British Pedal Power: 1914 BSA Auto-Wheel

041416 Barn Finds - 1914 BSA Auto-Wheel - 1

Having been an antique motorcycle fan for a few decades now, I’ve seen a few of these and I have always wanted to own one. This particular bike is located about 2.5 hours Southwest of The Emerald City – Sydney – in Goulburn, NSW, Australia. Even though they made a few thousand of these, it’s a very rare piece now. There are nine days left on the auction, more than enough time for you to get your bids in.

041416 Barn Finds - 1914 BSA Auto-Wheel - 2

In 1909, Autowheels, Ltd. started producing the Auto-Wheel, which was funded in part by the famous Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Author Conan Doyle, among others. This invention was the beginning of humans getting even less exercise than they did previously. Well, I’m sort of kidding, but if you think about it.. Here’s one in action on YouTube. It goes up to 16 mph so you can pedal faster than that, but maybe not uphill or for a long distance; that’s where the Auto-Wheel comes in handy!

041416 Barn Finds - 1914 BSA Auto-Wheel - 3

There were two versions of the Auto-Wheel, the standard and the deluxe, the latter having a few shields for protecting the bike and the rider from flying oil, grease, and mud. A very worthwhile 2-pounds and 2-shillings investment. A shock absorber was another 14 shillings. This was the beginning of the options list as we know it today. Ok, I’m kidding again, vehicles had options before the Auto-Wheel was invented. Look at this relaxed, cigar-smoking gentleman enjoying his Auto-Wheel; ahh.. that’s the life!

041416 Barn Finds - 1914 BSA Auto-Wheel - 4

The seller mentions that this one was built by “the British Small Arms (BSA) factory”. I originally assumed that the bike itself was a BSA as they were known to make bicycles. I don’t know exactly what make the bicycle is, there is no mention of that. This device weighs 18 kg, about 40 pounds, so it’s not light and if you choose to pedal it yourself you’ll be doing some extra work.

I would absolutely love to have one of these someday! It’s listed on eBay with nine days left on the auction and the current bid at $1,000; a heck of a deal. Is this something you would ride or do you prefer modern speed over antique speed?

Comments

  1. John

    Great bike. Believe “BSA” is the Birmingham Small Arms Company.

  2. wynkin

    Yes BSA started making guns.

  3. Matt Tritt

    Bring Spares Along.

  4. Dave Wright

    Looks to me like you would lean a bit to the right to engage the power wheel and upright or to the left to lift it off the road. It we old be interesting to ride.

    • brian crowe

      I believe the motor moves up and down to compensate for road differences and allow you to steer it. If it was bolted solid you would pole vault the back bike wheel off the ground when you turned

  5. Matt Tritt

    Yep!

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