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Vol. 2, Issue 64 - July / August 2016

Posted: Saturday 16th July 2016

Author: Peter Underwood

Racelite Cranks – Bryan Clarke
In response to Mark Silver’s request for information on ‘Racelite’ cranks I can inform him that these were marketed by Hobbs for a short while. They are identical to ‘Scandia’ cranks which I believe were made in Belgium and there are adverts for these in Cycling during the 1950s. There are a number of obscure 116 BCD cranks that on very rare occasions turn up. Another are ‘J.Suc’ cranks marketed by JC North as well as ‘DH’ cranks, very similar to Durax which appear briefly in Holdsworth Aids to Happy Cycling catalogues from the early 1950s. I have only seen one pair of each in 25 years of collecting. FB and Gnutti are more common.

Wooden Rims and spoke tension
In Cycling dated October 18, 1929 there was an article entitled, “Putting Sprint Wheels to Bed”.
I read this with interest but, as one does, I didn’t expect to be affected by it. However, about a year ago my Mercian Super Vigorelli was on display in our local bike, coffee, and culture cafe known as Espresso Library. The bike was suspended in the air and sat there for the best part of a year in a temperature controlled air-conditioned environment. As this year’s Giro d’Italia approached we decided to refresh the display and change one set of bikes for another.

When we lowered the Mercian I realised that it was possible to move the spokes at their centre point for about a centimetre each. They had of course been tensioned correctly when built.

See CB Italia wooden sprints built at:

I decided it was not sensible to tighten the spokes there and then as presumably the rim will expand again and this would result in serious over-tightening of the spokes. I have suspended the wheels in an environment with variable conditions and already in a few weeks the spokes are tighter, but not there yet. I guess the wheels will have to be tweaked again after another month or so. Luckily I don’t need them at the moment as I have a spare pair of 700 alloy HP wheels.

On Sunday, 1 May we held our own Meridian Lightweight Ride under the flag of the Cambridge Section of the V-CC. We had an intended it to be a virtually flat course of some 31.5 miles with a lunch stop at 22. We use this route in order to give those owning fixed-wheel bikes a chance to take them out, knowing that there will be no steep hills to struggle up. This can be a factor if one is not used to single speed. On the day quite a few riders took the opportunity to give fixed a go! One went a bit further and rode an early 2-speed fixed hub gear.

Twenty-one riders turned out with a good range of classic lightweights from an immediate pre-war 1939 Pollard (a popular Midlands build) through to a 1985 Raleigh Record Sprint. I rode my 1956 Gillott Fleur de Lis (Gillott spelling) on fixed to set a good example, and Patricia took her 1948 Paris Tour de France, both black with white as it turns out so we were in with a good chance for the ‘His and Hers’ competition.

Mike Waller travelled from Hampshire to join us and brought his post-war (just) Taper-tube Claud Butler with a Sturmey-Archer TF 2 speed fixed made from 1933 to the early 40s. Mike has never seen another post-war taper-tube Claud.

I was light-heartedly chastised for describing the course as flat when some clever soul with a digital recording of the ride pointed out that we actually climbed 854 feet from start to finish – luckily there were no reported cases of altitude sickness. We clocked 31.5 miles at an average speed 11.3 mph with a maximum speed of 20.9 mph. The world has moved on from the days of the ‘ticking’ Lucas mileometer, which when matched with a ‘ticking’ Sturmey hub gear sounded like a time bomb waiting to explode. Even now, several years later, I can remember a long fastish ride with Geoff Cook sitting on my wheel and I could tell he was still sitting there by the sound effects.

Other machines were: 1939 Pollard, 1946 Claud Butler Taper Tube, 1948 Claud Butler, 1949 Thanet Silverlight, 1950 Paris Sport, 1951 Claud Butler Saxon, 1952 Mercian Track, 1953 Claud Butler Jubilee, 1954 Mercian Vincitore, 1956 Gillott Fleur de Lis, 1957 Carlton Flyer, 1958 Mal Rees, 1961 George Stratton, 1963 Pennine Richmond, 1964 Carlton, 1966 H R Morris, 1970 J R Hancock, 1972 Harry Quinn Time Trial, 1972 Falcon Sports and 1985 Raleigh Record Sprint.

Shortly after this we had a busy weekend riding in the London Tweed Run on Saturday 14th May. I took my 1970s Mercian Super Vigorelli track, obviously on fixed, and Patricia took her 1948 Paris Tour de France. The Tweed Run is more of a social event than a serious ride as it covers some 12 or so miles around Central London but includes a pre-start get-together, a tea stop, lunch stop and a social event at the finish. Tweeds are more or less essential but I must admit we consider the bikes to be the first priority whereas some obviously work the opposite way with spectacular clothing on not so special bikes. Having said that, there must be just about every style and make of bike among the 8-900 participants and it interesting to see them all together. We took the train to this event and of course home again after.

