Hobbs at the Veteran-Cycle
The Veteran-Cycle Club is the focus and inspiration for
many bicycle collectors in the UK and abroad. Mervyn Cook is
the Hobbs of Barbican Marque Enthusiast for the V-CC. His
interest started when he found an unidentified lightweight
with lovely lug-work which investigations showed to be a
1946 Hobbs Superbe.
Over the last three years, Mervyn has been compiling a
register of surviving Hobbs bikes which now contains details
of some 120 machines and continues to grow. Although the
Hobbs company records have not survived, documentation
accompanying the frames on the register have enabled the
three frame number codes to be identified and it is now
possible to accurately date Hobbs frames from their unique
number. The register is becoming a valuable historic
database, providing an insight into the machines built by
Joe and Albert Hobbs.
The oldest Hobbs recorded, a Raceweight, is accompanied by
its original invoice, dated February, 1933, and numbered
680. Pre-war frame numbers simply ran numerically up to No
2202, a track iron built shortly before the war which
brought Hobbs frame-building activities to a temporary end.
Other interesting pre-war frames from the register include
No 1649, built in about 1936, and the first frame known to
have the delicately ornate "Continental Superbe" lug-work.
This beautiful lug design was used by Hobbs for the post-war
Superbe and the top Blue Riband models.
Dating a Hobbs
For the first two years of post-war production, frames
were initially numbered with a six, seven or eight digit
number, the first two of which indicate the year of build.
Thus, the earliest pre-war Hobbs on the register is a
Superbe, No 450535. Another Superbe, No 4601207, was built
in 1946 and was also accompanied by its original
In 1947, Hobbs changed the numbering system to that used for
the remainder of their time as a major frame-builder. Frame
numbers were prefixed by a letter indicating the build
month. The remainder of the number began with the digit
indicating the year. Thus, the frame number B7500 was built
in July 1947. This belongs to another Superbe model which,
complete with the original invoice, is in the British
The earliest lugless frame recorded, No 46101506, was built
in 1946. Frames featuring the Blue Riband's design details
and extra-fine quality are also recorded as early as 1946.
using information collated from the register and surviving
catalogues, it is now possible for Mervyn to identify most
models from the lug-work and from paint finish and other
If you are curious about your Hobbs or you have a mystery
model and would like to know more, please contact Mervyn on
his email address, email@example.com,
or conventionally at 14 St Helens Road, Hayling Island,
Hants, PO11 0BT.
If you have a Hobbs not yet included on the register, please
send Mervyn details of the frame, preferably including
photos of the lug-work.
1999-2002 B.Robbins Last Updated 20 October