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Vol. 1, Issue 1

Posted: Thursday 18th June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

Projects in Hand and Completed

1. R O Harrison Shortwin (1949) had been fitted with D/F rear hub (Conloy on Hardens) but I have recently converted it to SA 3-speed ASC fixed gear with sprint rims on the basis that a short wheelbase machine would not normally be used with derailleur. Also thought I would use it in the Tin Can Ten. Have obtained Allez single bottle cage for handlebar mounting in VG condition also Paget bottle in green to match frame. Had problem with ASC trigger as cable needed replacing and would not lift out of trigger slot as with other SA models. Had to replace cable and solder nipple on end in situ rather than use the modern screw clamp as supplied with new cables.

2. Ephgrave No 1 road bike (1951)- Have fitted a Durax double chainring which has very nice cranks, fluted on each corner, and also Simplex rod changer to supplement the Simplex 5-speed rear changer. Looking for mint condition double bottle carrier for this one which will complete project. Has Dunlop alloy HP rims on Airlite hubs LF G/F. Brooks Swallow saddle. Maes bars on 4″ GB alloy stem. GB Sport brakes. Chater pedals.

3. Paris Tour de France (1949)frame has been renovated by Cleveland Bike Spray – spraying and box lining (my usual restorer, C&G, does not do box-lining). Post Office have lost seat clip when in transit for chroming so I am desperately seeking a replacement – diam. 29.8. Have wheels ready – Hardens on Conloy LF G/F. May use single chainset (Chater Lea) from Ephgrave or Williams C1200 in first instance but would like to use Durax cranks but HAVE NO BOLTS for cranks – help – how many variations of thread and diameter can there be!? .

I have tried four which look as if they should fit but no luck with any of them. Also need a double ring to fit these Durax cranks. Have Simplex rear changer to use, but also trying to make up Osgear 5-speed from various Osgear pieces I have – need to do some exchanges, I have four and three speed parts here which I would swap. Osgear would go well on the Paris, perhaps I should be patient. Want a 4″ or 4½” alloy stem, GB with long spearpoint, to go with Maes bars. Possibly will use GB Hiduminium brakes.

4. Hobbs frame 24″, 1951, believed to be Racelight model. Has been renovated by C & G at Liverpool in original grey with white head and seat panel. Rode this one at Reading in 2001. Is equipped with Campag Gran Sport 5-speed gear, GB 4½” stem with Maes bars, Brooks B17 narrow saddle, very nice fluted Brampton steel chainset and ring 3/32″ and is now fitted with recently acquired Brampton B8 pedals. Single bars-mounted bottle carrier. Frame is built to take 26″ wheels.

Came with 36/36 hubs on alloy HP rims and 14 gauge spokes with fixed and single freewheel (not in keeping really) Would like a set of 26″ 40/32 wheels LF with alloy rims GF and 15/17 gauge spokes. In meantime have a pair of 26″ GF wheels with Dunlop Lightweight steel HP rims SF front and LF rear and 15/17 spokes. Am currently using sprint rims (these may go on Frejus soon) by using a pair of Universal brakes (with shallower stirrups than GB).

5. Patricia’s Gillott (1949) 19″ road frame has been renovated and is now equipped with Chater chainset with round cranks and 46 tooth 3/32 ring. Simplex 5-speed and a new pair of 26″ Conloy rims built on to Blumfeld LF G/F hubs with 15/17 spokes. Short Reynolds alloy stem with lugs and Maes bars with Mafac Racer brakes. Constrictor pedals would not respond to efforts to clean them so they have been dismantled, chromed, overhauled and re-built. Have had dust cap made to replace one missing.

In the process of re-furbishing some older style Mafac brakes (‘Dural Forge’ Mafac) as the ones fitted (Mafac ‘Racer’) are too new really. Are there such things available as good, not perished, 26″ x 1 1/8 HP tyres? Would like to get small Chater ring 3/32 – preferably the smallest obtainable with ‘CL’ rather than the plain rings used on the very small editions. Think the changeover point is about 42 – 44 tooth area.

6. Have a very nice 1966 Gillott track bike built by Ron Cooper using with HPs and an alloy 5-pin chainset. Has modern Cinelli stem and Piste bars. Is currently fitted with modern saddle, SDP pedals and computer and used for fixed-wheel practice.

7. 1952 Flying Scot – 24″ frame has been sprayed to original finish of orange and white. Have pair of Conloys on LF DF Hardens to use. May fit either BSA or Williams c1200 chainset with alloy stem and Maes bars. Need a 1950 alloy seat pin 27.2 and Brooks B17 Narrow or Swallow. Thinking of fitting this out with fixed at the moment or possibly with Simplex. Also need 4″ + stem for this one – stems are in short supply here.

