Monday, November 27, 2023

1937 James Sports Ace Light Tourist

Time for a bicycle article. This very sweet James I recently finished and passed on. I had bought it a few years back from a junk shop where it had had anything sticking out on its left hand side cut off to make it hang flush to a wall. This included the left pedal (yes, not removed but cut in half!), the handlebars and half of the saddle. It being quite a special and rare cycle I took pity on it and it came home with me.

In an initial flush of enthusiasm I did half the jobs needed on it and then it got neglected for a while. I've recently been having a bit of a clearout and I noted the James as superfluous to needs. I don't like to leave something half done so fininshed off the project first before selling and here is the final result.

What marks this James out as something a little different is James' own brand of gearing which is an epicyclic gear located in the chainwheel, Sunbeam used a similar system for a number of years. It gives two speeds - 1:1 and a low ratio. Also unusual is James' own brand of cantilever brakes.

James made Sports Ace models in several different versions, I've neither seen nor heard of another survivor. The new custodian is a Veteran Cycle Club member and hopefully the bike will get some use on events.

James Sports Ace side view.

I fitted a 'Shuresta' alloy prop stand, it's postwar
but I feel an appropriate accessory.

And here's the rear brake, James' own
cantilever. The brakes are effective but
the rear very stiff to operate as the cable
run is rather torturous.

Sweet streamlined rear reflector and
stylish ribbed mudguards.

James logo on the lamp bracket.

The lines are very thirties and very British.

Constrictor pattern brake levers fitted.
Higher spec than the originals but age
appropriate and I couldn't find a match
for the missing left hand lever.

Harmo 'Fearnaught' push button bell.

The original handlebars were a North
Road pattern but I had these Moustache
type ones which are the correct era and
suit very nicely.

Tail view of the Sports Ace.

That reflector again...

The Schwalbe tyres have a
reflective band which grates slightly, I
didn't know it was there when I ordered
them. Correct metal valve cap - the devil
is in the details!

Downtube lever for the two speed chainwheel.

And the two speed chainwheel up close.

The Phillips pedals are early post war
but are very nice and I already had them
so on they went.

Rear hub. Wingnuts are fitted front and
rear and are Sturmey Archer type.

Brake detail again. The cables have a
nipple at both ends so adjustment is by
means of moving the stop.

I bought this 'Dorset' saddle a little while
back. I've never seen another. I believe it
is made by Lycette - if you put a large
enough order in with them they would logo
your saddle however you liked.

The front Sturmey hub.

And finally the front brake.

1 comment:

  1. Fab photos.They reproduce so clearly.Am intrigued by the 2speed mechanism.Can’t imagine how that works .I did wonder what year this was made.It was a quality piece of kit back in the day.