James Starley is known as the ‘father of the bicycle industry.’ His nephew J. K. Starley worked for Haynes & Jefferis before leaving the same year to set up Starley & Sutton. They presented their first ‘Rover’ safety bicycle at the Stanley Show in February 1885.
The company name changed to the Rover Cycle Co. in 1896. In 1909 Rover took on a contract for the Post Office which involved buying additional plant. But, by 1912, the motorised side of the business was taking over. Rover suggested a merger with BSA, but BSA declined as they were too busy. So instead, in 1912, Rover sold their cycle business to Charles Sangster of Components Ltd. Rover bought back their cycle business in 1922 and ran it for a further four years before giving up cycle production completely.
c1916 Lady’s Rover
Frame No 228
This lovely old Lady’s Rover is very well preserved. She was used regularly into the 1960s, then put into storage, and only saw the light of day again this year. As you can see from the following photos, the Rover is still fitted with original old Dunlops (which hold air).
Original unrestored 100+ year old bicycles are what excites collectors most in the 21st century. This one has something intriguing about it, which is the frame number …228. It does not follow the logical sequence of Rover frame numbers. However, it was made at a time when the Rover Cycle Co was owned by Components Ltd, and there was a war on, so that may have had something to do with it?
The paint has faded, though the original box lining still shows on the rear mudguard. The quadrants for attaching the skirt guard string are intact. The Brooks Lady’s Model 73 Saddle is in very good condition. Everything works on the Rover, and she’s ready to ride.
1914 ROVER CATALOGUE
1914 ROVER CATALOGUE: THE ROVER MOTOR CYCLE