the chrome being rubbed off.
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The BB cups were a bit rusty inside on the bearing races, so aren't super smooth. They've been cleaned and re-packed and should suffice for the small number of k's this bike will do.
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Both brakes should clean up pretty well and the chrome is in ok nick.
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I'm really happy with the largely intact decals on the bike. The paint itself is rough with a fait bit missing from the top tube, but the patina makes it look like a 70+ year old bike that has been used and abused over the years.
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Yet to start on the wheels and need to work out how to get the 'de villiers' freewheel off without the appropriate tool in order to replace a broken spoke. I'll probably resort to the dismantling method. The rims themselves appear to have a faint red central strip which is largely covered by silver brushed on paint. So I may dismantle the wheels completely and strip the silver paint back before rebuilding them. Anybody have photos or advice of what they should be painted up like?

flashrider wrote:If you are going to bend the bars back into shape, see if you can get hold of a plumber's bending spring. It slides into copper tube, allowing the pipe to be bent without kinking it.

Thanks for the advice. The bars were'nt so badly bent that they required great force to straighten them. They're back to being nearly symetrical, but that last 5mm is pretty hard to line up.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby LG » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:57 pm

Finally had time to do some more work on this bike. It's been cleaned, polished, adjusted and put back together. I haven't done anything to repair the seam tear in the saddle as yet. It can wait.

The rims were stripped of silver paint bringing them back to patchy chrome. The paint removal revealed the stamp "Jones made in England" opposite the 'pacemaker' stamp on the rims. The front wheel is an eclectic mix of galv, patchy chrome and some double butted stainless spokes which were all on the wheel before I dismantled it.
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For the rest of the bike, the hubs are in good nick, brakes cleaned up ok and handlebars are close to symetrical. Please note the pedals in the photos are from a 1970's raleigh. I have 1 phillips pedal which may be close to original somewhere in the shed :? , but the other was completely ruined. I've taken the bike for a 200m ride and came back deciding the brakes require more adjustment. It is very obvious that braking performance has substantially improved in the last 75 years. Anybody have knowledge about where to buy some replacement cartridge brake pads for these? Luckily the brake cables appear to be in reasonable nick, as they have a fitting at each end and must come pre-assembled with the outer housing. With the brake pads being worn down, they are nearly out of adjustment.

While at lunch today, the rear tyre decided to spontaneously self destruct. The cotton webbing within the tyre appears totally rotten and led to a 5cm gash developing at 45psi. Bit of a shame, as the tube was an old latex rubber one with a woods valve. The front tyre is a lot newer and in much better nick.

Still deciding on whether to install some cloth tape on the bars to replace the old white stuff which was there, or whether to replace the rubber bar handles which are in pretty ordinary condition. They appear very old, with one having Malvern Star written on it. I'm thinking new will probably look out of place.

The bike is definitely not in showroom condition, but is rust free and in not bad operational condition.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby cludence » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:42 pm

You've done a great job LG it has come up nice.

Can I ship down some of my old bikes for you to clean up? :wink:

Karen.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby LG » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:50 pm

cludence wrote:You've done a great job LG it has come up nice.

Can I ship down some of my old bikes for you to clean up? :wink:

Karen.


Thanks Karen, the main aim with this one has been to prevent deteriation and make it usable.

It's always sad when you have some quality old bikes in need of TLC, but not the time to do them justice. I've been mixing 'bike time' and 'family time' lately in order to finish this one. Nothing like building wheels after dinner while helping daughter do a jigsaw and talking to partner. Don't want to push it too far though :wink: .

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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby L'iota » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:25 pm

Congratulations on a great find and clean-up LG. Love the genuine BSA headset, cranks, BB and chainwheel.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby Kid_Carbine » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:59 am

I will agree with the majority of observations here, it is surely a wonderfull survivor of a great Aussie icon & it's in amazingly original condition.

Bruce Small, through his other business, General Accessories, held the BSA distributorship in Australia & BSA components were regarded as the industry standard against which all else were measured.
Naturally his Malvern Star bikes boasted that they used BSA components in their construction so were regarded as being 'top drawer'

What must be remembered is that during the pre war period BSA made three quality levels of components, that being
Roadster
Sport
Race

The cranks, which must surely be the originals, appear to be the 'sport' version & the chainwheel should have a single 'ledge' toward the inside of the teeth to add strength to the chainwheel & to support the chain.
Race chainwheels had two of these 'ledges' while roadster cranks had the chainwheel integral with the crank.
I would suggest that all other BSA components on this machine are from the same 'group' & their condition is a testament to their quality.

On the strength of this alone I will agree that the bike is a 'sport' type & would have been used in club racing, but probably not really intended for professional racing.
I also agree with the 1934 to '38 dating with 1934/'36 as being my best guess as 28" Endrik rims were used on racing bikes starting about 1928 or so & were a bit more expensive than Westwood type rims which were more widely used by 1937/'38.

The 'Pacemaker' rims were also a good compromise between the cost of the new [since 1935] 27" high pressure rims & the cheaper [& wider] standard 28" Westwood type roadster rims.
Narrower 28/1-3/8/1-1/4 Dunlop 'Speed' tyres would have been all the go on these wheels.
These were a narrower [1-1/4"] tyre that would fit rims designed for the standard 1-3/8" tyre size, so in effect you got the narrower 1-1/4" width in a 28" size. The narrower Pacemaker rims complemented this tyre size perfectly.

