'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing origins or MAKER?

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'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing origins or MAKER?

Postby kukamunga » Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:23 pm

I have had this bike sitting around taunting me for well over a year now.....

I finally stripped it down last weekend of it's heavy steel 70's
road garb to discover it's a bit of a vintage lightweight.....
Image
The bare 56 x 56 cm frame weighs a respectable 1900 g,
while the fork weighs just 700 g

Some nice hand crafted lugwork.....
Image Image
Image Image
Image Image

The headtube has 'ACE' stamped or engraved on it, whilst the frame & fork steerer both have #716 on them:
Image Image
Image Image
The BB shell has '58' or '53' or '5B' - 'BRITISH' plus some other obscure cast letters or numerals on it ^

Also on the BB shell, as well as on the fork steerer, is what I can only imagine is the frame makers mark or initials:
Image Image

Now, can anyone enlighten me as to who, what, when and where this frame is from?

Some other details include:

-50's era (?) 'integrated' head bearing cups
-~26.6 mm seat pillar size
-British/ISO BB shell x 67mm
-rear facing 10 mm horizontal rear fork ends (respaced (?) to 130 mm)
-8 mm front fork end slots x 90 mm spacing
-450 (+/- 12) mm chainstay length
-relaxed head & seat tube angles (not a track frame)

So, go ahead guys and gals, and please tell us what you know

Cheers

Tony
:wink:
Last edited by kukamunga on Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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by BNA » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:35 am

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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby kukamunga » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:35 am

Some more images.....

Integrated headset cups (below)
Image Image
Image Image
^ This image (above) shows some repairs or bracing at a
point that may have weakened or cracked in the past
when the rear forks were respaced to 130 mm
Last edited by kukamunga on Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:13 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby hartleymartin » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:46 am

Could you please measure the wheelbase? (distance between where the axles would be).

The fairly relaxed angles, rear-ward facing drop-outs, fairly light weigh and the presence of pump pegs suggest to me that this is either a sports roadster or a touring bicycle. Hazarding a guess, I reckon that the wheelbase would be between 41 and 44 inches - much longer than a road bicycle. It will probably take a 27" wheel.

I learned from other old bicycle experts around here that the integrated bearing cups in the headset were a thing done all the way into the early 1980's.
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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby WyvernRH » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:33 pm

kukamunga wrote:I have had this bike sitting around taunting me for well over a year now.....

I finally stripped it down last weekend of it's heavy steel 70's
road garb to discover it's a bit of a vintage lightweight.....
Image
The bare 56 x 56 cm frame weighs a respectable 1900 g,
while the fork weighs just 700 g

Some nice hand crafted lugwork.....

The BB shell has '58' or '53' or '5B' - 'BRITISH' plus some other obscure cast letters or numerals on it ^

Also on the BB shell, as well as on the fork steerer, is what I can only imagine is the frame makers mark or initials:


Now, can anyone enlighten me as to who, what, when and where this frame is from?

Some other details include:

-50's era (?) 'integrated' head bearing cups
-~26.6 mm seat pillar size
-British/ISO BB shell x 67mm
-rear facing 10 mm horizontal rear fork ends (respaced (?) to 130 mm)
-8 mm front fork end slots x 90 mm spacing
-450 (+/- 12) mm chainstay length
-relaxed head & seat tube angles (not a track frame)

So, go ahead guys and gals, and please tell us what you know

Cheers

Tony
:wink:


