1895 New Light Popular Rover


1895 New Light Popular Rover (Rover Legere de Route)

(J.K Starley & Co Ltd)

24″ Frame

30″ Front wheel. 28″ Rear wheel.

Frame No 9042

This amazing ‘barn find’ machine was found in France. It has a 1905 ‘plaque fiscale’ showing the name of Emile Imbert, which suggests it has been in France for at least the past 110 years. Starley’s Paris depot was at 52 rue de Dunkerque. The French catalogue described this model as the ‘Rover Legere de Route’ with advice that the rider may remove the brake and mudguards, saving around 1lb in weight, and use the bicycle for road racing.*

The Rover is ‘in its juice’ as they say in France, ie in unrestored original condition. I’ve added new handlebar grips and a superb Christy saddle. Its original specification was a 30″ front wheel.

30″ pneumatic tyres have not been manufactured for a long time. In these photos you can see it with a 28″ front wheel fitted, and I’ve ridden it many times like that over the years. However I’ve now had the original 30″ Westwood front wheel fitted with a cushion tyre (it’s possible to stretch these onto a wider rim, while pneumatic tyres will only fit an exact size).

1895 Rover 07


1895 Rover 12


The Rover model range changed in 1895: like other leading manufacturers, in 1895 the company introduced Brooks new patent seat post, which was wider diameter than before.

From the catalogue details (in the Rover book), I think this is an 1895 model rather than 1896, because the upward slant of the 1896 model was less pronounced and the 1895 model is specified with a 30″ front wheel.

As the frame number of this machine is 9042, and the 1895 Ladies Rover is 15139, I suspect that the French Rovers had a different numbering sequence.





1895 rover copy


























* From the book ‘A History of Rover Cycles’ page 83.