30s to 50's Wheelsize progression in Australia?

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WyvernRH
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30s to 50's Wheelsize progression in Australia?

Postby WyvernRH » Thu Mar 07, 2024 6:19 pm

Ok question for the knowledgeable...
I'm interested how wheel sizes progressed on 'sports' bikes from the 30's to the 60's in Australia. I have a Speedwell from the early -mid 30's that has a set of 'lightweight' narrow Westwood rims 28" which I have been told were for racing. So, when everyone moved on to Endricks in the late 30's - 50's did 'sports' bicycles jump straight to 27" or was the British 26 x 1/4 or 26 x 1 3/8" size used?
Looking at what catalogs I can access it seems that the swap to 27" was the way it went but I would be interested in more informed opinions.

Richard

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foo on patrol
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Re: 30s to 50's Wheelsize progression in Australia?

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Mar 07, 2024 9:36 pm

Pretty sure it was 27".

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speedywheels
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Re: 30s to 50's Wheelsize progression in Australia?

Postby speedywheels » Fri Mar 08, 2024 10:59 am

I got interested in sports bikes in 1957 as a 10 year old.
What I decided then was
that 27 inch bikes were the best. I thought 28 inch wheels were old fashioned and 26 inch bikes were largely for 9 or 10 year olds often with a back pedal brake.

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find_bruce
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Re: 30s to 50's Wheelsize progression in Australia?

Postby find_bruce » Fri Mar 08, 2024 1:54 pm

My immediate ill informed reaction based solely on having ridden second hand bikes in the 70s (ie built in the 50s or 60s) was 27 inch for sports bikes & this continued through to the mid 80s

I make no pretensions of expertise though & look forward to one of our more knowledgeable members setting the record straight
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bicyclepassion
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Re: 30s to 50's Wheelsize progression in Australia?

Postby bicyclepassion » Fri Mar 08, 2024 7:36 pm

It would take a book to answer this question completely. But a couple of relevant points:
We saw virtually zero 26 X 1 1/4 rims on sports bikes in Aus, ever, even though they were common in Britain.
Changeover from 28” to 27” occurred in Malvern Star racing and sports range (biggest brand and usually first with latest) gradually across various models between 1936 and 1938/9.
28” Endricks and westwoods continued in roadster bikes well into the 1960’s.
The narrowest 28” westwoods were branded ‘pacemaker’, and were popular in mid to late 1930’s on sports bikes. Heavily represented in Hartley and Barb range (and Bullock?). Usually used with Sturmey Archer drum brake hubs, front AND rear. (Very inadequate braking surface, not suitable for rim brakes)
A very rare size existed, not sure when but assume pre 1920’s, 28 X 1 1/4. Westwood. This is a larger diameter rim than 1 3/8 rim, as tyre is measured to outside. Only seen one ever.
I have Dunlop Speed tyres in 28 X 1 3/8 X 1 1/4, but these are just narrow racing tyres for 1 3/8 rims. (Rare).
There is a lot more to this, but above is a basic outline.

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: 30s to 50's Wheelsize progression in Australia?

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Mon Mar 11, 2024 7:20 am

In the 1948 Super Elliott catalogue recently uploaded, the options for the "Tosey Centenary" Road Racer model were:
"Rims- Narrow steel, 26 in., 27 in., or 28 in. wood wire on type, or single tube, optional.
Tyres- Australian high pressure or speed, or single tube."

The Thomas Road Racer model
"Rims- Duralumin 27 in.
Tyres- Road or track single tubes"

source: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829625 ... 483900198/

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WyvernRH
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Re: 30s to 50's Wheelsize progression in Australia?

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Mar 13, 2024 2:31 pm

Thank you everyone for all the good info. I think you have confirmed my assumptions that here in Oz the industry passed from 28" directly to 27" on 'Sports' bikes with 28" and 26x 1 3/8 backing up for the roadster-ish end of the market.
I have never quite understood why the British bike world took to 26x 1 1/4 as the 'sporty' size in the 30's instead of just using narrower tyres and rims on the 26x 1 3/8 size. Marketing maybe... :P

Richard

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