1956 Bol D'or

Johnj
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1956 Bol D'or

Postby Johnj » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:48 pm

I was recently rung by a friend who needed some help doing some photography. He came back to my house to download some photos and had a look at the bikes scattered around my loungeroom and decided I needed another one. Before I could say “Are you sure?” I became the new custodian (owner I think is the wrong word) of this bike.

My friend David was a member of the St George Amateur Cycling Club in 1956, at the time probably the strongest cycling club in the country. He was riding a French racing bike that had been sold to him fairly cheaply but was too big for him.

A number club riders were selected for the Melbourne Olympics and needed road bikes and Joe Tait built the bikes for them. Joe Tait ran the Bol D’or business from 326 Forest Road, Bexley. According to David Joe was not interested in track racing, only road racing and his shop was the place all the St George riders frequented. Joe Tait built each rider a custom road frame for use in the Olympics. (The only problem with this story is that none of the St George blokes were chosen for the road race in 1956. I’m waiting to check this out more fully with David.) David, who at this time was an apprentice plumber, did all the brazing and assisted with lug filing etc. As a reward, David got his own frame, this one.

The frame was built to David’s specifications to be used as a racer and commuter bike. Hence it has a lamp bracket, eyelets, clearance for guards and pump pegs under the top tube (where he wanted them). When completed he transferred most of the componentry from the French bike and flogged the frame, so this bike cost him very little to build. It doesn’t have dual chainrings or a front derailleur because “that’s just one more way to drop the chain and who needs more than four gears anyway?”

The bike is very original. It came with one somewhat perished Dunlop Speed tyre that I’ve transferred to another bike (to make a pair) and I put on some decent Vittorias. This is the only change I’ve made. New bar tape and brake hoods and respoking the front wheel are planned and a rechrome of the stem might also happen.

Specifications:
    Frame Bol D’or, Reynolds 531 with Campagnolo 1010 road dropouts
    Wheels Front: BH Racelite hub, Ambrosio? alloy rim, 15/17 gauge butted spokes Rear: Atom hub (with Prior flanges), Ambrosio? alloy rim, 14 gauge spokes
    Chainset Stronglight cottered with 50-tooth chainring
    Pedals Lyotard Berthet with adjustable toeclips and straps
    Gears Campagnolo Gran Sport rear with 14-16-18-21 freewheel
    Brakes Universal Model 51
    Stem/Bars Cinelli steel stem, unbranded alloy bars
    Saddle Brooks B17 Narrow on Reynolds No. 4 alloy seatpost
    Headset Brampton Alatet
    Bottom Bracket Stronglight? with Prior hollow axle
    Pump Bluemels alloy

More pics here.

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RobertFrith
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby RobertFrith » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:03 pm

Love the graphics. And the patina

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toolonglegs
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:44 pm

Agree...the graphics are very cool.

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spirito
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby spirito » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:46 am

Beautiful :wink:

IMO that bike can't be improved upon for visual appeal or authenticity. Many bikes that I have found from that era also feature similar parts and set up. And .... my favourite part is that the tyres are nice and fat. Just like they should be. I see too many resto's from earlier days with skinny tyres which look wrong, and make the older bikes handle quite differently to how they were intended to.

Well done, it's a ripper 8)
Cranky Jim wrote: God did not invent gears. Men invented gears ... because we are not gods.

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kevinwulf
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby kevinwulf » Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:49 am

Fantastic!! Great bike!!

silverlight
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby silverlight » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:14 am

Very Very nice :)

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trailgumby
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby trailgumby » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:21 am

What a gorgeous bike. "Custodian" is definitely the right term. :D

I'm assuming the tyres are tubs?

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jonbays
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby jonbays » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:31 am

Really lovely old bike. hang on to that and look after it well.

Uncle Grumpy
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby Uncle Grumpy » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:00 pm

Set of Deep Vs and it would make a mad fixie!

Only kidding! Relax folks!