Arriving home, we put away the Tweed Run machines and took out two different ones for the next day’s event, the ever-popular Reading Ride, which attracted close to 50 riders, again all on really interesting classics. I took my 1957 Cinelli Corsa and Patricia rode her 1964 Carpenter Olympic Massed Start. It was interesting at the start to see a display of four Cinelli Super Corsas covering many years of production and I amused myself trying to work out the reason for the description, ‘Wolf Ear’ lugs. Team Cicli Artigianiali were there lead by ‘Captain’ Bob Johnson who would normally be mounted on some classic Italian steed like the rest of his team but for this occasion he brought out his immaculate 1951 Hetchins HETCHINS ‘MAGNUM OPUS’ 25” Vibrant Frame No. H13977 with full set of original ‘Coronation’ decals including top tube. All-chrome frame with gold lacquer finish.

Chater-Lea chainset, bottom bracket, headclip and pedals, Campag Gran Sport mech, Maes Kint bars on Titan stem, Mafac centre pull brakes, Dunlop 27” stainless steel rims on Brampton large flange hubs, Weinmann s/s mudguards, Brooks Swallow saddle on Reynolds alloy seatpin.

I have already written about fixing Shimano Dura Ace brakes to my Colnago and the immediate improvement to stopping power. You may well have read that we use Airnimal folding lightweight cycles for our holidays, which often encompass some hilly rides in the mountains. Patricia has tended to struggle on steep descents on the Airnimal with its Ultegra (one level below Dura Ace) brakes and after too long thinking about it I purchased a second-hand pair of Dura Ace stirrups just before we left for our recent trip to Bavaria. I chose the ones to match her existing group set as brake cable pull can be a critical factor in setting up and different models have their own system.

The outcome of all this is that straight away she felt much more power when braking, making tricky descents so much easier. Externally the two stirrup sets look identical and it is obvious that there must be minor factors which add up to this improved performance.

Referring to Lightweight News 62:

Bill Rudersdorf sends greetings from Texas. I just discovered your newsletter, albeit ten years late! My introduction to lightweight cycles was in the mid 1960s, so many topics covered are part of our shared background in cycling. At that time British gear and culture were mainstays in US cycling, French and Italian also (more in equipment than sport culture for those), but little hint of Japanese yet. Many of the publications I read then and through the years have been British, as they seemed more to my liking in attitude. I’m a tourist, never a racer or time trialist. But I still use Carradice black duck bags!

But the incentive for writing today is rhubarb. You asked if it is found afar, such as the US. I can say quite affirmatively yes. It seems best grown in much colder parts of the country than Texas, but it certainly can be found in stores here. I know it mainly as the prime ingredient in rhubarb and strawberry pie. People often have fond memories of it from their mother’s cooking. That’s about it for my knowledge there, though.

I’m in a big city, Houston, but not far from here there are hundreds of pleasant country roads and small towns to see, and a bicycle is a fine way to do it.

Gordon Barnes reminisces:

I was browsing through my Cycling related bookmarks and dived in to your web site which I do from time to time and was reading about the JRJ and Woodrup bike businesses I used to love to visit.

Especially Maurice Woodrup`s shop on Burley Lodge Road – it was a regular Saturday afternoon meeting point for local riders – Maurice was always happy to chat and didn`t worry whether you bought anything or not.

I bought my JRJ racing frame from him so guess it was the Olympic model – in 1958 for £15 10 shillings & 10 pence. I saved up the cash by delivering orders for Gallons grocery shop in Headingley after school. I remember how proud I was walking home several miles from the shop with the beautiful ice blue frame over my shoulder!

My first road race was the Golden Acre circuit which went up Pool bank 3 times – but I never got to the finish as Maurice Woodrup and I clashed together and the rider behind me ran over my wheels and wrecked them! I think Maurice was OK to carry on!

In later years when we had a family I bought my daughter`s first racing bike from their shop in Headingley which his wife Jean used to run.

Mick Butler gives an interesting insight into the pre-war lightweight scene:

In 1938 Claud Butler had a huge full-bend advert on the Wembley Six-day tight wooden track  “Claud Butler The Champions Choice” and on the other bend “Rudge Britain’s Best Bicycle” but this year the majority of riders were all riding Hetchins.

