A.S. Gillott, North Coast 500 ‘400’ Charity Ride.
I intend to ride this adapted route fixed, not just for the challenge but because it means i can take my new bike.
The frame is at Argos cycles at the moment, it should be back by the end of April and then i can start building it up.
The frame is a 1946 A.S. Gillott track path frame. It was owned by John Dennis, a lifelong member of the "Norwood Paragon cycling club" , joining in 1946.
The pinnacle of John's career was being selected to take part in the 1948 Olympics racing with ivor cox in the tandem sprint. Unfortunately he had sustained injuries from a crash a few weeks earlier and was unable to participate.
He crashed again in 1951 damaging his collarbone and so was unable to ride competitively.
He then turned his attention to promoting track events at Herne hill, these promotions were world class and Herne hill stadium would be packed out at weekends for these.
John Dennis unfortunately died in 2013 and Apart from the bicycle frame I have no other links to him. If anybody has any other info on him I would be gratefully interested.
The frame itself has Spearpoint lug's, horizontal rear dropouts and tight clearances which suggest a frame built for road racing.
Tubular rims, brooks saddle, chater lea cranks and Carradice saddle bag will all be the order of the day.
I'm hoping to meet up with @gillotrider the gillott marque on our first day coming out of Aberdeen for a social.
I have most of the parts for the frame all ready so as soon as the frame arrives it should be just a matter of building it up.
The bike before sending to Argos.
J. Dennis stamped into the huge steel plate rear dropout. Its stamped into both sides just to be sure, along with the frame number. "946171". 171st frame in 1946.
I suspect I will lose all of this info underneath the paint once it returns from Argos. We shall see.
Interesting project and total respect for attempting what must be a very difficult ride on gears let alone fixed wheel! You sir, must have thighs like a
pro body builder!
Frame has finally arrived, ive started putting the bicycle together.
Madison alloy handlebars and reynolds 531 steel stem
Thanks. Im very happy with the colour and finish which is still thin enough to show off the crispness of the lug cutting and you can still make out some of the imperfections of an 80 year old frame.
First issue ive encounted so far. The brake gap is very small meaning i havent any calipers of this era that fit correctly. Any suggestions. I guess i could file away some of the alloy on the caliper allowing me to move the pads up.?
Looks like you got the wrong calipers for the frame short reach one are whats needed .my youngs frame was opposite i needed long reach calipers when using 700c wheels .on the rear i just filed the caliper down to get the pad low enough to sit the pads on the rim.
Offset brake pads might be an appropriate solution.
Just a random result from a search:
I must confess i didnt realise short reach calipers were a thing in 1946. Anyone know any brands that made them?
I have some Strata calipers which are also to long.
It is possible that the original road wheels were a smaller diameter e.g. 26” while the track wheels were 700C tubs.
Thats a good point. I hope not though as i dont own any 26inch rims and that would surely suggest a frame build more for touring than racing, Which is what i always assumed it was.
If it was 26” on the road, it was probably 597 or possibly 590, rather than 584. That would have given sufficient mudguard clearance on the road and close clearances on the track with tubs. In 1946, tubs had a fairly big carcass. Think Vittoria Pave tubs.
Nice frame!! Really love it.
When did weinmann brakes become available? Some of those are very short reach, 500s i think they're called. Also, 26x1/4 doesn't have to mean touring does it?
Good call on the weinmann calipers, According to velobase i need the 810's from the early fifties however the reach seems similar to the Lytaloy. i have tried some Lam super dural calipers and they seem a much better fit. I will set them up tomorrow.
As for 26" rims i couldnt tell you. I just assumed anybody that raced, raced on sprints.?
My expectation is that on the track, it would possibly have been raced on 700C tubs and used 590 wired-ons on the road. Tubs were available in all sorts of sizes for a while e.g. Constrictor
Some tubulars are still available in a range of rim sizes e.g. Vittoria Juniores
Nice one, just dropped you a small donation.
I've got some Hiduminium callipers you'd be welcome too for nowt but may be a little late for this build.
Thats very kind. Thanks also for the offer on the calipers but i should be good.
Sprints and 26" pressures
Once upon a time there were 26" tubulars, but I doubt whether any useable tubs still exist in this size. The gap as shown on the front of John Dennis's Gillott looks as though it was intended for use with conventional 700's (tubs, naturally).
It was common practice to use ex racing frames intended for sprints for hack work using 26's and mudguards.
Did anyone race on pressures? Yes, they certainly did - it's not easy today to understand just how poverty stricken young people were in the past, and we need to remember that most racing cyclists were young. In 1935 Keith Mosedale (Calleva RC, born 1916) had a sensational victory in the Bath Road 100 on pressures with steel rims. I can't find the exact time this morning, but I think it was a comp. record. I must admit the fact that he was not on sprints was seen to be newsworthy, but you can guarantee he wasn't unique.
I would use Weinmann 500's on this bike. Perhaps not strictly contemporary, but very similar basic callipers to those that were available. And they work, although if there's going to be much in the way of hills, I'd certainly want two of them!
BTW the number is the drop to the brake blocks, so you don't want 810's.
Good luck with the ride.
insightful as always @clubman thanks.
I had hoped to fit a fancy Lam or Lytaloy caliper, however I fitted the more common or garden "GB Hiduminium" calliper in the end and the corresponding lever, its a snug fit but works.
The rims are Weinmann Scheren Tubular sprints attached to GB Airlite small flange double fixed hubs. The front is quick release. spokes are double butted and 1.8/1.6mm in diameter
I used an old clamp to fashion a chain tensioner bracket
Cyclo chain tensioner.
Frame Number 946171
built in 1946 and the 171st frame built since the shop in Camberwell opened in 1945.
Note the oval fork blades, suggesting the frame was built for road racing and TT's. and not track work.
"Forged" front dropouts, according to A.S Gillott's sales leaflets.
The tang under the seatstay is a sure sign the frame was built by Bill Philbrook who worked for Gillotts straight after he war.
Such a lovely frame.
By chance I've just come across a photo of the original owner of this Gillott.
I wonder if he rode as a Vet? He looks in good condition in this pic - certainly better than the condition of the photo itself, which I've borrowed from a 1971 Cycling.
Incidentally, John Dennis was a Pedal Club member, although before my time.
Great find clubman, its hard to tell if its the same bike as your right the image is far from clear.
I'm sure it's not the same bike - just the same person!
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