Dating vintage bicycles can be a challenge.
However, the owner of this Barb bicycle has been able to find the manufacturer’s stamp on his William’s cranks, along with the letter “W”. By using a dating table for William’s components, he has been able to work out their year of manufacture to have been 1934. As long as the part is original, this method can greatly reduce the amount of detective work required in dating such bicycles.
This bicycle has a pre-war frame with cross-over rear stays. The headset bearing retainer at the top and bottom of the headtube has a square edged profile, which the owner has been told suggests a pre-war model, as rounded profile retainers didn’t appear until during early World War II.
The paintwork is probably not original, though the repainting of the frame must have occurred quite some time ago. Characteristic Barb decals have been applied, however one of the decals shows the firm’s post-1941 premises, thus supporting the idea that the frame was repainted at a later stage.
The owner comments that it was converted from a sports type of bicycle to a commuter style – probably in the late 1950’s – when the rear hub was replaced with a coaster hub. He also notes that it has had its original stem replaced with a Japanese stem – probably in the 1970’s.
With many thanks to the owner of this bicycle for help in preparing the description and providing the great photographs.