Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
15 posts • Page 1 of 1
I acquired this frame a while back and put it aside for when I could find another competent painter in the Hunter. As it so happened a friend who restores Tiger Moths for a living is convalescing at the moment, wanted a project and offered to paint this frame having been much taken with it when visiting the shed. Well, the offer was taken up faster than a very fast thing and the frame whisked off to his workshop. It returned recently and the paint job was magnificent. Apparently the same paint as used on Tiger Moth engines... Now I had no idea who built this frame it being almost totally bereft of any identifying marks so in the end I decided to go for the old 'Restored By' trick and put my transfers on it. I ran out of seat logos years ago so I used an old, old generic decal with some scrolls I made up.
I have fitted it out as a fixed wheel as I happened to have a set of Harden fixed hub road wheels spare in the shed and used up some old 50's Oz and French parts I had in the shed to make it into a mid-50's style fixed road bike. Rides very nicely and despite the steel stem, bars and seatpost weighs remarkably little. One day I might resurrect the original idea of fitting a 3-speed Cyclo (about 110mm dropout width) but for the moment I am enjoying riding it fixed with no cables or clamps marring the lines of the frame. Philips Honking Rubbers give a great period touch and finished off the brake lever and rest perfectly - highly recommended!
As it was:
As it is Now
'Restored By' decals - the old generic showing it's age in close up
Great looking bike! Is that a 'Gloria' brake lever? I won a set of Gloria brakes once but later I gave them away, regrettably as they are now quite rare. Also I love the red 'Rocket' outrigger ( stem ), I think my 1956 Speedwell 'Flash' came with one.
a very nice result, and an equally impressive spare parts bin!
As always, I like your work. I particularly like the "restored by" decals - tells the story & isn't going to cause confusion sometime down the track when someone is trying to research the Wyvern brand from the 50s.
. . . . . . .
Indeed, Winston you are correct. The brake lever is a 'Gloria' lever, a singleton I picked up at one of the Dulwich events. You are also on the money with the stem, it came off of a Speedwell Flash I tried to restore but the frame was to far gone to ride so it now hangs on the shed wall.
Well, the fixed gear idea failed dismally. It was impossible to get the chainline right with the Stronglight Chainset and the Haden rear wheel (probably meant for 110mm rear end, not the 115-ish of this bike)
So I reverted to a 'period' bodge and span an Atom 3-speed 1/8" block onto the track thread and fitted a Lewis forward mounted touring gear seeing the frame had the Cyclo type dropouts. This of course meant I had to fit a rear brake so off with the current setup and on with a pair of 50's GB Sport sidepulls and levers. Also, to prevent the top tube becoming clamp-on central I had to make up cable guides for the brake outer that fitted onto the gear fittings. Well once all this was done I have to say the bike is a cracker to ride. It handles superbly, tracking thru corners at speed like it is on rails, even on Newcastle roads... The Lewis handles the 16-22 ratio block like a dream and with the 46t chainring I had no problems doing the Fernleigh Track before work. Brakes are well, 1950's sidepulls. They work well enough if you take note they are not modern twin pivots with soft pads (As an aside WHY can't you cant buy decent replacement brake pads anymore for 'normal' brakes. There must be 1000's out there...) Anyway some photos of the new setup, with a front view to show off my wife's twine binding skills. Also note the gear lever. The nipple on the gear cable is at the GEAR end, so you thread the open end of the cable thru the lever and then BACK thru the lever so it can be clamped by a grub screw - those French designers should leave the absinthe alone....
Great bike, very pleased with the final (?) result. Still pretty light (circa 23lbs -erm...10.5kilos?) Period but very usable, steel parts give a certain 'feel' to the ride.
Hubs - Harden High Flange 'Sola' alloy wingnuts
Rims Weinmann 40 h Velocity 32h
Brakes - GBS 'Sports' alloy brakeset with Philip's 'Honking' rubbers
Bars - Oppy steel bends
Stem - 'raygun' steel stem
Chainset - Stronglight 49D 46t 1/8"
Freewheel - Atom 16/19/22 1/8"
Gear - Lewis touring gear 40's/early 50's model?
Seatpost - steel
Saddle - Wrights - no idea which model...
another thoughtful and informative post; well written and well photographed.
Love that bike Richard
For decent brakes, (although not period correct) 1970's-80's centrepulls would be the go.
eg. Shimano Tourneys, Weinmans or Mafacs, i guess.
"Technology gives us much more information but Education is never be able to give us the skill to evaluate it"
Weinmann centrepulls came out in 57 and the 730 sidepull was around in the early 50s. As far as brake pads, i just buy whatever cheapies the LBS has, usually about $5 a pair and they work really well for me.
Love the new setup, it makes the fixed gear iteration look somewhat bare.
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
The bike looks great I especially like the gears. Did you have problem with the clearance between the cluster and the spokes. I am doing a early 50s bike now and using Harden Hubs the wheel are not built as yet but I am concerned the is not sufficient room there.
It really doesn't get any better than this. Beautifully put together with just the right mix of components. I like the latest version immensely even though it looked great as a single speed. I think it wears your name really well too. Definitely a bike to be very proud of.
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