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)
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Clydesdale Scot
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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.

Gumtree ad
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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby DD » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:41 am

Hi Folks, I'm trying to get information on my fathers Speedwell track frame and fork from his youth, I was told it's a 1938 Speedwell gold cup track bike.
I read a few years back that all gold cup's had serial numbers starting with G, mine being G28285.
Overall weight of frame and forks are 2770g including lower steering cup and cone.

Some pics below
Any information would help

Thanks
Dave

Image
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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Torana68 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:32 pm

Ok , it’s s nice frame for its time. Not top of the tree but nice . It’s been repainted in Sydney ( is that it’s location?) . The “G” no one alive can confirm but it’s related to a date period, not model. I’m busy but tonight I’ll add the number into my list and see where it fits.
Edit it’s no older then 1935 doubt its as new as 1937, model probably “Sports Club” it could be a different model but unless there is s lot of chrome under the paint and/or you have all the original components I can’t add any more.
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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby DD » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:59 pm

Hi, it was a complete bike back in about 1964 when I would have been 12 years old. From memory and what my Dad had told me, it had a chrome frame and fork with cane rims and silk tyres. He bought it around 1938 when he would have been 17 years old and said it cost him a years wages. In about 1965 Dad sent it to a guy who did up bikes in The Crescent in Yagoona who painted it and replace the wheels with a back peddle brake and the trimmings of that era.
Some time after the fork lug that holds the wheel broke and it was stripped down, parts used on other bikes and the frame and fork have hung in the garage ever since.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Torana68 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:38 am

An average years wage back then was 1000 pounds so if a junior that would be a lot less but the “club sport” was around ten pound new but could be optioned up. It sounds a bit like he bought it at one year old from someone who was racing it. Model and year I’m 98% happy with from what I see ( you need to see old bikes to have any chance at saying anything meaningful). I assume your going to rebuild it? Maybe leave the sixteen paint as it’s part of its history.
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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:09 pm

away from the fat cats, the average weekly earnings for a factory worker in Victoria in 1940 was £248 5s 8d, and a junior or apprentice was a very low percentage.
After taking away basic necessities, the cost of a bike may have been related to the available discretionary spending.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby uart » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:08 pm



Ha, that's the average yearly earnings there CS. If you were earning 250 quid a week back in the 1940s you'd have been a Bill Gates or similar.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:33 pm

weekly annual
my proofreader was having a day off. :oops:

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:47 pm

Clydesdale Scot wrote:weekly annual
my proofreader was having a day off. :oops:


I hate it when that huppens...
Mmm, SunTour

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby uart » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:19 pm

Clydesdale Scot wrote:weekly annual
my proofreader was having a day off. :oops:

Yeah I knew that was just a typo there CS. :mrgreen:


2.77 kg is a pretty decent weight for the frame and forks (and cups) of a bike of that vintage. :)
Some time after the fork lug that holds the wheel broke and it was stripped down, parts used on other bikes and the frame and fork have hung in the garage ever since.


BTW. Have you had the fork dropout repaired yet?

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Gordon1 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:07 pm

[quote="Torana68"]Ok , it’s s nice frame for its time. Not top of the tree but nice . It’s been repainted in Sydney ( is that it’s location?) . The “G” no one alive can confirm but it’s related to a date period, not model. I’m busy but tonight I’ll add the number into my list and see where it fits.
Edit it’s no older then 1935 doubt its as new as 1937, model probably “Sports Club” it could be a different model but unless there is s lot of chrome under the paint and/or you have all the original components I can’t add any more.[/qute]

Hi Torana68, reading through this post it seems that you may have the knowledge on Speedwells an I have no shame in trying to bleed you dry.

I purchased a Speedwell from the Canberra bicycle museum. The information I was given was it is 1936, hoping you can confirm or disprove. Frame number is G62391. It was restored to within an inch of its life so no original features can be referred to.

I can provide photos if you need, please pm me if you want as I refuse to post photos via a third party hosting site.

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Re: Speedwell appreciation society

Postby Torana68 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:11 pm

Was that the blue one?
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