This BSA Ladies’ bicycle has two interesting features that are rarely seen.
ALL-WEATHER: After World War One, the bicycle was no longer the preserve of the well-to-do. Prices were lowered to cater to a new market – commuters. The All-Weather model was ideal for commuting and became popular in the 1920s. However, the female version of BSA’s All-Weather was not illustrated in the company’s catalogues – suggesting that it was nowhere near as popular as the gents’ – and it’s now rare to find a surviving example.
This was most likely a ‘special order’ – it has a 23″ frame and 26″ wheels, whereas the catalogue specifications show 28″ wheels and frame sizes 22″ or 24″. Of course, catalogue specs were just a guideline; customers could choose any option they wished, and factories were happy to supply a bicycle to their requirements. As you can see in the photo below, on a 26″ wheel the extended front mudguard appears more pronounced.
I did check through the BSA catalogues that are available, and this type of BSA loopframe – with two bridges between the tubes – was discontinued by 1928, to make way for the ladies’ model with parallel tubes. As there are no records of BSA frame numbers, there’s no way to date it accurately. 1923-1927 is my best estimate.
RENOVATED: The other unusual aspect of this Model 18 is the transfer (decal) on the steering head, which declares that it was renovated by the factory …because, if you look closely, you can see that its bright parts are chromed, a feature that was not introduced until 1930.
SUMMARY: I wish I knew more about the original owner of this BSA. I assume that a Ladies’ All-Weather – particularly a single speed model such as this – would only have been purchased by a serious rider. It’s only speculation, but I also think that it was because it had a lot of use in the 1920s that it was returned to the factory in the early 1930s for a renovation and upgrade. Surely it must have been very well-loved to have earned such attention …and also to have survived in such good condition for the next 85 years or so.
1923-1927 BSA All-Weather Ladies’ Bicycle
Eadie coaster brake
The Terry’s mattress saddle was fitted for more comfortable riding by a previous owner; otherwise everything is original on this BSA. It is cosmetically unrestored, with good paintwork and box lining and transfers (decals) intact, though the agent’s transfer on the seat tube is not easy to decipher. The cord for the dress guard is missing. Apart from string and saddle, this machine is in excellent condition throughout and ready to ride.
1923 BSA CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
EADIE COASTER HUB