Hobbs of Barbican 1946

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Clydesdale Scot
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Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:19 am

my next project, a 1946 Hobbs of Barbican with most of its original components.
For the time, immediately after WW2, the components were at the top end of what was available, and some quite rare.
I am trying to see how this bike came to arrive in Australia.
the bike as collected:
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serial number is a 1946 production

components identified so far
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headset: Lytaloy

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stem: Reynolds two bolt

handlebars: Reynolds Hiduminium with the Binda bend
levers: later Shimano [to be discarded] but the GB Hiduminium Standard cable adjusters intact, so it points to these as the original brake levers

brake calipers:
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GB Hiduminium front [stamped], rear GB stamped but missing the Hiduminium stamping, indicating it is the first generation

hubs: Chater Lea low flange,
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front 32H with axle grease nipple,

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Chater Lea small flange fixed/free rear 40 hole rearhubrear 40H fixed/free

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chainset: Williams with the chain ring having the AI markings of the 1946 production

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pedals: Chater Lea
rear derailleur: later Huret [to be discarded]

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Brooks B17 Narrow saddle

seat post: Reynolds Hiduminium domed

the bike came from ebay and was identified in the ebay thread

I was well aware of Hobbs from this thread on LFGSS and from Classic Lightweights frame builder page and Readers Bikes.
There is another 1946 HoB recently surfacing in America.

I was surprised at how cheaply the bike sold for.
It was collected and stored by a generous forum member until I was able to collect it a few days ago.

the intention is to dismantle, clean and polish and rebuild. The GB Hiduminium Standard brake levers are on the shopping list.
Gears may be a 3 speed Simplex.
Last edited by Clydesdale Scot on Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:50 am, edited 4 times in total.

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RobertFrith
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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby RobertFrith » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:30 pm

Very nice. Looks to be in pretty reasonable condition too.
And a crazy good price given the components.
Last edited by RobertFrith on Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby old steel Bikes » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:58 pm

Well done should look great when completed. I really like the Tommy Bars great pickup. Need to see lots of photos during the build and cleaning process

Danny

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GaryF
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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby GaryF » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:12 pm

I've often wondered about bikes (especially British) built around the end of WW2. Tubing must have been scarce along with components, tyres, etc. It would be my guess, or my imagination working overtime, that only wealthy people could afford the luxury of a new bike and this is a beautiful one at that. I would love to know the circumstances that brought about the building of this beauty.

Great bike and a very lucky find. Congratulations.

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:14 pm

GaryF wrote:I've often wondered about bikes (especially British) built around the end of WW2. Tubing must have been scarce along with components, tyres, etc. It would be my guess, or my imagination working overtime, that only wealthy people could afford the luxury of a new bike and this is a beautiful one at that. I would love to know the circumstances that brought about the building of this beauty.

Great bike and a very lucky find. Congratulations.


Lots of fit chaps getting de-mobbed with their demob bonus accounted for a lot of the market in the late 40's. Stuff was a bit scarce, not because it wasn't being made but because almost everything was restricted to export only with a small proportion released to the home market. This was good for small builders as unlike the big guys ( Raliegh, Dawes, Hopper etc) who had to abide by the export priority, they were too small to be included in the program.
So, you could wait 6 months for a Dawes or go down to Holdsworth's or the like and get your new bike in a month - probably for a very comparable price as labour was cheap then. Keeping it running was another matter as bicycle parts were in very restricted retail supply, the trade and export getting priority.

This particular bicycle is top of the range from a top line shop in London. I would hazard that with the rear loading dropouts it was built as a single speed for track and or time-trial use. Lots of people still used fixed wheel for time-trialling at that point. I would suggest the derailleur is a later addition, possibly when the owner married and gave up racing :wink: It looks like a Huret Svelto model circa 1960 to me? Interesting to see what sort of thread is on that hub under the freewheel.

It did go fairly cheap. I was watching it but the rear loaders and the fact that I just could not face trying organize the decent paint job it deserves from the Hunter Valley again( - it's just too hard....) put me off.

