Speedwell appreciation society

flying dragon
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Re: Speedwell popular roadster date?

Postby flying dragon » Tue May 15, 2018 9:30 am

Would it be useful to change this thread title to "Speedwell appreciation society"?
I've found the info in this short thread to be very helpful and interesting with the historical ads and knowledge for these older bikes.

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find_bruce
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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby find_bruce » Tue May 15, 2018 10:03 am

flying dragon wrote:Would it be useful to change this thread title to "Speedwell appreciation society"?
I've found the info in this short thread to be very helpful and interesting with the historical ads and knowledge for these older bikes.

Done

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby flying dragon » Fri May 18, 2018 11:49 am

A question about Philco brakes - what kind of brake pad should I be looking for? I was looking at the fibrax type pads like these https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/NOS-Vintage ... 1836149223
But does anything else fit?

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby find_bruce » Fri May 25, 2018 3:16 pm

One of my other interests is little British sports car from the 60s - I own a 1960 bugeye sprite & a 1969 MG midget. One of the original sellers of go fast bits was Speedwell Engineering - completely unrelated but a similar stylized S. Hence my interest in a 60s speedwell bike to take along to historic race meetings to get around the paddock

I know that Speedwell was struggling in the 60s before being taken over by in 65 by the same company that had bought Malvern Star. All the info I have seen, including the wiki page largely written by torana68, tapers off by the 50s.

My question though is about whether there were any special speedwells available in the 60s.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Torana68 » Fri May 25, 2018 5:56 pm

find_bruce wrote:..........
My question though is about whether there were any special speedwells available in the 60s.

I’ve touched some nice specials from ‘64 , I’d have to go dig and see but probably wouldn’t be much as by ‘68 Asian made frames were the go. The new owners were all about profit, no love there . They were busy cost cutting and sucking what they could from both once great names.
I have yet to find any confirmed dates for the closure of the Redfern factory, anyone know?
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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby find_bruce » Tue May 29, 2018 3:04 pm

Torana68 wrote:I have yet to find any confirmed dates for the closure of the Redfern factory, anyone know?

You are doing better than me - I can't even find the address of the Redfern factory.

I was hoping JohnJ may help or at least point me in the right direction. Perhaps randomly quoting a pic of his track speedwell will get his attention :)
Johnj wrote:A late 1950s Speedwell Olympic (this is a track bike)
Image

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Tue May 29, 2018 8:05 pm

find_bruce wrote:You are doing better than me - I can't even find the address of the Redfern factory.

a photo of the 'new' building
http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-52839893/view ... 1/mode/1up

and it appears to have been at 44 Rosehill St, Redfern
see http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article248514518
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article248510675

and an interior shot
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/172834305

and a promotional article
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167913015

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby find_bruce » Tue May 29, 2018 11:11 pm

You are a champion Phillip - I had been searching trove for Speedwell which came up with the articles & I had seen the book before, but hadn't thought to try searching for Bennett and Wood. While they had a number of factories, 44 Rosehill St Redfern does appear to be the bicycle factory from the nature of the jobs advertised.

The building is long gone - I think this is the same perspective as the photo. One clue might be a land titles search

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed May 30, 2018 7:35 am

both adverts I linked to were for positions at the "Speedwell Cycle Factory" so it would be safe to use that address.

If you could get someone in Canberra to visit the NLA, the Annual Reports (1963-1975) might give you an understanding of the state of bicycle manufacturing in the period leading up to the sale to General Accessories.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby tcdev » Wed May 30, 2018 1:33 pm

I was reminiscing about my cycling past on another group this morning and the brand "Bennett" suddenly popped into my head - after eluding me in recent years - as the bike I had as a young teen. As I understand it, it's a subsidiary/offshoot of Speedwell? Apologies if not and this is in the wrong forum.

Anyway, a quick Google showed up a Gumtree ad for what I believe is the exact bike I owned; a burgundy-coloured racer. What's amazing is that the listing is recent (earlier this month) and only a few km away from home!

The bike itself looks in decent condition for its age. I'm no bike collector or vintage enthusiast by any means, but now I'm wondering if I should pick this one up, if for nothing else but nostalgic value? Is it of sufficient quality to be worth having? It would probably sit in the shed or garage for years until I decide to do something with it, ie. restore it properly, but perhaps could be brought back to rideable condition in the mean-time with very little cost or effort.

Thoughts?
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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Johnj » Thu May 31, 2018 2:47 pm

find_bruce wrote:I was hoping JohnJ may help or at least point me in the right direction. Perhaps randomly quoting a pic of his track speedwell will get his attention.


Hmm, can't really add much. I think Rosehill Street is correct. From memory 1965, or thereabouts, is the year of purchase of the Speedwell brand by General Accessories. For a few years there were some better Speedwells around, the last being the Dura-ace equipped Olympic of 1974. But after that the better model names (Olympic and Superlite) went to Repco and the brand went down to the bottom of the market, probably never to re-emerge. More on Bennett shortly.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Johnj » Thu May 31, 2018 8:53 pm

tcdev wrote:I was reminiscing about my cycling past on another group this morning and the brand "Bennett" suddenly popped into my head - after eluding me in recent years - as the bike I had as a young teen. As I understand it, it's a subsidiary/offshoot of Speedwell? Apologies if not and this is in the wrong forum...

The bike itself looks in decent condition for its age. I'm no bike collector or vintage enthusiast by any means, but now I'm wondering if I should pick this one up, if for nothing else but nostalgic value? Is it of sufficient quality to be worth having? It would probably sit in the shed or garage for years until I decide to do something with it, ie. restore it properly, but perhaps could be brought back to rideable condition in the mean-time with very little cost or effort.

Thoughts?


Bennett and Wood were founded in the 1880s. The Speedwell brand dates from 1897 (derived from Charles Bennett's membership of the Speedwell Bicycle Club). By the 1960s Bennett and Wood made most of their money from car parts and moved out of Speedwell House to Zetland in 1961. They sold the bicycle business at a real low point in cycling in Australia. With the bike boom of the 1970s they went back into bicycles, but had no brand. Hence they created a new brand: Bennett. Probably imported bikes, not manufactured here, and bikes ranged from low-end to reasonable.

I'd encourage you to buy this one. Nothing like wallowing in a bit of nostalgia. Won't cost you much and might be fun.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Imwit » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:02 am

There is a rather nice Speedwell near Blacktown on Gumtree.

I would snap it up but for the tyranny of distance.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby tcdev » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:34 am

Johnj wrote:I'd encourage you to buy this one. Nothing like wallowing in a bit of nostalgia. Won't cost you much and might be fun.

Thanks for the info, much appreciated!

On closer inspection it appears the frame is several sizes too big for me, so I could never ride it. A pity, it's the same bike, colour and all, that I had. Asking price is just $90, which I could probably bargain down if it's still available now, a month after it was listed. I think if it was a more suitable size, even if just one size too big, I'd pull the trigger.

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