Classic & Vintage - What do I have here? [Falcon content - lots of pics]
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05-06-07, 04:06 PM
I just inherited this Falcon from my Dad. He told me he thinks he purchased it new in 1974 or 1976. What can you tell me about it? And what steps should I take to bring it back up to riding condition?
05-06-07, 04:25 PM
Welcome to BF and the Classic & Vintage forum, mgeoffriau! Very nice bike, and I am certain that more knowledgable people than I will come along to help answer your questions...
Nice bike! You've gotta love that headbadge. And it's been proven that red bikes go faster.
That said, it looks like giving the freewheel a good cleaning, replacing the chain and all cables, and cleaning and repacking all bearings (headset, bottom bracket, hubs .... maybe not the pedals, if they still spin okay) and you'll be good to go. One of the joys about old bikes is that, with access to just a few specialized tools, doing all of that work yourself is pretty simple.
05-06-07, 04:53 PM
Just clean and lube and that bike is ready to ride. Taking a bike completely apart, cleaning and lubing, then re-assembling is part of the fun of the vintage bicyclist.
Not a lot of Falcon information out there. Do a quick search of the forum here in C&V for 'falcon' and you'll turn up just about everything we've managed to find so far.
Welcome to BikeForums - you've got a nice ride there.
05-06-07, 06:37 PM
Tiny bit of information here, including photos of some Falcons: http://www.classicrendezvous.com/British_isles/Falcon.htm
05-06-07, 07:01 PM
I have had three of these Falcons. I am pretty sure that this one is a Black Diamond model and close to the entry level offering. I have test riddeen one of these bicycles and it feels much like the low end Raleighs - Record and Grand Prix come to mind. Perhaps even an early seventies Peugeot UO8 would be a good comparison. That said, the ride does have a great vintage feel to it and the bicycle is certainly a good looking unit. Do red bikes really go faster? My Pinarello certainly seems to.
05-06-07, 07:24 PM
Definitely lower end, but quality for the money. As to year, I'd be guessing more like 1976, primarily due to the SR 3-pin cotterless crank. That was the cheapest (but again, good value for the money) cotterless you could get, and by '76 the European manufacturers were replacing the old steel cottered cranks with them.
Very nice bike. I'd certainly be proud to have one of them hanging in my garage. Brings back memories of my purple 531/Campagnolo/drilled all to hell (my own work) model.
05-06-07, 07:36 PM
Thank you guys for all the great info. I used to ride a lot....had a nice handmade Landshark road bike. It was a much better bike than I was a rider...and beautiful, too. Lugged BB, brazed seat cluster and head tube. But I couldn't justify the money in that bike, so it was sold when I got married.
I've had the itch for another bike, and I think this will make a nice project.
If anyone has any more info, history, or advice, please chime in! I'd love to hear what you know about this bike, and what you think I should do with it.
Ride it. It looks well cared for so if the tires hold air and the brakes work I would take it for a twenty mile ride to see how it feels. I'm also going to guess it's a Black Diamond and it could be a 1974; Falcon had already gone to cotterless cranks on that model by then, a year or two ahead of its competitors. That Simplex derailleur was on the 74 Black Diamond. By '78 Falcon had Shimano on most of it's bikes. If your dad was young when he bought it he should be able to pinpoint the year based on where he rode the bike, who he was dating, where he had to store it. I know it was the Seventies but we did have our lucid moments.
Bikes like this are pretty versatile. You can fit a range of decent tire sizes on it, Fenders mount easily, put toe clips on the pedals for century rides or leave them off for tennis shoe riding. Take it to the library, ride it to work, hitch a trailer to it to pull a kid.
Here is a good history of Falcon: http://sheldonbrown.com/falcon.html
Also search for Falcon on the Classic Rendezvous discussion list archives at bikelist.org at http://catfood.phred.org/query.asp. There are a number of contributors from Britain who are knowledgable about Ernie Clements and Falcon.
I concur it's a low-end Peugeot UO-8 / Raleigh Grand Prix class bike, but there is nothing wrong with that, and it is indeed in nice condition, with great-looking lugs, badge, and decals.
I do not care for that particular crankset, which is subject to chainring warpage and failure at the spider attachment point, but if it works, use it.
Replace the brake pads with salmon KoolStops and replace the brake cables and housings.
05-07-07, 11:01 PM
How much is a Falcon such as the one pictured here worth, anyways?
This particular bicycle has a Shimano Titleist 10-speed drivetrain, SR stem, Campagnalo hubs & skewers.
Hard to tell with the pictures given. It looks like an Olympic from around 1974-1979 with Reynolds 531 plain gauge tubing in the main triangle. If everything works and the bearings are okay and there isn't much rust then you might be able to sell it to someone for somewhere between $50 and $75. If you're thinking of buying then it represents a good riding bike. Replacing the top and down tube decals will be pricey if you order from H.Lloyd in England.
