23 Jan 2011

A Gillott Trike

Chris, the owner of this Gillott trike, has very kindly forwarded some superb images.

(Note: I have cropped, reworked and resized the original images to suit the smaller blog picture format: Even perfect images, like these, tend to appear darker and softer in a smaller size. The cropping is merely to make the details of the trike itself more visible in a smaller picture. If you click on the images for enlargements they vary between 200kB and 400kB) 

I believe this is a 25" frame. The condition is so fine I feel deeply embarrassed by my begrimed, rusting and scruffy Higgins.

The colour of the Gillott is my favourite deep purple but with a sumptuous metallic finish. This has a timeless quality which suits a period trike to perfection.

Nicely equipped too! I wonder where those neat rear mudguards and stays came from? My former belief that one didn't really need rear mudguards has been sorely tried this winter. My long suffering wife is fed up with washing road splashes from my cycling jackets!

I think we can safely assume the new owner is not vertically challenged. There is a wonderful airiness about a tall trike which is completely missed by the smaller sizes. One immediately thinks of elegant, long-legged race horses or greyhounds, upon sighting such a gentleman's trike.

Careful observation of the (enlarged) images show superb lugwork. With wonderfully extended points and fine detail. The understated Gillott transfers and head badge look well against such a beautiful finish. One to be very proud of. 

General view of the drive side. It all looks very smart and in excellent condition.

Rear end showing rack, reflectors and lights.

Trikes need more room on the road so anything which draws attention to your presence is keeping you safe. Particularly after dark! Remember that you are competing for the river's attention against conversation, mobile phone, eating, smoking, drug taking, alcohol abuse, adjusting the music system, reading business papers, newspaper and maps, turning to scold children in the back of the vehicle, playing with their GPS and ogling pedestrians. You come very low indeed on the list of priorities. As is witnessed by the number of cyclists deaths.

 Bottle dynamo to drive the big front and probably rear lights as well.

Gillott's signature on the down tube has an interesting font. It's nice to have the signature. A repaint often means the loss of such details unless  new transfers can be obtained.

 The single, front, side-pull brake is matched by the hub brake on the rear axle.

The bottom bracket with beautifully lined out lugs.

The cranks are interesting. They remind me of a period in the 60s when TA had similar shaped cotterless cranks.  Only later did cranks become shallower and wider.

The complex rear axle. With hub brake, differential and deraileur sprocket block all in line.

The pedals, toe-clips and rear changer are safely within the correct period and appearance for this classical, hand-built trike.
It is interesting to see the brass Higgins badge. Confirming the source of the rear end. The widened, axle reinforcing hoops are typical of Higgins differential axles.
A general view showing the shapely chainstays. More slender than typical Higgins stays.

Head tube, showing tastefully lined out lugs and top tube gear changer. Quite a handy position for a touring trike. (or any other trike for that matter)

The decoration on the fork crown seems to be quite typical. I have seen this ornamentation on several different trikes including on my own Higgins. On some fork crowns the shape is actually raised in the metal. On others it is merely painted on.
Seat tube cluster and Longstaff cantilevered rack. This hand-built frame shows typical attention to fine details in the brazed-on brake and gear cable stops and bosses. Such details tend to make the paintwork last longer because the cables are restrained from rubbing against the frame.

It will take some time to organise the pictures and text properly.

I am most grateful to Chris for sharing these images of his beautiful Gillott trike.

If you would like to share some images of an upright trike on this blog please feel free to get in touch: triker (at) nypost.dk

Click on any image for an enlargement. Back click to return to the text.


  1. What a lovely trike! I am thoroughly jealous. :-) Some of the things I love about this trike are 1) the hub brake cleverly incorporated into the rear end with differential; 2) the elegant curve of the drive-side chainstay to embrace the rear reinforcing loops; 3) the top tube shifter boss, which appears to not have been original but drilled at a later date, quite possibly when the rear-facing bottle bosses were brazed on, which are also unlikely to be original. The reason I say that the top-tube shifter boss is not original is twofold: 1) On the second photo from the top one can see a knurled fitting over the original down-tube boss, and 2) in the sixth photo from the top, which shows the bottom bracket area, is a pulley-wheel cable guide, which on this trike is unused but would have received the shifter cable from the down-tube.

    Speaking of the bottom bracket area, those are French Stronglight alloy cranks there, very similar to TA, and highly regarded by both racers and cyclotouristes back in the day. They had the advantage of being available in long sizes, and these appear to be 175mm or possibly even 180.

    The other tremendous thing about this trike is 4) the rear fender stays. I've certainly seen them before on trikes, but I lament the lack of them on my Bertrand. Should I ever have my trike repainted, I will most definitely have at least period fender eyes brazed on, if not permanent stays themselves.

    5) And that Longstaff rack is tremendous. I didn't know that they offered such a rack. While the support pillar is more modern-looking than I care for, it would be hidden by a saddle bag. And the rack itself is lovely and provides a stable platform.

    Surely, because of the addition of various bosses, etc., this must be a repaint. All in all this is a lovely and subtle updating for more convenient use of a vintage trike. And just in my size, too!

    Well done to both Chris and Chris!

    Cheerio for now,


  2. Hi Peter

    I was giving the other Chris a chance to respond to your comment. He's probably out riding his Gillott. From correspondence I believe the trike was refurbished in 2000/1. That was when the gear lever was moved to the top tube and the cantilevered Longstaff rack added. The tubing is interesting being tapered externally on seat and down tubes. Mudguard stays believed custom made for Higgins.

    Chris the pedalling pedant. (as my wife now calls me) :-))

  3. Please pardon this method of connecting. I thought I had an email address, but I can't seem to locate it. I thought you might be interested in this photo of a Bob Jackson at the 1976 New York Bike Show.


  4. Hi Gunnar

    Thanks for the heads up. Nice trike!

    Are trikes really supposed to be that clean? I spent an hour cleaning mine today and the "after" looked just the same as "before"! I'm sure that isn't supposed to happen. I may ride it through the nearest car wash on bath night. That'll teach it to get dirty! ;-)

    Try: triker (at) nypost.dk