Richard

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:11 pm

thanks for the background to the period Richard, it helps me and others appreciate the timeframe of the construction. What you have written is consistent with what I have read for the 1948/49 period.
And thanks for not bidding :)
I am proposing to clean and seal the existing paintwork. Robert has given me the contact details for the conservators wax he used for his beautiful Swansea.
The Spearman has had the full paint job, as there was no alternative. This one will keep the original paint, and be protected against further deterioration.

The rear facing lugs are not off-putting for me. Dad's 1948 Spearman had those, and, like him, I always rode it with a rear derailleur.
The person who listed the bike on ebay was selling on behalf of the family friend, and hopefully my details have been passed on as I asked to be given the history as to how the bike came to be in Sydney, and the original derailleurs (if any).
Richard (any anyone else) any suggestions for a rear derailleur? (apart from the Simplex). Online catalogues are rare (for the reasons Richard set out) and I do not have access to any 1945/46 Cycling journals. Holdsworth's Aids came out again much later.
When I am back in Adelaide I will contact the V-CC's Marque Enthusiast and see if he can add details.
I have speculated on the 1946 serial number code and I am interested in seeing if this codebreaking applies to other Hobbs from 1946.

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby LG » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:02 pm

Just a suggestion, you could do a component search for 1940s rear derailleurs on Velobase and choose from the list there. While some dating information is a bit vague, it provides a pretty good place to start.

I commented what a nice buy it was at your time of purchase, and still look forward to seeing how you treat it.
LG = Low Gear

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:23 pm

Is it just the light on the photo or does the saddle have blue rivets?
"I must be rather keen on cycling"- Sir Hubert Opperman.

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby old steel Bikes » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:42 pm

I might have an original set of brake cables if you are interested they are old and do not look the best but if you want to keep it as original as possible. Just let me know.

Danny

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:56 am

Luke, I will have a look at Velobase, Disraeli Gears and The Dancing Chain. Unless I can find the original documents from the period which can corroborate the material, I always have my doubts about these secondary sources. For instance Dancing Chain on the Bobet derailleur. On Classic Lightweights there are few Readers bikes from 1946, many as Richard noted, being single speed or fixed. There are no bikes from 1946 on the Speedbicycles site.
What I really need is to flip through the Cycling Weekly publication of 1946. Anyone with a set?

Lachlan, the rivets; no tricks of the light. The copper in the rivets has reacted with the moisture in the air. So the rivets are easily identified as copper, not steel which would have rusted. When I treat the leather with Proofide it will be brushed off (and thus avoiding blue dots on my knicks).

Danny, as my current signature alludes, there will be plenty of photos of the process, and ample opportunity for comments and suggestions. These are most welcomed. As the bike will be ridden, and not a wall queen, I will go for new cables and outers. Thanks for your offer.

Richard, I will add a photo of the hub threads when I remove the freewheel.

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby LG » Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:48 am

Your research and attention to originality is commendable, much more thorough than I would do. For mine, if I wanted a RD on it and didn't know what was originally on the bike, I'd just look at what was in production at the time and then see what I had in a box, or could find. Will be interesting to hear what you decide.
LG = Low Gear

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby WyvernRH » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:26 am

I posess a bound set of 'Cycling' magazines that cover 1948 to 1952 with the odd earlier issue thrown in. So I had a quick browse thru' the earlier issues to see what I could find. Well A couple of Hobbs adverts came up, one in 1947 and the next in 1949!(see below) Maybe they didn't need to advertise! However in every issue in the 'Trade For Sale' small ads there would be several shops offering new and second hand Hobbs frames. I also found a review by Nimrod of a Hobbs model in one of the 1949 issues. Neither the ad or the article is exactly your model Philip but I thought you might like to see them. I can supply full res copies if you want. Both show the post war address at Dagenham (the shop was bombed during WWII)
Throughout all the years I have covered so far (47 to 49) the articles and adverts show almost totally bicycles with single gears. This may be because 'Cycling' was no friend to the BLRC and their ilk as several later editorials show clearly! Those articles and adverts that do show derailleurs are almost always the Simplex two roller model with the odd BSA single roller or Cyclo tourist in touring articles and hill climb events. A few manufacturer's adverts (New Hudson esp') show a generic single roller derailleur that could be a Cyclo Olympic but as they are ink drawings not photos they could be anything. Derailleur adverts are noticeable by their absence - Constrictor advertise their derailleur and there is the odd Simplex ad but that is about it.

