Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
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Recently I won this Malvern Star frame on a 'second chance' after a couple of people who bid (a lot) more than me didn't fromt with the cash.
Claimed as a 1940's model, I think it may be a bit earlier, what do you folks think, all help appreciated
It has the 'English' style clamp headset (which is new to me on an Aussie frame!), long rake on the forks which also have dropouts made to fit the early style front hubs where the cones have a lip which fits into the dropout. Rear dropouts are Cyclo type with the frame number 27426 clearly visible (matches the forks by the way). The seat tube is also of smaller diameter than I am used to - the seat post will need to be only 22.3mm in dia
As it came with a modern bottom bracket it might have been intended for someones discarded "Fixie" project but as far a I can tell nothing has been cut off or de-brazed.
The paint job is an older re-spray with a good attempt at the decoration. It has been this colour for a few years as there are chips a-plenty and some wear in places.
So, what do we think it is? I have only seen pictures of Oppy's bikes from the 30's era which all have 'Continental' headsets, way less fork rake and Cyclo gears.
My guess on equipment and frame design is for the mid to late 30's, but I don't know much about the state of play of the Aussie industry at this time. The Canberra Museum list a 1940 frame with a number of 30496. IF this date is correct, then this might infer my 27426 would be about the same time, not a lot earlier?
Any better guesses?
Also has anyone any idea of the equipment fitout and do you have any bits spare
What I believe you have is a Malvern Star fixed wheel pattern racing frame from the early 1930's, a rare and desireable frame to any Malvern man - much more so than a Five Star. I have here a near identical bike save for oiler in the rear chain stay but with a higher number and it is 1936. The rear fork ends are 'Contentials' and the head set correct.
If you write to Rolf Lunsmann or show it to someone like Addo Zevenbergen you will be able to get an more accurate date.
This frame is well worth doing serious research on, whilst it is obviously yours to do with as you wish it deserves a lot more than a two pack paint job and PVC stickers and a dose of Super Record which so many seem to think is restoring it.
The correct art work is after all readly available.
Just as today it could have been ordered as a bare frame and fitted out to suit the owner and his pocket or bought as a complete machine from Malverns in which case it would be BSA fitted, major Taylor stem etc.
Remember in Australia brakes were not permitted in racing until 1932/3 and gears 1938. So it's fixed wheel for sure.
Good luck you have a real find.
Thank you, that is very informative! Do you have an pictures or catalogue scans which show this sort of bicycle?
My original idea was to keep and restore the light blue paint as someone in the past has put a bit of effort into doing the decoration, use Greg Softly's decals and maybe set it up as it might have been seen just post war. However maybe it should have the earlier block style Malvern Star text?
I'm afraid that if it does come to a re-paint it will almost certainly be two-pack as the only person who does anywhere near a decent job (that I know off) in the Hunter uses two-pack. The nearest decent enameller is in Sydney (Star) and has a massive waiting list. However I can guarentee that the equipment fit out will be accurate within ten years or so, no Campag! By 'the correct artwork is readily available' do you mean Greg Softly or some other source?
No brakes til the early 30's eh? - Frightening .... The frame is drilled for brakes and it is either original or been done very professionally. Possibly when it was re-painted (and probably re-equipped)
Whatever, I will e-mail Rolf and/or Addo and try to get their opinions.
Round tubes are not difficult to paint any competent spray painter can help you. Consider Dulon which lacks the plastic look of two pack it also ages quickly and looks just fine in no time. I have some pictures for you but posting them on the Forum is technically beyond me. If you like to send me a personal message with an email address I can email them to you.
I think building on the existing paint work is a good idea as what is there already is period tasteful, the bike would certainly have been upgraded to brakes in the later 30's and there are many options for you as I am sure you know.
