Though the Ariel Cycle Co focused mainly on their motorcycle production by the 1930s, they still produced a range of bicycles. They stopped manufacturing bicycles in 1932. Ariel bicycles can easily be identified by their distinctive front fork, which the company described as the ‘Biflex’. This was discontinued in 1931. Observe also Ariel’s letter ‘A’ on the front brake.
1930 Ariel Imperial Light Roadster
with Sloping Top Tube
Sturmey-Archer 3 speed gear
Frame No 81369
The Imperial Light Roadster is the only sports roadster in the Ariel sales range with a sloping top tube. At five guineas, it undercut Raleigh’s similar Popular Light Roadster which was advertised at £5 19/- 6d. But, by 1930, the Ariel Cycle Co was feeling the effects of the Great Depression. Along with their competitors in the cycle industry, they introduced cheaper lightweight models and in 1931 the Biflex fork was dropped from their roadsters to reduce prodution costs. But the writing was on the wall and the company gave up making bicycles in 1932. The 1930 Ariels were the last of the quality-built original style.
This Imperial is in good original unrestored cosmetic condition, with its transfers (decals) intact and legible. The only negative point is a dent in the rear seat stay on the chainside. It was recently serviced and is ready to ride.