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Dan Rudge built the first Rudge High bicycles in Coventry in 1870. In 1894 Rudge merged with the Whitworth Cycle Co to form Rudge-Whitworth. They made an excellent reputation for themselves over the next forty years producing a full range of beautifully made machines with many clever and unique features and ridden by King George V and family. Their road racers were widely used and they also diversified into motorcycles and sports car wire wheels in the early 20th century. In 1935 they were bought by EMI (the record company) and under Jack Lauterwasser’s direction produced some superb top end racers as well as more mundane machines. EMI however soon decided that cycles were not for them and Rudge was sold to Raleigh in 1943 who used the Rudge name to badge engineer what were essentially Raleigh machines with Rudge pattern fork crown and chainwheel. The name was finally killed off in the early 60s in Britain but may well have been used in export markets later. Certainly one of the p[rominentmakers of the classic British era and takes a rightfully prominent spot in Britain’s cycling history.

(Hilary Stone 2000)




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