& “something cycles” at the top of the head badge, where something is a short-ish word.
Sure is a puzzle! Thanks for getting involved, I'm following up your suggestion with internet searches, just in case you find the missing link! Ta C
Don't Do It !
I think it would be a shame to take this attractive and apparently original machine and 'convert' it with later parts.
Original machines like this are fairly rare, old frames with ill matched non period parts are as common as they are undesirable. If you read this column you will see that most of the contributors are trying to do the opposite of what you propose.
I can't tell exactly what sprockets the machine has atm, but I can make a guess: the bottom gear looks like 32 x 24, which with 700's would give a gear of about 35". Go much lower than that and you'll be travelling so slowly there will be a risk of just toppling over.
So my advice: either buy this bike and enjoy it for what it is, or get an old frame and equip it with whatever kit you fancy.
Hi Clubman! I was getting confused there for a while! Your commenting on the French bike in blue! Not my lovely slightly rusty unidentified frame, any ideas from your side? See further up the thread. Ta C
Ok, please know I'm taking Clubman's advice. Topic closed.
I am all for originality myself. In fact, it should be said that the seller or someone else most likely resprayed the frame, which did actually disappoint me. I didn't think changing the gears (and keeping the old ones) would be such a serious or permanent intervention, but perhaps I hadn't considered the situation properly. Anyway, I came to get your inputs and I thank you all for that.
And thank you Clubman for taking the time to explain the gearing to me. I have appreciated your expert and very helpful advice in the past on another frame.
Definitely commenting on the French Bike
Really enjoyed your account of riding with the inner circle @clubman, very interesting stuff.
Looking at the photo, it's interesting to see the lights pointing at the road where the puncture risks are not in the eyes of oncoming road users. And two brakes on fixed-wheel bikes.
Agreed leave the randonneur alone! I think there's nothing really wrong with repainting a bike and then using all those original/suitable parts, I've heard it said that in days of yore it was pretty normal to have your bike stripped and repainted every so often.
If you like French bikes you should be aware of this forum
One small point from your photo: The back wheel is set right at the back of the fork end - the derailleur would probably change better if the wheel is brought forward since this will bring the sprockets closer to the top jockey wheel.
Your unidentified frame:
I'm afraid I can't identify it, but there are a couple of points to make.
That frame number is remarkably low - if it's really only the 22nd frame from that maker it's not surprising if no one recognises it 70+ years later. Could it be the frame size? I know it seems pointless to stamp that on the fork end, but 'there's nowt so queer as folks'.
Also, remember that many bike shops would have their own transfers which they would apply to frames they had bought from a trade builder. The retailer would normally stamp his own frame number on any frame he was 'badging', so quite possibly neither the number nor the badge will identify the builder. If this is the case you might as well use any obscure transfer that takes your fancy!
On the bright side, that well worn fork end looks as though it belongs to a much used frame, so somebody in the past used it a lot, which is a good indication it will make a nice rideable machine.
Thank you for the link. Nice to have web translators these days.
Anyway, before others join in: please understand I have taken Clubman's advice! I am almost sorry I asked this question. It is true, it wasn't a considered one, but so it is.
I have written to the seller and told him I won't be buying it. He has another offer now too.
My interest isn't French vs English, but I am just looking for a bike that can take at least 32cm wheels, with some lowish trail in the front and a vintage age. I love oldish things in general - the 60s furniture, the 1972 record player (though digital is wonderful thing too), and so on. So my interest in keeping things as original as possible is sincere. As Skülly knows, I came to this forum regarding a wonderful Bob Jackson offer I had and he was extremely generous with his help! I really appreciated that.
In my readings I began to understand that the master craftspeople of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, probably understood more about geometry and load-bearing than many today. This is a strong statement based purely on subjective opinion. I am no framemaker myself, but I trust writers on the topic. So I imagine (could be wrong) I think that that Bob would have had 'wheel flop' in the front because the forks weren't shaped for any real baggage there. The high trail vs low/ish trail interests me.
So, whether its French or British - I seek one I can afford and keep for the rest of my life. I am no collector.
Anyone have any experience/advice about re-spacing old track hubs?
I recently bought what is apparently an old 1958 JRJ road/track frame that has been resprayed by Bob Jackson at some time in the 80s. (judging by transfers etc). I recently built it up with a mish mash of parts old and new for Hard day in January last weekend and now I've decided I like the frame I plan to strip back the old decals, and either touch up or respray the frame long term and build it up with a selection of roughly period and new 'retro' style parts for use as a smart commuter/road fixed bike. I've already settled on TA cranks (although I may eventually change these to Stronglight 49d's) and modern, classic shaped bars as I want a shallower drop than I could find in old bars. These necessitate a 26mm clamp stem so I shall either track down an old Ambrosio/Fiamme stem from the later 50's/early 60s or failing that get something like this Velo Orange Grand Cru https://freshtripe.co.uk/velo-orange-grand-cru-quill-stem/. I intend to built it up with modern Dia Compe centre pulls with older levers (or possibly MAFAC racers or similar if I can stop them squealing all the time!)) and 700c wheels new rims on old double fixed hubs.
However-the rear of the frame is spaced at 120mm (or most likely was re-spaced when it was repainted and a gear hanger was added) and nearly all 50s fixed hubs are set at 110mm or there abouts. If anyone has any idea how to re-space these please share-as I'd really like to use a set of Harden/Airlite or Bayliss Wiley large flange double fixed for the build. I'm sure it must be doable I'm just unsure how to keep a good chainline etc. Thanks!,
Yes I'm aware that cycle shops used to rebadge frames supplied by more mainstream builders, it causes a bit of a dilemma; rebadge with a guess as to which builder actually made the frame and this of course means the frame number doesn't match the claimed decals used: or, as you suggest use any random badge, but leaves you in the same situation. I guess I could get Lloyds to copy what is able to be read and invent the rest from historic photos. If indeed it does read Bromley Kent and what looks like 'Long' or 'Lond' just above and 'xxxx' cycles in the arch above then something akin to what it once was might be achieved. Thoughts? As you appear to be a preservationist, I thought you may have an opinion? Thanks C
50s fixed hubs are set at 110mm or there abouts.
Why do we try to convert measurements that were made in imperial into metric?
It can so often cause unnecessary grief, as in the case of my broken steerer (above).
Those old hubs were four and a quarter inches wide across the lock nuts, or 107.9 mm. So let's hear no more of 110 mm, because it's not accurate, which is very common with these conversions.
A really mad brexiteer might want to convert metric to imperial, but the result would be just as disastrous - the best thing is not to muddle the two systems!
However, the good news is - you don't really need to worry about the chainline (one and a half inches, by the way) because although the frame has been stretched out, as long as the hub remains central between the fork ends, it won't be affected. Just put sufficient spacers (on both sides, obvs.) so that the hub fits comfortably into the frame, and you should retain the 1.5" chain line. Of course, that's assuming you've still got the right length BB spindle.
The builders were not even necessarily mainstream - some were working in their garden shed!
I feel people put too much importance on the original 'branding' of old bike frames - of course in some cases you know what you've got because of the eccentricity of the builder e.g. Hetchins, Bates, Paris and so on, but in so many cases it's just not possible to discover the origin of a frame once it's been lost. But just losing the original identity doesn't really make the thing itself less desirable, especially if you intend to use it (I hope that is your intention).
So if you want to refinish your frame and you don't feel it would be complete without some name on it, I suggest the best option is to make something up - perhaps that will become your own 'brand'!
As to facts, the only possible help I can offer is that there is a village in North West Kent called Longfield, and it is quite close to Green Street Green which was a cyclists' meeting point for many years. So it's possible there was a bike shop in Longfield, which could be your answer. You might try old Kelly's Directories.
thats great, very clear and helpful as always @clubman. I shall press ahead with the search for some double fixed airlites, harden or similar as planned...
