George Robinson and Rob's Cycles, Blackburn VIC.

531db
Posts: 977
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Riding a real steel bike - somewhere!

George Robinson and Rob's Cycles, Blackburn VIC.

Postby 531db » Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:20 pm

Kukamunga asked about Rob's Cycles in another thread in this forum.

It just so happens that a few years ago I did some research into George and his cycle shop, as in about 1992 I purchased a frame from George, which is definitely vintage as you will see when I post photo's later.

Briefly, George's story goes something like this:

George was discharged from the RAAF in 1944, and opened Rob's Cycles and Sports in Main St, Blackburn in that year. Firstly it was mainly a bicycle repair shop, but after the war ended, George started making frames, possibly in 1947.

Warren Meade has told me George was well known for building some very nice lugless frames, and also built frames with the seatstays that ran across the sea tube and ended at the top tube ("GT" style).

George was heavily involved in racing in the local area, and helped form the Blackburn Cycling Club in 1946.

George continued to build frames to about 1982-4.

In about 1992 I visited George's shop and ended up buying a c1960's NOS frame he had tucked out of sight in the rafters. I regret it now, but George also offered me the last frame he ever built, a Reynolds 531 in close to my size, but unpainted. Unfortunately I had just splashed out money on a new custom Hillman road frame and could not afford the Rob' 531.

George finally closed his shop in 1999, and sadly he passed away 10 May 2005.
Last edited by 531db on Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

531db
Posts: 977
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Riding a real steel bike - somewhere!

Postby 531db » Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:40 pm

Ok, firstly my Rob' Special as photographed at the Canberra Bicycle Museum a few years ago.

[img][img]http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb160/531db/RobSpecial1.jpg[/img]

[/img]Image

[img][img]http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb160/531db/RobSpecial3.jpg[/img]

[/img]Image

531db
Posts: 977
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Riding a real steel bike - somewhere!

Postby 531db » Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:41 pm

George's shop.

[img][img]http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb160/531db/robscycles.jpg[/img][/img]

User avatar
vx255
Posts: 345
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:48 pm
Location: Berwick, Vic

Postby vx255 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:45 am

OH man, pity the shop was before my time, combined 2 of my passions, shooting (competitive) and cycles. shoguns and shotguns! :lol:

Great read, thanks for taking the time to put this into words.
Striving for mediocrity.

kukamunga
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:12 am
Location: 3166

Postby kukamunga » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:37 am

Thanx 531db! You inspired me to go out and take a few 'happy snaps' :wink:
Image Image
Image Image
Image Image
Going by the serial #, I'd say I've got a twenty-four year old touring bike here (ignoring the saddle).
Last edited by kukamunga on Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 8306
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:29 am
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Re: George Robinson and Rob's Cycles, Blackburn VIC.

Postby MichaelB » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:54 am

531db wrote: ....
In about 1992 I visited George's shop and ended up buying a c1960's NOS frame he had tucked out of sight in the rafters. I regret it now, .....


Nice looking bike, but why the regret ?

xcamx
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:49 am
Location: melbourne

Re: George Robinson and Rob's Cycles, Blackburn VIC.

Postby xcamx » Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:44 pm

MichaelB wrote:
531db wrote: ....
In about 1992 I visited George's shop and ended up buying a c1960's NOS frame he had tucked out of sight in the rafters. I regret it now, .....


Nice looking bike, but why the regret ?


I think he regrets not buying the other frame he was offered, not the frame he did buy.

Torana68
Posts: 1389
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:40 am
Location: NSW/ACT
Contact:

Postby Torana68 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:44 pm

[quote="531db"]Ok, firstly my Rob' Special as photographed at the Canberra Bicycle Museum a few years ago.

yep and they are my feet!!!
Roger

User avatar
WyvernRH
Posts: 2241
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:41 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

grizzle....

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:14 pm

Its not fair! Why do I never find bikes/frames in this condition? :(
I always seem to be fated to find and attempt to resurrect rusty remains involving much work with torch, file and wire wool and then scouring the planet for parts! :?

Ok, whinge over...

Very nice bikes chaps, with lots of local interesting detail attached!

(retires muttering back to his shed......)

Richard

kukamunga
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:12 am
Location: 3166

Re: grizzle....

Postby kukamunga » Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:09 pm

WyvernRH wrote:Its not fair! Why do I never find bikes/frames in this condition? :(

Ahh.... something to do with your geographical location, maybe?

Blockchain
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 7:07 am

George Robinson & Rob's Cycles Blackburn Vic.

Postby Blockchain » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:11 pm

Good to see the Rob's Special logo again. I rode with Blackburn in the late 50's and early 60's and had two of Robbies bikes. It was a great shop to visit and he was so very helpfull to young racers.
Actually he made very few lugless frames you had to be someone deserving as they took him a lot longer to make than the conventional lugged frames.
One at least survives with it's origional owner and is so tailor made that the seat post is fixed brazed in place - no extra weight like a bolt!
A feature in the shop was a tiny track racing bike with perhaps twelve inch diameter wheels that Robbie had made, I often wonder what became of it.
Thats a very nice frame pictured, thanks for putting it on - good memories.
Cheers.

User avatar
WyvernRH
Posts: 2241
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:41 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

Re: grizzle....

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:21 pm

kukamunga wrote:
WyvernRH wrote:Its not fair! Why do I never find bikes/frames in this condition? :(

Ahh.... something to do with your geographical location, maybe?


Very perceptive, people in the Hunter area do seem have always wanted the latest stuff and the old gets tossed in the shed to rust slowly away or taken off to the tip. I have met many examples...
The state rail employee riding to work on grandad's 5-star track bike with the bars upsidedown and using his foot to brake. Wouldn't sell and when seen later on a supermarket special confessed he had tossed it down a mine shaft to get rid of it (he nearly joined it...)
And again,years ago a friend who restores Tiger Moths looked into a barn next to his airfield and found a pile of bicycles rusting into the earth, stomped all over by cows! We managed to salvage the rusty, slightly bent and (sadly) incomplete remains of a German gas meter readers bike with a 3-speed gearbox in the bottom bracket and a few parts but that was about all in a huge pile of once proud sports bikes (and a few roadsters) :( Apparently the farmers dad had been keeping them for scrap :evil:

Cheers

Richard

kukamunga
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:12 am
Location: 3166

Postby kukamunga » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:38 pm

Maybe put a "WANTED: Old Bicycles. Will collect for free" ad in your local paper :wink:

531db
Posts: 977
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Riding a real steel bike - somewhere!

Postby 531db » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:57 pm

kukamunga wrote:Thanx 531db! You inspired me to go out and take a few 'happy snaps' :wink:
Image Image
Image Image
Image Image
Going by the serial #, I'd say I've got a twenty-four year old bike here (ignoring the saddle).


Going by the serial #, I'd say your Rob Special is by Kuwahara. My 1982 Apollo IV by Kuwahara has exactly the same numbering sequence pattern.

fixie
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:08 pm

Postby fixie » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:13 pm

In the 70's Rob did an excellent job on one of my frames, truing and realigning it for me. I last saw him in the late 90's just before he retired/closed the shop, when I bought some pedals from him. I remember that then he had some interesting vintage stock.

Allwork
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:00 am
Location: WA Wheatbelt

Rob's Cycles - Blackburn

Postby Allwork » Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:32 am

Good evening to all,

This is my first post on this forum, and is about a bike shop/person/event that I have fond memories of.

My father took me to Rob's Cycles as an 10 or 11 year old to choose a bicycle for my Xmas present - this was 30 years ago

I can remember looking at all the bikes and being asked to choose one - not sure how it happened (Mr Robinson and Dad colluded perhaps) however I ended up with a red and blue steel framed bicycle, coaster brake, mudguards and a pack rack - it had the 28 * 1 3/8 inch wheels.

Being new, and with 28 inch wheels it was the fastest treadly in the street, for a while there, the only tyres I could easily get hold of to suit the rims were from KMart.

This bike took me everywhere for many years, including a rides from Mitcham to Mt Dandenong a number of times - no helmets (were for BMX competition only). Riding up the hill to the observation carpark seemed to take forever, the ride down, one of the biggest thrills, easily keeping up with cars.

It also had to double up as a paper round/pamphlet delivery bike until I was 18 and was allowed to drive.

Replacing the cotter pins seemed to be a regular problem as the pedalling and braking forces on the cranks (trying to stop and start 25kg plus load of paper) would cause them to work loose or crush the machine face.

Must have a look around Dad's shed one day - might still be there up in the rafters.

Bikes since then have also been interesting in a retro sort of way - a brand new (1982) 25" framed ricardo racing bike with the weinman grooved (for superior braking performance in wet weather....?) alloy rims bought from the Gray's (?) bikeshop in Mitcham (my brother still has it!), a Shogun Trail Breaker 3 MTB bought in 1986 (I still have it - photos to be posted), and a genuine Australia Post delivery bike bought from a garage sale for $15 about 10 years ago.

Great forum, typing this has brought back some recollection of the Dragster to BMX/Cruiser era, food for another post.

Bye

kukamunga
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:12 am
Location: 3166

Postby kukamunga » Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:38 am

Welcome Allwork (hope you get some play in, now and again)!

Are you still cycling? And why the move west??? :? Melbourne is the centre of the cycling universe!!! :lol: :wink:

It'd be good to see your old bikes, if they're still around :)

kukamunga
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:12 am
Location: 3166

Postby kukamunga » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:13 am

531db wrote:Going by the serial #, I'd say your Rob Special is by Kuwahara. My 1982 Apollo IV by Kuwahara has exactly the same numbering sequence pattern.

"012 HI-TENSION TUBES & FORKS, KCL JAPAN" decal. KCL = Kuwahara?

So do you think the frame was made by Kuwahara?

I've since passed on this Apollo III / Kuwahara frame:-
Image
so I can't compare serial ##. Rob's frame appears lower quality than Apollo III

There is no "Made in Japan" sticker on the Rob's frame, apart from tubing decal

So frame made by Rob's from Japanese tubing? Or fully made by Kuwahara.....? :roll:

I will look at frame a bit closer. I plan to put this bike on the market, if anyone is interested.....

531db
Posts: 977
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Riding a real steel bike - somewhere!

Postby 531db » Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:12 pm

kukamunga wrote:
531db wrote:Going by the serial #, I'd say your Rob Special is by Kuwahara. My 1982 Apollo IV by Kuwahara has exactly the same numbering sequence pattern.

"012 HI-TENSION TUBES & FORKS, KCL JAPAN" decal. KCL = Kuwahara?

So do you think the frame was made by Kuwahara?

I've since passed on this Apollo III / Kuwahara frame:-
Image
so I can't compare serial ##. Rob's frame appears lower quality than Apollo III

There is no "Made in Japan" sticker on the Rob's frame, apart from tubing decal

So frame made by Rob's from Japanese tubing? Or fully made by Kuwahara.....? :roll:

I will look at frame a bit closer. I plan to put this bike on the market, if anyone is interested.....


Frame (and probably bike) fully built by Kuwahawa. Decals applied by George. :D

User avatar
Kid_Carbine
Posts: 1297
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:35 pm
Location: Southern Highlands N.S.W.

Postby Kid_Carbine » Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:50 am

Trade frames & whole trade bicycles have been stickered with the LBS name for over a century, it's just impractical to turn out even small quantities of frames in the lower end of the market [the volume sellers] if you are a one or two man bike shop.

Whenever a bike shop had their own frame builder [often the proprietor] his tallents would mostly be focused on turning out quality 'made to customers order' frames & bikes as it was still a time consuming process & the quality bikes gave a better financial return on his efforts & if done properly, could well enhance his reputation while cheaper models never saw much respect & never the laurels of victory, yet still took almost as much time to build.

As competition stiffened in the 70's & 80's it would be very hard to resist a rep's offer to supply imported unlabeled trade bikes of acceptable quality at prices lower than the shop could build them for.
Carbine & SJH cycles, & Quicksilver BMX
Now that's AUSTRALIAN to the core.

kukamunga
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:12 am
Location: 3166

Postby kukamunga » Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:41 am

Still.... a 'Rob's Special touring bike - frame by Kuwahara' sounds impressive enough..... :roll:

sketz55
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:15 pm
Location: melbourne

robs special/kuwahara

Postby sketz55 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:29 pm

you guys are amazing, first forum i have ever joined, this is going to be so much fun, hope my etique is ok, these retros are full of character and make riding so much more enjoyable, give them all a new lease of life

my first road bike was to be a "Robs Special" in 1983, however i chose the pearl white "Madison" instead.

found the girlfriend a 100% original Robs Special ladies bike, i love it, she doesnt like the colour, so it is on ebay.........boo hoo it has to go

looks like a kuwahara serial no. on the white robs special, as my 1984 "Kuwahara" Vitesse track bike is branded in the same spot in the same configuration

kukamunga
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:12 am
Location: 3166

Postby kukamunga » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:01 pm

Welcome sketz55. Good to have you along. I will be putting my Rob's Special on eBay soon, as it too large for me, and I've got plenty of other 'project' bikes. If anyone here is interested in it, PM me :roll:

User avatar
Lark2004
Posts: 1455
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Lawnton, 25k north of Brisbane

Postby Lark2004 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:38 pm

kukamunga wrote:I've since passed on this Apollo III / Kuwahara frame:-
Image


Hey, I just got one of those! Same colour, same decals, but smaller frame.
Andrew

kukamunga
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:12 am
Location: 3166

Postby kukamunga » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:38 am

Lark2004 wrote:Hey, I just got one of those! Same colour, same decals, but smaller frame.

Hopefully not the same bottom bracket.....
Image
!!! :shock: !!! (could this frame have belonged to 'toolonglegs' once?) :wink: :D

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users