Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
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My wife's uncle bought this Malvern Star new in 1938 when he was about 12 years of age. He is not quite sure of the original purchase date as it could have been 1937 - although he is more certain of 1938. I think it is a "Clubman Model" but I am only guessing at this description. It's serial number is 120120 and is fully BSA equipped. He changed the original rear hub which he thinks was a BSA hub to a Eadie Coaster hub a year after he originally bought the bike. He rode this bike as a telegram delivery boy which was his first job. The PMG bikes he was issued didn't ride as nicely as his bike so he preferred to ride this one.
I'm not sure of the originality of some components like the handlebars and stem or the components that might be missing such as a dynamo lighting set but it is just how my wife's uncle last rode it and that is important. I did replace the grips but I couldn't source an old style set.
He rode the bike regularly until he was 75 years old and a couple of years later he let me look after it for him. When he visits he has to have a longing look at it and pass on the stories of his youth associated with the bike.
I have owned quite a few nice 5 Stars over the years as well as a couple of Malvern Star 'Oppy's" and the odd 2 star frame but this is the one I have kept. It still rides very nicely and is very smooth on any surface - I think it rides like a grand old Rolls Royce as it is in no hurry, just a comfortable and reliable city tourer.
Any additional or corrective information would be welcome.
Nice bike Gary. It does indeed look like a CLUBMAN model, except for the Eadie coaster modification. I have a bike here with the generator bracket on the seat stay like yours, frame number 120779. Mine is a 1938 Coronation Tourist model, similiar to yours but with Cyclo 3 speed gears. I thought the generator bracket was a later edition, (My bike has been repainted), but seeing it on yours suggests that it was an original fixture. I will try some different brands of generator/dynamo to see what fits. Yours is illustrated in the catalogue with Philco type centre pull brakes, and double side BSA rear hub. Great original decals! Send a pic to Greg Softley, we all need some of these 'shadow' decals reproduced. Your frame number 120120 puts it in 1938 rather than 1937.
Thanks a lot Warren, I knew you would know all about this bike. The original owner (wife's uncle) has a very good memory and was pretty sure of the1938 vintage. Thanks for all the other info too. What do you think of the bars and stem as well as the Bell saddle?.
This image didn't come out on the original photos I posted. I thought it was interesting to see a BSA decal:
I've got a serious question prompted by this post, and am always looking to learn new things and develop knowledge about vintage bicycles. Weren't all pre-WW2 bicycles in Australia fitted with "square-type shouldered" headset lugs rather than rounded ones? Didn't "rounded-type shouldered" lugs appear during or late in WW2? Because looking at the rounded shoulders of this frame would have normally made me say post WW2 ... is this now a blury distinction? Thanks for all learned responses from the wise ones of the forum ...
I'm not sure what you mean by rounded or square shouldered lugs but I imagine you are talking about the headset fittings. To be honest I can't answer that question only to say that it is quite surprising to see 'new developments' in bike design that were actually practiced 70 / 80 / 90 years ago - e.g. straight bladed front forks like the Precisa fork developed by Colnago.
Hi GaryF. My query is about the headset lugs that hold the bearing races. The pictures of this lovely Malvern Star Clubman seem to throw the idea that "rounded" lug shoulders only came into use during/after WW2 out the window. Am hoping for some clarification from the more learned members of the forum.
Sorry feelthewheel, I wasn't sure what you meant. This headset is called a headclip and was a common headset in the 1920's and 1930's. Looking at bicycles of the 1800's you can see the development of this type of headset. A couple of good websites to look at headsets are:
I'm sure other forum members have much more information on this topic as you suggest.
the lugs... there is no "cut off date" its a fluid and style thing, Speedwell used the square lugs to well after WW2 as a "quality" thing on better frames. The rounded (or pressed) style is cheaper to make and also looks "cheaper".
On this bike , the lower headlug looks slightly squarish when you compare it ot the top rounded one. So at a a guess this is the beginning of the change to the rounded type, being '38 its a cats wisker from WW2 . Different makers did things to suit themselves and its dependant on stock held, what was was on the suppliers shelves and the quality of the frame (or price point your after). To work out a date for an Oz frame you will need more than one dating indicator and mostly youll only get to a 10 year guess . For example if this was a unbranded frame with no other indicators,Id guess at "30's 40's" as a date.
Ozpushies! for ALL Australian made bikes.
"It's only original once"
Lovely looking Malvern Star, especially love the seat. There's something really nice about an aged leather seat with pressed decals.
You're making me want to shift gears and put aside a current project when I get home (away on holidays ATM) and work on my 40's Malvern Star 2 star.
Very nice. I have a similar one which I am planning to sell shortly as I'm running low on shed space, not as original though.
Suus: Reimagined/Recycled/Upcycled Cool
The earliest 'round shouldered bottom head lug' bike on my records is a 1936 Malvern Star ladies roadster. I have not necessarily recorded what bottom head lug shape each bike has, so I will need to check back through bikes to see if there are any earlier than 1936.
What I can contribute re head lug shoulder shape is this:
I have not seen a post war Malvern Star with 'square shouldered' bottom head lugs.
I have seen many pre war Malvern Star's with round shouldered head lugs, predominantly lower priced models.
Malvern Star used 'continental' type head fittings towards the end of the war, 1945/46. I presume these fittings were produced by Bruce Small when they started making many parts here in Australia, as the supply from overseas had dried up. They then seem to have reverted to 'English' type fittings, presumably as supplies became available agian.
Thanks all for the responses so far, it's been a great learning opportunity; it would be interesting to hear a little more from those forum members with other pre-WW2 bicycles in their collections.
very nice old bicycle, good to see he replaced the original bsa hub with a bsa coaster! wartime by the look of it, as the black eadies were during that time,
is the hub still running alright? they have a tendency to wear through the clutch spring, which is an easy replacement job, and also as the copper alloy shoe wears down, the brakes tend to slip a little. the best fix for this is a small metal insert between the cam and the spring/shoe.
Thanks very much for that information jwc, I have not ridden the bike that much as I use it for a slow ride on the bikepath on a nice day. The brakes play only a very small part of the ride so I have not noticed any problems. My wife's uncle did ride it quite a bit so there is probably wear as you described. I will remember your post for future reference - thank you.
As for the black Edie hub - he did the replacement in 1939 - at the start of the war - as you say. Well done, you know your stuff.
Thanks for posting this up Gary.
I just got a 2 star frame that Warren believes is from 1939 and it's good to see something like how mine should look.
I hope to locate some parts from the era to restore it and I'm still trying to work out genuine Malvern Star paint schemes and stickers from back in the day.
Sounds like a great little project and I would be extremely interested to see your progress. Warren suggested I send Greg Softly of "Cyclemondo" fame a message regarding Malvern Star decals as per my bike - which I did do. Warren's thought was that Greg might be able to somehow use my bike as a guide to produce a faithful set of repro. decals. Greg has not replied as yet.
Doesn't Warren know his Malvern Star stuff (and a whole lot of other info as well)?
It's got a way to go yet as all I've really got is a frame, so locating the parts will be the fun bit and once I start I can certainly put a restoration thread in here.
This one will also end up with a 1949 Ducati Cucciolo motor on it which I'm currently restoring also.
Let us know how you go with the decals, I would love to put some correct ones on there. Really would like a correct for the era paint scheme too if I can find one.
I reckon you're spot on there Tinker... from what I've seen you can cobble together a set that will be true in spirit but not really 100% right... would be nice to get that extra step of authenticity!
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