1920 Janu Special Track Bike
I received this bicycle from an older gentleman whose father raced it in the Newark Velodrome in the 1920s. It was made by a local bike shop in Newark NJ, owned by the Janu (?) family. His father, a rider by the name Watts, raced the bike there until 1930 when the velodrome lost its lease and its fate to the wrecking ball. I was fortunate enough to view photographs from the 1920s of this bicycle and Mr. Watts racing it.
If anyone knows any other information about the bike, or its components, especially the cranks, id love to hear it.
and sorry about the iphone pics, i was excited to find more information about it.
Unfortunately the wheels are not the originals. The wooden rims were taken off years ago as the man i bought it from used to ride it around "the potholes of newark." His father made him put "metal" rims on.
I pumped up the tires and rode it around for a few minutes, i like how you can feel the "soul" of an old machine, almost hear what it has to say.
does anyone know anything about this bike? the family owned store? or the newark velodrome?
I would venture a guess and say that the cranks are BSA's , as in British Small Arms.
I don't know anything about that bike other than it's quite a beautiful machine.
Originally Posted by mackerel
thanks very much, its in great shape for being 88 years old. there is some surface rust here and there, and the rims are filthy. id like to put some newer rubber on it so i could enjoy a cruise every now and then.
When I first looked, I thought it said "BRA". Needs strapless pedals...
Originally Posted by abeyance23
Hi, I was right behind you in line for this bike. The cranks arm Birmingham Small Arms. My Dad's brothers raced at the Newark velodrome There was another in Nutley. Please, please, please If you decide to get rid of this bike contact me first. You will definately make a profit & make a Newark native very happy. Thanks.
Concur on the BSA cranks, and for the record, the handlebar stem and bar are from a Schwinn Varsity.
thank you for the information.
Originally Posted by cudak888
Not wishing to appear at all pedantic, but BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms, not British Small Arms. However the manufacturer was British. A number of small specialist gunsmiths in the British Midlands formed a Trade Association to counter the dominance of similar Associations in London, particularly as the Crimean War created more than enough demand for all. The following site shows BSA's own leaflet on the company, including a lot of interesting bicycle info.
(Click on the blue text "The Birmingham Small Arms Company", below the drawing of a rifle and scroll down the page to the leaflet at the bottom)
Warwick University provides the following information:
On 7 June 1861 the Birmingham Small Arms Trade Association (formed in 1854 by some of the city's master smiths) decided to form a public company, the Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited. Their stated purpose was to make guns by machinery. By 1863 the factory at Small Heath was complete. In 1866 it acquired its munitions factory in Adderley Park, Birmingham. From 1880 it went into bicycle manufacture, making its own designs from 1881. Between 1888 and 1893 it devoted itself solely to production of a new magazine rifle, returning to the cycle industry in 1893 with the manufacture of cycle hubs and other components. In 1906 it took over the National Arms and Ammunition Company's premises in Sparkbrook and acquired the Eadie Manufacturing Co. Ltd. of Redditch in 1907. In 1910 it acquired the Daimler Co. Ltd. of Coventry.
Following concentrated production of the Lee Enfield rifle during World War I and further expansion, in 1918 it put its three main activities under separate management. BSA Cycles Ltd. (at Small Heath and Redditch), BSA Guns Ltd. (small arms work at Small Heath), and BSA Tools Ltd. (at Sparkbrook). Daimler returned to normal production at Coventry. From 1918 it also acquired Burton Griffiths and Co., William Jessop and Sons (1920) and Birtley Co. Ltd. (1939). During the Second World War, New Hudson Ltd., Sunbeam Ltd. and Ariel Motors Ltd. were also to join the Group. A post-war boom in motor cycles meant that BSA Motor Cycles Ltd. was created in 1953 (separate from BSA Cycles Ltd.). In 1951, the Group purchased Triumph Engineering Co. Ltd., and in the mid-1950s, Carbodies of Coventry and the Idoson Motor Cylinder Co. Further companies, such as BSA Broach Co. Ltd. and BSA Small Tools Ltd. were also created from existing BSA companies as designs and production were developed. Daimler was sold to Jaguar Cars Ltd. in 1960. In 1973, BSA was taken over by Manganese Bronze Holdings Ltd., which held Norton Villiers. Norton Villiers and BSA were merged to form NVT Ltd.
Reference: BSA Group News (Birmingham, 1961).
The bike looks absolutely fascinating and a real piece of history. I hope this extra information on BSA is helpful and not a PITA!!!
wow thats great, thank you for that. i was aware of bsa motorcycles but was not aware it was a relative of this company. thanks