They were tougher days and the money just wasn't around like today so it was commonplace for the same frame to be raced road season, track season, trained on and ridden to work with the necessary swapping of parts to suit. That in mind you have a lot of options of how you present your bike. Perhaps there is far too much emphasis now on exotic parts, the plain truth is the humble Williams chain wheel was on World Championship winning track bikes well in to the late 50's and their cranks too. Certainly BSA fluted cranks were nice but few afforded them.
Cheers for now.
A couple of points
The 'clip' head was widely used in this country over a time period that parallelled the British experience.
It is clearly a road frame as frames that were intended from new to use either single speed rear hubs or Sturmey Archer hub gears would have been built with rear facing tips. This one may have been fitted with a Cyclo two speed, or even a three speed gear as these were listed options in the 30's.
The rear lugs are ab industry standard pattern. I have several Carbines with them, including my 1937 bike, & they were used on my 2 star as well as my early 50's Olimpic racer & My similarly dated SJH racer. I even have a couple of new ones as spares.
The indentation around the edge, between the 7 & the 4 of your serial number is to receive the adjusting screw of the chain tensioner that Cyclo [& probably others] made for these. Gears & wing nuts made them a handy accessory
It's a Two Star which is more frequently associated with the DeLuxe roadster level, but more commonly seen as being later than 1939 as this is when the 'Star grading' system came into force with a completely revamped model lineup.
Three Star models were your more serious club racers while four Star models were supposed to be the dedicated & serious track racers.
Five Star models were the road race frame, but could be bought spec'd down to almost roadster level, or ordered as custom built racers. They also offered the five Star as a track race frame which is why the four star is so rare. People wanted the extra star it seems.
Your's is a pre war model. This would include some of the war years themselves, but it's not likely to be a post war model.
The general format of serial number from about 1940 or so up untill 1949 seems to have started with a single numeric character, generally accepted as being the last digit of the callandar year of production. [6= 1946]
This is followed by an alpha character, being the initial of the city where it was made. By far the most commpn is 'M' for Melbourne, but Sydney gets a look-in, & occasionally other letters are noted, like P for Perth I believe.
From 1950 onward they used a two digit number to denote the year to avoid confusion with the previous decade.
Well, this seems to be the most widely accepted theory at least.
I do not see any letter in your frame number, but it is a bit hard to read in the photo, so perhaps you can confirm it sometime.
I too have a similar model, although mine is of late wartime manufacture & it is equiped with the 'post war' type of head lugs while yours has the pre war type.
Your fork tips are of the keyhole type that requires spigoted bearing cones & again, this was widely used pre war. These cones are a little hard to find these days, but far from impossible & the wheel will be securely & correctly located when they are in place.
The fact that they are brazed in tips shows that this frame is not your cheap end product which would have had pressed lugs.
The fact that the head is plated [nickled?] suggests that it was not assembled from about 1943 onwards as nickle was a strategic material, not to be frivolously wasted on decorating bicycles & my 2 star had/has blackened wartime components on it.
So here's my view based on the limited evidence.
Road frame, not earlier than 1937 but probably more like 1939 to 1941 & I'd bet a dollar on 1940 or even '41. [but only a dollar]
It was probably a sporting version, or perhaps a touring bike, but not likely to be a race bike with those frame angles & fork rake.
A very nice find with a lot of potential. Enjoy the build.
Do not ever compare anything that Oppy rode to almost anything that the factory produced. Oppy was Bruce Smalls ticket to business success & he got the best of everything, no expense spared & nothing was too god for him. When he rode overseas his bikes seem to have been labeled BSA, but since Bruce Small had been the Australian distributor for British Small Arms cycle components since about 1932, there is some conjecture whether it stood for Bruce Small Australia, as his holding company was known, or the component & cycle maker.
From 1939, Oppy would only be seen on four Star or five Star models in Australia & even they bore little resemblance to anything the public could buy.
None the less, Oppy would have had Continental headsets as much as 20 years ahead of their widespread adoption in Aussie made bikes.
Carbine & SJH cycles, & Quicksilver BMX
Now that's AUSTRALIAN to the core.
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