This bike is a close copy of an 1885 Singer British Challenge which would have originally been manufactured by Singer and Co of Coventry in England. Back in the day this bike would of been top of the line available as a fully nickel plated machine or in Harrington’s enamel paint.
I wanted to pay respect to the original makers so copied the original specification closely:
- Radially Laced spokes directly screwed into the brass hubs each hand made specifically for each bike. Each spoke hole is drilled and taped at the correct angle for the rim.
- Ovalised and tapered backbone – this shows the quality of the original bike the oval backbone makes a large difference in strength allowing use of a reduced tube wall thickness.
- Hollow steel rims – These are hand rolled to any size, the hollow section is both lighter and stronger than a solid c section.
- The Front and rear forks are hollow fluted and tapered – Increases strength and adds to the good looks of this fine machine.
- Original pan style saddle mounted on a leaf spring suspended by rubber bushings and linkages – This is quite a genius setup as the saddle sways in the direction that your bum would slide on the seat while pedalling which seems to reduce chaffing better than my normal favourite the Brooks International distance saddle.
- Front Spoon brake nickel plated in house to give a warm patina – Each bikes brake is tested and setup to reduce speed without too much bite.
- Trouser guard – actually quite handy surprisingly doesn’t take long to wear marks in your trousers.
- Bearing arrangement Singer ran a double roller bearing at each side of the fork so I have used the same technique on the replica in a nickel plated bearing housing. This allows a more slender fork arrangement very clever technology of the time.
- Pedals these are handmade and are copied from the original bike.
- Slotted adjustable crank arms as per how the original would have been.
- New – Optional Pinstriped Paint work!
This would have been a top quality penny farthing of it’s day, it was a pleasure to recreate and ride this fine machine.
Current version of the Singer:
These photos show a 48″ wheel first production version:
These photos show the first prototype version with a 60″ wheel: