Road test: 1951 WEARWELL Mountain King
by "Nimrod" in Cycling magazine
“Although ‘Established 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 myself.”
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 roughness.”
“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 long.
“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 bracket boss.
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 extension.
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 panels.
Weight: 29 lb.