1891 Premier Model F 

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It is an exceptionally strong and sound bicycle at a very moderate price. Its special feature is a diamond shaped framework of novel construction, formed of trough-shaped or semi-circular steel, fitted together in a way which gives it the appearance of a tubular frame, divided vertically, except for a few inches at the front part, and opened out about two inches at the centre. This formation gives great lateral stability – and important characteristic not possessed by many diamond framed safeties. Nearly 15,000 of this model have now been sold, and with the most satisfactory results, so that we are able to offer it with increased confidence to our clients.

– The Premier Cycle Company Ltd, Coventry

In the early years, Hillman Herbert & Cooper – later, Premier – was one of the most innovative companies. After manufacturing and selling the first successful chain-driven ‘safety bicycle’ – what we now call a cross-frame, seen in the illustration above – they looked ahead to the next evolutionary progression in frame design. Their answer was the unique style of frame-strengthening incorporated on their ‘Model F’ introduced in 1889.

Despite what the company described as ‘lateral stability’ to add strength, the weight of the tubing means that it is a heavy machine. Tube weight decreased year by year between 1886 and 1900, but at this time tube engineering had not yet evolved sufficiently. The Model F was sold by the company until 1893 when much lighter ‘helical’ tubed models were introduced by the company.

1891 Premier Model F

‘Trough tube’ frame design

26″ Wheels with solid tyres.

(Now sold)

The most dynamic feature of Premier’s Model F is its frame design (below). It was a revolutionary idea when it came out in 1889. But, such was the speed of evolution in bicycle design at that time, that within just a few years it was already outdated. Note also that the chainwheel is on the opposite (left) side of the machine.

I am selling this rare Premier for a friend. It has been used on the London-Brighton Veteran Car Run, a distance of 60 miles, and performed admirably. Cosmetically it is totally original and unrestored. But it has had two practical amendments: it has a later saddle; and a previous owner was short in the leg so 26″ wheel rims were fitted to the original hubs in place of the original 30″ rims. It has solid tyres. It’s in good all round condition and ready to ride.