Of all tricycles manufactured by the cycle makers in the early years of the industry, the Sunbeam was unique and easily recognisable due to its two speed gear. Tricycles were not that popular after the first decade of the twentieth century, so few were made. Though this Sunbeam’s frame number reveals that it was built in 1905, it does not appears to have been sold until several years later.
1905 All-Black Royal Sunbeam Tricycle
Front Wheel 28″
Rear Wheels 26″
Frame No 76025
THE SUNBEAM TRICYCLE
Above you can see the Sunbeam tricycle catalogue picture for 1912 (price £28) and below for 1922 (£38). The obvious difference between the catalogues and the actual bike is the front mudguard. I was confused by this, so I contacted Bob Cordon Champ. He explained:
As to the front ‘guard, all post-1912 machines have the front guard extension; it is just that Marston never used a new picture, as is the case with the one of the lady emptying the oil-bath. I have restored both pre-and post-WW1 tricycles and all have had the long front ‘guard.
This example has the fittings of a Royal Sunbeam, though the company only mentions their tricycle being a Golden Sunbeam.
The illustration above, from Cycling magazine of 15th January 1914, suggests that tricycles were not necessarily the domain of infirm riders. Which is surprising when you consider Sunbeam’s own catalogue, below, describing the Golden Sunbeam Tricycle as being…
…MOST SUITABLE FOR NERVOUS OR ELDERLY RIDERS
REASONS WHY THE BEST CLASS OF CYCLISTS NOW RIDE SUNBEAMS
A SCIENTIFIC MECHANICIAN
ABINGDON N0 4 REAR AXLE
THE SUN BEAMS BRIGHTEST WHEN YOU ARE ON A SUNBEAM