1939 Dayton Road Racer

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The Dayton Cycle Co of London brought out a range of road racing models after the war, and these are now the company’s best-known models. But they started building them before the war. As with many other British cycle companies, they had to interrupt their sales lines between 1939 and 1945 in order to cotribute to the war effort. The machine featured here has the same chainwheel as the 1939 Flyer Sports but it’s a roadster style road racer rather than a lightweight.

Dayton listed a variety of brake set-ups as options. The Model AB three-speed hub brakes were briefly popular after their introduction in 1938, though discontinued after war broke out.

All the small London cycle builders made a big thing of customer satisfaction. Potential buyers could visit the shops in person and chat with their sales teams to discuss individual requirements, and Dayton’s shop in Park Royal Rd London was a popular rendezvous. The big cycle makers may have sold more bikes, but the small makers were able to provide this personal touch.

Once the customer had been measured for frame size, the company would then build him a bespoke bicycle to order, in any style and with any configuration of components that he wished. The customer could even return to the shop while his bicycle was being built to see its progress. Delivery was usually prompt as the companies built their reputation on this type of service, personal recommendation being the mainstay of their business.

1939 Dayton Road Racer

with Sloping Top Tube

Sturmey-Archer ‘Model AB’ 3-speed Hub Brake

24″ Frame

26″ Wheels

Frame No 245

(Now sold)

This rare Dayton Road Racer is in good all round condition. The top tube slopes forward slightly. It’s a medium weight machine that’s good for fast riding, with 26″ wheels and an interesting – and efficient – hub brake set up.
My friend Peter bought it from me last year, but has now bought an earlier machine so has asked me to sell the Dayton for him. I can pack and ship it worldwide, as required.

Peter has ridden it often. Since buying it from me, he serviced it, rebuilt the 3 speed hub, fitted mudguards, a leather saddle and period grips. The brightwork is weathered. There’s no way of knowing if the paint is original or if it’s an older repaint. If you fancy a rare machine from a well-respected British cycle maker, ready to ride, and will also be a conversation piece in the company of other vintage bicycles, this may be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for?