Classic Lightweights UK
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Chater Logo s

The Chater-Lea Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Letchworth, Herts, est. 1890

Author:  Peter Underwood

In the pre- and post-war era Chater-Lea had a very high reputation for quality lightweight components and they were usually the most expensive of their type.   Not all riders could afford them but for the better-off rider Chater would be the first choice, often along with Harden hubs, Conloy rims and a Brooks saddle.
Chater Lea inch pitch 350

A three-arm fluted Chater-Lea chainset fitted with an inch-pitch chainwheel and block chain

Chater Double 350
One of the early two-arm Chater-Lea fluted chainsets fitted with the very rare Chater-Lea double chainset. On these cranks the third bolt is into the back of the crank. This conversion is achieved with a Chater alloy spacer, two rings and longer bolts.  

The alloy spacer is manufactured in two thicknesses, used here is the thinner for a 3/32 double conversion. The thicker version was for use on tandem drive.

Sometimes the outer ring has to have the inner flange removed to allow the chain to lift from the inner ring.

Chris Grange has written an informative piece on Chater adaptors.

Chater round cranks 350

For a period Chater produced these very fine round cranks, shown here with Chater pedals.  The round cranks were introduced at the London Cycle Show in 1948.  They were not as strong as the fluted cranks and so were not suitable for sprinting on the track.  50s riders do claim that they were prone to breakage but I haven't had any problems with them.

The fluted cranks were used by many riders on the track but another favourite for sprinters was the BSA 5-pin chainset which was very rugged.

Chater hubs SF
Some of the very rare pre/post-war Chater-Lea small-flange front hubs. These hubs had a hollow axle and were fitted with a grease nipple on the end. (just visible on to hub left end)   Grease pumped through the nipple would emerge inside the barrel via a hole in the axle.

(Image - Peter Brown)

Chater-Lea LF hubs
Another rare sighting is this pair of Chater-Lea large flange hubs, this time the grease nipples at the end of the axles are easily seen.

On rare occassions these hubs were prone to the spokes cracking the flanges and it can be seen that the drillings are very close to the rim.

(Image - Peter Brown)