That really is a beautiful bike.

Yeah, new bar tape (cotton of course) and hoods if you can get something to suit. As for the stem, not sure if I'd rechrome it. A super shiny stem might look a bit out of place on that bike with it's patina. I'd try soaking it in Oxalic acid first to remove the surface rust, or even vinegar. Don't steel wool it whatever you do!

If the paint isn't flaking, consider a good wax to help preserve the finish and maybe something less obtrusive to hold the wire along the top tube.

Grumps
You are very tedious, and grumpy. Stay at home and give advice from your armchair.
- Stonedpirate, June 2010

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rkelsen
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby rkelsen » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:02 pm

Great bike, great story.

The bike's got some interesting features I wouldn't have expected to see on a 1950's road bike. Enjoy it. 8)

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foo on patrol
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:12 pm

The angles on that frame, for 1956 are very tight!! The man was ahead of his time. 8)

Foo
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Goal 6000km
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WyvernRH
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby WyvernRH » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:55 pm

Wonderful! 'scuse me while I wipe the drool off the screen.... :)
Cheers
Richard

Johnj
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby Johnj » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:33 pm

A few updates. My friend David popped over a while ago and I used the opportunity to photograph him with his bike:

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Recently he turned up with a box, "just bin anything you don't want" he said. Feel free to play "name that component" :) :

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He also told me that his (and the bike's) finest moment was second place in the NSW State Junior Road Race in about 1957, "more or less by accident". Apparently a dispute in the St George club meant that many of the talented juniors didn't race and David took second in a much depleted field.

I've replaced the bar tape on the bike and added some brake hoods. I've removed (and stored) the generator and lights and put the original Simplex bidon (which came in the box of tricks above) back on. The bike is now back to its original racing trim circa 1956:

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silverlight
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby silverlight » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:13 pm

Again i will say very very nice,

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GaryF
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby GaryF » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:47 am

What a great story. Your friend really found the right person to take care of his pride and joy. Its future is assured along with the story of its build and a snapshot of the period in which it was built. This must be the pinnacle of bike collecting; I know it is something I have been striving for for over 30 years I have been a bike collector but have never quite achieved. Congratulations on becoming a custodian.

scratchman
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby scratchman » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:55 pm

as everyone else has said, it's simply beautiful, love the lines and the fact that it's untouched, very envious :D
Phil

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spirito
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby spirito » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:53 pm

Johnj wrote: Feel free to play "name that component" :) :


I'll have a go :D

You've already given away the bidon on the left is a Simplex item (very rare). The bidon and the cage on the right ... Coloral?
The pedals with serrated cages are .... Phillips?
Chainring might be Magistroni, more probable that it's a Williams.
Stem could be a Titan, but more likely to be a English made (hard to see).
Bar .. who knows?
Brake levers attached to ... I thought GB, but am more inclined to say early hollow backed Universal's.
Toe clips too hard to see ... I have some "monique" branded ones that are very similar hut haven't seen them anywhere else.
Brake caliper is too hard/obscured.
Chain .... SRAM 10 speed :mrgreen: :lol: :P
Cranky Jim wrote: God did not invent gears. Men invented gears ... because we are not gods.

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:16 am

Johnj wrote: Feel free to play "name that component" :) :

set of Shockstop 'honking' rubbers
single Shockstop bar end plug

would like to see more photos of the pedals

Johnj
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby Johnj » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:42 pm

GaryF wrote:This must be the pinnacle of bike collecting; I know it is something I have been striving for for over 30 years I have been a bike collector but have never quite achieved. Congratulations on becoming a custodian.

scratchman wrote:as everyone else has said, it's simply beautiful, love the lines and the fact that it's untouched

silverlight wrote:very very nice


When I see comments like these from keen and knowledgable collectors it gives me a warm glow.

spirito wrote:The bidon and the cage on the right ... Coloral?
Chainring might be Magistroni, more probable that it's a Williams.
Stem could be a Titan, but more likely to be a English made (hard to see).
Bar .. who knows?
Brake levers attached to ... inclined to say early hollow backed Universal's.