The teams were as follows:
– 1 Jerry Rodman and 2 Henry “Cocky” O’Brien USA, both on Hetchins
– 3 Marcel Guimbretiere and 4 Michel Pecqueux France, both on Hetchins
– 5 Erland Christensen and 6 Bjorn Steiler Denmark, both on Hetchins
– 7 Emile Diot and 8 Emile Ignat France, both on France Sport
– 9 Karl Goebbels and 10 Hans Zims German (Swastika Jersey) Goebbels on Gold-Rad Zims on Durkoff
– 11 Frans Slaats and 12 Kees Pellenaars Holland, both on Claud Butler’s
– 14 Robert Naeye and 15 Roger Deneef Belgium, both on Rudge-Whitworth
– 16 Cesare Moretti and 17 Alvaro Giorgetti Italy, both on R.O.Harrison’s –  Giorgetti was Italian by birth, later naturalised French
– 18 Albert Buysse and 19 Albert Billiet Belgium, both on Claud Butler’s
– 20 Karl Kaers and 21 George Ronsee Belgium, both on Rudge-Whitworth
– 22 Cors Walls and 23 Piet Van Kempen Holland, both on Hetchins
– 24 Maurice Depauw Belgium and 25 Joseph Buckley Australian Depauw Hetchins and Buckley

Interestingly the Number 13 jersey was not allocated in the following years 1937 and 38 at the Wembley Six but was allocated in the 1939 to Alfred Letourneur. Ominously, this would be the last Wembley race due to the outbreak of war. The Wembley 6  was not revived until 1951, the year of The Festival of Britain.

The winners in 1938 were – Buysse and Billiiet Claud Butler.
Second place – Slaats and Pellenaars Claud Butler.
Third place – Wals and Van Kempen Hetchins.
Fourth place – Diot and Ignat France Sport.
Fifth place – Kaers (Rudge-Whitworth) and Buckley (Speedwell).
Sixth place – Moretti and Giorgetti R.O.Harrison.
Seventh place – Guimbretiere and Pecqueux Hetchins.
Eight place – Rodman and O’Brien Hetchins.
Ninth place – Christensen and Steiler Hetchins.
Tenth place – Goebbels (Gold-Rad) and Zims (Durkoff)

Snippet from a trade magazine which started the research for Mick

David Cooper from Bristol contacted me to point out that the BCD of Williams C1200 and C1232 cranks were actually 1mm more than stated on our website. As I can never measure BCD with any certainty I asked how he managed to do so with such accuracy. He replied:

“In the case of the rings I measure across the small bosses that locate in the crank arms with a digital vernier calliper.
With the crank arms I measure between the location holes.
Add or subtract the hole/boss diameter and the result is the CHORD.
Using simple trigonometry the bolt circle diameter can be calculated.
To try a worked example.
Dimension over bosses = 4.286″
Boss diameter = 0.296″
CHORD =  3.990″
Now I am in trouble because I cannot do a diagram.
Formulae is sine = opposite/hypotenuse
In this case half the CHORD is used =1.995″
Included angle between two holes when there are three in the circle equi-spaced is 120 degrees.
Also half the included angle is used = 60 degrees.
Sine 60 = 0.866.
Sum is 0.866 = 1.995/hypotenuse
Transposed Hypotenuse = 1.995″/0.866
The answer to this sum is the radius = 2.303″ (divide 1.995 by 0.866)
Twice radius is 4.607 (rounded a bit) = 117.02mm.
Well there it is. The same principle can be used on any chord calculation.
I suspect that the answer to your question is really in the first line. But at least you know how I did it all.
These are workshop calculations that I used to use a lot.”

If I had only known it was that easy I wouldn’t have bothered asking! (Ed.)

Adrian Bell needs a Stronglight 49d left crank, 170mm and with French (14×1.25) pedal threading. Please contact him at if you are able to help him.

Michael Gaze explains:

Peter, I have taken on the task of disposing the cycle equipment of Len Jenkins, who was a Welsh BAR and record holder. He is now house-bound with Alzheimer’s. This is a onerous task as all I get is the knowledge of a task well done. I know of another Welsh champion’s equipment that went into the skip, so I do not want that to happen again. Attached is the list of items for sale as they stand at the moment.

