1903 Centaur Featherweight Path Racer

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featherweight centaur

THE CENTAUR FEATHERWEIGHT IN ‘CYCLING’ MAGAZINE:

We illustrate the new cross-frame put on the market by the Centaur Company. It is claimed by using two smaller diameter tubes as shown in the illustration that while not increasing the vertical rigidity it gives a considerable increased lateral stability as regards the forepart of the frame, and the fact of the tubes being continued through to the fork ends materially strengthens the back part. The new frame weights only 5 lb. and is thus much lighter than an ordinary diamond frame machine. The Centaur Company anticipate that their roadster mount made in this style with brake and guards will scale only 25 lb. complete. The lady’s on similar lines with gear case included, will come out between 25 lb. and 26 lb.

In its prime, the Centaur was the world’s most expensive bicycle, packed with unique features. The company’s ‘Featherweight’ was the world’s leading cross frame design, beating Raleigh’s recently-introduced ‘X Frame’ hands down on weight and performance. Observe the twin chainstays, duplex front forks, the design adopted by Beeston Humber. Humber worked closely with Centaur and bought the Centaur company in 1909 after the latter became overstretched as a result of their foray into the motorcycle market.

In the 21st Century, the unique Dursley-Pedersen has quite rightly been boosted to the top of the bicycle collector’s list of must-have items. Luckily, there are enough surviving original Pedersens to satisfy collectors’ cravings, with the model also reintroduced in the 1980s as a modern replica to provide a practical alternative for regular use. But the Centaur Featherweight outclasses the Pedersen in design, style, practicality and collectibility.

centaur featherweight

1903 Centaur Featherweight Path Racer

22″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Frame No 92339

(Now sold)

Spring frames were all the rage at the beginning of the century, and this machine was designed with twin cross tubes that allowed the frame to flex under use, the Featherweight therefore being considered both a spring frame and a cross frame.

This example is a very lightweight machine, with 22″ frame and 26″ wheel size, which is the criteria for the path racer. It was restored recently and fitted with a 28″ coaster brake wheelset – which just fits – for convenience. The intention is to buy a new Italian wooden wheelset in 26 x 1 1/2″ size that would accept a pair of my white pneumatic tyres. But the current 28″ coaster wheels enable me to ride it in the meantime. It’s an absolute joy to ride!

 

 

 

 

SHORT VIDEO OF CENTAUR FEATHERWEIGHT

1903 CENTAUR CATALOGUE EXTRACTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Centaur also marketed a ‘Featherbed Featherweight’ (below) which was essentially the same machine as the normal Featherweight, but fitted with special wide rims and 2″ Dunlop tyres.