1912 Royal Sunbeam for Gentlemen (Green Enamel)
Golden or Royal Sunbeams with painted rather than plated parts were the most expensive Sunbeams on offer. Green paintwork was offered in the 1910 catalogue (extracts above and below); but, by 1912, when this Sunbeam was made, it was no longer a catalogue option. Nevertheless, the catalogues were only a guide, and a customer could order whatever they wanted.
As you can see in the Sunbeam prospectus below: ‘Enamelling Royal Sunbeams in colours, including Gold Leaf lines’ cost an extra 20/- (£1).
So the total price for this Royal Sunbeam for Gentleman, including green paintwork and Sunbeam Three-Speed gears would have been £15 3/- 6d.
This was cheaper than Sunbeam’s top-of-the-range All-Black Golden Sunbeam for Gentlemen with epicyclic gears, at 16 guineas (£16 16/-), the company’s most expensive machine. The Golden only had two gears. Sunbeam maintained that their patent epicyclic two-speed system was the equal of a Sturmey-Archer or BSA Three-speed. They were right!
Nevertheless, by now, with Sturmey-Archer’s extensive advertising for its three speed gears, the public was at last sold on the idea of three-speed gears, and Sunbeam was obliged to offer an in-house three-speed option. (Actually, Sunbeam’s own hub gear is a BSA gear with the BSA name removed).
These Sunbeams were some of the most expensive bicycles in the world. To compare other upmarket three-speed British bikes from 1913, a top-of-the-range Elswick was 15 guineas, Raleigh Superbe X-Frame 15 guineas, Beeston Humber £15 12/- 6d, Ariel (without gears) £15, Dursley-Pedersen £12 7/- 6d, Triumph 10 guineas, Royal Enfield Duplex Girder £9 17/- 6d, BSA £9 15/- and Rudge-Whitworth £9 12/- 7d. Centaur had gone out of business by 1913, but their 1909 Resilient was 17 guineas and their 1911 Lightweight £9 15/-.
1912 Royal Sunbeam for Gentlemen
Dark Green Enamel with Gold Lines
Sunbeam Three-Speed Gear
Frame No 116811
1915 SUNBEAM CATALOGUE