1950 Jim Guard Cycles of Southampton - Eroica Steed

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  • Well, I fancied a locally built lightweight, and for me here in Southampton that meant Rotrax of course. Lovely bikes, not too common, well respected and usually the price reflect that ...
    So I was surprised when the usual ebay search turned up an old bike called a 'Jim Guard'. Who the hell is Jim Guard ... ?

    A quick google brought up next to nothing, which was intriguing. The bike had a few days to go. It looked complete bar the wheels, and I guessed it was worth £150. I bid £155 ... and I won it for £155, so I guessed I wasn't far off the mark. (A run of being the under bidder on several bike auctions was beginning to get me down)

    So what exactly had I bought? The seller was local so I soon found out when I picked it up. It was minus the wheels and chain. I was more than a little miffed to hear the seller had chucked the wheels in the skip because they were rusty ... A quick look at the weird gear system told me finding the right set of hubs could be tricky and or expensive ...

    Jim Guard lightweight by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Still, I was seriously chuffed at the machines originality, it looked like it had never been touched since it was built. Original paint, transfers ... and all the equipment looked like it had been there all it's life, great!

    Jim Guard down tube transfer. by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Jim Guard by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    So what was left on the bike? A quick run through the parts soon told me I had something of a much higher spec than anticipated ...
    Chater Lea 'Tommy Bar' Race Pedals
    Durax Supercourse cranks and chainwheel
    Reynolds stem and bars (Maes)
    Brooks B17 on an alloy stem
    GB Hiduminium brakes and levers

    IMG_5313 by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Durax Supercourse chainset by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    GB brake Hiduminium levers by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    GB Hiduminium brakes by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Reynolds stem by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

  • And of course this odd gear system? Lucky just discernable through the rust it was stamped the "Cyclo Ace" ...

    Cyclo Ace by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    But what the hell is this funny sprung arm hanging under the bottom bracket? Not helped of course that there wasn't a chain involved ...

    Cyclo Ace tensioner by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Jim Guard bottom bracket by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    More googling required ... and this time a mine of information out there on Disraeli Gears >


    Keen to see how it actually worked I chucked on an old 5 speed I had kicking around

    [/URL][URL="https://flic.kr/p/hAetmi"]Cyclo Ace Close Ratio gears by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

  • The Cyclo 'Ace' first appears in 1937, but is discontinued by 1955 when the rear derailleur as we know it has long taken over. (The Simplex Tour de France is introduced in '48)


    The 'Ace' is not the first 'close/medium-ratio three-speed striking-fork derailleur' though, or the most well known, as I found out a Eroica Britannia when more knowledgeable cycle history aficionados would all mention in passing "Oh look, an Osgear!"


    The system is pretty basic, and was popular at the end of the 30's, and early post war. The sprung arm bolted underneath the bottom bracket taking up the slack in the chain, the fork mounted on the back operated by twin cables shifts the chain between the cogs.
    Sounds simple ... I hoped it would work! The seller contacted me to say he had found the original chain, a fairly rusty 'Coventry', and that was then dumped in a can of sump oil and forgotten about for a few weeks.

    Progress then stalls over the winter, as I scratch my head over what to do about finding a good pair of wheels. Everything on the bike was top quality for the late 40's, early 50's. I couldn't just chuck any old pair of 26" wheels on it ...

  • Earlier this year, I started to get the Eroica emails coming through ... I had registered an interest last year, as it sounded right up my street. (I had tried to get in on the Goodwood Revival Tour de France action in 2013 but failed to get a look in.)
    But ... I dragged my heels. It was 200 miles away. Bare in mind I have a decrepit 1959 camper that struggles along at 50mph and you'll understand my reticence. Then there were problems with paying ... So I left it. Bang goes my early bird £55.

    Fast forward a few more months and several friends are badgering me to join them. I realise the error of my ways and pull my finger out. Tickets bought - 1332 and 1333. £70 for me, and £45 for the nipper. Ouch. Plus the £80 in petrol for the 400 mile round trip ...

