By Peter Russell

Talking with an old school friend today to recall the Aussie bicycles we owned as kids. The topic of the ultimate ride came up, and we settled on the Malvern Star bicycles of the 70s.

My mate Ralph owned a Malvern Star Dragstar. Another kid owned a Malvern Star Chopper and my neighbour owned a Malvern Star Skidstar GT.

These were the bikes kids dream of owning. Only a select few got to own one, and most owners were very fussy about who they'd let on them for a ride.

At my school, the Strudwick boys owned a pair of Dragstars, and a kid by the name of Leggatt owned the Easyrider-inspired Malvern Star Chopper. He was the coolest kid on two wheels.

We would wait at the rear gates of the school just to see him riding it. Despite the fact the Chopper was a totally impractical bicycle, we didn't care.

The Chopper had a high-rise handlebars, big "banana" seat with backrest and high-bar floating springs; frame mounted hard-shifter, redline tyres, handlebar grips with steamers, and available in a variety of cool metallic colours.

The Dragstars while not as radical in design had the famous "banana" seat, high-rise handlebars, redline tyres and a fixed handle shifter between the legs. Many a young boy felt the pain of landing on that shifter. Definitely, a design fault that was later removed for obvious reasons.

The top line bicycle was the Malvern Star Skidstar GT. These were a full-frame bicycle with curved, metallic coloured integrated roadster frame, half-rise handlebars, hydraulic front and rear brakes, hard-mounted gear changer, twin headlights with an integrated speedometer. And, of course, GT striped seat, handlebars and GT stickers on the frame. The most popular colours were orange and mustard.

Good examples of these bicycles are hard to find these days. If you do manage to come across on they are very, very collectable and valuable.
Even a rough genuine Dragstar will sell for up to $350. I have not seen a complete Skidstar GT, but a good example will bring $1000 easily.

Malvern Star closed its doors in 1980. Only the name remains in use today by a bicycle importer.

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