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Old 11-07-07, 07:44 AM   #1
HappyHumber
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West Aussie Antiquity... Swansea

Below are some pics of a recent kerbside find. What little I know about it is that it's a Swansea Cycles boys bike - made locally by a Perth based company which apparently existed from the 1920s through the 1960s. The paintwork is pretty ratty, but enough remains to show it was fairly detailed when new. The wheels are 26 x 1 3/8". And if the old SA 3 Speed AW hub info is anything to go by, it's from the early 60s.

Perhaps my favorite feature is the Swans in the lug work. It's a nice local touch. It might have been typical of makers of the period, but I've seen references to a 4 or 5 'Swan' model track or road racing bikes they made - much like the Aussie Malvern Star models from Melbourne.

I love the crazy old pressed steel calipers to. They've been roughly attached at some point with what just looks like a gutter bolt.

Anyway.. thought I'd share the pictures. I'd be interested to hear any comments on this bike from my corner of the world.

I really don't know what I am going to do with at this point; but it was too much of a curio to pass by when I saw it on the side of the road with a fairly non-descript 1980s ladies 10-Speed and a "Free to a good home" sign attached to both of them.










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Old 11-07-07, 07:51 AM   #2
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That poor thing...although once you get the rust off, it could be quite a nice little bike.

The swans are brilliant!

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Old 11-07-07, 09:47 AM   #3
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I like the swans in the head lugs. How very, um, Western Australian......I thought they may have been painted black though...
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Old 11-07-07, 10:11 AM   #4
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I like the swans in the head lugs. How very, um, Western Australian......I thought they may have been painted black though...
That would make more sense, eh? Still, a nice touch.

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Old 11-07-07, 03:43 PM   #5
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I like the swans in the head lugs. How very, um, Western Australian......I thought they may have been painted black though...
A quick google on "Swansea" "Cycles" & "Perth" reveals a couple of very short articles summarising the history of the company. When they first started up, they were located in a suburb called Mosman Park, which is on a strip of land located between the Swan River & the Indian Ocean - hence between 'the Swan & the Sea. Maybe the swans were black on some other models?

I used to like old Malvern Stars for the very reason they were Aussie. But know I've found there was a similar brand flourishing back in the day a lot closer to my home turf I think I might have to shift preferences. Anything to stick it up those bloody Victorians

I reckon I'd be a bit more excited about restoring this example if it was a size I could ride comfortably for myself.... I'm 6'2".. but having said that I would love to find a more suitably sized Swansea road or track bike now! I should get in contact with the WA Historical Bicyle Club... some computer phobic old boy might have a prime candidate hanging in his shed somewhere.
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Old 11-07-07, 05:12 PM   #6
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If they were still using that style brake in the 60s, they were way behind the times...
For some reason, I think a backyard tinkerer must have had their way with this bike.

Last edited by Mos6502; 11-07-07 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 11-08-07, 07:11 AM   #7
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If they were still using that style brake in the 60s, they were way behind the times...
Since they're first example I've seen of this sort of caliper mechanism - could you put a rough vintage on the brakes themselves?

I'll probably strip the bike down and toss a lot of it.... but do you think anything is worth keeping? If at least for bits. I was thinking possibly the SA 3 sp hub & shifter; the light generator/dynamo; the calipers if they're likely to be worth something to someone.
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Old 11-08-07, 07:26 AM   #8
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Since they're first example I've seen of this sort of caliper mechanism - could you put a rough vintage on the brakes themselves?

I'll probably strip the bike down and toss a lot of it.... but do you think anything is worth keeping? If at least for bits. I was thinking possibly the SA 3 sp hub & shifter; the light generator/dynamo; the calipers if they're likely to be worth something to someone.
Personally I would keep the bike the way it is and clean it up. It appears to be an unusual model. Typically the "humpback" frames were used on the tweens bikes. What is the date on the AW hub? The console style shifters were big in the late 60's early to mid 70's before someone decided they were too dangerous I have never seen that style of brake before, but I haven't seen too many bikes from down under either. Perhaps Sianelle will weigh in, she has seen a lot of vintage stuff and maybe able to place the brakes, could be local manufacture too.

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Old 11-08-07, 07:51 AM   #9
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Personally I would keep the bike the way it is and clean it up. It appears to be an unusual model. Typically the "humpback" frames were used on the tweens bikes.
thanks wahoon - As much as I occasionally try to rationalise; any excuse for hoarding stuff is a good one.
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What is the date on the AW hub?
Under the logo (with the AW incorporated into it), it has "63 2" Hence the estimate on my original post for it being early 60s. Going on the paint detail with the quite nice pin striping on all the main tubes and my first impression alone; I was guessing early 50s or late 40s before I cleaned a bit of grime off the hub. The shifter kind of suits a period deeper into the cold war too.

Must take another look at the bridge between the seat stays underneath that crazy old brake - see what lies beneath and how butchered it might be.

It wouldn't surprise me that if Swanswea bikes were originally quite British in componetry and just the frames frabricated here in West Oz. Those colonial ties did take a long time in cutting.....
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Old 11-08-07, 10:01 AM   #10
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I was wondering about the brakes too, I can think of several scenarios. But the brakes look way older than the shifter and the hub date would indicate. I have seen a picture of that style of brake somewhere before and for some reason late 30's sticks in my mind. However it may be what that manufacturer had around and chose to use.

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Old 11-08-07, 02:08 PM   #11
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Those style brakes follow the early Bowden patern. They originated before WWI, and seem to have dissapeared shortly after WWII - Columbia here in the states used them on a lot of bikes during the 30s and 40s.
I don't think they would be original to your bike (afterall why put one brake on the rear wheel and not any on the front?) They were probably fitted because they don't mount on a hole drilled through the frame like sidepulls do - possibly your bike was originally a coaster brake model, and somebody converted it to the 3 speed later and needed a brake.
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