My Bill Nickson is going on a diet

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  • Hi everybody, I have a pretty cool little project I thought I would share.

    I bought this Bill Nickson bike from ebay a week or so ago. I had to collect from Accrington, Lancs but meeting the previous owner was pretty interesting. Ken, probably in his late 40s, talked about local racing history, his history as an hillclimb racer and fixed gear enthusiast (he was saving up for a new steel track bike - he only rides fixed now). All in all I reckon he was (and still is) a pretty hardcore rider. Anyway it turned out he knows Bill Nickson personally and used to ride with him in his younger days. This bike was custom built for Ken by Bill in 2004 out of Columbus Altec 2 tubing, and from what it looked like upon collection, ridden pretty hard from then!


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  • The main thing that initially attracted my attention was the Columbus tubing that sounded a bit unusual/interesting, the size was just about right for me (maybe a tiny bit small, but...hey) Overall not a bad deal for £155.

    This Columbus tubing is in places, super thin. You can tell when you flick the top tube and the noise that comes off it! This prompted me to enquire regarding the weight (it felt light in the hand too) "About 19 and a half pounds" - quickly working that out in my head I was looking at around 9ish kgs - not too bad! When I got it home I got my scale out and yup...pretty much 9kgs dead on. This gave me a bit of inspiration, as when I considered the build it had on it, what weight could I get it down to if I changed out the components with a vaguely weight weenie / weight shedding goal? I'm not going obsessive on this, but my goal is to knock >1kg off it within a lowish budget and get it into the 7kg+ballpark.

    I've not been used to building light bikes (my last bike was a 13kg mtb touring bruiser) so should be a fun little project. With Bill Nickson being localish to my area too, it's nice to consider doing a resto on one of his older decent bikes that needs a bit of tlc.

    I do have some parts sourced already (some have arrived just today!) so hopefully the build will not be too slow.

  • Nice. What parts do you have sourced?

  • This just came through (with matching rear wheel) - EA50 aero wheels in pretty good condition except the skewer on the front has siezed inside the hub. Just wondering how I get this out save just smacking it with a hammer.


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  • This is the second snag I've met with this. First was a stuck seatpost - an absolute git to get out but is now free (destroying both post and saddle in process). Not bothered though because I've sourced an Easton carbon post and specialised ti saddle saving about 220g in total so I'm down to 8.8kg already. Picture of current frame situation below. I have bought a new FSA headset for it but can't find a weight on the cheap headset currently fitted. Don't know if it's worth it.


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  • Remove decals? Couple of grams saved in that alone. :)
    Good work with the seatpost.

  • Haha no can't remove the decals!

    Just got the skewer out but had to hacksaw it, then viced the hub and knocked the skewer through with a hammer. Need new skewers now. Might go for titanium. Wondering what the ones on eBay for about £13 are like. They're only 50g /pair

    I've also got a ritchey classic stem and some wellgo wr1 pedals - not a fan of clipless.

    Weight savings so far are
    Pedals 214g (original build 324g)
    Stem 109 (164)
    Post 194 (289)
    Saddle 183 (310)
    Total savings 387g

    I'm at 8.6kg!

    Wheels will maybe save me <50g which is fairly pathetic really but they were only £60 so whatever - may upgrade them at some point


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  • Soak it in Plus Gas (or whatever penetrating oil), then gently tap it. Try to avoid 'smacking it', unless all else fails.

  • You don't see many Bill Nicksons about down south. But went out for a ride yesterday in Suffolk, my girlfriend on her Bill Nickson. Met an old boy at a tea shop with a beautiful Nickson of his own, obviously had a great story about owning it for 30 odd years. Also gave me a tip on where to get it resprayed locally.


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  • Also gave me a tip on where to get it resprayed locally.

    In Suffolk? Please share!

  • Mick Madgetts in Diss, the finish looked great, no chips, barely a scrape, two years down the line.

  • Technically Norfolk I guess...

  • I know Madgetts, but didn't know he did resprays.

    Lovely shop, real "old school".

  • Single colour, decals, and rebuilt the bike for £150. Will obviously cost a bit more when I get the above frame sprayed due to lots of masking.

  • I got it out ok and I think the hub survived. Just sprayed lube down the hole as best I could then put the wheel in a vice and knocked the skewer back and forth until it loosened properly👌

  • Cheers, I pretty much decided on going for halo hex skewers at 68g which was good enough really...then got a mail from seller of wheels saying he's just ordered me a new set of ti skewers! Pretty awesome service

  • Yeah, Bill Nickson is based in Leyland with probably a pretty local customer base..?

    That bike is really nice. Pretty much love that colour scheme and 653 too, with the brooks is lovely.

  • I've been toying with the idea of powder coating this. Don't really want to spend 150+ for a respray, but I have a local company who will do frame for £40. I like the paint job on it a lot, but it's pretty ratty close up.
    I was thinking about getting it coated black with a little gold flake. Undecided

  • The paint's my favourite bit of this.
    Without the decals, lot's of colour match options with bar tape etc.

  • I'd say "rad & ratty" is better than powdercoat, unless you're talking about getting your radiators refinished.

    Frame deserves better and powdercoat will eat up your modest weenie-gainz.

    Ride as is until you can afford to do it justice.

    #IMHO etc.

  • lot's of colour match options with bar tape etc.

    The supposedly matching bar tape is grim, as will anything else be.

    Best leave matchy-matchy to the mother of the bride.

    #IMHO etc.

  • nah, white would look nice. For the first day anyway.

  • Guys, for this build, for the modest weenie gainz needed, I think the only sensible choice can be..........carbon effect bartape 😂


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  • Perhaps it's destined to be a rat. For now at least. (Even the planned shifters are looking that way - see pic)

    But not keen on the sound of a weighty powdercoat. I was wondering about this - is it possible for a company to do a bad coat? Too thick/gloopy etc? Or do some companies offer a better service (cosmetically, for a bike frame for instance)
    I wasn't initially that bothered about the frame getting coated because it's not lugged (I had a lugged frame done once and it was a little gloopy around those areas.


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My Bill Nickson is going on a diet

Posted by Avatar for Meds @Meds

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