1910s le Cadre ‘Special Labor’ Truss Bridge Road Racer

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1910s labor advert

Labor had a penchant for publicity.

Their posters of monkeys in an art class drawing a Labor truss bridge bicycle became famous worldwide.

1907-1914 le Cadre ‘Special Labor’ Truss Bridge Road Racer

22″ Frame

26″ Wheels

26 x 1/2″ Tyres

(Now sold)

1910s Labor 05

Labor had considerable success in racing with their distinctive frames. Patented by Iver Johnson in 1900, the truss bridge design became popular in France as a result of world champion Major Taylor, who raced for Iver Johnson in France to escape prejudice in America due to his colour. Labor introduced their own truss bridge bicycle in 1906, copying Iver Johnson’s design, and the model continued through the 1920s. The example below shows Maurice Dewaele of Belgium, 2nd in the Tour de France in 1927 with his Labor.


This example is in sound condition throughout and has recently been serviced. Cosmetically it is unrestored, with the remains of old nickel (fork crown, hubs and pedal cranks), period bell, and matching rat trap pedals. The saddle is in good usable condition and the previous owner fitted new tubes and white tyres.

I’m not sure of its exact age. It has ‘blind’ front fork ends (i.e. the front hub does not slide out from an open end), which is a feature of turn-of-the-century bicycles. It’s a freewheel and has an inverted fork crown and plunger front brake, another indicator of an early 20th century machine. It also has early style French wooden handlebar grips, and early pattern mudguards without a forward extension. The 1906 Labor catalogue illustrates a different style of head badge. So either it’s post-1906 or this more common style of Labor badge is a later addition.

26″ wheel bicycles were rare in Britain and America pre-WW1, but they were definitely used in France, particularly for racing and sporting machines. So I’ve described it as a ‘road racer.’ Whatever its precise age, this is a distinctive rare early lightweight machine and it’s ready to ride.



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1910s Labor 99