The World’s most Expensive Bicycles 1908

1. A cheap option for a quality bicycle would be a machine built with BSA Fittings. For example, John Piggott Ltd advertised the same in Cycling magazine of June 1908, for 7 guineas.

Before World War One, Britain led the world in the manufacture of quality bicycles. So, if you were in the market for a quality three-speed gent’s bicycle, and money was no object, which one would you buy? Here’s a comparison of bicycles on offer from some of the leading manufacturers, from the cheapest to the most expensive:

Prices are approximate because some were taken from previous year’s catalogues and some from year later. Prices fluctuated from year to year, and cash purchases were often cheaper than advertised in the catalogues.

2. An Imperial Triumph with three speed gears was £13 10/-.
3. A Gentleman’s Elswick Special Cross Truss with Sturmey-Archer three speed was £13 15/- 6d.
4. The basic Dursley Pedersen Cantilever was £12 17/- 6d; extras added 22/- 6d on top.
5. A Royal Premier (the model with a cross tube from the top of the seat tube to the bottom of the steering head) was 14 guineas.
6. Rudge-Whitworth’s most expensive machine (a No 6 Aero-Special de Luxe Featherweight with Sturmey-Archer Tri-Coaster hub brake) was £14 12/-.
7. The Golden Sunbeam with two-speed epicyclic gears was 15 guineas, and with three speed it was 16 guineas.
8. The Lea-Francis Men’s Bicycle with Sturmey-Archer three speed was 16 guineas.
9. Raleigh’s top of the range Modele Superbe X Frame was £17 10/- with no extra cost if paid in 12 monthly instalments.
10. The Centaur Featherweight with Sturmey-Archer three speed was £18 15/- (the three-speed added £3 to the basic option) and the 1909 Resilient would be 17 guineas.