1888 Starley ‘Rover’ Bicycle


Early Bicycles 1791-1907

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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 ‘˜Rover’ 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