1922 Rudge-Whitworth No. 1 Aero-Special ‘All-Black’ Featherweight Roadster

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PRINCE ALBERT, Duke of York— ‘Bertie’ to the family — was the second son of King George V. He attended the Royal Naval College, Osborne, as a naval cadet in 1909. The following year, with the death of Edward VII and his father becoming George V, he became second in line to the throne. In 1914 he began service in WW1, and was mentioned in dispatches for his action as a turret officer aboard Collingwood in the Battle of Jutland (May-June 1916), the largest naval engagement of the war). He transferred to the Royal Air Force upon its establishment in 1918 and was the first member of the royal family to be certified as a fully qualified pilot. He married Elizabeth in 1923, and became King George VI unexpectedly in 1936 as a result of his older brother Edward’s abdication. He died in 1952, and was succeeded by the current Queen Elizabeth in 1953.

PRINCE HENRY, born in 1900, was the third son of King George V, and his title was H.R.H Prince Henry of York. Unlike his brothers who joined the Royal Navy, Prince Henry joined the Army, attending the Royal Military College at Sandhurst in 1919. He later served with The King’s Royal Rifle Corps and the 10th Royal Hussars before retiring from the active list in 1937. He became H.R.H the Duke of Gloucester in 1928. With the outbreak of WW2, he joined the British Expeditionary Force as Chief Liaison Officer, and was slightly wounded when his staff car was attacked from the air. He became Governor-General of Australia in 1944, serving until 1947.

1922 Rudge-Whitworth Aero 01

1922 Rudge-Whitworth No. 1 Aero-Special ‘All-Black’ Featherweight Roadster

with Celluloid Handlebars and Pedal Cranks

Patent Metal Gear Case

and Rudge-Whitworth Patent Coupled Brakes

Four-bar Pedals, Bluemels Narrow Inflator Pump, Revolving Bell, Brooks B90 Heavy Duty Saddle

Sturmey-Archer Model K 3-Speed Gear.

26″ Frame

28″ Wheels


The Aero-Special model became a top seller soon after its introduction in 1903. Lightweight frames were not new: advances in tube construction meant that frames became lighter each year through the 1890s, reaching a peak just after the turn of the century. Light weight was particularly important, of course, for racing machines. But Triumph and Rudge-Whitworth led the way in applying the technology to their sales range. As Rudge-Whitworth declared in their 1903 catalogue:

This superb machine is the highest achievement in High-grade cycle construction. Its extraordinary light weight has been attained by scientific calculation and research, and there has been no sacrifice of stability or elegance of design.

The Aero-Special model continued from 1903 to 1922 with only minor changes: the celluloid chaincase was changed to a full metal chaincase; roller lever brakes became an option in 1906; and in 1912 the front mudguard gained a forward extension. Otherwise, the 1922 model was the same as prewar, except for the name ‘Featherweight’ added to its title – and a price increase from 9 guineas in 1915 to 15 guineas in 1922. In this instance, an extra 15/- was charged for the patent metal chaincase, an option on the ‘No 1’.

This example is fitted with ‘coupled brakes’ which first appeared in Rudge-Whitworth’s 1906 catalogue:

A Rolling Lever is operated by either or both hands, and applies both Back and Front Rim Brakes at the same time. It is very powerful but can also be very delicately applied.

SUPERB ORIGINAL UNRESTORED PAINTWORK & TRANSFERS (DECALS): This machine was obviously well cared-for throughout its life, because the original box lining is intact over most of the bicycle, its transfers are in good condition, and the Rudge Whitworth head badge still has red paint on its Hand. In fact, I would suggest it has hardly been ridden, as its mudguards are also in excellent condition – they had a habit of buckling if the bicycle was picked up incorrectly, and front mudguards commonly rusted at the bottom end, which was where mud became trapped.

This superb Aero-Special Featherweight is ready to ride.


























































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