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1951 BSA New Hudson Silver Arrow

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1951 BSA New Hudson Silver Arrow

Old 05-12-17, 09:58 AM
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1951 BSA New Hudson Silver Arrow

Hello folks,

Yesterday I received a special package in the post from England! This 1951 BSA New Hudson Silver Arrow was purchased from a dealer who had the bicycle from its original owner, and the sale included the receipt of purchase from February 12, 1951 at The Parade Cycle, a New Hudson dealer in Sussex. There was a mechanical odometer attached to the front wheel that the original owner reportedly put on when the bicycle was new, and it shows that it has been ridden 759 miles. Also included was a functional Lucas lamp and generator set, which I promptly removed in order to detail and wax the frame. This was an introductory level British road bicycle in 1951, with a price comparable to a Raleigh Lenton Sports model (~13).

The frame has a "531 tube set" decal on it, and it is a 23" with 26" wheels. Tires, tubes, and cables are new, and all of the bearings were greased by the dealer.

Nearly all of the components are original to the bicycle, and mostly in excellent functional condition and with a pleasing patina. The crank set, stem, and plastic fenders are all clearly marked "New Hudson," and I suspect the handlebars and brakes may also be from their facility. The hubs are Bayliss & Wiley, with a single-speed/fixed rear with a mismatched set of wingnuts (one being perhaps the only replaced component). The pedals are Brampton and rubber grips are DARE. The saddle is a Brooks - can someone help me figure out the model? - and cleaned up nicely with a bit of proofide. I attached the frame-mounted pump in between the pegs for the photos since it happened to fit, although it is new and regularly used with another bicycle.

All in all, I'm really excited about this New Hudson, and a recent financial turn almost made me cancel the transaction before it was shipped out. Very glad that did not happen! It's a windy day so I'll take it out for a serious spin tomorrow, but a 100 yard turn down the lane suggested that it's all set up to go. Cheers!

-Gregory

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/456653...57683631841676
















Last edited by Kilroy1988; 05-12-17 at 10:02 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 05-12-17, 10:05 AM
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Very cool bike. What a time capsule.

It's too bad the warranty has run out.
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Old 05-12-17, 10:10 AM
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Beautiful. I'm jealous, as i'm quietly waiting to find a bike (in my size) from 1951, my birth year.
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Old 05-12-17, 10:14 AM
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Wow, wow, wow! That is an amazing bike and history. Is the chain in good condition?
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Old 05-12-17, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
Wow, wow, wow! That is an amazing bike and history. Is the chain in good condition?
You know what, the chain might be new as well. The dealer set it up to ride and did all of the necessary work, and the chain looks pretty darn clean. Cheers!
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Old 05-12-17, 10:20 AM
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50-year warranty "it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State that things in general were settled forever."
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Old 05-12-17, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988
You know what, the chain might be new as well. The dealer set it up to ride and did all of the necessary work, and the chain looks pretty darn clean. Cheers!
Yes, it might! Maybe a nice 1/8" Brampton or Renold! Have at it!
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Old 05-12-17, 10:29 AM
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I bought a Lucas cyclometer decades ago, the problem was that in the paperwork it advised that it would only work up to 19 mph, I don't know if it was due to the wheel size version I purchased, but I trashed it soon enough, when one goes too fast, the striker overrates the star wheel and if it is in the wrong place the striker messes things up fast.

I like the Huret unit from a bit later much more as it used an O ring belt drive.
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Old 05-12-17, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988


Wow, I like this and the back story.

Looks like a nice ride.

Congrats,

Rick
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Old 05-12-17, 12:44 PM
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Fabulous find congrats!
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Old 05-12-17, 12:58 PM
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Wow! spectacular bike. Thanks for sharing pics. It's fun to see such wonderful bikes. Isn't that a freewheel/fixed flip flop hub?
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Old 05-12-17, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Wow! spectacular bike. Thanks for sharing pics. It's fun to see such wonderful bikes. Isn't that a freewheel/fixed flip flop hub?


Yup! 'Tis what I meant to imply by calling it a ss/fixed. 😊
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Old 05-12-17, 04:04 PM
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Classic club bike. Congrats! Post a pic of the wing nuts...I've got a bunch of oddballs and might have a match for you.
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Old 05-13-17, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988
...This 1951 BSA New Hudson Silver Arrow was purchased from a dealer who had the bicycle from its original owner, and the sale included the receipt of purchase from February 12, 1951 ...

Nearly all of the components are original to the bicycle, and mostly in excellent functional condition and with a pleasing patina..... The saddle is a Brooks - can someone help me figure out the model? - and cleaned up nicely with a bit of proofide. ....
Can you get a better photo of the stamp on the side? Or the badge on the back of the saddle?