    Now, I've got a few old hacks kicking around - I put my 1946 Hobbs of Barbican down on the registration form - but I fancied taking this Jim Guard for a spin ... Here starts the overhaul ...

  • I think saw you on the ride. I remember spending about 5 mins riding behind you, staring at your drive chain and trying to work out what the hell was going on.

  • Who the hell is Jim Guard ... ?

    Jim Guard's shop was still trading when I was in Southampton in 84, although I can't remember exactly where it was

  • I love threads like this! Can't wait for the rest of the story :)

  • Also looking forward to the rest of this story, & hopefully seeing pics of finished project. Also, you now have to buy all albums released by the band 'Disraeli Gears'.

  • Jim Guard's shop was still trading when I was in Southampton in 84, although I can't remember exactly where it was

    Which leads nicely onto another part of the story, thanks mdcc ;-)

    Some great info on the Jim Guard shop from an old employee, who worked there towards the end of it's history, about the same time you were in town.


    "My first ever employment was at Jim Guard Cycles, 124 Macnaghten Road, Southampton. I can still remember the telephone number too - 0703 27179. Happy days - I was 16 and employed on the Youth Training Scheme for the princely sum of £25 per week although I had had a Saturday job here since I was 15. Jim Guard himself was a strange chap, a former time-triallist and well known in local cycling circles, although the shop never managed to compete in prestige to our rivals across town, Rotrax. Jim's most useful bit of advice when repairing or preparing a cycle was to always wipe it with an oily rag to give it a shine."

    I'm still looking into finding more about the early years of Jim Guard.

  • A couple more shots of the gearing ... (Ignore the 5 speed wheel I've chucked in, this was also just to work out if the bike frame was for 26 or 27 inch wheels.)

    Cyclo Ace shifter by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Durax Supercourse by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Cyclo Ace changer by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

  • Back to the restoration ...

    How do you restore a very tatty, but very original machine? There would seem to be two main avenues here ...

    Renovation, simply "to make an object look like new." ...

    Total strip down, send the frame away to completely renovated, send all the rusty cranks, chainwheel and gear parts away to be rechromed ... I would have a truly stunning ride after all of this. The frame is obviously very well made, with it's chrome ends and filed lug work, it deserved this high level of detail surely?

    Conservation,* "the absolute maximum amount of the original material, in as unaltered a condition as possible, is preserved." ...
    Well, I had a pretty rare piece of local history here ... an early machine from a small bicycle shop. I hadn't seen another before, it could be a very lonely survivor ...

    My general rule of thumb though - if it is still original and untouched after 60 years, it can stay that way. I'm not going to be the one to change that. It's earned it's scrapes and scratches and patina. I had entertained the thought of getting the chainset re chromed, but after advice from an old friend I changed my mind. I would just overhaul and clean everything, and replace any mechanicals that were worn.
    Conservation rather than Restoration.

    I went down a few dead ends with the wheels and hubs. I did find an worn out old Gnutti rear hub with a 3 speed in my junk box, but it was too far gone. Removing the stuck freewheel involved a welder ...

    Bicycle restoration head scratching ... by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Then I bought a pair of Bayliss Wiley hubs at great expense
    (£77 - they are back on ebay now - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/181447528821?s­sPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m­1555.l2649http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/710-534­81-19255-0/1?pub=5574889051&toolid=10001­&campid=5336525415&mpt=5737540![](http:/­/rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/710-53481-192­55-0/1?pub=5574889051&toolid=10001&campi­d=5336525415&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER])http://ro­ver.ebay.com/roverimp/1/710-53481-19255-­0/1?pub=5574889051&toolid=10001&campid=5­336525415&mpt=4627531![](http://rover.eb­ay.com/roverimp/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?pu­b=5574889051&toolid=10001&campid=5336525­415&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER])http://rover.ebay.­com/roverimp/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?ff3=2­&pub=5574889051&toolid=10001&campid=5336­525415&item=181447528821&mpt=2852996![](­http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/710-534­81-19255-0/1?pub=5574889051&toolid=10001­&campid=5336525415&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]) )

    Bayliss Wiley hubs on ebay by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

  • Very satisfying taking these beauties apart. They had suffered no abuse and just needed a good scrub with fine wire wool and whatever metal cleaner I could lay my hands on, then a polish with a soft cloth and Brasso. All the nuts and bolts came undone easily. Old red Fibrax blocks in aluminium clamps looked period to the bike as well.

