7 Jan 2011

Lady Higgins may yet ride again.

Higgins Tricycle on eBay (end time 14-Jan-11 15:39:02 GMT

 From the eBay auction: "1 Higgins Tricycle, it still has the Higgins badge on the front although it is a bit faded it is still visible. It has been well used and is in need of some TLC. The seat has been repaired by a previous owner, the gearbox is also not working at the moment. Selling this on behalf of the Thames Valley Adventure Playground reg. charity 278336 www.tvap.co.uk"

A lady's Higgins has come up on eBay. In need of some TLC, as the seller clearly states. Sold on behalf of a charitable cause. This would scrub up nicely to provide an authentic, period tricycle. It seems to have been red at one stage but has been crudely, over-painted with black. Not really a bad thing if it protected the thin steel frame tubes from damaging rust.

A general view. A handy rear carrier is provided. Original steel front mudguard.

Seen from the drive side. Alloy, side-pull front brake and rear hub brake on the other handlebar lever.

 The "Lady with scales" head badge is badly faded. No doubt restorable with a steady hand. Very gentle cleaning will be rewarded. Chris Hewitt would be the one to advise on restoration.

Chain guard, steel chainset and probably 26" low pressure tyres. Hub brake on the right side wheel.

Higgins Sturmey-Archer in-line axle with hub gears. The Higgins Register states that this was first introduced in 1953 so we do have an age limit. Odd to think it might be the same age as my own "Ultralite" trike. It must be the black paint!

 The chrome on the front Dyno-hub is prettier from this side.

Front wheel and gently raked forks with some surface rust on the Dyno-hub.


The saddle is poorly but easily replaced.

The auction ended on a very low winning bid of £88.66p after 10 bids. While it certainly needs some work to bring it up to a high standard I am surprised at the low price it sold for. Given the very high price of "handicap" tricycles this Higgins would have made a much more useful machine at a very much lower weight.

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



  1. Greetings---

    Thank you, Chris, for posting this trike to your blog, and for the information on the introduction date of the Higgins hub gear rear axle. I did not previously know that the axles were introduced in '53.

    I suppose if we could turn the hands of time back and make an ideal tricycle world a "universal" axle would have been constructed which could have easily accommodated either a derailleur system or a hub gear setup, if this was even possible.

    As owner of the C. Bertrand trike as pictured on this site, I was disappointed to discover that my axle layout cannot accept a hub gear. I ride in a number of vintage hub gear events each year and would love to ride a trike in them, but now, technically, I cannot. Hmmmm...I could envision in the future buying yet another trike with a built-in hub gear just for the sake of these Sturmey-style events.

    I definitely believe you are correct regarding the wheel size. They are 26" rims with 26" x 1 3/8" roadster tyres. The entire trike, with its permanently brazed-on rear rack, its chain guard, its Sturmey-Archer hub gear, and Dynohub front wheel, is set up for travel about town, errands and touring. It's the trike equivalent to a Rudge or Humber Sports or Raleigh Superbe. It's nice to see a Higgins in this rather utilitarian configuration. Not a cornering-at-speed hanging off the saddle David Duffield-type racing machine, but a trike for the masses, as it were. It most definitely has its place.

    Speaking of rear racks, since I am a dedicated tourist, I really love the Higgins and Longstaff machines with brazed-on racks, such as this one. Because of its rack (and a rather unusually configured one at that), the gold Higgins on your blog is one I almost went after, despite the frame being an inch too small for a perfect fit for me. After the acquisition of a Trykit to convert my Bertrand from one to two-wheel drive, my next purchase will be for a custom-brazed detachable rear rack for touring. Should I ever get the frame resprayed, I may even have a rack permanently brazed on.

    Regarding refinishing the headbadge on the above Higgins, I don't know if any of the respray shops such as Argos, Mercian, Bob Jackson, Cleveland, etc. re-enamel badges. I've never heard them tout that service, and never heard a thing about it from any of the vintage British cycle collectors I know. Here in the United States there are shops centering around the balloon tire bicycle hobby that do meticulous restorations of headbadges. I am always disappointed when I see a British cycle otherwise completely and perfectly restored sporting a faded, bare metal headbadge. The devil is in the details, I believe, and if one believes in restoring bikes at all, badges should be repainted as new in order to match a restored frame. It just makes sense to me, but nobody in England seems to do it.

    I really am developing a fondness for this functional ladies Higgins trike depicted here. It most definitely has its place amongst its more thoroughbred racing brothers. Thanks again for posting this here, Chris. I enjoy your blog immensely and it is a great service to all tricycle lovers which you are doing!

    Kind regards,

    Peter, in the Colonies

  2. Hi Peter

    Always a joy to read your comments. Particularly when they are so full of praise. :-)

    Two quick points: Chris Hewitt may be able to help on head badges. He is the acknowledged expert and restorer of Higgins and Rogers. No online presence, I'm afraid, but may be accessed through details on the Tricycle Association website.


    Geoff Booker (Trykit) does made-to-measure racks. With braze-on fixing bosses to allow instant removal for your next race. Given an accurate drawing of your rear triangle I'm sure Geoff could help. You'd have to arrange the brazing of your own fixing bosses of course.


  3. Great news on both counts, Chris. Thanks very much! Peter

  4. Love that Higgins, I have the Gents version but alas its off the road due to breakages. One day a trip to Doctor Geoff maybe. JD in Belgium.

  5. Happy to say I've done over a months cycling on my Gents Higgins Roadster trike, single free 40/20 and its a joy to ride. Here's hoping I'll have many years on this trike. Thanks Chris for your blog.

  6. HI JD

    Thanks. A happy tricyclist indeed!

    54" single gear?

    55" was my bottom gear when I was a teenager in hilly Bath.

    Climbed quite a few 1-in-4s on that. One wheel drive too!

    I once set up an old bike with a rubber suspended, girder front fork with 44 x 28 fixed.

    The fun was rather short lived after a few terrifying descents! :ø))

  7. Hi Chris,
    Trike still motoring along. Have a carrier fitted and I use this trike nearly everyday. Funny to think I'm riding aound on a 52 year old trike. Thanks again to Trykit for getting it back on the road. One thing I have learned is it's best that the trike goes to Mr Booker as fitting from a distance is not a good idea. I found a white van driver who drives from Poland to Ireland and back every few weeks and he delivered and collected the Higgins Roadster, he also brought the Higgins Ultralite for its 2wd Trykit conversion plus a GL that needed frame repairs. This Polish guy made it all possible so thanks to him. You really have to say the net really makes things happen.
    I wonder what happened to the Ladies Higgins Roadster? I hope it went to a good home and has had many days out and about.
    Thanks Chris for the blog.
    Regards JD in Belgium.

  8. Hi JD

    Thanks for the kind words.
    This Higgins trike sold so somebody must have it somewhere.

    Agree entirely on "alternative" freight options for trikes.
    What would we do if the Internet vanished overnight?!?
    Hell of a shock to discover how much my Trykit was going to cost to send over!
    My eBay Higgins came over with a big name carrier for 1/10th the cost.

    Take care out there,