Road test: 1951 WEARWELL
by "Nimrod" in Cycling magazine
over 75 years' is one of the proud claims of The Wearwell Cycle Co.
Ltd. (New-Griffin Works, Horseley Fields, Wolverhampton) the company
is right up to date in the field of cycle design and manufacture.
The current range of 14 models caters for all riders, from boys and
girls on the 18in. 'Sports Juvenile' model to super-fast roadmen on
the 22 lb. "Tour of Britain," which is supplied complete with such
fittings as a compressed air pump."
I chose for examination the Mountain King 10-speed version which
has more general appeal than the racing man's Tour of Britain, it is
also within the popular price range at Lb 32 19s. 6d.
The model delivered to me for testing was obviously finished with
the teenager in mind - dark blue frame with light blue head and seat
tube contrasts, light blue mudguards, handlebar tape and brake
cables and touches of red on the G.B. Coureur Plus brakes and stem,
red fluting on the cranks, red handlebar plugs (fitted with red
plastic reflectors) and red plastic protective covers for the
mudguard stay ends.
"Bold lug work, lined in gold, seat stays which just fail by 1
in.from forming a complete wrapover at the seat cluster, Reynolds
531 butted frame tubes, brazed on lamp bracket boss and gear and
brake cable eyes and channels, and a grease nipple on the underside
of the bottom bracket ; solid front fork ends and Cyclo rear ends,
are features of the 72 degree parallel frame."
"Highlights of the fittings are the Cyclo Benelux Super 60 gear and
double chain wheel changer, the G.B. Coureur Plus side-pull brakes
with Superhood levers, Maes handlebars and 2 1/2 in. extension,
Resilion large flange bubs, Dunlop Special lightweight high pressure
rims, Williams chain set and Brooks B.15 cutaway saddle."
"After a few days of familiarization, I handed the machine to a new
colleague for a second opinion. He comments as follows:"
" My enthusiasm was immediately aroused at first sight- an
immediate eye catching appearance added to precision craftsmanship.
For the Climber, the name Mountain King implies that it is a
machine for the climber. I tested, it over a route which included
several quite severe gradients and a series of gradual climbs. As a
Londoner, I had to venture on to the North Circular road before
reaching what is left of the countryside on the North-West edge of
Middlesex. Until branching off onto the Uxbridge Road, I found only
two features of the North Circular to test the Mountain King. The
first was a negligible gradient, which the Benelux Super 60 made all
the more negligible, and the second a length of road works. This
produced a few moments of uncomfortable jolting but I found no
difficulty in maintaining complete control over the machine. Despite
its lightness one retains an impression of solidarity and stability,
which is especially recommendable to the comparative novice like
Turning onto The Uxbridge Road I encountered a stiff headwind,
which enabled me to appreciate to the full the presence of the
10-speed Benelux. Initially, I had a little trouble in making proper
use of the front changer which one pushes forward for the smaller
chainwheel (un-like the rear gear, which is of parallelogram
action), but as in most things, I found practice made perfect. Even
when sorting out, the gears for the first time, another cause of the
novice's wobble,' the chain dropped easily into position, despite my
"I could not fault the maneuverability of the bicycle which was put
to good use flitting on and off the cycle track which has a
disconcerting habit of petering out along the Uxbridge Road. The G.B.
Conceur brakes served me well in the rush-hour traffic conditions at
Southall Broadway and also a little later when a bevy of
homeward-bound workmen on heavy roadsters suddenly swung out onto
the cycle track in front of me."
"A stretch of temporary road surface brought home to me. How long I
had been out of the saddle before riding the Mountain King, but
again I was able to avoid punishment. The Dunlop tyres were swishing
through Uxbridge and I was able to sample for the first time top
gear of 94 in. It was certainly ideal for downhill stretches
althoughout of condition as I was, I could not have maintained it
"Onto the A.40 and heading back to London I encountered the
sharpish climb at the Uxbridge via duct. But I was able to sit back
and twiddle 55 in. to within 30 yards of the top of the 400-yard
gradient before changing to the bottom gear of 52.9 in."
"Down the other side and we were on 51 miles of Clearway, most of it
downhill. This sped by in a matter of 15 minutes and the Mountain
King had shown its value on the flat as well as the climbs.
"The retail price with Benelux Super 60 1 0-speed gear is Lb32 19s.
6d., with chromium-plated fork ends extra."
"Well, that's a detailed opinion of the Wearwell Mountain King. It
is quite clearly a bicycle from which both the novice and the
experienced rider will gain a great deal of pleasure. It is designed
on Continental lines with the now-in-vogue parallel angles which
provide a sprightly, responsive machine. The sensible choice of
fittings- all, incidentally, made in Britain- complement the frame,
with the result that Wearwell have a winner!"
"I must confess that I was rather pleased to see a bicycle of this
quality which has been made throughout in Britain. Obviously it has
not needed to resort to components manufactured on the continent in
order to sell well."
MOUNTAIN KING SPECIFICATION
Frame: Reynolds 531 tubing, 72-degree parallel angles, 21 in. and 23
in. sizes; brozed-on cable eyes, gear cable guide, pump pegsand lamp
Wheels: Dunlop Special lightweight high pressure rims, 27in. by 1
1/4 in., Resilion large flange hubs. Dunlop road racing tyres.
Brakes: G.B. Coureur Plus with Superhood levers.
Handlebars: G.B. Maes alloy with 2 1/2in. G.B. forged Hidiluminum
Gears: Cyclo Benelux Super 60 10-soeed, with Benelux double chain
wheel changer: 49-47 rings, 24-21-18-16-14 sprocketsgiving 52.9,
55.1, 60.4, 63.0, 70.5, 73.5, 79.3, 82.71 90.6,94.5 ratios. Twin
levers on down tube.
Saddle- Brooks -B.15 cut-away with chromium-plated under-carriage.
Mudguards: Bantel Beaugarde Pump: Apex Superlite.
Finish: Flamboyant blue with light blue contrasts Alternative
finishes, flamboyant ruby or green with contrasting head andseat
Weight: 29 lb.