They were a lovely white wall tyre but were not high pressure types & Dunlop 'Speed' tyres were widely used for racing in the pre war era.

The bars are [I believe] 'Miliken' bars & were widely used as standard equipment on many pre war Malvern Star models, except the roadster grade bikes. I have one of these for my 1939/'40 Five Star model.
The Philco brakes, as you have found, provide a braking capacity akin to a feather on a bowling ball but these were very widely used as original equipment for decades on many many bikes.

An amazing piece of good fortune & in securing this you must surely have used up your whole allocation of luck for the next 12 months. Don't do anything risky for a while. :wink:
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby LG » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:14 pm

Kid_Carbine wrote:I will agree with the majority of observations here, it is surely a wonderfull survivor of a great Aussie icon & it's in amazingly original condition.

Bruce Small, through his other business, General Accessories, held the BSA distributorship in Australia & BSA components were regarded as the industry standard against which all else were measured.
Naturally his Malvern Star bikes boasted that they used BSA components in their construction so were regarded as being 'top drawer'

What must be remembered is that during the pre war period BSA made three quality levels of components, that being
Roadster
Sport
Race

The cranks, which must surely be the originals, appear to be the 'sport' version & the chainwheel should have a single 'ledge' toward the inside of the teeth to add strength to the chainwheel & to support the chain.
Race chainwheels had two of these 'ledges' while roadster cranks had the chainwheel integral with the crank.
I would suggest that all other BSA components on this machine are from the same 'group' & their condition is a testament to their quality.

On the strength of this alone I will agree that the bike is a 'sport' type & would have been used in club racing, but probably not really intended for professional racing.
I also agree with the 1934 to '38 dating with 1934/'36 as being my best guess as 28" Endrik rims were used on racing bikes starting about 1928 or so & were a bit more expensive than Westwood type rims which were more widely used by 1937/'38.

The 'Pacemaker' rims were also a good compromise between the cost of the new [since 1935] 27" high pressure rims & the cheaper [& wider] standard 28" Westwood type roadster rims.
Narrower 28/1-3/8/1-1/4 Dunlop 'Speed' tyres would have been all the go on these wheels.
These were a narrower [1-1/4"] tyre that would fit rims designed for the standard 1-3/8" tyre size, so in effect you got the narrower 1-1/4" width in a 28" size. The narrower Pacemaker rims complemented this tyre size perfectly.

They were a lovely white wall tyre but were not high pressure types & Dunlop 'Speed' tyres were widely used for racing in the pre war era.

The bars are [I believe] 'Miliken' bars & were widely used as standard equipment on many pre war Malvern Star models, except the roadster grade bikes. I have one of these for my 1939/'40 Five Star model.
The Philco brakes, as you have found, provide a braking capacity akin to a feather on a bowling ball but these were very widely used as original equipment for decades on many many bikes.

An amazing piece of good fortune & in securing this you must surely have used up your whole allocation of luck for the next 12 months. Don't do anything risky for a while. :wink:


Kid, thanks for the detailed reply. Don't worry about my luck, that was 2010 luck, 2011 is a whole new game :wink: . You are correct that the cranks have a single ledge on the inside, so sport model.

I'm interested in your comment that the 27 inch high pressure rims date from around 1935 on (or maybe I've mis-interpreted). I've got another bike with 27 inch rims stamped 'dunlop made in Australia 1925'. These are laced to BHC defiance hubs.

Describing the efficiency on the philco brakes as such is a bit harsh (maybe). I'd describe them as nearly as efficient as the sole of a dunlop volley shoe on the rear tyre of a brake-less bike (brings back memories). Nearly as efficient that is.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby Quinns Rocks Roadie » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:10 pm

Nice old machine !.
How do the stats (total weight, wheel weight) stack up, and how does it steer and ride ?.

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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby Kid_Carbine » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:26 pm

LG wrote:Kid, thanks for the detailed reply. Don't worry about my luck, that was 2010 luck, 2011 is a whole new game :wink: . You are correct that the cranks have a single ledge on the inside, so sport model.

I'm interested in your comment that the 27 inch high pressure rims date from around 1935 on (or maybe I've mis-interpreted). I've got another bike with 27 inch rims stamped 'dunlop made in Australia 1925'. These are laced to BHC defiance hubs.

Describing the efficiency on the philco brakes as such is a bit harsh (maybe). I'd describe them as nearly as efficient as the sole of a Dunlop volley shoe on the rear tyre of a brake-less bike (brings back memories). Nearly as efficient that is.

The 27" High pressure rims that you refer to most likely carry the patent date of the rim design [cross section] Very likely an Endrik rim & it has been my belief that this design was first seen in Australia in about 1928.

It would take very little to adjust the machinery to roll rims in the 27" size instead of the 28" size that Endrik rims were first made in & the patent date would still be applicable.

I do not know if the 27" size was available in a standard low pressure version before 1935 but I doubt it.

The Defiance hubs were, as far as I can tell, a product of the 1930's & were still available new in the 1950's. I think I still have a new one in a tatty box around here somewhere.
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Re: 1930's Malvern Star sports racer

Postby Torana68 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:43 am

I do not know if the 27" size was available in a standard low pressure version before 1935 but I doubt it.

yep a invention of the mid 1930's by Dunlop :D
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