Steve Thornhill - who he?

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  • I bought a Steve Thornhill frame from hilarystone on here a while back and was interested in finding out more about the man and his work. Anyone any ideas? Googling hasn't brought much up, nor classiclightweights etc... Midlands frame builder as far as I can see, but not much more detail.
    The frame kinda needs a respray which I will do come winter rather than let crimes against steel occur, but that would mean curtains for the decals, which I doubt I can replace.

  • Google could help you...

    Steve Thornhill. Ex Department Manager of 'Wheelbuilding' at Dawes, Wharf Lane, Tyseley.

    http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtop­ic.php?p=564164&sid=32ae73d92a5448d96cd7­fe4ee4985be3

  • Yep saw that, but little else.

  • Steve Thornhill used to have a shop in Selly Oak Birmingham though must be at least 15 years since it closed down. Sold frames branded as his but I'm pretty sure they weren't built by him just badged up. I'm thinking possibly they were built by Mercian, they certainly built for a Birmingham shop but I could have that bit wrong.

  • Thanks very much - wasn't sure if he was making the frames or just badging them... Further digging to find who built it required..

  • Steve Thornill used to run a plumbers merchants down in Hemel Hemstead in the early 80s

  • Lee, I think you are on the money with that Mercian suggestion. the lug work is just like the Audax Special! More sleuthing required, but I think this what we might be dealing with. Thanks mate.

  • nickvonfiction did you find anything else relevant to Steve Thornhill?

    I bought a Thornhill frame this evening, the reason i bought it was it has a 58 seat tube and 56 top tube, which was what i had on a previous mercian, and it felt spot on.
    Sure it means nothing, guess we all want to think we own something special.

  • ^ Was that the red one on ebay I was looking at? Had same sizing as you said.

  • yeah, that's the one. I posted a pic from the listing in the 'current projects' thread yesterday.
    sorry if i outbid you.

  • Nah, I was umming and arring about it, but Idecided I didn't like red at the last minute, and I was a little bit put off by the sellers description of the condition. I hope it's a good'un.

  • Sorry Jambon, lost track of this thread! I got in contact with mercian with some pix of my frame and they said it certainly looked like it was made by them but there was no serial number that would corroborate this for certain. Does yours have a clear frame number?

  • cheers for the reply, I've since sold the frame but i'm sure it did have a serial number on the bb.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/49138502@N0­4/4893491255/

  • That frame looks pretty much identical to mine - heart shaped lugs, right? Only thing that is different is the decals and headbadge. Maybe Mr Thornhill failed to involve branding consultants in his design....

  • It's a bit lateI know but re Steve Thornhill - he started out as a mechanic at a shop in Ulleries Road, Solihull run by Tom and Jan Crowther - Steve was a first class wheel builder and mechanic. He eventually set up his own shop the other side of Birmingham - as previously stated on Bristol Road Selly Oak. I understood that the badged frames he sold - like so many other dealers including Tom Crowthers - were Mercian. I had a machine from Steve which was actually a Peugeot resprayed and badged Thornhill. I still have it and it is still in (occasional) use. Steve was a really good sort and sad loss to bike business....

  • Thanks for the extra info, man - I still have the frame so it's still a topic of interest.
    I got it restored but had to reproduce the decal design myself, but that at least means Steve Thornhill's name lives on on this bike!


  • Well, I've just bought this for, what I hope is, a very reasonable £95.

    Looks to be a 531 Professional badge on the seat tube.

    Fingers crossed it is a Mercian build...

  • Ooh you lucky bastard!

    Good price I reckon, apparently the 531 pro tubeset has 753 stays. I took a punt, but lightweight tubing is probably not what I need for my riding.

    Let us know how it turns out.

  • Thanks, will do.

    I did some frantic googling on 531 Pro as the clock ticked down and saw the stays were 753.

    The builder must have been up to scratch as 753 was only licensed to top builders.

  • Just bought a thornhill doing the same myself trying to renovate and find out more on the man himself

  • Hi,im new here,i have an old Steve Thornhill racing bike,its red and white,it has mavic emr7-650w wheels on it,it has cinelli handle bars with what looks like E Gos or something similar deep engrved signing on the stem,there is some rust on the front part of the frame where the front fork stem goes through,also the rear brake cable goes through the upper frame not along it and it has two bottle holders that bolt into the frame,can anyone give me any info on it as i may be selling it,if you have any info or advise couldsomeone let me know either on here or by calling me on 07746156559. thanks

  • I believe what you have is a Mercian. I have a frame with identical lugs, looks to be almost the same size too. Mine however, has no braze ons what so ever and a re tapped BB. The lack of braze ons and cable guides makes me believe it to be 10 to 20 years older than this frame but like I said : identical lugs. What do the lugs on your brake bridge look like? The fork ( my fork, org. one that is ) has a inner dia of 22.15 not 22.2 , I suspect that fork (yours ) is a replacement, I replaced mine as well recently. Do you have a serial stamped anywhere? Mine is without. I got the bike as a trade of sorts at the shop I was working at in ABQ NM. The paint has been stripped off, poorly re painted and then looked to be stripped again. Despite its looks, it is my fav. around town bike, very sturdy and smooth. I built it up low cost with an internal 3 speed/coaster , seeing as the rear spacing is 120 mm. Could you post more pictures of your bike? Since owning mine its been a real puzzle on make and origin, but after seeing this post, and looking through older Mercian photos I do think the ( my ) mystery is solved. Their lugs have varied and changed over the years , however the BB lugs seem to stay very similar. How interesting the life of a bicycle , if only they could talk!

  • I know it is some years since the original post but I was a mechanic at Steve's shop in Selly Oak from 1989 to 1994. Most of the 'new' custom frames were built by Mike Kowal of Autostrada who at the time was based in Tyseley, then moved to Weeford and now I believe he is still building frames somewhere in the Lichfield area.

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Steve Thornhill - who he?

Posted by Avatar for nickvonfiction @nickvonfiction

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