During the 1890s, when cycle racing was the world’s leading sport, Rover built many winners. Bicycles supplied for racing were special lightweight versions that were too fragile for regular use, but they made stronger machines in similar racing style so their eager customers could emulate their racing heroes. Above you can see an 1893 model available to the public, and below is one of the many racing champions on a Rover track bike.
1896 New Light Popular Rover
J.K Starley & Co Ltd
Frame No 17409
Eadie Coaster brake
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, and pedals that were screw fit rather than ‘slotted’ (attached with a nut and bolt). The 1895/1896 Rover was a modern machine for its time.
The saddle and grips on this Rover are modern reproductions of 1890s designs, and the Eadie coaster brake is an addition from around 1903 – although coaster brakes were expensive when they were introduced for British bicycles at that time, many older fixed-wheel machines were updated in this fashion. I must admit, it makes a bicycle much easier to use. The Rover is a pleasure to ride.
1898 ROVER CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
While the Rover was one of the leading British racers, the top French racing team was sponsored by Gladiator. Here they are facing off against each other.