Well, after carefully checking over my new-old Speedwell Popular, I took it for a ride around Swansea, and some sort of magic happened there – firstly, a kindly cyclist saw me photographing it and stopped to comment. I was remarking on how hard it is to photograph yourself on a bike and he offered to take my picture.
Then, a few kilometres later and discovering that it was hard rubbish day next week, I saw a flash of yellow and heard a tiny voice calling “save me”.
Voila ! – a rusty but complete Malvern Sportstar ! The owner was outside chatting with the postman, so I asked him if it was OK if I took the bike, but that I had to go and get my van. He kindly put it away for me, and later told me that the scrappies went past only ten minutes later .. whew !
I must say, I’m not the fastest rider around, but if you told me there was a freebie bike at the end, I might just win a stage of the Tour de Swansea … I bet that old Speedwell hasn’t gone so fast in ages.
Anyhow, I’m trying hard not to be a bike snob, but this Sportstar seems a bit of a clunker to be honest – it’s very heavy with cottered cranks and steel everything, (save the brakes) but the frame definitely has possibility. I don’t mind weight in a heavy comfortable upright, but a heavy and un-comfortable “sports bike” doesn’t work for me at all ….
I couldn’t figure out the lack of decals at first – it has a Sportstar decal on the head tube and a serial number sticker?? on the BB, no other decoration on the bike save for the stars on the chromed fork crown cover.
Late 70s, very early 80s perhaps ? It has Shimano Eagle II and Thunderbird II derailleurs. After looking online I am guessing it’s been repainted and only a new head decal stuck on – shame !
The owner said he was given it in Sydney by a friend and had only recently stopped riding it himself. There’s plenty of Swansea rust on it, that’s for sure.
Oh, and did I say ? —- More details on the beautiful 1956 Speedwell Popular in an upcoming post …