Gear Levers
Front with clip £20
Front & Rear (for braze on complete) £25
Front & Rear with clip £25
Front & Rear C-Record Synchro £50
Front Victory £10
Rear Athena £20
Record steel rear, 40 hole (needs re-chroming to be mint)£40
Record alloy rear, 40 hole £40
Record alloy rear, 32 hole £30
Record alloy s/f front & rear 28-28 hole£60
Record alloy l/f front & rear 32-40 hole£80
Tipo alloy front 32 hole£30
Gears rear
Gran sport (missing upper pivot) £30
Nuovo Record£50
Super Record£70
Gears Front
Gran Sport£50
Gran Sport£50
Record (early bronze arm) £40
Seat posts
Record alloy 27.2 (has been cut down) £20
Record alloy 27.2£40
Chain rings
144 pcd x 52 teeth£20
135 pcd x 39 teeth£20
135 pcd x 53 teeth£20
Chain set
Record 42-52.£50
Gran Sport r/h crank£10
Head sets
Gran Sport (new boxed)£65
10 speed brake/gear levers (qty2) Mirage (the pair) £20
Bottom brackets
Gran Sport£40
Track sprocket
1/8” x 15 teeth (new) £30
British and other countries
British Hub Co. Airlight front s/f, q/r axle 32 hole£30
British Hub Co. Airlight rear s/f, solid axle 40 hole, gear fixed. £30
British Hub Co. Solite front s/f, solid axle 32 hole (new)£50
Bayliss Wiley. Rear l/f, solid axle, 40 hole, gear fixed.£30
B.S.A. Rear s/f, solid axle, 40 hole, gear only. (new, small patch of rust)£50
Le Tour. Rear s/f, solid axle, 40 hole, double fixed.£10
Le Tour. Rear l/f, solid axle, 40 hole, gear fixed. £10
MICHE. Front & rear s/f, q/r axle, 32 hole, 125mm£20
MICHE. Front & rear s/f, q/r axle, 36 hole, 125mm£20
Brooks. Colt, Honey with gold rails (new) £70
MKS. Sylvan Road.£20
Chain sets etc.
Zeus Criterium ‘E’ r/h crank 170mm£10
Gnutti l/h & r/h cranks 170mm£40
SKF sealed b/b 68/115 mm (new)£10
Shimano sealed b/b 68/113 mm (new)£10
Shimano b/b 68/116 mm (as new) £10
Gnutti fixed cup Italian thread (new)£10
Magistroni adjustable cup Italian thread (new)£10
Bayliss Wiley oil bath b/b £20
Tandem eccentric B/B (qty 2)£10
Chain rings.
Chater Lea. 44 teeth x 1/8” (new) £30
Chater Lea. 46 teeth x 1/8” (very good)£25
Chater Lea. 46 teeth x 1/8” (good) £20
Chater Lea. 46 teeth x 1/8” (good) £20
Chater Lea. 48 teeth 1/8” (very good)£25
Chater Lea. 48 teeth 1/8” (good) £20
Chater Lea. 48 teeth 1/8” (good) £20
Chater Lea. 48 teeth 1/8” £10
Chater Lea. 50 teeth 1/8” £10
Williams. 50 teeth 1/8”,116mm pcd (new) £30
Gnutti. 47 teeth 1/8”, 114 pcd£20
Williams. 6arm, 48 teeth 3/32”, 128mm pcd, marked AT (1954) (new)£20
T.A.? (marked made in France) 50 teeth, 135mm pcd£10
Freewheels New
Shimano Dura-ace M-F7400 15-20 / 6£40
Shimano SIS MF-Z012 13-21 / 6£30
Shimano SIS MF-Z012 13-21 / 6£30
Shimano SIS MF-Z012 13-24 / 6 £30
Shimano SIS MF-HG20 14-28 / 6£30
Regina Synchro 90 14-23 / 6£30
Regina Extra 13-17 / 5 £30
Regina Corsa 15-18 / 5£30
Eagle 14-24 / 5 £10
Freewheels used
Shimano Exage Freehub with 12-28 / 7£20
Chains New
Renold Elite ½” x 1/8” boxed£40
Renold Elite ½” x 1/8” boxed£40
Renold Elite ½” x 1/8” bag£30
Coventry ½” x 1/8” boxed£30
Wheels complete
Colnago hubs 125mm axle, Stainless steel spokes, Colnago Durex
Sprint rims 32 hole, as new, the pair.
Campagnolo Tipo hub 120mm axle on GP 4 rim 36 hole, used £40
Sprint Rims Polished 700c
Mavic Record Du Monde De’Heure 36 hole qty 1£15
Weimann Weltmeister type Champion 36 hole qty 1£15
Super Champion Medaille D’Or 32 hole qty 2(the pair) £40
Super Champion Record Du Monde 28 hole qty 2 (as new) (the pair) £40
Fiamme track 32/40 (as new) (the pair) £40
HP Rims 27 ¼”
Staral 36 hole qty 1(each) £10
Saturn C20 7/8” wide 36 hole qty 1 (each) £10
Balilla Tipo Corsa 61 brake set (new boxed) £50 sold
Modolo Corsa brake mechs only, pair. (new) £20
Mavic front changer (new) £20
Shimano Deore DX rear mech. SIS 6/7 speed (new boxed)£30
22” Argos 531, 2000 (built to 1980’s spec.) Mercier pink, chrome ends and r/h chain stay All braze-on’s , un-used, mint.£750

All components have been cleaned and serviced and are ready to fit. A word on condition. One man’s excellent is another’s poor, please see photos or contact: – payment can be made by PayPal or cheque; there is a discount for bulk purchases. There are two crates of lesser items: – chain sets, brakes, seat posts, bars, hubs, gears etc; do you have a specific want? Buyers not in the UK postage will be extra.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Saturday 16th July 2016

Author: Peter Underwood

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