Another option for you might be to fit a Sturmey Archer 3 or 4 speed hub, together with one of those Cyclo converters that all 2 or 3 sprockets to be fitted. That way you can keep the Cyclo deraileur but have multiple gears. I have that setup on my 1949 Paris tandem and it works. It is also an age appropriate option, so you don't lose authenticity.
Hi @RgrahamH, thank you for the thought! Sounds like a good idea.
To be honest, I haven't given the bike much more thought since my last comment here. I've seen that it is still available though. I think I found the same model and how it would have looked before it was painted grey-blue somewhere else: https://steel-vintage.com/follis-classic-650b-randonneur-1950s
Anyway, I'll look into the Sturmey. I remember as a boy that my mother had an old Raleigh ladies bike from the 50s or 60s. It was a really beautiful bike in dark green with a wicker basket on the front. Anyway, what I've never forgotten about that bike were the wonderful slow rhythmical 'clicks' it made. It sounded so elegant and calm. I've always wondered if it came from the Sturmey Archer gears or somewhere in the wheel. Well, I have fond memories of those gears.
Here we are at last.
An ad. should appear in the next V-CC News and Views. If I hear that it's sold I'll report the price here.
This machine is definitely not my cup of tea - in fact I find it hard to understand what the attraction was, but here we are 120 years later and it seems likely someone will pay good money for it.
It's got a coaster brake but apparently never had any brake at the front. The pedals are modern and I think the saddle has been redone, other than that it's all either original or old.
Clubman Thanks SO much for tagging me on this post. I am in a slight panic now! Do I or don’t I think about buying it?!? This is a really special one.
This machine is definitely not my cup of tea - in fact I find it hard to understand what the attraction was
This machine is definitely not my cup of tea - in fact I find it hard to understand what the attraction was
Strangely, I went through the whole process of mucking about with mine — and as I finished it had a sudden twang of fear/buyers’ remorse: what if I hate it?!
Turns out it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made re: the cycles I ride. I absolutely adore riding it. It’s an incredibly rewarding thing to ride, if that makes any sense, feels really natural to ride and very ergonomic. My back is really thanking me too (I have worsening and complex set of shoulder and neck issues that is making my more tucked drop-handlebar bikes difficult to use for longer periods, still riding them for under three hours though I hasten to add!).
I would say to any Pedersen-curious folk, if you think you probably want one, try it! Happy to let anyone of this parish ride mine if they want to visit me in SE4 btw.
If you know the riding position suits you, that puts a different complexion on the matter - it certainly wouldn't suit me.
If you're keen to have a look, the bike is in Southend - if you pm me I'll be happy to put you in touch with the vendor. He tells me he has now owned this bike for 49 years, so it's not something that comes to the market very often!
Woah. You think it’ll be pricey? Utterly amazing.
I think there are quite a lot of DP's still in existence - because they were expensive and intriguing (some might say beautiful) very few have been thrown away. On the other hand it seems fair to say they don't appear to be very practical, so they haven't been worn out as ride to work hacks - again, not many put in skips. Where are they? Probably, like this one, mostly in old peoples sheds and attics.
You think it’ll be pricey?
Ideally I'm sure my friend would be happy to give it to someone who would look after it - unfortunately he's not particularly wealthy, so I really do think he should get at least somewhere near the current market value. I'm not qualified even to guess at what that might be.
I don't suppose anyone has a rear Airlite/Harden/Bayliss Wiley orGran sport/FB etc or similar fixed hub with 36 or 32 hole drilling going spare do they? I was hoping to get some wheels built for my JRJ on modern Kinlin ADHN rims but everywhere is out of stock in silver. I can still get them in 36/32 but not 40 hole which all my spare hubs are.
What's going on with those dropouts do you think?
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