Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
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The newly released book ' Racing bicycles - 100 years of steel' is a fantastic reference of how old bikes should look and how they were equipped.
I am poring over every page.
A question: The featured 1922 'Olive' racing bike is equipped with an Eddy (does the author mean Eadie?) coaster hub and the text mentions that it 'reflects a rule change of 1922...'.
As I am surprised that these hubs were used on raing bikes, can someone tell me about what the rule change that is referred to?
Mark, I have a vague recollection of brakes being banned from racing until about this time. The rule change referred to may reflect this. My experience with similar era philco brakes and rod brakes suggests they would have been of very limited use in slowing a bike, so a hub coaster brake would have likely provided much better braking.
LG = Low Gear
You brought up a really interesting question. I do have a copy of this fantastic book so I looked up the bike in question. I am no expert, far from it, so I assume the hub referred to is an Eadie Hub. I looked them up on the internet and found that the Eadie hubs, at around the start of the 20th century, could be bought in a coaster or racer configuration. The racer hub was 2" across the flanges while the roadster hub was 2 1/4" across the flanges. It could have 1/2" or 1" pitch sprockets in a number of different teeth options. There was also a 2 speed hub which I think had a coaster brake.
From this I would imagine that some riders could have been using a braked rear hub in races.
The TDF, on the other hand, used fixed wheel bikes as it was thought the wooden rims might heat up too much and glued-on tyres might come unstuck if brakes were applied too much on downhill runs causing danger to the riders. I think gears were introduces some time around 1937.
Freewheels were allowed for the 1923 road racing season in Victoria, not sure about other states. Up until then, riders would fall off going down hills, losing all control once they over rev'd and lost the pedals.
Once freewheels were allowed, brakes become absolutely necessary, so brakes got in by default.
Excerpt from my Ride Cycling Review magazine story about the 1926 Warrnambool (issue 35, 2007):
"A famous accident happened at the finish of the 1922 Warrnambool to Melbourne. The race finished on the Ascot Vale Race Course, and just before the entry to the course there was a downhill run to a sharp right hander. A large bunch of riders sprinted towards the corner. With no brakes on their bikes, and a brand new T Model Ford offered as first prize, the motivation to get through the corner first was enormous, and the inevitable happened. A mass pile up ensured, and the eventual winner, Peter Hill of New Zealand, who was cautiously bringing up the rear, managed to avoid the fall and went on to win with ease. It was shortly after this that the League Of Victorian Wheelmen relented and allowed the use of brakes and freewheels for the 1923 season." (Story told in Opperman's book, PPand P, and newspaper reports of the time)
The Amatuer body in Victoria did not allow freewheels and brakes until 1933.
Alfredo Binda won the World Professional Road Championship in 1927, using a Fichtel and Sachs coaster hub. He used 2 cogs on one side, rather than one cog on each side of the back hub, as most if not all of the other competitors did. The frame had a bracket that allowed the brake arm to slide when he moved the wheel fore and aft to change cogs. See Ride Magazine issue 30, Spring 2005, for full details of this bike.
What a great story(s), thanks bicyclepassion.
Thanks Warren, This info gives me 'permission' to accurately build a 20's racer with a coaster hub. The 'Olive' and one other (a fully nickel plated from NZ although they probably had their own racing rules) are the only 20's racing bikes with coasters I have seen. Cheers, Mark
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