1888 Starley ‘Rover’ Bicycle


Early Bicycles 1791-1907

In stock

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This historic ‘Rover’ cycle, designed by James Starley, has determined the general configuration of the bicycle for over seventy-five years. Nearly all the millions of bicycles built since 1888 have been based on the original ‘Rover’ bicycle design, comprising a simple diamond frame and two wheels of equal diameter with the rear one driven by a chain. Starley’s third prototype of 1888 may be regarded as the first practical utility bicycle. Its essential advantages were soon appreciated and it was extensively used under a variety of road conditions. The ‘Rover’ has a diamond frame with the top cross-bar slightly curved from the steering head to the saddle pillar, a curved down front tube, and ‘straight, robust, front and rear forks. The rear wheel is in slots and its position can be varied to obtain the required chain tension – as with a modern bicycle. Both wheels have 33 spokes in tension and are fitted with solid rubber tyres. A front lamp bracket, adjustable saddle, rat trap pedals and a mounting step are provided. If bicycles are made with two wheels in line propelled by muscle power, it may be technically impossible to improve on the simple 1888 Starley ‘ËśRover’ Bicycle basic frame design and layout of Starley’s historic 1888 ‘Rover’ safety bicycle. In the early 21st century it is modern materials that have enabled the latest bicycles to reach a lightness in weight and efficiency in design that enables the modern cyclist to enjoy the great increase in popularity there has been.

Additional information

Weight 0.013 kg
Dimensions 38.1 × 25.3 cm