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Three in one plus one

January 16, 2013

Little bike bonanza this week dear reader. On Monday I snapped this classic purple Stowaway in St Kilda Road outside the Arts Centre  (spotted on the way to see David Byrne and St Vincent no less – cultured me!)

St Kilda Rd Raleigh decal

St Kilda Rd Raleigh light

St Kilda Rd Raleigh rear

Then today I got the trifecta all on the same corner (Gertrude and Napier).

Spotted this one first – a Centurian (new to me) with a bit of home styling in the paint department.


Quality from where? The next word was painted over. Tantalising.

Centurion badge

Centurian decal

Centurian chain guard

Centurian detail

Centurian lugs

It was a nice warm evening and the Centurian was standing guard outside a pub with  outdoor tables, so what’s a girl to do? Stop for a beer naturally. And lucky I did, because what did I spy from my beer-sipping vantage point?
None other than this Graecross…

Gertrude Graecross

The rider came out of the restaurant it was parked in front of and very kindly offered to move it so I could get a better shot . (Not sure if she arranged the artfully places small child in the background.)
She told me she’d bought it on ebay for $80…sweet.
She also said she’d had some work done on the gears…

Gertrude Graecross gear lever

Gertrude Graecross gears which, I notice, were 5 speed – I thought Graecross normally had 3 speed hub gears…(I shall pause to consult the oracle – me) WRONG! Looks like they come in single speed and 5 speed. ANYWAY moving on… it’s got some nice details.

Gertrude Graecross chainguard

Gertrude Graecross saddle

Gertrude Graecross wheel

and the best bit of the story is that the rider’s sister has a powder blue Malvern Star and they ride round together,
twin like.
Love that!

On the subject of Malvern Stars, here’s the third bike of the lucky corner trifecta. Don’t you love the sweep of the Malvern Star handle bars? (If yes, here’s and even lovelier example from an earlier post –Follow through.

Gertrude Malvern star handle bars

I have posted this bike before (here), but it has some lovely new additions that I just had to document.
This contemporary retro-styled headlight

Gertrude Malvern Star

Gertrude Malvern Star light soft

 these nifty panniers.

Gertrude Malvern pannier

and the world’s shiniest gold bell

Gertrude Malvern Star bell


  1. Anonymous permalink

    Wow, that Graecross is OTT nice! That gear lever looks like a classic Suntour thumb shifter! b

    • Yep, it’s a little beauty, in tip top condition. I must say that I was particularly taken by the gear lever myself, (although I am not on first name terms with them like you), I find it very elegant.

  2. oh man they’re so nice! do you know anywhere that is selling little bikes like these? i rode one for the first time this weekend and have fallen in love!

    • Gosh, big question, but hooray that you are smitten, they are a sweet ride. Even if I knew where you were writing from I wouldn’t be able to answer. They seem to come out of the wood work. Riders I talk to often say they found theirs in a family member’s shed, or it rescued from the tip. I got mine from an op shop. However I see quite a few on ebay when I’m searching for info or images on particular models. Try searching ‘shopper bike’ (more an English term I think) or retro folding bike if you want to go the whole way, or put in a brand name as well if there is one you particularly like (I have a range of brands listed on the top of my page).
      Good luck. Report in if you are successful. One more recruit for the little bike loving ranks.

  3. Roger Yorke-Hunt permalink

    All three bikes have exactly the same frame! Centurion was a Japanese brand, so it’s “Quality from Japan”. I wonder if Centurion manufactured the bikes for the other brands? In any case, the frame is a copy of a Peugeot!

    • Wow, that’s some good picking up there Roger, I hadn’t noticed the same frame thing. Thanks. Seems like you might be some find of a shopper officianado (is that how you spell it?) A pleasure to have your input in this humble world of little bikes.

  4. Stef Smith permalink

    Centurion were a name brand for Japanese made bikes imported into the USA and later elsewhere by Western States Imports (WSI). This parent company is also the founder of Diamondback Bikes famed for BMX and MTB. Chances are the small wheeler frames were either made for WSI or the Japanese Frame manufacturer sold them to whoever wanted to market a small wheeled bike and they badged them.
    By the way liking this blog, good to see a home for small wheeled bikes other than the Raleigh Twenty although there forum is quite interesting too.
    I have a Raleigh/BSA Twenty and a 16 inch wheeled Co-operative Wholsale Society (CWS) Commuter from the 60’s i’m building up at the moment.

    • wow, thanks for the info Stef, great to be visited by people who know their stuff (I just snap, post and comment really, not that informed about who made what when). I have visited the Raleigh Twenty site (in fact there is a link to it on my blog), pretty awesome, there are some serious bike fixeruppers out there, gladdens my heart.
      Cooperative Wholesale Society is new to me, if you like you can send one or two pics when it’s done, drop me a comment and I will email you back and we can take it from there.

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