New Rapid No.1 Roadster

The bike featured in the Centrefold of Issue 13 of Treadlie is a very special bike. So special we wanted to tell you a little more about it.

The New Rapid No.1 Roadster featured in Treadlie belongs to Paul Farren. For those who don’t know, Paul and his indefatigable wife, Charlie, own the Farren Collection, one of the most amazing collections of bicycles in the world. You can read more about the Farren Collection in Issue 10 of Treadlie or in their recently released book documenting much of the collection Bicycling Through Time. (Images Publishing, Australia)

Issue 13, December 2013

One bike you won’t find in the book though, is Paul’s New Rapid No.1 Roadster.

This bike is one of of Paul’s favourites and the reason for that is the New Rapid patent for ‘true tangent wheels’. This technology came out in 1885 and was first fitted to New Rapid’s penny farthings, of which Paul and Charlie own two and enjoy for their ‘rideability’. This bike was New rapid’s first venture into the new-fangled safety bicycle and they imported the ‘true tangent wheel’ to the safety.

Issue 13, December 2013

The New Rapid No. 1 Roadster looks modern in shape but looks can be deceiving. It is a cross frame, with a single tube running down from the head to the rear axle. In a cross frame the bottom bracket is the weakest part of the frame and often fractured. The New rapid bottom bracket is unique with the pivot in the tube supporting it which allows the bracket to swing backward or forward for chain tensioning. At this stage, the rear sliding dropout had not been invented.

Issue 13, December 2013


You can find out more about the man, the company and the technology behind the New Rapid No.1 Roadster here. In 1888 George Bloxham of Sydney rode a New Rapid Roadster from Sydney to Brisbane with two friends on penny farthings. Hear more about his journey on the Yarra BUG Radio Show podcast. And of course, check out Treadlie 13 for the full Centrefold of the New Rapid No.1 Roadster