Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
I have a 'Rupert Bates' track bike with a small letter 'R' on the head tube, the name 'Bates' on the down tube and the serial 71634 on the seat lug.
The lugs are quite fancy and I have read that Bates was also involved with constructing custom frames in Melbourne of the Malvern Star 5 stars in the 1950's.
Any information relevent to this bike, Bates Cycles or Rupert himself would be very much appreciated, - with thanks.
Ride safe, cheers, 5*R, .
Do you have a pic of the frame? I'd love to see it as I also have a Bates frame which has interesting lugs so it would be good to compare the two. I'll have to get a pic of mine today and check out the frame number.
There is another member of the forum that knows more about Bates frames, hopefully he sees the post and adds some info.
I know Rupe had a brother Leo who both had bike shops in Victoria. Rupe's shop was in Coburg and Leo's shop was in Thornbury during the 60's (at least).
They advertised thamselves as 'tailor made' specialists and would build a frame to your specifications. They seem to have done everything from making frame components (front and rear dropouts) to construction to painting to decorative lining to assembly as well as supplying all the usual bike related items.
I also know that they built for many other bike brands. I have a white Hillman that was originally a 'Waddell' branded bike and speaking to Barry Waddell, he told me that it was actually built by Bates. In their advertising they state, "We have thousands of bikes on the Road, but not necessarily do they have Our Name".
I think there was another 'Bates' building bikes at around the same time. There was an E.G. Bates in Plaistow, London.
...Ok, - here it is...please note the fork crown has been later drilled, off centre and you may see the minute remnants of what was the riders name on the top tube illegible - which was initially painted with a broad gold band to match the rest of the colour scheme.
When I received the bike, this panel was oversprayed silver and heavily sanded whilst the bike was quite dirty and greasily marked all over.
Very long seat stay tips are interesting and after cleaning I found some scratched digits on these and also a distinct 'R6' stamped beneath the BB lug of the downtube. Other very faint numbers beneath the BB are illegible.
Neither drop are drilled for mudguard eyelets nor is the curved brake bridge or base bridge drilled.
I got to it with my mix of a cup of gum turps, few drops of linseed oil and few more of kero, then degreased the integral corners only, (el cheapo brand), then wiped off any residue all over before the old tin of 'Ducor' rubbing compound was carefully applied with cotton rubbing cloth, tooth brush and all.
Next the compound was washed off with hot soapy water and dried completely followed by the damp ragging of the great new Maguires 'wet look' polish which really gives it a super rejuvinated vintage appeal. This polish is the closest thing I have been able to find to my favorite old glass bottled 'Repo' polish. Finally an old T-shirt came in handy as the finishing buff...now I'm just contemplating whether to touch up paint or just leave as is...I think the patina looks complimentary though.
(Special thanks to KC for making an extra effort to explain the fundementals of uploading photos.)
I have more images if required but thought this may be enough for now!
Ride safe, cheers, 5*R, .
Amazing lugs Karen! - I love those early fishtail lugs and swan stem! The head and fork crown cuts are aggressive too, - typical of the 20's/30's Art Deco period until approx WWII.
I would guesstimate your frame as being an early 30's model, possibly earlier. The lugs and square shouldered bearing cups suggest this.
Were you lucky enough to get the previous owners details in an attempt to date the frame set?
It certainly appears to be a race or track bike, good angles and slight forks, possibly fluted cranks,-difficult to see... - although the stern lamp bracket does suggest that it was ridden at all hours!
Is it dull nickel or silver on the headtube and does it read E or B on the front?
...What a classic! - Thanks for the treat.
Ride safe, cheers, 5*R, .
At a guess without going and having another look, I would say it is dull nickel on the headtube.
It is the letter E on the headtube. The person's name was E Fisher. Unfortunately I dont know anything about the previous owner. It was given to me by a friend whose son was given it and he didnt want it. I noticed the Bates lettering on it and asked where it came from and he said I could have it.
Unfortunately the cranks are not fluted, I wish! Got my work cut out for me with this one.
Yes,... looks like a bit of work...the last frame I 'rejuvenated' which was similarly rusted as yours was given a slight and careful clean with turps about the grease areas and then I just applied a thin coat of liquid beeswax to bring out the deeper colours and and protect it from further oxidation. The wax gave it a very period and satin finish. - Thins with pure gum turps.
Another bike I had which had a bit more paint on it I gave a similar treatment but then finished it with 'golden shellac' for a more yellowed and glossier finish which still looked very vintage. You can get orange or white shellac. The thinner the better, - thins with Metho. A drop of linseed oil in the jar will help it spread smooth.
Both are best applied when cool.
You could try either on a small part eg each of the rear drops and then see which you prefer...at least its reasonably cheap and simply restores the bike with an aged patina.
Both products easily obtained from local hardware.
Do you have any other vintage bikes?
Ride safe, cheers 5*R .
Whats the letter before the word "Bates" is it an "R"? as your in NSW it could be a Ron Bates frame.
quote="cludence"]Mine looks very sad compared to yours Rolf. I had a look and the only stamping I can find is SS under the bottom bracket. Mine has no badge on the front, only the remains of the owners name.
Thanks for the info on the oil and wax. Will have to go shopping at Bunnings this weekend.
Yes I have other vintage bikes from varying eras. A few are complete but most are simply waiting in line to be restored. It's a neverending hobby and I am sure many would say I have too many but I have fun and have been lucky to have met and become good friends with some of the previous owners. I love their stories of the old cycling days.
