At last, the 1948 show

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  • While this story is rooted in Brighton, some key parts happened in Hove actually. We'll start with a boy from a council house in Moulsecoomb (which is not pronounced the way they frequently butcher it on the BBC), in the same street as Jenny from the block

    He went to work for his first job here, starting on 23/6 a week


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  • If you look at the map, you'll notice that you're pretty much bound to pass through or past here on the way to work


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  • Well, what's a boy to do but go shopping for the most super #tartmode track iron money could buy, which leads him just a few hundred yards from the factory to here


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  • Subbed (old Rottingdean/Saltdean boy here)

  • And finally, in time for the 1949 season, take delivery of a frame


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  • You can pick your own inflator for just how much of a commitment that was, but think in terms of somebody on minimum wage (for an 18-20 year old) now splashing out somewhere between £1500 and £2000

  • And so we come, 72 years later, to the frame's second owner, me. To be honest, I pretty much put dibs down on this one in about 1975, it's just taken the original owner until now to decide that he probably isn't going to need it again.


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  • Really intriguing.
    As an aside, postage stamp on the receipt? What’s that about?

  • I'm like "I don't think Tester is this old..."

  • A bit of grease and a pair of tubs and it's good to go, no?

  • As I said, #tartmode

    Aside from the flashy paint and half-crome stays and fork, we have Chater-Lea cranks, Brampton B8 pedals, Brooks B17 Sprinter, the fashionable adjustable "Major Taylor" stem (although it was called an extension back then) and the then brand new Bayliss-Wiley Continental hubs. As projects go, it's obviously very nearly there. Works planned are a bit of clean up, new tape, brakes with less corrosion, fresh clips and straps and some tyres which (F) roll a bit better than a Wolber Invulnerable and (R) hold air. There should be some spare rings and sprockets somewhere to adjust the gear to something a bit more racy.

    I've mostly been shopping brands which existed at the time, more or less. Parts acquired are:

    Vittoria (est. 1953) Strada tubs. They're basically Rallyes with slightly different branding and seem to be exclusive to Decathlon. A solid "buy" recommendation at £14.99 each, even though that's 4p more than the frame cost 🙂

    Christophe clips and straps (same manufacturer since 1922)

    Velox (est. 1903) tub and bar tape

    Fibrax (est. 1902) cables

    Then we go a bit off piste with some some no-brand levers with suitable retro styling and the necessary ⅞" clamps and some Tektro R525 calipers because have you tried finding anything else in short-reach-nut-fixing-silver apart from maybe some NOS Weinmann 500s?

  • it shows the stamp duty has been paid

  • postage stamp on the receipt? What’s that about?

    Standing in for a seal as a kind of security, apparently it was quite common at the time on substantial transactions, nearly always the 2d stamp in the immediate post war years.

  • Minor annoyances:

    I can't just drop my modern wheels into it. Skinny axles (5/16" front and 3/8" rear) and 110mm OLN at the back prevent that. Also, the nut sizes are fucking weird, still waiting for the 17/32" socket for the front and I had to buy a 19/32" for the rear.

    I haven't tried to undo any other bolts yet, but may not have to as my fit has been pretty much the same as the original owner's since about 1985

  • Excellent

  • Are you actually going to ride those Strada tubs? (if so, don't even think about it if there's even a sniff of rain unless you really really like punctures ....) Assuming they are basically Rallys that is.

  • short-reach-nut-fixing-silver apart from maybe some NOS Weinmann 500s?

    I’ve some nice Universal 68’s or GB Sport Mk3’s if you’d be interested?


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  • Fantastic bike by the way, shame you have to change the brakes but then, actually stopping when you brake is always nice

  • don't even think about it if there's even a sniff of rain

    In general, I don't even think about it if there's even a sniff of rain. I'm certainly not going to be getting this old steel wet.

  • I’ve some nice Universal 68’s

    Pretty sure there's some of those in the parts bin, but as jeff80 says, effective is going to trump stylish when it comes to stoppers.

  • Nice bike.

    Those funny nut sizes might well be Whitworth. That front one looks a lot like 1/4W.

  • Medium gear?

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At last, the 1948 show

Posted by Avatar for gbj_tester @gbj_tester

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