Nice lugwork! What little I can deduce from the pictures is that it is probably pre-WWII or maybe just after as the headlugs have a square profile on the bearing seat moulding at top and bottom. It would have said "British Made" on the underside of the bottom bracket with a casting number. This sort of B/bracket was common from the mid-thirties(earlier?) until the early fifties BUT I have seen one Aussie built frame which we reckon was made from stored parts which had this sort of bottom bracket that dated from the early 60's. From the fork steerer length I would say it did not have the older 'clamp' style headset but used the more modern (sic) locknut style.
Rear loading single speed or fixed/free flip flop was the way almost everybody rode and raced back then. The roads were crap so the more relaxed angles and long rake were to make the bike ridable over tough roads and long distances. Stand my 1938 Claud Butler road racer next to a 70's-80's roadbike and the difference is quite marked. Pump pegs were standard on anything other than pure track irons You would look a right twerp if you had a puncture in the middle of a race and couldn't blow up your tyre! (no support cars in those days except for the elite!)
My best guess is a just pre/post war roadie.
What does puzzle me is given the amount of work that went into cutting and cleaning up those lug profiles the lug bodies do not appear to have been polished and have imperfections that I would have sanded out. Also a bit of brass spatter seems to exist around some of the joints (maybe its paint blobs?) and the rear brake bridge looks like it's been stuck on with chewing gum.
Could be the bike has had a hard time over the years and a couple of sandblastings/paint jobs/ bits fixed to roughen things up. Maybe spreading the rear dropouts from say 100 to 130 caused the seat stay bridge to part from the stays and it had to be fixed/replaced? You might infer it has had at least one dodgy owner from those gouges on the chainstay. They are normally caused by the chainring digging in when the b/bracket bearings get loose and the whole axle/crank assembly wobbles. Not something any self-respecting rider would allow! :roll:
That crack in the stay is gonna cause you grief by the way. The best fix is a chainstay replacement but you can drill the ends of the crack and braze on a patch but it's a bu**er to do when there is a cease in the tube.
Cheers
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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby Torana68 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:49 pm

[.

I learned from other old bicycle experts around here that the integrated bearing cups in the headset were a thing done all the way into the early 1980's.[/quote]

errrr , noooo, those are 30's ish ones (and probably post war as well depending on stock held) the cheaper to make ones that came after this peetered out in the mid fiftees.
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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby cludence » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:09 pm

I agree with Roger and Richard, the headtube indicates prewar or just after, definately not near the 80's.

Nice lugwork too.

Shame it has had a hard time but I am sure it will come up nicely with a few repairs.

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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:52 pm

Pity about the chainstay damage, looks lovely otherwise.

Why not bog it up and ebay it? It must be a track bike, after all it's got rear facing dropouts[/sarcasm]

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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby Kid_Carbine » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:00 pm

The headlugs in the picture are of the pre war type with post war versions having a much more pronounced ball or bell shape. Without doubt this headset type was still in use in the lower end pressed lug models, frequently ladies frame types, into the 60's & perhaps in isolated instances, even later, but by this time these headsets & lugs were old stock.

"Other" experts??? Yeah, right.

It's a very nice frame that would easily be a beautiful frame after it has been properly repaired & repainted.
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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby kukamunga » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:03 pm

Thanks for the info so far

WyvernRH wrote:You might infer it has had at least one dodgy owner from those gouges on the chainstay. They are normally caused by the chainring digging in when the b/bracket bearings get loose and the whole axle/crank assembly wobbles. Not something any self-respecting rider would allow! :roll:

That crack in the stay is gonna cause you grief by the way. The best fix is a chainstay replacement but you can drill the ends of the crack and braze on a patch but it's a bu**er to do when there is a cease in the tube

Image
They are not gouges, but the edges of a brazed-on, slightly curved strip of steel, possibly covering up a crease, or crack, and the signs of 'tube-beating' to allow for a double-ring crankset, me thinks. I have just checked the frame alignment, and all seems pretty good - just the forks ends may need a bit of 'tweaking'

It is a pity about some of the rough finishes. I may build this up as a single-speed to see how it handles. Then down the track, if I like it , I may get it stripped, cleaned and polished up a bit, convert the head tube to accept 'normal' headset cups (if possible), and paint it up

Still like to know who or what 'ACE' were, and what the initials are.....
Image
.....AOS maybe?
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Re: 'ACE' #716 frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing ?

Postby hartleymartin » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:56 pm

Kid_Carbine wrote:The headlugs in the picture are of the pre war type with post war versions having a much more pronounced ball or bell shape. Without doubt this headset type was still in use in the lower end pressed lug models, frequently ladies frame types, into the 60's & perhaps in isolated instances, even later, but by this time these headsets & lugs were old stock.

"Other" experts??? Yeah, right.