    I think these GB Hiduminium brakes were introduced in 1948? And I guessed used up until the early 50's.

    GB Hiduminium brake levers by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Front and rear Hiduminuim brakes by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    GB Hiduminium dissected by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    GB Hiduminium brake caliper by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

  • Removing what was left of the 'bar tape revealed the make and type of bars - Reynolds Hiduminium Maes, and they then got the same treatment as the brakes.

    Reynolds Hiduminium Meas handlebars by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    GB Hiduminium handlebars by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Polishing the handlebars by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    I was going to keep the brake levers quite high on the bars, and remembered seeing some cool repro Shockstops on 7VENs excellent 1947 Hobbs thread. Just ordered a pair, thanks Big Block!

    Fresh in from Adelaide 'Straylia today from fellow forumer Big Block, some reproduction Shockstop 'Honking Rubbers'. Really happy with these and can't wait to get everything fully assembled and built now. Just waiting on delivery of a NOS Brampton chain and some Velox par end plugs and that should just about be it.

  • I am enjoying the build.
    The photography, both setting and lighting make it a visual feast.

    I have just made the box for the honking rubbers, and they will be on the flight in 3 hours.

    What rims are you going to use?

  • The picture of the dissected brake is gorgeous. As is the project itself

  • And very comfortable and effective those shockstops are too.
    Cushioned my hands perfectly on the 100 mile extravaganza that was Eroica Britannia.

    I love this bike. You've been very sympathetic with what you've done with it.

  • Thanks fellas, although the photography goes downhill rather quickly as I can't be arsed to fire up the DSLR and resort to instagram shots ...

    Wheels ... still smarting here after selling those Bayliss Wiley hubs for a whopping £53 loss ...
    I knew I needed a quality set of hubs and wheels for this bike. I almost hit the jackpot at my local dump of all places, when I saw a tatty pair of rims on old bacon slicer hubs leaning up against the scrap bin.

    Tip treasure! by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    The bike gods were smiling on me today! by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    After a fiver had exchanged hands they were in my shaking greasy mitts! A little bent with rusty spokes and hubs, but these were a rare set of Alumlites - perfect for the period of the Jim Guard!

    I am ashamed to say I was actually disappointed when I realised they were 27's and not 26's, so no good for this build. Into the 'come in handy' pile they go.

    I was also looking for a good set of Dunlop lightweight rims, either stainless or aluminium. After a bit of searching I now have a 32 and 40 hole aluminium pair that I will build up somewhen in the future.

    While I was looking for these, an old set of Weinmann wheels kept popping up on my search. The bike snob in me turned my nose up, even though the rear had a 3 speed on it. They were £50 BIN, and after spending so much on that pair of hubs I wasn't going to fork out another £50 on these. Time wasn't on my side though. Eroica was getting closer...
    Then the Weinmans popped up again for £29. This was the third time I had spotted them listed, the seller was obviously getting fed up with them. With less than 2 weeks to go I finally stuck my hand in my pocket and snapped them up. I got my Sis and her boyfriend to collect them for me and picked them up on a family visit the weekend before Eroica.


    Things were slipping into place in the last few days before Eroica.

  • So, time to clean up these cheap ebay wheels before fitting them. Spokes were clean and not a speck of rust, wheels ran true ...

    A recent eBay purchase by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Rims just got a quick scrub to get rid of the oxidation.
    Then the hubs got a wipe over. I was rather surprised to see a faint BW stamp on the rear ... That was unexpected - so they looked to be a pair of Bayliss Wiley hubs ...

    eBay score. by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Then when the crud was scrubbed off the freewheel unit this little beauty was revealed ...

