1912 Popular Centaur Light Roadster (Sloping Top Tube)


Centaur’s cycle department went out of business in 1910: the vast expenditure required to set up car and motorcycle production did not bring profits back into the company fast enough to maintain cashflow. This was a common problem for cycle manufacturers who had diversified. Centaur enjoyed a close relationship with Humber, sharing their factory to keeep costs down, and Humber bought the company and continued to sell Centaurs under that badge.

The Lightweight range was introduced in 1909 as cheap commuter bicycles without all the extra features used on the top-of-the-range machines. Because it has 26″ wheels rather than the normal 28″, the bottom bracket was lower, which made it much easier to put your foot to the ground when you had to stop in traffic. So the owner could use it during the week to get to work, and at weekends remove the mudguards and accessories, and race it at one of the many club events throughout the country.

This model may have less of the typical Centaur features, but very few early Centaurs with a sloping top tube have survived. Centaur already covered the top end of the market with their Featherwieght, one of the most superb bicycles ever built. It was hoped that lightweight roadsters like this would help the company capture sales at the lower end of the market. But it was too little too late …and frankly, other companies did the same thing better. For example, the Rudge-Whitworth No 27 Crescent road racer was the leader in this field, was cheaper at £6, and also lighter and faster.

This Centaur is in very good condition all round, retaining original paint and steering head transfer (decal), as well as its original box lining. The sporting handlebar grips are Britannias, which are nice though a later addition. It has a period rear carrier rack with Lea Francis patent rear reflector. The nickel is tarnished. It’s ready to ride.

To see it at The Museum click here…

Availability: In stock

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1912 Popular Centaur Light Roadster

Sloping Top Tube with 2 inch drop (34″ to 32″ standover height)

25″ Frame

26″ Wheels

Frame No 178912

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