Yet another trike has come up on eBay. A 1965 Higgins Lady's model with Sturmey-Archer internal (hub) gears and Higgins specially extended axle reinforcing arrangements to match.
RARE VINTAGE HIGGINS TRICYCLE,3 WHEEL ADULT BIKE on eBay (end time 26-Sep-10 22:05:21 BST)
The lady's step-through frame would suit those needing easier access than the men's model when mounting the tricycle. Such a machine offers the advantages of the handicap tricycle but with much reduced weight. Making it much easier to manoeuvre when dismounted and much easier to pedal when climbing hills. At the same time it offers the fittest cyclist the full triking experience.
No doubt a skilled frame builder could easily change the top tube to a horizontal one if desired. No new lugs are involved on a fillet-brazed frame like this one. The only practical downside I can see to the lady's model is not being able to hang a leg over the missing top tube when cornering hard. Though the saddle could probably substitute.
I have enlarged the original eBay auction images in PhotoFiltre from 500 x 375 to 800 x 600. Slight increase in gamma and contrast have been applied to crisp up the images slightly when enlargements are viewed. However, lost resolution cannot be regained.
The Sturmey-Archer internal hub gear and extended axle reinforcing loops. The design was intended to allow the standard S-A cable to be used. The same as on bikes fitted with these hub gears. The S-A axle is also supported on the right to resist the heavy loads applied through the chain by the rider. A remarkably simple and clever design which provides similar axle strength to normal trikes without much increase in weight. It also allows the use of a Sturmey Archer hub gear without any major modifications or the use of a lay-shaft. The SA hub gear was appreciated by many for its reliability and freedom from maintenance compared with dérailleurs.
Just for a bit of fun I drew in a trendy, sloping, gent's top tube and "removed" the original top tube. Just to show how the trike would look as a gent's model. All it takes is a bit of imagination and a skilled frame builder. No lugs required on a fillet-brazed frame. I'm sure Geoff Booker at Trykit could apply a little of his "magic" here. ;-)
This trike eventually sold for only £156. Probably the low price was due to the trike residing on the Isle of Man. The cost of delivery to the UK being a factor for many potential buyers.