An old fashioned Hercules ‘Balmoral’ bicycle.
- Sturmey Archer 3 speed
- Wicker Basket
- British racing green (though rather weather beaten)
Hercules cycle company was founded in 1910. The company thrived through the adoption of efficient large scale production which led to lower average costs and one of the cheapest bikes on the market.
The name ‘Hercules; was chosen by company founder, Sir Edmund Crane for the qualities of toughness and reliability. In the early twentieth century, Hercules was a very successful British export. By the 1930s, Hercules was once the biggest producer of bicycles in the world, and by 1935, it accounted for up to 40% of British bicycle manufacture. The Hercules was particularly popular in Asia – Thailand and India, probably helped by its reliability and toughness. The brand name ‘Hercules’ was so strong, a Hercules was often considered to be a certain type of bike.
In the post war period, Hercules began to decline as other lighter bikes (using Reynolds 531 tubing) became more popular. Hercules was once a main competitor to Raleigh, but quickly lost market share and in the 1950s, Hercules was bought out by Raleigh. Raleigh cut down the number of brands and updated Hercules with Raleigh designs and components. The company was dissolved in 2003, though the brand still lives on under TI Cycles of India
- Modern Hercules Cycle by BSA
- Hercules Cycle Museum
- History of the Hercules (at Hub pages) though the is a bit confusing. It says Hercules started in the nineteenth Century, but the company Hercules Cycles was formed in 1910. It also said market became increasingly competitive in the middle of nineteenth Century – I think they mean 20th Century – just shows you can’t always trust a page on t’internet!
- Vintage cycle ads