As for recommendations, given the rear loaders, my preference would be for a forward mount derailleur such as an Osgear, Cyclo or Lewis (maybe Nervex or a bit late ?). This would make wheel removal easier and also be a bit different.

I'll keep plugging thru the issues to see what I can find.

Richard

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Dawes-man » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:02 am

A very nice find at a great price. I would keep the paint, too.

The headset is my favourite and yours seems to be in very good nick. I have one on a Rotrax Vel d'Hiv and it's beautifully smooth - hands-free riding is no problem at all. I think their quality is well known, judging by the prices they fetch on eBay on the rare occasion they come up, certainly.

I think the brake callipers may be later than the frame, if it is from 1946, as I believe GB introduced cable adjusters in 1949 or 1950. I'm not sure GB even made the Hiduminiums in 1946. It's possible your bike originally came without brakes, or drilled for just a front, as was common back then.

I don't know what to suggest for an RD but think that whatever you choose is likely be a compromise if, as I suspect, your machine was originally offered in fixed/free gear. The Chater Lea hub supports this. Therefore, any gear from the period that takes your fancy. I've recently become interested in Fichtel & Sachs gears from the 1930s as they came with both dropout and track end fittings but that might not appeal to you.

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:14 pm

Hugo,
I had doubts about when the GB brakes started. As I identified the rear calliper was missing the usual stampings. I asked on Classic Rendevous and I was given the sought after reply. It seems they were available from 1945.
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The image is found on the Classic Lightweights site dealing with the history of GB Brakes, and it is was "published in the programme for Claud Butler's 1945 Victory 'Do'." It is not under the heading of GB Brakes but rather GB Classic Design :?

Richard, I have a few Cycling issues from 1948-52. The road test you provided is online at Bruce Robbin's page on Hobbs
My fittings are different, but a lot depended on what was able to be reliably sourced.
Catalogues were not produced after the war until 1949 (source) and a copy is here
Your research is appreciated. Keep going!

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Dawes-man » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:31 am

That's good to know about GB brakes. Thanks for the pointer.

I was thinking about your Hobbs earlier today and it occurred to me that it might well have originally come equipped with Hobbs own Lytaloy brakes and levers... but checking on CL I see they were only available from 1947. I prefer the look of the GBs on your machine anyway :D

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:52 am

yes, I was pleased when I could justify not bidding on these on 20 Jan on the grounds of 'period correctness'.
Image

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:59 pm

Well, finished checking thru the Cycling compendiums and really if the ads and articles were anything to go by your choice in the UK was Simplex or Huret with Constrictor and a couple of other minor UK players (one or two ads each over several years). However the racing pictures revealed several Osgears ( or Cyclo Ace or Simplex equiv) , Cyclo Oppys and Cyclo Tourists being used as well as the French gears in 'closed circuit' races on various airfields and the like.
Me personally, if you go for gears i would be aiming for an Osgear type. Looks good, in period, easy wheel changing and it would be easily removable if your nominal 1940s chap wanted to head for the track.

Richard

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:02 pm

WyvernRH wrote:Me personally, if you go for gears i would be aiming for an Osgear type.

I might start with the Simplex and look out for a set of Osgears, unless you have any for sale?
thanks for the research. I was looking through my 1948-49 bound set of The CTC Gazette today. Adverts all through about the bike parts being exported so there was money to pay for food imports.
The frame has been confirmed today by the V-CC Marque Enthusiast as being a Raceweight model, and he also confirmed the September 1946 build date.

I managed to get the headset loosened today. Still working on removing the stem from the steerer tube.

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Rob74 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:00 am

Firtly.."1946 Hobbs of Barbican with most of its original components."…WOW, watching this rebuild/refurbishment with interest.

WyvernRH » Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:26 am
"I posess a bound set of 'Cycling' magazines that cover 1948 to 1952 with the odd earlier issue thrown in."
&
Clydesdale Scot » Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:02 pm
"I was looking through my 1948-49 bound set of The CTC Gazette today"

Gents….That is an awesome resource…..where did you pick up/how did you come by the "Bound Copies/compendium"??

