1910s ‘Fortuna’ Sloping Top Tube Road Racer built from BSA Fittings

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Assembled from ‘A’ pattern (Road-Racing) BSA Fittings, this bicycle is exceedingly popular for racing and fast road riding purposes. The frame can be built either for 26in or 28in wheels, and with sloping or parallel top tube as desired.

– BSA Fittings catalogue description

BSA Fittings kick-started the cycle industry in many countries around the world, but particularly in Australia, New Zealand and France. Dominated by large manufacturers such as Peugeot and the Humber-Clement-Gladiator conglomerate, small firms found it difficult to obtain quality components to build their own machines and launch new cycle businesses. So, at first, to get into the cycle business, most operated as agencies to resell American and British bicycles.

However, when Brown Bros fully launched their BSA Fittings business in France in 1899, small companies all over France could at last supply their customers with bicycles built from BSA parts of consistent high quality. Hundreds of small cycle makers around France used BSA parts to supply finished bicycles for their local area. As well as building machines to customers’ individual requirements, they would have had models like this in stock, such was the demand for quality machines …even in the 1910s era when the French cycle industry was in full swing. A BSA company report in 1909 revealed that while there was a demand for complete BSA bicycles in Britain, there was still a huge demand and preference for BSA Fittings around the world. Fortuna was based in Paris. Today it’s rare to find a bicycle of this age with such a BSA badge.

1910 bsa racer

1910s Fortuna Road Racer built from ‘A Pattern’ BSA Fittings

with Sloping Top Tube (2″ Drop)

Standover height: 32″ / 30″

French BSA Headbadge

22″ Frame

28″ Rear Wheel & 26″ Front Wheel

(Now sold)

This road racer is on its way to me from a friend in France. It has been fitted with new-old-stock French handlebar grips, but is otherwise completely original. I’ll service it before it supplying it to its new owner.






1914 bsa badge












The Wheel of Fortune, or ‘Rota Fortunae’ is a concept in medieval and ancient philosophy referring to the capricious nature of Fate. The wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna, who spins it at random, changing the positions of those on the wheel so that some suffer bad luck while others gain windfalls. Nevertheless, as the wheel is constantly spun, fortunes may change again, to bring hope to those who are feeling unlucky at the time.

Of course, if we believe we are on a treadmill rotated by a deity with no control over our own fate – the concept of ‘good luck’ – it is much easier for authorities to control us. Such psychology was employed for that reason by those in authority. A key principle of modern thought and self-empowerment is that we make our own ‘luck’ through hard work and application. Nevertheless, despite appreciating the advantages of logic, most of us still have a lucky number or keep a good luck talisman ‘just in case’.

The painting below is from the late 15th century or early 16th century.