8. Have acquired a nice ‘one owner’ 1956 Macleans Super Eclipse 24″ in good original condition and complete with the paperwork and original catalogue relating to the purchase. Copied all these papers and sent to Murray Maclean the Marque Enthusiast who found them useful in formulating his records. Has 27″ Dunlop Lightweight chrome steel HP rims on Airlite LF G/F hubs wheels and 48 tooth Williams chainset. The owner had ordered it with a 15 tooth sprocket on the single fixed side and this was still on when I bought it, he must have been a hard man. Allez pedals. GB 3½” stem with South of France bars and GB Hiduminium alloy brakes with Superhood levers. Black Bluemels guards. Brooks B17 narrow saddle.

The owner was a graphic artist and had a special spray job done with black double diamonds on top and seat tubes on frame finish of dark mauve. Used only two transfers, head badge and 531. May use ASC on this machine by building hub into existing steel rim. Rode this in Boot and Back (14 Oct 2001) plus about 40 miles there and back and found S of F bars to be very uncomfortable especially as owner had cut them short. There seems to be no comfortable place to rest hands.

9. A new acquisition – 1959 Hetchins Magnum Bonum frame – 24″ it was rather sad and in need of much restoration. Gerry at C & G was able to dress head lugs and fork crown for re-chroming. We have used black and violet as on original (violet seat tube and head tube). This frame had ‘Coronation’ transfers but these are no longer obtainable so will have seat panel with chevrons rather than the whole seat tube done in violet. Will be needing 1959 parts for this one so starting research on chainset and gears followed by brakes, stem, bars.

I am amazed how many early 50s parts are still used nearly ten years later – not like these days. Have a Chater Lea double chainset which I may fit but it seems to weigh nearly as much as the frame. As the frame has Campag ends and braze-ons I will probably go along this path with Gran Sport 5-speed rear changer and Campag Gran Sport 1005/2 front changer. Will also need 27.2 seat pin alloy (surprise) and a B17N, Swallow or Lycett Swallow and yet again a 4″ or 4 1/2″ stem. A small achievement, I managed to get a Chater Lea seat bolt.

10. Ephgrave No. 1 Road/path Machine with track ends, is still one of my favourites – nothing to do with it being my wedding present from Patricia. I was glad no one at the wedding asked to see it as I don’t think they would have appreciated a rather sad looking un-restored machine with rusty spokes, etc. It is now finished in original blue with white head and seat panel – gold lined lugs, etc. Has Cinelli badged steel stem and Piste bars. Conloy sprints on Harden LF DF hubs re-built with new 15/17 spokes. Chater round crankset and Chater pedals. Brooks B17 saddle. This is the machine used by an old teenage friend of mine, Ralph Large of Wisbech Wheelers and I took it back to show him when the restoration was finished. He used it to became the first member of Fenland RRA to break the hour for a 25 mile TT. It also has a very nice ‘pinger’ alloy bell which is drilled for lightness.

11. R O Harrison Madison track frame (24″ 1950) has been in pure track trim with 1″ pitch block chain on Chater chainset, Brooks Sprint saddle, Airlite LF DF hubs with Fiamme sprints, steel dropped stem and piste bars, etc. Never get to ride this except at Herne Hill once each year so may fit front brake and try it on the road some time. Would like to find lever which would fit over bar tape for easy removal but cannot remember which one was used in fifties. Have a seat support strut but it is too long, however it would be possible to thread and cut. Does anyone know how to fit this to the front of the saddle?

12. FREJUS Supercorsa Model ‘M’ 60cm (24″) – Frame No. – 1950 – brake cable stops under top tube; gear cable stops down tube; grease nipple in head tube – flip top oiler BB. Rear gear hanger for Simplex mech. Finished in steel grey enamel with dark blue head tube – chrome front forks and head tube. Hope to equip this with appropriate components for an Italian bike, have Universal brakes and some sprints on Campag LF hubs, the hubs with double set of drillings. Will use Simplex gear as frame has Simplex ends.

13. Paris 1949 and Hetchins 1959 – I have three options which enable me to use a double ring on these frames. One, as mentioned above, i.e. Durax cranks – but have no bolts or a double ring for these as yet. So I tend to favour one of following, either Gnutti cotterless set or Chater double set. From one point of view, type to type say, it would seem logical to use Gnutti on Paris and Chater on Hetchins. However from chronological point of view I think it should be done the other way – does anyone know when Gnutti started cotterless?

Wanted for Projects in Hand

Seat pins – alloy – 27.2 and 26.4 (or 26.8 poss.)- suitable for 1950 bikes, e.g. not fluted.

Suitable saddles – Brooks B17N, Swallow, Lycett Swallow, etc.