Rob

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby WyvernRH » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:56 pm

Rob74 wrote:Gents….That is an awesome resource…..where did you pick up/how did you come by the "Bound Copies/compendium"??


In my case serendipity and a love of second hand bookshops. The Cycling bound volumes came from a lunchtime visit to Rices bookshop in Hunter St Newcastle.
I also found a collection of CTC Gazettes from the 20's and 30's spanning several years piled up in a corner in a second hand bookshop down Woolongong way.
Other odds and sods were picked up as they popped up while on hoiday or were given to me by various people over the years.
Having friends know you are interested helps. A friend in Perth picked up several Claud Butler catalogs from the 50's and 60's for a few dollars in a bookshop in Fremantle when he was browsing for military books for example. Other people hand things on, say when relatives pass-on, as they know they will be kept and appreciated.
So, all just luck really I think...Also I am now old enough now that the CTC 'Cycletouring' and other magazines I purchased in the 70's and 80's are now starting to be considered 'vintage resources' :wink:

Richard
Last edited by WyvernRH on Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:48 pm

WyvernRH wrote:... Woolongong way.


:roll: Wollongong (from someone born and bred there and was there again last week) Nice work Richard, I was paying attention.

I have bought mine some from a Forum member here (the Cycling 'Show editions' which is a fantastic resource and others when they appear in the time period of my interest, the late 1940s. These come up from time to time on e~bay. This is where the CTC bound volumes came up. I find it interesting to read the periodicals of the time to understand the environment when the developments occurred and how they were received.
It helps me understand more about the bikes and their owners. It is more than pieces of metal.
This means I have a reason to keep occupied and so avoid most of the offerings on TV.

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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:51 pm

the freewheel was removed and the wheels stripped.
because these are not often seen, here are some photos.
So time for some cleaning
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larger resolution images at the Flickr album
Last edited by Clydesdale Scot on Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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RobertFrith
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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby RobertFrith » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:42 am

The Asps are a very pretty rim profile and they seem to have a great reputation. I have a pair set aside for a future project. And just watched two pairs on fleabay go for well over $300 (a pair) (and another pair just under). Your Chater Lea hubs look to be in very good nick too.

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WyvernRH
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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby WyvernRH » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:46 am

Ah, I thought the rear hub might turn out to be a double fixed. I think it is probably a fair bet that the bike was built originally for time trialling with the option to take it out for a spin on the track.( and probably to commute to work, do the shopping etc :wink: ) Love the extra cone used as a spacer!
I do know that chaps used to spin on 3 speed 1/8" or 4 speed 3/32" freewheels onto these hubs. I have done it myself with my 'Wyvern' rebuild. However you always ran the risk of less than intended threads not taking the strain and/or freewheels not seating properly due to interference from the lock ring thread depending on the model of freewheel.
Up to you of course but I wouldn't go past 3/4 speeds on the freewheel if you go with gears and keep the tooth count low(20-22). I have seen someone rip a freewheel off a fixed hub like that using 32t bottom sprocket. That was a long twiddle home across the South Downs on the 18t fixed on the other side of the flip/flop for that chap :roll:

Rims look in great condition but as I'm sure you know, take care when building (and riding) these rims as they hadn't quite worked out this weird aluminum stuff in the bicycle world way back then and they can be a bit fragile.

Richard

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: Hobbs of Barbican 1946

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:25 pm

Robert, I was watching those rims. For those I was able to keep my hands in my pockets.


Richard, I thought of you immediately I saw the double fixed hub. If you hadn't responded I would have given you a prompt from the wings.
I very much appreciate your wise words.

The wheels will be built up by one of the best wheel builders around. They will be in safe hands. I was able to get some NOS curved rim washers from the UK ebay this morning.
And I promise no kerb jumping will be done on these wheels.

The rear derailleur, a period correct Italian manufacture Simplex Campione Del Mondo arrived today. I already had the 3 speed 1/8" 22T freewheel.

I may get a fixed cog and lockring to run it as a time trial bike.
Back to cleaning.

A nice article about time trial events is on Classic Lightweights
Last edited by Clydesdale Scot on Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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