1931 BSA Light Roadster

water bike smoking pipe

In 1931 BSA created a publicity campaign for one of their major assets, the Eadie Coaster hub; though familiar to cyclists in America, coaster brakes had never really caught on in England. By the 1930s the days of the old black upright roadster were numbered, and there was increasing demand for lightweight styles of bicycle. Though most of the bicycles featured in the catalogues of the early 1930s were sporting models, the established companies still needed to cater for their older customers, so retained various roadster models and options. A compromise model was the ‘Light Roadster.’

BSA introduced some new features in this year. They were economy measures; all manufacturers were obliged to cut costs so their bicycles could be sold more cheaply, so it usually involved standardising various features. The new front fork and brake stirrup can be seen on this example.

Of course, the major advantage of a coaster brake for an English cyclist in the thirties was that it made it easier for him to combine his two main pleasures …cycling and smoking his pipe. Although the handlebar in the Eadie advert below shows the brake lever on the right, this was not the favoured configuration for the average right-handed pipe smoker, whose pipe would be pointing in the same direction. The brake lever on the BSA Light Roadster featured here is on the left, making it easier for him to control his pipe, so this machine would appear to be a pipe-smoker’s special light roadster.

1931 BSA Light Roadster 01


1931 BSA Light Roadster

‘Model 170’

22″ Frame

Sloping Top Tube with 1″ Drop

26 x 1 3/8″ Wheels

Eadie Coaster Hub

(Now sold)


This 1931 BSA Light Roadster with one inch drop in the top tube is in good all-round condition. The three transfers (decals) have survived, though the BSA stacked rifles logo on the seat tube has almost been polished to oblivion. This machine features the new style of front fork and brake stirrup, shown in the 1931 catalogue on the ‘Special Coaster Bicycle’ of this year rather than the ‘Model 170’ illustration above. Everything on this bicycle is original spec apart from replacement handlebar grips.





If you look closely you can see various differences between the two models. The ‘Special Coaster Bicycle’ (below) is illustrated with new forks, ‘D section’ mudguards, forks and brake stirrup.