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Ww2 phillips mk. V military infantry bicycle

Ian L

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To start with, having front and back stirrup brakes. It would be a Mk V*. The Mk V had a coaster rear brake.



Hi Tony I thought you might come to my rescue but I'm a tad confused with your answer, are you saying a MK5 does have front and rear stirrup brakes or a rear coaster brake ?

I always thought that they only a front brake lever but looking at the link you posted it shows 2 levers on the handle bars.

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Ian, the mark V had a coaster brake on the back so only one brake lever. Pedal backwards for rear brake. The Mk V* had the two brake levers. So yours would be a Mk V*. As for wheel size, that can vary. Seems to be what was available at the time. Are the tyres marked ?

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Ian and Tony,


Have done a lot of research on these, and years ago looked into a WW2 parts list, and no 26" wheels were mentioned, and have watched the big sell out of these from the Belgium Army in the 80's and never seen 26" wheels on them, later in the 90's all these glossy green Phillips ones were for sale at Beltring, for very little money, and did buy 2 at the time for spares.


So as to the the above link, of the 1939 one, if you look closely, the same deep bronze green is under the matte paint, and for me that is also a postwar indication.


But I could well be wrong, and if anyone finds some conclusive proof, I stand to be corrected.


Just found on another forum, a post by Johan Willeart (of H-D fame) that only MKVI bicycles had 26" wheels, will ask him about it.


Here my 1946 V.A.O.S. that does mention the 26"wheels and tyres;






Here my spares chest, clearly postwar, and carries 26"spare tubes;














I won't bore you with too many pictures, but here some WW2 b/w ones, all big wheels;






As you all probably know, only the rear carriers were dated, and no lists of framenumbers with contract dates exist, but a friend is looking in the N.A. so who knows what might turn up?





Edited by welbike
wrong picture inserted, more info added
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Is this a Philips MK5 Infantry bike ? or just a civilian bike painted green ? what would be the distinguishing feature's if any ?


Ian, further to Lex's excellent input, I found out earlier these bikes were also referred to as "Trade Pattern" bicycles and/or contracts referred to "Contractor's standard specification". This means the military bikes were indeed basically civilian bicycles, with some military features like paint, rear cargo carrier and rifle brackets.


The basic design was the English "Roadster" type, an old-fashioned style of bicycle popular in the countryside. They usually had 28 x 1-1/2" wheels with Westwood rims, long cranks and long wheelbases, and very shallow frame angles (68 degrees or less). Roadsters used "roller-lever" brakes operated by rods. Roadsters were built for durability above all else, and were intended to be able to cope with dirt roads, cobblestones and unpaved footpaths, with a bare minimum of maintenance. No serious attempt was made to save weight in their design or construction.

With those design requirements in mind, one can understand why the military ordered "trade pattern" roadsters - they fitted the bill for a sturdy bike perfectly.

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I believe that the stamping on the carrier relates to the carrier manufacturer only.


Frank Ashby & Sons of Bournville Stamping Works, Charlotte Road, Stirchley, Birmingham 30.


They are listed in the MoS ledgers as supplying Carrier Kits for Mk IV and Mk V Bicycles.


A 'Google' shows a number of pre-war patent applications for carrier-type bicycle accessories.

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Had a quick look, not looked inside it for a long time!! Carrier is mentioned as the MKIV model, with clamping plates MKII


And now I see why it stuck in my mind, that wartime bikes all should have 28"wheels, both MK5 and MK5* are listed as having 28" wheels. (period!)


The 26"tyres, as seen above in the page from the VAOS, are for the BICYCLES, Ladies, withous accesories Cat. No. 10031,

3 pounds 19 shillings and sixpence each! (I'll have a dozen please!)


The MK5 came complete with all accesories, too much to type, will see if I can make a scan, but cost 8 pounds 9 shillings!!


If enough interest, I can do a reprint???





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  • 1 month later...

Hi Chaps,


No time for full scans yet, but while looking for something else came across this misplaced or never filed bicycle parts list from 1957.


Scans should speak for themselves, 26"wheel and tyres, that distinctive sprocket and other details, what make a postwar bike postwar.











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I have a RAF ww2 phillips on 28,1/2 wheels and the colour is black and never been green i questioned an ex RAF serviceman who told me when he joined up during the war as part of your training you spent two months in the bicycle workshop and all RAF bicyles were black

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  • 2 years later...






Hi Alex I'm resurrecting this thread as I now have myself a BSA mk5 (well on Sunday I will) what can you tell me about this bike such as what's missing ?

And where might I get some rifle clips from ? original or repo ?

Regards Ian

BSA mk 5 1.jpg

BSA mk 5 2.jpg

BSA mk 5 3.jpg

BSA mk 5 4.jpg

BSA mk 5 5.jpg

BSA mk 5 6.jpg

BSA mk 5 7.jpg

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Went round to see a mate today at his scrap yard to 'chew the fat' and as I went into the porch to knock the front door laying on the floor was this cycle rack. Unbelievable that one turned up within 24 hours of finding the bike.

Now all I need are the gun clips like the ones in these 'library' photos




BSA mk 5 Rack 1.jpg

BSA mk 5 rack 2.jpg

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