05-08-07, 01:53 PM
The OP's bike is not a high end model, and actually, Falcon didn't make many high end models. I'd say overall they tended further to the low end than Raleigh. That said, their gas-pipe bikes are fine, and that one is cooler than some - at least it doesn't have a pie plate! The second one looks like one of their high end models, but over here, even that would probably only fetch £70 or so at the top end.
The Falcon sales mix was a lot like other bike manufacturers during the bike boom. Lots of sales of their lowest level bike, some sales of the middle level models and less sales of the Reynolds DB, full Campy models. For the entry level Black Diamond that the OP has you got a bike with seamed steel frame, cotterless aluminum cranks, aluminum stem and handlebars, and aluminum rims in 1974 for about $125. This would compare that to the Raleigh Grand Prix with similar frame but steel crank and rims. The next level of Raleigh would be the Super Course which would have a straight gauge Reynolds frame and compare with the Falcon Olympic or Super Route that cost $250 in 1978.
It's difficult to say which bike brand was better back then since they all made different models for different price points. Would a maker be considered better if their name commanded higher prices for the same level of bike? This was certainly true of Schwinn, their bikes cost more than the competition but that may have been warranted until the lighter weight lugged bikes from Britain, France and Japan started to arrive.
old and new
05-08-07, 04:59 PM
MKarl,I remember that too.I'd guess that most Falcons were in the lower price range.The big jump in price WAS definately within the years 74 to 78,if not '77 all else being equal,most prices doubled....By the way OP :make sure the chain isn't stretched or binding,before you fool with that rear deraileur or it'll drive you crazy.
05-08-07, 10:43 PM
Perception is everything - I owned a Falcon (San Remo? 531DB with Campy ends), bought from what was THE exotic bicycle dealer if you lived in Erie, PA in the 70's. Can't remember the name or location of the shop, but you had to drive half way to Cleveland. This was a major undertaking, and you'd usually get a couple of the guys in the bike club together and do a field trip.
I don't even remember him carrying any of the cheaper models, then again, I went there because I wanted something more exotic than my Gitane Super Corsa. And, as far as I knew Falcon's were more exotic than any of the Italian marques. Shows what I knew, living in a bicycling backwater.
I do remember getting fitted out on a complete bike (first time I actually had a dealer worry about more than whether I could straddle the top tube), falling in love with the deep purple one, and since I was only looking for a frameset, he promptly disassembled a bike and happily sent me on my way.
Never got back to that shop again - it now exists in my mind as something almost Twilight Zone-ish, the nice but shabby bicycle shop with all the strange bikes and the owner and his wife who were very obviously foreigners, Hungarian or something like that.
Loved the bike, by the way. 31 years later and I'm still sorry I sold it. Going to have another Falcon in the garage one of these days, now that I've gotten both Raleighs and Gitanes.
06-30-07, 11:35 PM
I too seem to be infected with the Falcon disease. I am the original owner of a 72? Falcon San Remo Equipe. Bought it just before my first car so it was little ridden for years. I am now wondering what to do with the bike as I pulled it from the garage rafters a few weeks ago, took it out for a 30 mile spin with my biking buddies sporting new Klein and Le Monde Carbon bike. The Falcon held it's own though it looks a little scruffy.
Where or what should I do to restore this bike? Repaint? Where to find the correct decals?
07-01-07, 08:16 PM
Send it to me - it'll go a long way towards easing 31 years of pain for having sold mine ;)
Your decals are in pretty good shape for 35 years. I would clean it up, remove the bike license sticker, regrease the bearings, touch up all the nicks with fingernail polish (red metallic has been known to grace the digit tips of our fairer sex) and polish up all the aluminum bits. I would also reroute the rear brake cable up over the handlebar and line up the top tube cable clips so the cable stays in a straight line. You could also contemplate replacing with lined cables and red Koolstop pads if they don't work very well. Get rid of the u-lock holder and strap a chrome steel water bottle cage to the down tube. With the generous tire clearance this bike is crying for some fenders that this English bike was originally designed for. Shiny chrome Berthoud would be perfect.
We need more pictures to show the derailleurs, chainwheel, pedals, hub, headbadge and saddle to satisfy our bike lust.
And maybe get rid of the kickstand before damage is done to the frame!
07-02-07, 11:56 AM
Not a lot of info, but a little here:
Beautiful bike, and thanks for the nice photos!
07-09-07, 09:04 AM
I hate to admit it, but my bike's had this kick-stand since it was new!
I'm particularly fond of the candy apple red paint and am trying to decide between touch up's and a repaint. Has anyone done a good match to the Falcon red?
Yes, my 1962 Falcon came with exactly the same kickstand as that one. Trouble is that it gets loose, you tighten it more, it gets loose, you tighten it more, and before you know, you have crushed rear chainstays, usually on the underside where you don't see it happening. Candy-apple red may be somewhat hard to find, most folks look in the fingernail polish section of Macys or JCPenny or wherever fine cosmetics are found to find good matches. The ladies have a wide assortment of colors to choose from, and fingernail paint is fairly durable as a touch up paint!
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