The stamp says either "champion standard" or "champion narrow," and (below that) either "B15" or "B17." If you can't read standard/narrow, measure the width; a narrow saddle is 6" wide. Also, if you can look at the underside of the cantle plate, there may be a date stamped there, and perhaps a patent number. The date is often missing, and the patent number disappears after the early 60's.

At any rate the saddle is not as old as 1951. Possibly as old as the mid fifties, but please let me see the badge on the back before I speculate further.
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Old 05-13-17, 08:58 AM
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This bike is uber hot. I would not mind owning a british club bike from the 50s; that would be cool.
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Old 05-13-17, 09:07 AM
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Thank you for bringing this to BF!

This is gonna get me scheming again about building up something similar again! I hope it gives you many more happy miles. It deserves to be gotten out!
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Old 05-13-17, 09:11 AM
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@rhm Thanks for the information! Under the frame the only stamps are "Made in England" and "A 82" off to one side. However, I managed to look at the sides of the saddle under close light and can JUST make out that it says "Champion B17" on one side. So that's that! I've owned a couple of leather saddles going back to this era, and it would not surprise me if this one was a bit newer given its state of preservation. That's fine by me, because it makes me feel less bad about the possibility of ruining the original saddle by riding on it! Cheers!

EDIT: According to Classic Lightweights, this would be a post-1954/55 saddle, given that the badge is a parallelogram rather than an oval. So yes, the saddle is certainly not original, as you suspected! Again, fine by me, as now I have no qualms riding on it.

-Gregory

Last edited by Kilroy1988; 05-13-17 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 05-18-17, 04:30 PM
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Well, I got the Silver Arrow out for a serious ride today. Did a 35 mile round to the local bike shop, and had some excellent pasta primavera and a cappuccino downtown.

Compared to the newer, lighter bicycles I'm used to riding (though still vintage), the New Hudson feels sluggish and twitchy. The weight, 44-18 cog ratio, 26" steel wheels, 55-60 pound tire pressure, lack of toe clips, and non-existent stem reach, are probably all major factors for this. However, it was fun, and after a while I became very used to maneuvering it around, riding both in the drops and on top of the bars. When I took it out for a short spin last weekend, I noticed that the brake levers vibrated fiercely. I managed to fix this by tightening the triggers where they meet the lever body, and while riding the rest of the bicycle is surprisingly quiet and stable. However, if I start coasting the free-wheel is very loud!

With newer bicycles I'm used to riding 24-25" frames with quite a bit more accumulated reach between the top tubes and stems. It was actually easy to get used to the riding position on the 23" New Hudson, which I dare say is more "natural" than on any modern road bicycle. The overall ride is as pleasant as one could imagine from the combination of 531 tubing, 26x1 1/4" low-pressure tires, and a Brooks B17 saddle.

One of the really cool details that I forgot to mention is the incredibly tight tolerance on the chain ring as it sits next to the chain stay. There is literally not much more than a millimeter of space between the two! I snagged a photo of that and will attach it below.

I have a couple of accessories coming in the mail, including an original 1951 brochure featuring the Silver Arrow. I had already uploaded a copy of the advertisement that I found online, which I'll attach below. I am still investigating what kind of toe clips and straps to get. I would like the clips, at least, to be period-correct and preferably made in England. Any help there? I'm after black straps, preferably used to match the quality of the saddle. @clubman I took a couple of photos of the wingnuts, which you can find in the Flickr album for the bicycle, linked below. The original has two photos and is the rougher of them, and the new one is shiny. Cheers!

-Gregory

https://www.flickr.com/photos/456653...57683631841676



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Old 05-18-17, 06:14 PM
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The condition of that bike is wonderful. I'd be afraid to ride it for fear of the mudguards exploding, which they are prone to doing. I'd be tempted to hang that one in our cafe if it were mine.

The old wingnut looks very similar to a GB. I can't help you with one like that but Pashley carries a re-issue for 32 euros GB Wingnuts by Pashley An original good-condition set could fetch twice that imo. The threading may be an issue.
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Old 05-18-17, 07:49 PM
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Man that is gorgeous
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Old 05-18-17, 08:51 PM
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A lovely bicycle! And I'm going bananas over the seat tube decal below the Reynolds decal; I love the overly-frilliness of it!
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Old 05-18-17, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by duane041
A lovely bicycle! And I'm going bananas over the seat tube decal below the Reynolds decal; I love the overly-frilliness of it!
Thanks, folks! It's probably a keeper. Duane, that decal is actually from The Parade, which is the shop where the Silver Arrow was originally sold to the previous owner in 1951. Their shop address is stuck on the back of the sales tag as well.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:47 AM
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I keep coming back to this thread for the pics.
What a wonderful example of CLASSIC.
Thanks again and again and again for sharing.
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Old 05-19-17, 11:11 AM
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What a bike,awesome!
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Old 05-19-17, 01:16 PM
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Fantastic looking bike and great provenance! Thanks for sharing
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