- I agree, its difficult to try to establish a bikes history unless that history is relayed upon its 're purchase', in fact its almost impossible but it has been somewhat achieved many a time. Just look at the SJH thread for example and the luck that KC has had with his research.
I also have several vintage rides, many with history and a few without.
- These mystery bikes are still good favorites too!
Have you checked out the growing list of websites dedicated to retro bikes in this forum?
Its a great source of info espescially the 'Classic Rendezvous' and Fixy' sites.
Ride safe, cheers, 5*R, .
Yes I often visit the sites as listed in the retro section. I also have a few mystery bikes, one which is a favourite of mine. The previous owner used to go out on dates on it in the 30's. Other than that I have no idea what it is but it is still as it was last ridden.
- I havent any with such a romantic history... but I do have a very special vintage bike which belonged to my Grandfather - and prior that to his father.
He would cycle through the back streets across Holland for days to trade soap and candles for potatoes or tulip bulbs so the family could survive during the second world war.
This bike originally had completely white tyres which I would like to source again so If you know of any supplier, for - 28inch...
This bike formed the begining of my cycle collecting addiction!
...and now, most recently the Bates....mystery...continues...
Ride safe, cheers, 5*R, .
You have a very special bike there. I cant say any of my bikes have come from my family. My bike obsession started as a kid when my father used to come home with bikes he had collected from under peoples houses. (He used to work for telstra) He would tell me not to go in the garage so as soon as he left for work I was out there making a bike for myself out of all the bits. -If only I knew then what I know now, I would have told him to grab the good old bikes instead of the cheapie kids bikes he used to get.
I have a bike here from Holland though nowhere near as old as yours. It is a Batavus from the 70's. Belongs to my boyfriend. He is dutch so when he found this one in a state of disrepair, he couldnt help himself, he had to fix it up.
If I ever come across white 28inch tyres I will let you know.
Thanks for the acknowledgement Rolf. Once you get the hang of it, posting links & pics is not too hard as you now know.
That frame of yours looks quite nice with the fancy lugwork. The rear fork ends are the same as both of my SJH's & both of these are Nervex Professional lugged, so these are either Nervex fork ends, or all three of our bikes use the same generic part.
What you call 'fishtail' cutouts on Karens lugs struck me as being more like, .... half a six pointed star, particularly if you can visualise the head lugs pushed together & I saw these as being one of the more outstanding features of the frame.
EDIT. OK, I now realise that the fishtail part is the lug cut where the smaller tubes fit in. Now I underkastumble. [I think]
Co-incidentally, I happened to be there when Karen acquired her Bates. In fact I seem to recall encouraging it's acquisition after pointing out some salient points & I suspected at the time that it may well be a Rupert Bates machine, which makes it historically significant & I felt it would be a strategic addition to her collection, but now the British flag has me wondering about a possible British Bates origin. I am familiar with their lovely lightweights, with their Cantiflex tubing & Diadrant forks, but they must have made lesser models too & of course the lightweights didn't kick in untill about 1936/37 & this frame may well pre date that.
I suspect that the flag may be the key to its true identity.
It will look quite striking if it is repainted & some thought is given to highlighting the lugs. It really was a good score, but needs some WD40.
The man who provided it also happened to know Arthur Dunn back in the 50's, & Karen has also provided significant input to the research on Dunn. [as has Oldtimer]
Small world isn't it.
P.S. Like Karens father, I too worked for Telstra [for 42 years] & I brought home many discarded & interesting things. Some were given to me, some I bought, but only one of these was bike, ..... a Moulton.
Anybody want it? Send me an e-mail.
Carbine & SJH cycles, & Quicksilver BMX
Now that's AUSTRALIAN to the core.
There seems to be a post with some confusion. Leo Bates was not Rupert Bates brother. He was his youngest son. He had another son Norm who worked in the Bates Cycles factory. Norm Bates dies a few years ago as did Rupert. How do I know..... I am Rupert's grand-daughter. I grew up on Bates bikes, cats and kittens from the factory and lots of memories.
Bates cats? nice... Im sure all here would be interested in any stories from the factory. I believe the "R" frame is a Repco that was probably made at the Bates factory.
Ozpushies! for ALL Australian made bikes.
"It's only original once"
I'm with you Torana68 on the R being Repco. Bates built bikes for just about everyone, and they had 'stars', 'R's, 'H's, arrows, maps of australia and whatever else on hand to braze onto frames as required.
I would hazard a guess that this frame started life as a Repco, (built by Bates) maybe for a sponsored rider, then repainted sometime by Bates, and the Bates name put on the downbar in the absence of instructions to the contrary.
Strangely enough, I have not seen a Bates with a 'B' brazed onto the head tube, and considering it was common practice for other 'brands' that they built for, it is a wonder they didnt do it for their own. Any Bates' out there with a brazed on 'B' ?
This is my Bates that I have had for a few years. I've just finished restoring it. As well I have two more Bates. One is very nice, really cool lugs. I think it's mid 50s. When I bought it, it was sand blasted, I am looking for some ideas for original graphics.
The pin striping hadn't been finished in these photos. Still had a layer of clear to go over it.
Hi, my name is David and I used to go to the Bates Cycles Factory all the time after school, sometimes to help out and other times just to be there, I remember Norm and Rupert quite well, Norm was a charater that made it interesting just to be there, everything was done by hand, cutting the material, welding the frames together, metal blasting the frames then the painting and the baking booths, it was just good to be there.
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