Roadsters in Australia

Reproduced by kind permissions, Michael Toohey, NZ

I can't speak for everybody here, but I reckon your Hallmark looks British enough to make the grade. I'm sure most of our American friends would be chuffed to have one in their collections. As for myself, I'm a Kiwi who worked in the bike trade in both Christchurch NZ, and Brisbane Qld, so I'm kind of biased towards ironmongery from down under.

Differences between British and Australian iron? Those rims give it away. In Australia 28 x 1 3/8 tyres were all the go. Maybe Australia was the biggest market for these (per head of population) anywhere in the world. Whilst living in Brizzy I saw ladies roadsters fitted with 28 x 1 3/8 Endrick rims. What luxury! Back in Anglophile Godzone we saved 28 x 1 3/8 wheels for our racing lightweights. Roadsters were stuck with chunky 28 x 1 1/2 Westwood rims and rod brakes.

The influence of those big rims (British wheels are measured from the outside of the tyre. A 28 x 1 3/8 and a 28 x 1 1/2 have the same nominal overall diameter, thus the 28 x 1 3/8 rim is bigger, to make up for the smaller tyre section) and skinny tyres is evident in your wonderful photo. Your bike doesn't look like a roadster at all, but more like a sports model with big wheels. With cable operated calipers, an AW hub, lighter overall build, and those FAST rolling 28 x 1 3/8 wheels, it'd run rings around a real British roadster (apologies to all DL1 owners). Comparing my 28 x 1 3/8 shod '36 Jones Special (made in Chch, NZ by ex Malvern Star employees) to my Yong Jiu roadster (I live in China these days) is like comparing Phar Lap to a cart horse!

So what you have there isn't really a roadster at all. In fact it is a comparatively rarer beast; a genuine Australian sports model. To my knowledge, quite unique, and well worth celebrating for that fact.

There is a fairly strong vintage bike scene in Australia. If your paint is bad you may even get some of that great Antipodean box striping redone. I've seen amazing jobs on 5 stars and the like. The National Bicycle Museum in Cancerra will probably be happy to provide you with much more detailed info than I can. Why were 28 x 1 3/8s so poular in Australia anyway?

Michael.


Above: The pinstripe 
design on the front forks.


Return to Hallmark restoration page.
Return to Stephen Spicer's home page.

Join the "Roll Britannia" discussion group on British Roadsters.
See also the Canberra Bicycle Museum, Australia.