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Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Mystery Bike: Black Arrow

UPDATE 7/30/12: Eagle-eyed reader Romsby has let us know that this bike has been stolen since I snapped these shots. For more info, go to the Bikeportland stolen bikes listing.

Every once in awhile I come across a bike that stumps me. Here's one:

It's labeled a "Black Arrow" bicycle. Sounds very British-y, as there was a "Golden Arrow" by Raleigh. Many things about this bike say to me "old British three-speed". But it doesn't add up.

Take the fork. Looks like a Raleigh fork. But there's no drilled hole for the brake.

Or the hub. This is a single-speed coaster brake hub. Not very British.

Or these dropouts. Crimped. Not something Raleigh was known for doing.

And of course the headbadge is obscured by the Voodoo Doughnut sticker. All I'm left with is a pile of contradictions, and a "Black Arrow" logo on the seat tube. What's the deal with this bike? Is it some mystery off-brand? A bike cobbled together from whatever? Does anyone have a clue?


  1. Hi, Shawn.
    This bike was reported stolen in Portland 2012-07-09. Check it out:

    The victim uses your image in the report. Maybe she can tell you something of its provenance.

    By the way, The Black Arrow was a Robert Louis Stevenson story, serialized pseudonymously in 1883 in the wonderfully titled "Young Folks; A Boys' and Girls' Paper of Instructive and Entertaining Literature" and published as a whole in 1888.

    Bon chance,
    ~Robin in Victoria

    1. Robin--Hmmm, interesting. Didn't realize it has been stolen, though I don't check the stolen listings much.

      I went back and check the date on the last photo I took of the Black Arrow, and it was July 2nd, one week before it was reported stolen.

      Kids, keep your eyes peeled! This isn't a common bike!

  2. ps- I meant to add: A lube port on a single-speed coaster? How common are those? First one I think I have seen. Maybe this is a clue?

    Also, for some reason the Raleigh similarity but crimped stays say "Made in India" to me...

    1. India, hmmm. That's a good, educated guess. The lube port is indeed interesting.


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