If bicycles could talk, it’s likely that this Barb would have quite a story to tell.
Most probably having been built for racing, the current owner has noted a drilled front wheel axle, alloy Williams chain wheel and boltless headstem – all suggestive to him of an effort to save weight in its construction for better performance when in competition. The presence of a Brooks racing saddle also agrees with the idea of it having been a racing bicycle.
A set of Monitor “Super Cam” brakes and fascinating oiler system within the hollow axle in the bottom bracket, which – as the owner describes – “feeds through to tiny holes near the bearings”, add to the interesting features on this bicycle.
Monitor "Super Cam" brakes
This Barb was purchased by its current owner at a swap meet, being told that it was a 1938 model. This date is supported by a “Z” coding on its Williams cranks and chainwheel – indicating their manufacture in 1937.
The current owner plans to do only, in his words, a “soft restoration” – repaint the rims, re-grease all the bearings, replace the tyres and clean/polish everything else. A previous "renovation" was undertaken by Austin Spiers of Ballarat, probably in the 1940's, with a small amount of new paint and a decal applied. The unusual hand painted Barb signwriting is thought to be part of the original paintwork. Nickel plating can be seen in sections where the paint is missing.
This bicycle certainly gives us a glimpse of 1930’s racing bicycle construction.
With many thanks to the owner of this bicycle for help in preparing the description and providing the great photographs.