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THE GEARED ORDINARY BICYCLE.

The evolution in wheels has brought the original bicycle once more prominently to the fore. We have long been accußtomed to radical changes in the design and construction of bicycles and tricycles, and when a few years ago the rear-driving safety bicycle became established, and, by proving itself faster than its progenitor, was regarded as effectually superseding the latter, few anticipated any substantial revival of the old machine. It is true the old type of bicycle was vastly improved in every respect by the use lof a large high wheel, and by giving the rider a forward as onposed to a vertical, tread ; but danger was associated with theappearance of a high wheel, and beginners were especially mistrustful, and naturally gave the .preference to the lowly safety. The ordinary bicycle, in the form it .has lately assumed, -bids fair to .enjoy a far

wider popularity than was attained by the improved ordinary, or "rational," as it was termed. Its prospects are brighter by reason of the prejudice of riders for small wheels being respected. Nineteen-twentieths of the present day riders have never been across an ordinary bicycle of any sort, and condemning it in theory on account of its height, regard it as distinctly inferior to the safety in all respects. That its rider is master of his machine, which is more than can be said for him who elects to mount any rear-driving safety ; that in its improved form it is, all things considered, quite as safe as the safety ; that, owing to its simplicity of construction, it will outlast the latter, and give less trouble, are iacts that only a small percentage of riders appreciate. What gave such a fillip to the safety was the, introduction of the pneumatic tyre. It was one thing .to apply this to 30in wheels and another to adapt it to wheels of 50in and 60in diameter, in which bath cost and weight would militate against it. Thus, during the last couple of years, the small machines have been left in virtual possession of the field. In racing they have beaten all the records accomplished on the high bicycle ; and this counts for everything amongst these — and they are many — who know no other test of merit than the watch. That the extended use of the safety has all but destroyed winter riding, owing to the dangerous side-slipping proclivities of rear-drivers on rutty and greasy roads, is seldom taken into account.

Bicycling, so fruitful in design, is sadly affected by a poverty of nomenclature. The difficulty of finding suitable names by which one type of machine, whether bicycle or tricycle, may be clearly and tersely distinguished from another, is apparently insuperable, and has been always so. The chief distinction of the ordinary bicycle has been the absence of any gearing or such like complication — a "geared ordinary" is a name, therefore, that is distinctly paradoxical ; a better title is not likely to be found, we fear, or it would have been heard of ere this. The production of the Crypto Cycle Company Ltd., of 47 Farriugdon road, E.C., who were the first to introduce a machine of the type referred to, is known as the Crypto Geared Ordinary. The Crypto Company has long been identified with a very ingenious speed and power gear known as the Crypto-dynamic, but neither this, nor one or two other excellent devices for giving variations of power, ever found favour with riders as a body. Theoretically, increased leverage was necessary for ascents ; but when this was supplied by such mechanical contrivances as the Crypto-dynamic and Omnicycle gears, comparatively few were found to avail themselves of means that were apparently well adapted to secure the desired results. It is a modification of the Crypto-dynamic gear that forms the principal feature of the geared ordinary bicycle in question. This gear is contained within a box on the hub, where it is hardly noticeable. There is a free axle passing through the hub, and the gear operates by transmitting and multiplying the power from the axle to the wheel, through the intermediation of a series of cog wheels. According to the size of these wheels any desired gearing can be obtained. The usual proportions are 44in wheels geared to 60in, 46in to 62in, and 48in to 65in. In addition to these this method of gearing is applied in a similar manner to what is called the Crypto frontdriving Bafety, the front wheel of which is 36in high, with a hind wheel of 26in. In many respects this resembles the rear-driving safety, over which it has the advantage that the most approved forward thrust of the pedals is obtained from a position of saddle which distributes the rider's weight fairly evenly between the two wheels. The machine we have had in use is one of 44in geared to 60in. To the forks is given a rake of 4in, so that the centre of the saddle is lft or more behind the crank axle. The saddle used is capable of vertical adjustment sufficient to adapt the machine to riders of varying heights. In the same way the handle-bar may be raised or lowered. Perfect freedom of steering, unaccompanied by the slightest looseness or play, is obtained by the use of a ball-bearing socket-head. In most respecta the machine follows the lines of construction upon which the. ordinaiy bicycle is built. To protect the rider from flying mud, a guard is usually placed over the 24in hind wheel, whilst detachable leather saddle-flaps are provided with machines destined for winter riding. There are differences of opinion with regard to the most suitable length of crank. No definite rule can be laid down, but for riders of an average height we do not think 7in should be exceeded, and 6£in is more suitable in many cases. For gearings of 60in and over, a 7in crank leverage is undoubtedly necessary, but for general road riding purposes we should be disposed to favour a lower gearing— say, 56in— with a proportionately shorter crank. One of the patterns put outn-a 42 geared to 57^in— should become a favourite size. Compared with the safety, this machine has the material advantage of replacing the unsatisfactory chain-driving mechanism with a multiplying gear that is neat, light, effective, and easily protected from dirt and dust, and that, in fact, detracts but slightly from the structural simplicity of the ordinary bicycle. There is necessarily a slight back-lash with the pedals, but this is not felt in riding, and the gear will probably be found quite as durable as, and less liable to get out of order than, the chain-gear of the safety. On a 44in machine the position of the rider is only a foot higher than on the latter, so that there is very little more susceptibility to adverse winds. The chief charm of the machine, however, is in its perfect steering, a point in which it equals, if it does not excel, the ordinary bicycle. Neither the diminished size of the front wheel, the increased size of the trailing wheel, nor the 4in of rake, adversely influence the steering. To anyone who has ridden the high machine it is a positive pleasure to exchange the sinuous safety for a machine which is safe under all conditions, and which, in its guidance, is perfectly amenable to the control of its rider. We are thoroughly satisfied with the way i\> travels. It is undoubtedly very speedy, though whether, regarded from a racing point of view, it will distance the reardriving safety, will probably be determined before long. In the event of its proving the faster machine, there will be another revolution in bicycle racing. It will probably be found somewhat inferior to the rear-driver on steep ascents, though we proved it to be a- good hill climber. It is capable of being very lightly constructed, owing to the simplicity of the framework, and weighs no more than a safety of equal strength. The saddle being some distance from the tyre, the latter does not soil the dress, as is the case with the full-sized ordinary in which the saddle is placed well back. The machine we have in use is fitted with lsin Boothroyd pneumatic tyres, which in a couple of hundred miles or so of riding have given no trouble whatever, and perform their anti-vibration functions with perfect satisfaction. A 44in, fitted with these tyres, weighs about 401b complete.— The Field.

It is understood that Mr S. Solomon has issued a writ against the proprietors of the Otago Workman for alleged libel. The damages claimed are set down afc LIOOO.

Illustrated Price Lists Gratis. Parcels from Eton.JEngland, Is 6dper 21b.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18920616.2.108.2

Bibliographic details

THE GEARED ORDINARY BICYCLE., Otago Witness, Issue 1999, 16 June 1892

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THE GEARED ORDINARY BICYCLE. Otago Witness, Issue 1999, 16 June 1892

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