Stems – 4″ or 4 1/2″ GB alloy with long Spearpoint, GB steel 531 or Cinneli steel (preferably with badge but not essential)

Bolts for Durax cranks and a double chainring for same.

BSA inch-pitch chainring – 5 pin – in good condition

Williams C1200 ring 3/32 – 46T


Have some shortish stems which I would like to exchange for longer ones:

GB 531 3″ steel stem. Want 4″ – 4½” GB 531, Cinelli steel (preferably with badge

or GB alloy with long spearpoint.

GB alloy stem 3½” – ‘GB’ in roundel on side

Modern Cinelli 9cm alloy stem with AK bolts


Have a selection of interesting hubs and would like to do exchange to match up pairs

Front FB Brevette (not QR) LF – 8 hole plus 8 small holes – 32

Front Racelite all alloy one piece – LF (75mm 8 holes) 100mm axle – 32 Hole

Front Solite all alloy LF (90mm) 8 holes – 95mm axle – 32 hole (grease nipple), really

is large flange this one.

Rear Baylis Wiley D/F LF 40 hole – mint

Rear Baylis Wiley S/S-freewheel LF 40 hole

Rear Baylis Wiley D/F LF 40 hole – good

Rear Solite G/F SF 40 hole – slotted spoke holes drive side – no grease nipple

Also have front Brampton LF built up in 27″ Weinmann rim with 15/17 spokes.

Hoping to build up a pair of Conloy/LF Harden DF wheels but trying to trace 15/17 DB spokes.

Have spare 32 hole front Conloy rim but need 40 hole rear Conloy.

Information Needed

Would like information on leather saddle I have, marked: ‘Selles “Pryma” 75 Deposte Paris’ and ‘Groupon Special Traite’. Fair to good condition. Does anyone have any views? It is not unlike a Brooks but has a tommy bar tension adjuster at the front.

Am I the only person who finds that Regina blocks are not too reliable? I had one which turned itself to fixed when the balls jammed (ruined a good Simplex) and now find that many of the new ones sold are very slack on the body.

More Wanted

GB Coureur brakes.

A 1950s classic track frame – 23 or 23½” with very close clearance when fitted with sprints. I have two road/path frames but they were built to take 27 HP with mudguard clearance so do not look right equipped with inch-pitch block transmission and sprints as the clearance gaps are too large for an outright track frame.

1950s classic road frame- very small (19″ max.) and built to take 26″ wheels.

Pair of good condition 26″ alloy HP rims or wheels 32/40 LF G/F hubs and 15/17 spokes

Pair of 27″ Dunlop alloy High Pressure rims 1 1/8″ 32/40, VGC.

Have spare Chater 1″ pitch chainrings and sprockets, would like to exchange for ½” x 1/8″ pitch rings 44-48 or small 3/32 ring.

Single or double bottle cage, handlebar mounting in very good condition.

Useful Tips

Have found that Scotchbrite (rather like a thin pan scourer) – green weight is very good for initial cleaning of GB brakes, etc. I get it here from local tool shop at £2 per metre off the roll. Follow up with Autosol and then Brasso for quick result.. If very pitted to start with I use a fine to medium wet and dry paper. As you can tell I have not got a buffing wheel.

Events in 2001

Rode in the Reading Lightweight Ride on May 20th – theme ‘French Connection’ – would like to have used the Paris but not possible to get transfers and paint job done in time to build it up. Used the Hobbs on its first outing and Patricia used her Gillott, in its new livery and updated specification. This is the one event we plan our holidays around so as not to miss it. Entry over 100 riders. We also rode Alex von T’s smaller ride the day before from Badminton which made the trip West worthwhile

Herne Hill day June 3rd on track bike – not ridden as we were in Italy this week-end. Shame as we missed the Hobbs show.

Cambridge 50 on June 17 intended to use Hobbs Raceweight but we had not recovered from previous days flight from Italy nor adjusted to climate change from 35° + to near freezing in England, we went to start which was wet and cold but returned home before hypothermia set in..

Rode in the Tin-Can Ten on 21 July using Shortwin/ASC. Finished a few seconds outside evens.

Classic Cycle Races at Eastway on Sunday September 2nd. 1 – 5pm. Used Ephgrave with 10-speed Simplex and Patricia used her Gillott with 5-speed Simplex. A good day out thanks to lots of hard work by Patrick Trench. Entry was well above 20 and I hope it continues to increase.

Ephgrave Ride was at Bishop’s Stortford on Sunday 9th September – another favourite ride with a good route and turnout – great selection of Ephgraves on show.

Rode in the Boot and Back on October 14th at Great Munden – good day out.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Thursday 18th June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

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