    Cyclo Type B by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    What a result! A "CYCLO" Type "B". I've had no idea what a Type "B" was for, (I still don't) but a Cyclo 3 cog freewheel to go with the Cyclo Ace gearing ... I was chuffed to little bits. And those later Weinmann rims didn't look half as bad as I thought they would. In fact I very much doubt I'll get around to swapping the Dunlop aluminium rims over now.

    One weird thing that I've not seen before now, and I only noticed when I cleaned the rear hub. The hub is a 40 hole. The Weinmann rim is 36 ... if you look at the middle photo you'll spot the offending holes. Wheel is straight and true, and coped with the 30 mile Eroica course. It's a clever bodge!

    And in situ, with the original chain. I was worried the chain was too far gone - several links had seized solid. It took a lot of work to free them all off but we got there in the end.

    Bayliss Wiley rear hub by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Cyclo Ace by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

  • What's the tab just above the butterfly nut on the seat stay for... Pump?

  • What's the tab just above the butterfly nut on the seat stay for... Pump?

    They are for the mudguard stays Gandalf. Someone went into more detail with me about them at Eroica Britannia, but all of it has left my head since then.

  • Back on it's wheels again. Tyres are Kenda 26" x 1 1/4" off ebay, £16.50. Inner tubes from Ripley cyclejumble, 50p each.
    The original saddle had a couple of defects from its decades of neglect so replaced with another B17 off ebay. An 'OK' one for £35. Suitably vintage aluminium pump for a quid off a mate.

    Taking shape ... by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    I had looked into re chroming the cranks and chainwheel ... I'm glad I didn't go down this route now, they would have looked out of place with the rest of the bike.

    Chainset by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    Cyclo Ace by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    And all in one piece, the night before leaving for Eroica Britannia! Apologies, these were late night evening sessions in the back yard, not really good for photography.

    The brakes went back together a piece of cake. Not so trying to reuse the old cables in slightly less worn out liners ... That was a ball ache, but we eventually got there with a bit of perseverance and WD40. The cable outers are held on with some sort of cloth tape I couldn't identify. It looked like it had always been on the bike through so I was keen to replicate it. I used leftover black handlebar tape, it was close but not as tough. I've since found out this stuff is called 'amalgamating tape', and is what you use on old wiring looms. (You can see it in a few of the photos, holding on the gear and brake cables)

    Time for another cuppa by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

    It would get a quick run to work in the morning, before leaving for the 200 mile trip to Bakewell in the afternoon.

    Apologies for that nasty orange bottle. Pre Eroica it's all I had. I keep an eye out on ebay for Colorals and the like, but I never find them for 'cheapskate' prices. The bottle cage came from Neil Foddering a few years ago, a steal at £15. I should have bought more ...

  • Id love to see some full daylight photos of the finished bike bike

  • ^ moi aussi - you've def got the photo skils - lets see her in all her glory!

  • This photo shows Jim Guard on left with a bike not looking unlike yours. I have Pm'd you too

    1 Attachment

    • Jim Guard.jpg
  • Fantastic, thanks Simpson! Good to put a face to the name. Love those jerseys too. I'm guessing it's late 60's? Maybe early 70's?
    And thanks for the pm ;-)

    And also another little gem arrived yesterday as well, very kindly sent to me after an appeal in my local history groups newsletter (Bitterne Local History Society) by Terry Pook.
    From the book "Hampshire Heritage, a Look Back through the Decades, Series 2", which is a compilation of Keith Hamilton's pages from the Daily Echo newspaper. (Just click on the image to go to a larger version in my flickr, don't go blind trying to read it on here)

    Amazing that my bike has a connection with the first flight of the prototype Spitfire 'K5054' in 1936, another 'local machine' built a mile away from where I'm sat. Jim worked for Supermarine and was given the job of fitting all the electrical wiring on the prototype, and watched it's first flight at Eastleigh Airport.

    Jim Guard Cycles article by zombikombi1959, on Flickr


    Apologies for the crappy instogram, but the Jim Guard outside the the old shop taken last week.

    124 Macnaughton Rd, Jim Guard Cycles by zombikombi1959, on Flickr

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1950 Jim Guard Cycles of Southampton - Eroica Steed

Posted by Avatar for Quiet_Mike @Quiet_Mike