It's a very nice frame that would easily be a beautiful frame after it has been properly repaired & repainted.
Good score.


Well, plenty of the 70's and some 80's era bicycles I service/re-cycle have this type of loose-bearings (often with no grease left in them and they all make a mad dash across the floor when they get dis-assembled!) Apparently loose bearings have a superior performance, but the caged type make for quicker assembly at the factory and easier maintenance.
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby cludence » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:32 pm

If I put loose bearings in my 2000 model avanti, will it make it a 40's bike?

40's (except when still using prewar stock), 50's, 60's and a small number of 70's era headtubes differ to what Kuka's bike has.

Later bikes had a different headset but often people would (and still do) use loose bearings over caged bearings.

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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby stackyard59 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:41 pm

Nothin like ya loose bearings madly dashing across the floor. :wink:
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby hartleymartin » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:00 pm

Trying to get all of the bearings back helps you gauge how good your eyesight still is.
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby il padrone » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:14 pm

stackyard59 wrote:Nothin like ya loose bearings madly dashing across the floor. :wink:

Do it over a nice big sheet pf cloth, or an old oil tray :idea: :wink:

I think the head lug shape Kid Carbine is referring to are all about the squared-off shape of the integrated race (instead of a bell shape), not about whether they used caged or loose bearings.
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby Kid_Carbine » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:01 pm

il padrone wrote:I think the head lug shape Kid Carbine is referring to are all about the squared-off shape of the integrated race (instead of a bell shape), not about whether they used caged or loose bearings.

Absolutely correct.

The Continental headset that replaced these older English headset types were known in the UK as early as 1938 & were seen on some bespoke Australian bikes about 15 years later.
Australian cycle manufacturers seem to have adopted the Continental headset in production somewhere close to 1958 & these too used loose balls in many applications. Caged balls are a relatively recent invention & reduce the load bearing capacity of the bearing assembly [hub, bottom bracket or headset] by virtue of the fact that they allow for fewer balls.
Fewer balls to share the wear means a greater loading on each ball for any given load that the assembly is obliged to handle & that can't be good in my view.

I prefer it the way God intended, loose balls all the way for me.
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby munga » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:52 pm

Kid_Carbine wrote:I prefer it the way God intended, loose balls all the way for me.


i'm with Commando_Carbine. :lol:
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby il padrone » Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:08 pm

Yeah, think about it. Would you like your balls all caught up in a cage?? :shock: :oops: :mrgreen:
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby WyvernRH » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:32 pm

il padrone wrote:Yeah, think about it. Would you like your balls all caught up in a cage?? :shock: :oops: :mrgreen:


C'mon guys help Hartley out, he's here to learn and not old and grizzled like some of us (ok me..) to remember this sort of stuff on the road.
OK, Intro to headset history post 1920 lecture,are you sitting comfotably?
And I will point out for the picky this IS a summery ok? :wink:

The headset design world settled down mostly (mostly...don't mention Chater-Lea)to the 1" headset size circa 1920-1925 in the UK (Aussies you work out your own dates). Apart from the fact of course that the French, the Swiss, the Germans all went for their own fractionally different threads/tube sizes. Tandems were a world of their own... don't ask....
Mostly builders used a clamp style headset like this.
Image
Yes its a Malvern Star just to make you all feel at home :D . The hardened races which hold the (loose) bearings are separate parts held in the top/bottom head lugs and the chrome clamp unit.
Next development was this in the mid-late 30's:
Image
Not the best picture cos you can't seee the lock nut BUT you can see the square edges of the cast headlugs which date this bike pre-war. The clamp has vanished to be replaced by a simple lock nut and thus a shorter fork steerer But the bearing races are still separate items held in the headlugs and the adjustable chrome headset.
Ok next came the post war variations:
Image
here you go, pressed steel headlugs but still separate bearing races internally. You can see the lock nut on this one. Circa 40's- 50's for this model.
Then came the 'Continental' style headset as mentioned by Kid. Now to avoid being shot down, this ACTUALLY appeared pre WWII on the flash stuff in the UK and (as I understand it) in Oz but became more commonly used as the 50's wore on.
Image
Note here the headlugs are now just to hold the frame together, the inner headset races are now pressed into the head tube as a separate item. This sort of headset is the basis of all that followed such as this 70's Shimano 600:
Image
All loose bearings :wink: until the late 70's when a few high end makes got cassette bearings and then the manufacturers found how you could speed up prtoduction by giving the assembly line monkeys one caged part to install instead of 80 small ball bearings and the caged bearing made its appearance :| Not totally bad, the high end stuff had cast cages and high tolerances which worked well but the rest had cheap pressed cages that distorted, jammed the balls and cause all sorts of grief. There are still big fights as to wether you should pack as many balls into a bearing as possible or leave a space. Me personally I prefer to pack as many in as possible and then take one out to give space for rotation and slip. :P
Lastly, the Aheadset appeared, again really a production line asset and not much else (IMHO) and then the 'recessed' Aheadset made its appearance which more or less takes us back to the beginning of this story.....
Note there a few variants on all this, the most common of which is the 'Half-Continental' where the headlugs are 'simple' with no retainers BUT the pressed in parts of the headset are not hardened races but are merely there to replace those bulges in the headlugs, ie to retain the separate loose hardened races that previously sat in the headlugs. These are fairly uncommon in the UK but seemed tres popular with late 50's bikes in Oz! Others would know more about those.
Hope this helps
Cheers
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby LG » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:46 pm

Wow ... great summary and resource for period dating older frames. Thanks Richard. Pity this info is hidden in a topic which will be hard to find in later searches. How about a bike part evolution topic? Part 1 - headsets.
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby hartleymartin » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:59 pm

My universe roadster has the 50's style head-tube lugs. My Malvern Star has the 70's style pressed-in ones (Malvern Star has been dated c.1972).

You think you have a good idea of most things and then some small detail like this comes up and reminds you that not all is as simple as it seems.
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby cludence » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:25 pm

Martin,

Bikes are simple, it is the various styles, eras, components and variations of each that can complicate things. -This is the fun part of it though. There is always something new to learn so you can never say you are bored. :)

I think LG's suggestion is a good one. There are several people on this forum who have been cycling, restoring and learning about bikes for a long time. Their knowledge and input is a valuable resource for everyone to learn from. It would be good to have it within the forum as a reference point for people.

What do you think Richard? Fancy writing some info? Kidcarbine, 531db, Garyf, Rogerrabbit and 5*Rolf are also good ones who could contribute. (providing they are happy to do so)

My apologies, there are a few others whose names I cannot think of offhand.

Karen.
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby daacha » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:32 am

cludence wrote:Martin,

Bikes are simple, it is the various styles, eras, components and variations of each that can complicate things. -This is the fun part of it though. There is always something new to learn so you can never say you are bored. :)

I think LG's suggestion is a good one. There are several people on this forum who have been cycling, restoring and learning about bikes for a long time. Their knowledge and input is a valuable resource for everyone to learn from. It would be good to have it within the forum as a reference point for people.

What do you think Richard? Fancy writing some info? Kidcarbine, 531db, Garyf, Rogerrabbit and 5*Rolf are also good ones who could contribute. (providing they are happy to do so)

My apologies, there are a few others whose names I cannot think of offhand.

Karen.

Add your own name to the list Karen. :D
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing MAKER?

Postby cludence » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:30 pm

Daacha,

I cant put my name on the list, I dont know as much as you think..

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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing origins or MAKER?

Postby kukamunga » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:41 am

I had thought about reaming the headtube down on the above frame to fit a 70's 600EX headset. But due to the very low stack height nature of the original headset, I would've needed to have found a fork with a longer threaded steerer to fit the higher stack height

So now, I intend to keep this frame 'intact' with it's original fork and 60 loose-balls, and find something else to 'circumcise'..... :shock: :mrgreen:

(Or could I get a longer steerer fitted..... Hmmm.....?) :roll:
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Re: 'ACE' frame and fork. ANY HELP ID'ing origins or MAKER?

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:21 pm

Call Jon at Gripsport Tony. He won't BS you on if or whether the job is doable.

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