Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Elswick Hopper- the Lincoln Imp

Every now and then a fantastic bike arrives. Being fantastic doesn't often carry with it an equivilent pricetag, rather the real value is in the life of the bike and the story it has to tell.

Today I took ownership of Lilly's Lincoln Imp, a battered and dusty racer which had been worked hard and now was feeling a little tired. Older bikes tend to have grown with their owners, they show the repairs and changes in a way that more modern bikes don't tend to. I'm pretty certain this is because they come from a time not so long ago when things were reused and repaired rather than simply replaced.

Although some parts of the frame look to be hand painted, when I brushed away the oily wood dust and looked a little closer i discovered a bike which had campagnolo gears, a beautiful reynolds 531 frame (with lovely lugs) and a Coventry made Middlemores saddle.

It also has the most fantastic Flip- Flop rear wheel, with single and five speed blocks.

The Lincoln Imp showcased Elswick Cycles at their best, sadly Elswick went the same way as most British cycle companies after the 1960's decline. Somewhere in the 1980's after a stream of relaunches and new owners it finally ceased trading as a cycle brand.

You can find out alot more information about Elswicks Lincoln Imp through the Hopper project and on Sheldon Brown's Elswick page.


  1. I was 17 in 1960 and ordered a brand new Elswick Lincoln Imp with five speed Campagnola gears and my own colour preference which was gold black and white.I lived in West London and raced my parents who went by train via Waterloo Station to Portsmouth to catch the Isle of Wight ferry. I cycled down on a hot summers day and arrived ( without dismounting once) to see their ferry pull out.No cycle helmet but with racing shoes and a water bottle. Unforgettable trip.Good to see a photo of my model.A.R.

  2. I had a lovely brand new black & grey Lincoln Imp when I was nearly 14. White handlebar tape, and white break hoods. I remember it had Benelux gears (which I changed for Campags a couple of years later). I loved that bike. But a year or so later I discovered motorbikes. I can't remember what happened to that Elswick bike. Sad. Those pictures take me back.