1904: The No 1 and No 2 models were discontinued; there were only three models on ofer: the Meteor Rover, the Meteor Rover Roadster and the Lady’s Meteor Rover. All had plated rims with black centres but the lining on frame and rims had gone, and a celluloid pump replaced the plated one. They were all priced at 10 guineas. Two-speed or thee-speed gears could be fitted to order and either Warwick or Dunlop tyres were available – the extra charge for Dunlops had disappeared. The Meteor Rover was apparently identical with the Roadster but it had a 66″ gear and there was no offer of a hub gear; as the price was also 10 guineas it is hard to see why it was catalogued as a separate machine.
– extract from ‘A History of Rover Cycles’ by John Pinkerton and Derek Roberts (1988), page 182
1904 Gentlemen’s Meteor Rover
Frame No D37542
Rover Gent’s bicycles are eagerly sought by collectors. As well as cycle enthusiasts, many Rover car collectors want to add one to their collections (Compare the price of a 1904 Rover bicycle to a 1904 Rover car!) So the demand for veteran Rover bicycles far exceeds their availability. This example is the Meteor model, introduced by the company as a cheaper alternative to the Imperial and Royal. It’s in good all round condition and ready to ride, and is a tall frame model – 26 inches – which is comparatively rarer.
I’m not a Rover expert, so I’ve included on this page all the information I have on Rovers of this era, and asked a more knowledgeable friend to help me assess it. This is the result of our assessment:
It’s hard to tell if the paint is original. It was restored decades ago, when there was less attention detail than nowadays. Close inspection reveals that the fixings for the rear brake (on the chain stays) are definitely a later addition (chrome). The rest of the rod brake linkage is probably also a replacement (though would look authentic to the untrained eye). The mudguards are 1930s items with the front extension removed. The Brooks saddle is from the 1930s. The nickel handlebars are very attractive but I’m not sure if they are the correct Rover items for 1904; they are the bolt down type, so maybe they are from a few years later? All the other parts appear to be authentic Rover items (and would be impossible to find if missing).
ROVER IDENTIFICATION DETAILS
Although some of its information has been updated over the past 25 years, in lieu of any other source, the 1988 book ‘A History of Rover Cycles’ provides the best available assistance for dating Rover bicycles.
The Rover company changed their name frequently, and this was reflected in the details on their headbadges.
Additional points to note regarding this 1904 Meteor Rover are:
Rover fitted inverted levers between 1902 and 1906.
Between 1900 and 1902 the lamp bracket had a dot in the middle.
Between 1900 and 1902 the brakes had a cable from the handlebar to the rear rather than a rod linkage.
Rod brakes were introduced around 1904.
The introduction of rod brakes c1904 caused the transfer of the frame number stamping from the lower right head lug to the right seat lug.
ROVER: IMPERIAL & ROYAL
1901-1905 METEOR ROVERS FOR COMPARISON