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1926 EW 350 - wheels finish

Started by honza, 19 Apr 2006 at 13:19

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Hello everybody,

I am new to this forum. My name is Jan and I recently acquired 1926 Douglas EW 350. Bike is in very good condition but still requires some work. The previous owner changed the rims to be able to use modern tyres instead of original beaded tyres. I would like to return the bike to its original specification and change the rims back to beaded ones.
What was the original finish of 1926 EW 350's rims, spokes and nipples? Was it all black enamel? Rims were definitely black but I am not sure about the nipples and spokes. Could these be nickel plated?

Thanks a lot for advice.

Best regards from Hong Kong,
Jan Vondrasek


In terms of originality I cannot swear to what Douglas produced on the EW350 but an attractive finish I have used on a number of restorations on early machines is for the hubs to be nickel plated, the spokes to be finished in black then with nickel plated brass nipples and black rims. The alternate bright, dark, bright, dark looks good and was certainly original on some models.

You may have a problem with obtaining correct rims and tyres to go back to original for this model. The EW350 was fitted with 25" x 3" tyres the one, and possibly the only, machine of the period to be fitted with tyres of this size. As a result reproduction tyres of this size in beaded edge form have never been made. It is for this reason that many EWs were fitted with modern rims so that WM1 wired edge tyres could be fitted. However, I understand that some makes of 26" x 3" beaded edge tyres have been fitted recently with success.


Welcome Jan. Glad to see the registration worked OK for you. Thanks to Ronald for helping out.



For the EW, I am pretty sure the finish was always originally black, for rim, nipples, spokes, hub, and brake drums (integral on the 350cc.) I have seen cases where Douglas painted over nickle plated spoke nipples, presumably purchased that way (nickled), up to 1936.

Douglas advertised that 24x2.5 tyres could be fitted to the 25x3 rims, but of more interest that 26x3 rims could be fitted at extra cost (presumably for colonial markets.) The latter being a size available today. 



Thanks a lot for all replies. As far as the original finish is concerned I would agree with Doug - all black. No doubt combination of black paint and nickel plating would look attractive too.
I have several copies of 1926 - 1927 EW 350 Sales brochures and Manuals. They show the standard rim size 24"x2.25" which can accommodate the tyres 24"x2.25" or 24"x2.5" or 25"x3". The later being probably the standard fitment specially produced for Douglas. 26"x3" wheels could be fitted at extra cost with 26"x3" or 26"x3.5" tyres. These were mostly used for colonial markets.
I found button tread beaded tyres on in sizes 24"x2.25" and 26"x3" and I will search for beaded edge rims as well.



When I obtained my CW that was also a "Colonial" version fitted originally with the optional balloon tyres namely 25" x 3" on the 24" x 2.1/4" rims. Because of the tyre sourcing problem the previous owner had fitted a 24" x 2.1/4" tyre on the rear wheel and frankly it looked ridiculous. The front tyre was original and so perished that you could see canvas through the cracks on the sidewalls. As 26" x 2.1/2" is the normal standard on the CW I fitted new rims and the tyres easily available in that size.
I was not aware that 26"x 3" tyres were offered as an option for EW. There should be no problems if you go down this route. Block tread beaded edge tyres in the 26" x 3" size are available from a number of sources in the UK imported mostly from the Far East although I believe there is also a source in France. Rims are also available to suit. Small batches of Dunlop tyres are also produced from time to time (In Japan I believe). These, when available are generally more expensive than most of the other makes available. The Coker tyres also tend to be very expensive.


Thanks for message, Chris. I also think that 26" x 3" tyres would look better. There might be too much space between the tyre and mudguard if 24" tyres are fitted. But my bike is still in Austria and I cannot compare how big the difference is if I use 26" or 24" tyres. My friend will check it and hopefully will let me know soon.