Sturmey Archer Mistral

Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking

Sturmey Archer Mistral

Postby Lots of steel bikes » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:47 pm

Does this mean Sturmey Archer made rims? Or a misleading decal. Can't find any info about Mistral.
The wheels are on a Viner.

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by BNA » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:02 pm

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Re: Sturmey Archer Mistral

Postby WyvernRH » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:02 pm

I'm pretty sure I have a set of wheels with those rims in the shed. They were the originals on my wife's touring bike from the early 1980's. IRRC 'MISTRAL' were a British rim maker startup making rims around that time that then got bought out by somebody and than disappeared into a major manufacturer's maw. Which was a shame cos they made nice rims (for the time). They may well at some point got sucked into the ongoing disaster that was Ti Industries/Raleigh and thus the Sturmey Archer variation on the decal (a sub-company of TI by then). I am pretty sure our version is identical but does not have the words 'Sturmey Archer' in the top part of the decal. I shall check the shed tomorrow and confirm with the wife when we bought those wheels.
Cheers
Richard
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Re: Sturmey Archer Mistral

Postby Lots of steel bikes » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:17 pm

Good information Richard, thanks. One of the many pleasures of bike restoration is bits of detective work regarding parts and odds and ends. The wheels are straight and true, will enjoy polishing them up. I'm keen to hear if yours has the same decal or a variant.
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Re: Sturmey Archer Mistral

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:32 pm

I have a Sturmey Archer stem on my Dawes so it wouldn't surprise me if they made rims as well.
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Re: Sturmey Archer Mistral

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:13 am

OK, finally got out to the shed. My Mistral rims have basically the same sticker except:
(1) There is no Sturmey Archer text [url][/url]
(2) The word 'Mistral' is in black script on the white stripe.
(3) The rim size (700C) is in the red stripe and a model no (?) 217 is in the blue stripe
I also found a detailed history of Mistral rims in the book 'The Spaceframe Moultons' page 38 http://books.google.com.au/books?id=BK-p04D7aSAC&pg=PP2&lpg=PP1&dq=spaceframe+moultons
Quick summary -
- Raleigh set up Aluminum rim production in Nottingham in 1978 using extrusions from SAPA-Tibshelf Derbyshire
- 1981 rim production transferred to Sturmey Archer and the rim named 'Mistral'
- Aug 1982 Raleigh shut down rim production (they had screwed their overseas suppliers down to a lower price), Keith Hutcheon buys dies and equipment and sets up in Nottingham as Mistral Rims Ltd
- According to this source the company only lasted a year as the British cycle industry failed to support it (what a surprise...)

I have a vague idea that all the equipment and dies were bought by Sun Rims and shipped off to the USA.

So looks like my rims date from the private company in 1982/83 and yours to the Sturmey period in 1981/82.
It was a great shame this company crashed as they produced great rims at a good price - all the bike shops were recommending them for touring at the time.
Cheers
Richard
Last edited by WyvernRH on Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sturmey Archer Mistral

Postby LG » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:02 pm

Sturmey Archer also made steel rims, I've had a set of 26 X 1 3/8 built into atom hubs from memory.
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Re: Sturmey Archer Mistral

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:44 pm

LG wrote:Sturmey Archer also made steel rims, I've had a set of 26 X 1 3/8 built into atom hubs from memory.


That's quite right, Raleigh had made all their steel rims in house since before WWI along with most other steel components.
Basically, if a component on a Raleigh group bike was made of steel then there was a fair chance that it was made in-house by Raleigh in one of their factories.
When Alloy parts (hubs, rims, derailleurs etc) became popular they were mainly sourced from other specialist (sic) firms who had their prices negotiated down to the absolute minimum price, which with the Raleigh/TI group being virtually all-powerful by the 1960's is one of the main factors that stuffed the British bicycle component industry.
As I understand it the major reason Raleigh/TI took up alloy rim production in the early 80's was to force down the UK wholesale prices charged by importers of European and Japanese alloy rims.
Cheers
Richard
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