The Singer Xtraordinary Challenge was another model that was introduced to put the rider further back and down the backbone and yet to leave him in a position where he could exercise power over the cranks. The machine resembled an ordinary, but had an abnormally raked fork at an angle of nearly 30°. The cranks were driven by levers pivoted to bearings on the fork-sides about half way between the wheel centre and the periphery.
There are various claimants to the credit of introducing the first rear driven safety bicycle, where the wheels were practically of equal size and the gearing up of the driven wheel being effected by a pair of chain wheels and a chain. Commercially—and it is the object of this book to show the growth of the industry from a business view point—the honour is due to the late J. K. Starley, nephew of the original James Starley. Mr. Starley was in partnership with a Mr. Sutton in Coventry as a bicycle maker, and in 1885–86 designed the “Rover” safety bicycle which has “set the fashion to the world,” as, say, The New Rover Cycle Co.’s advertisements. The original “Rover” was the forerunner of many famous safety bicycles, and numerous and ingenious were the designs brought out to obviate infringement of the original registered design and yet produce a safety bicycle with similar characteristics.
Starley’s frame connected the two wheels by forks, but there was no tube connecting the saddle and the bottom bracket as was afterwards done by Thos. Humber, at Beeston, Notts. An inspection of the illustration of the original Rover frame is the only way to understand what is meant by the above description. The Rover safety bicycle sounded the death knell of the “ordinary” and gave an immense impetus to the industry.