1956 F.C. Parkes (Sun) ‘Autograph’ Ladies’ Bicycle

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What is a lightweight bicycle?

Is it so called because it is light in weight, or also because of its design? 

Well, of course, because of its light weight, but how many are really in this category?

F.C Parkes Autographed Bicycles are guaranteed to be built by hand, no mass production methods are used in this factory –  I have built Cycles and Frames for National Champions and also for World Champions, both for Track and Road.

You may, therefore, rely on my good judgment to produce only the best in quality, specification and design, and it is your guarantee if it bears the name of

…F.C Parkes



1956 F. C. Parkes (Sun) ‘Autograph’ Ladies’ Bicycle

21″ Frame

26″ Wheels

Frame No MMV 207

(Now sold)

This Autograph Ladies’ machine was a top quality bike in its day.

























The Sun Cycle & Fittings Co. Ltd.,

Phoenix Works, Aston Brook Street, Birmingham 6.



From the thirties to the fifties Sun had a separate company producing bicycles under the Parkes name.

In 1959 Sun cycles (Parkes) became part of the British Cycle Corporation which was absorbed by Raleigh in 1960.

Sun motorcycles were virtually unique in that they remained under the control of the Parkes family from conception to the end of motorcycle manufacture. They were also unique in that the company also started and finished in the bicycle industry.

James Parkes was a well known Birmingham industrialist, who owned James Parkes and Son, Brass founders, in Alma Street, Birmingham. Amongst other things, they manufactured incandescent light fittings. It was the manufacture of these fittings that eventually gave the name of ‘Sun’ to the company.

In 1885 James Parkes decide to take advantage of the new bicycle market and the company began to make frames and fittings for other companies. This new outlet proved very successful and the company moved to larger premises in Aston Brook Street, Aston, around 1887. Interestingly, Sun was in the same street as R.T. Shelley who owned Norton and very close to the back of the Norton factory which was also in Aston Brook Street.

After the move the company changed its name to THE SUN CYCLE FITTINGS COMPANY.

The founder, James Parkes died in 1896.

In 1907, Joseph Parkes, son of James, changed the name of the company to THE SUN CYCLE AND FITTINGS COMPANY and the company was also incorporated as a limited company. It was either in 1906 or 1907 Sun started making their own bicycles using the name of SUN and SUN SPIDER.

Sun’s first motorcycle was produced in 1911

Sun were very successful in the cycle industry, making many patented improvements to bicycles. The main period of Sun cycle production was from the middle 20s through to the fifties. The Wasp (also the name of a Sun motorcycle) was a popular budget clubmans lightweight. They also produced tandems. In 1936 F.C. Parkes, grandson of the founder, with his son Peter Parkes, developed the lightweight sports cycle.

From the thirties to the fifties Sun had a separate company producing bicycles under the Parkes name.

The company was taken over by Tube Investments, (Raleigh) in early 1958. The Chairman, Fred Parkes, announced the company would continue exactly as before, but motorcycle production ceased in 1959. Sun badged pedal cycles continued to be produced by Raleigh until 1986. After 1963 Sun Cycles carried a Worksop name, presumably being built at the Carlton works.
Text with thanks to http://www.madeinbirmingham.org/sun.htm