Chainring is unmarked, as is the stem (the stem's a monster 150mm). The brake levers and (half a) calliper match, the quick release on the calliper could be a giveaway to someone interested in obscure 1950s stuff.

The "bidon" is indeed a Coloral, but its actually a thermos, complete with cork stopper and cup. David said he used it for winter training, filled with brandy and coffee (just need some amphetamines in the jersey for the complete Tom Simpson experience).
Image

Clydesdale Scot wrote:set of Shockstop 'honking' rubbers
single Shockstop bar end plug


Dead right on the honking rubbers (though they're pretty far gone), the plug is unmarked, but it certainly looks like a Shockstop. Its partner was on on the Bol D'or when I got the bike, so that's where it is going.

cludence
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby cludence » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:27 pm

The levers attached to the bars should have VEW marked on the tops of them. :?:

The shockstops are something I have been searching for. I have one here, does anyone know if any still exist that are intact and not crumbled?

Karen.

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WyvernRH
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby WyvernRH » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:51 am

cludence wrote:The levers attached to the bars should have VEW marked on the tops of them. :?:
The shockstops are something I have been searching for. I have one here, does anyone know if any still exist that are intact and not crumbled?
Karen.


I have a NOS pair of shockstop rubbers on the GB levers of my Claud Butler Buccaneer (see picture). I obtained these via e-bay several years ago from a chap in Cyprus (of all places). He had a lot of them (and other stuff) and I'm kicking myself now that I only bought one pair. However he does crop up on e-Bay still from time to time so if we all keep an eye out, maybe he has some more? Also I think someone in the British VCC made repro's at one point.
Image
Cheers
Richard

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:48 pm

Robbie Fellows (US) makes repo hoods and he has advised me "cant remember who but someone on the list has a closet full of reproduction ones." Might be worth an approach to CR via the Google Group Classic Rendezvous lightweight vintage bicycles.
I am also after a set, and if there is no alternate source, a generous Adelaide collector has agreed to loan me one to take measurements and to match the density. A mate last weekend offered to machine a 2 part metal mould. They can then be reproduced relatively easily (according to the Youtube videos) and discussions I have had with a local casting supplier. The brand name would be missing.
If someone had an original or a good reproduction, and was willing to allow a mould to be taken direct, a perfect copy including the brand name is achievable. However I cannot guarantee the release agent does not harm the original rubber.
Hilary Stone had a set recently but they were gone in a few hours.
Philip

Johnj
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby Johnj » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:02 pm

A bit more research and I now think that this bike was probably built in early 1958. David's first race (and first win) was in July 1957. Twelve(!) St George riders were selected to compete for NSW in the national road and track championships in March 1958, where the Empire Games team was decided. Of the eight riders selected for the Empire Games, four were from St George. Three of them, Frank Brazier, Col Wilkinson and Terry Flanagan were selected for the Empire Games road race. Interesting that the club helped to raise the £1600 needed to send the four riders to Cardiff.

So, it looks unlikely that the bike dates from 1956. But it looks highly likely that David's recollection of it being one of a batch of frames built for St George riders is correct. Additionally, Frank Brazier won an Empire Games silver medal on his. :)

Here are the newspaper articles. They're a good window into amateur cycle racing in the 1950s.
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ldrcycles
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:30 pm

spirito wrote:my favourite part is that the tyres are nice and fat. Just like they should be.


Amen! :D
"I must be rather keen on cycling"- Sir Hubert Opperman.

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spirito
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Re: 1956 Bol D'or

Postby spirito » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:37 pm

Wow. Cool history ... still one of the best bikes I've seen on these pages. Even better for it's originality and known provenance.

Good for you John, glad it's in your hands :wink: 8)
Cranky Jim wrote: God did not invent gears. Men invented gears ... because we are not gods.

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