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Recent experiences of obtaining transfers/decals for obscure bicycle marques

Posted: Monday 21st September 2020

Author: Bryan Clarke

Whilst a great many replacement transfers are available through the usual sources I found over the years that as I became interested in the more obscure marques of lightweight bike, transfers for these were generally unavailable so that the necessity to find alternatives became imperative. To me correct transfers are the finishing touch to any restoration and a bike devoid of them always seems unfinished. With the age of computers it has become much easier to think of producing them oneself; if you are aufait with drawing programmes and have the necessary skill and patience. It is also possible to make waterslide transfers using a home computer and an ink jet printer provided that they are varnished first before application. In fact I can always get Mario Vaz to provide simple one colour text in self adhesive vinyl for me at little cost. Mario prefers to use these as a mask rather than a transfer. (see photo of Metro below)

As someone who has spent a lifetime connected with the arts and should have the right degree of patience, somehow in this case I could not bring myself to be bothered to obtain the necessary computer skills so I had to look elsewhere for help. I got wind of a sign writing firm not too far from my place of work that were willing to do the artwork from photographs or copy directly from originals as well as carry out short printing runs. Clearly the time on the artwork carries the greatest cost, the printing itself on very thin self adhesive vinyl carried very little of the overall expense. Therefore, I accepted these costs and had a number of transfers produced for marques such as George Brooks, Grandini and three versions of designs for Youngs bicycles.

I was delighted with the results, especially the fact that the finished product was cut right to the edges of the designs and individual letters of any name. A simple cover sheet enabled these to be kept in place and accurately applied after the removal of the backing sheet. In turn these could be varnished over at the enamellers but could be applied retrospectively without a varnish as the adhesive is very secure. Perhaps the only downside was that this firm were not able to produce proper gold but this is not always a real problem.

Clearly there is no point in going to this trouble if one can easily obtain authentic decals elsewhere at reasonable costs but for the one-offs it may be worthwhile. This option of course may not satisfy everyone. Recently, a new company, has produced some impressive results of designs to a very high standard that were not previously available.

Bryan Clarke

NB I have authentic reproductions for the Grandini, Youngs of Lewisham and Walvale transfers for sale. Contact me at clarkesharman(at) for further details.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Monday 21st September 2020

Author: Bryan Clarke

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