1950-1955 W. F. Holdsworth ‘Worthy’ Racing Tricycle

1939-1955 W. F. Holdsworth ‘Worthy’ Racing Trike




Although W.F. Holdworth marketed their very successful tricycle conversion set from the 1930s, this particular example is rarer in that it is one of Holdsworth’s own badged frames, named the ‘Worthy.’


This racing trike has been in storage for 20 years, which means it’s well-preserved.


As well as good original paintwork, the transfers are also intact.


It needs new tyres and a service, which I’ll attend to in the coming weeks.


The head badge is faded, but still discernible.




121 Lennard Rd, Beckenham, Kent

For cyclists who might occasionally want to use a trike but who could not justify either the cost of one or who had insufficient space to store it, London cycle maker Holdsworth had the answer. From the 1930s right up until the 1970s the Holdsworth company marketed a well engineered trike conversion that bolted on to an existing solo machine and turned it from a solo to a trike. It could be fitted in minutes, and because it could be used on all sizes of frame, even tandems, it could easily be swapped from one bike to another.
The Holdsworth trike conversion was simple, cheap, well-made, light-weight and remarkably effective. It even looked good. In fact it was so effective that many time-trial and long-distance records were won on these machines.

The success of the Holdsworth trike conversion is largely due to its simplicity, low cost (compared to a complete trike) and adaptability. The design is credited to Bill Rann, who joined Holdsworth (from FH Grubb) as works foreman at the Quill Lane factory in 1935. By December 1935 the Holdsworth tricycle conversion was advertised in Cycling magazine. Rann also designed the ‘la Quelda’ frameset at about this time. Both were of lugless (fillet-brazed or welded) construction.

The trike conversion consisted of a complete axle unit that attached to the cycle frame at the rear dropouts in the same way as a rear wheel. A telescopic bracing strut at each side provided support. Each strut was bolted at the lower end to a lug on the axle tube and at the top to the seatpin lug bolt. The great advantage of this design was that the cycle frame required no modification. You simply removed the rear wheel and bolted on the axle conversion, using the existing chain (usually shortened by a few links) to drive the rear sprocket and inner axle. This ran on cartridge type bearings and it drove the left wheel only – the other wheel ran free. The kit cost £5 6s 6d (including wheels) in 1936, which was about the same price as a good quality frameset. At 28in wide the completed machine was narrow enough to fit inside most doorways.

Above adverts and text with thanks to http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/components/trike-conversion-components.html


The Holdsworthy Factoring Company Ltd

In 1939, The business needed to expand and finance was forthcoming from another of Mrs Holdsworth’s brothers, Austin Bryars, whose main business was in clothing and textiles. Just before WW2 a new separate company was formed, The Holdsworthy Factoring Company Ltd, with directors W.F. Holdsworth, MA Holdsworth and Austin Bryars.

Janet Mantle’s family helped get the new factory, the ex-banana works at Lullington Rd. (separate works and warehouse, both on Lullington Rd). W.F. Holdsworth cycles and frames were produced here, they also supplied British and imported cycle equipment. Worthy clothing was supplied throughout the country and this continued all through the war on a restricted basis, although ‘Aids To Happy Cycling’ 1939 was the last issue of this little catalogue for 10 years. Frank Sisley joined Holdsworth soon after the move to Lullington, where Pete Cobb was the foreman (Bill Rann had already left, I think he returned to Grubbs).

Extracted from http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nkilgariff/Holdsworth.htm

(For a comprehensive history of W.F. Holdsworth, please visit that website)






This trike has now gone off to my friend Tony, who has put it on the road.


Published on March 11, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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