Classic and Vintage Bicycles: What's it Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries - Falcon Design by Ernie Clements YEAR??
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06-18-10, 12:30 AM
Good day all.....This is my first ever, posting a thread in any forum and I hope I am doing this right. The reason for my post is to obtain some assistance in identifying a bike frame (some parts) I came across. I am a lover of items from the past, everything and anything vintage/antiques. I recently came across a house that looked, evicted and it's not uncommon to find the evicted owners left behind items put by the trash in front of the house. So, I stopped, did a quick visual and I see old vintage items. One of the items left to trash was a bike frame, a bit dirty, still in good condition, red paint decent and a few of the front items dangling off, I grab it along with a few other items and in my Jeep we go. My research on the bicycle frame resulted in unsatisfied and unsuccessful knowledge. According to the CCM serial number chart, this frame was built in 1927 and from what I was able to obtain Ernie didnít start building bike during that time (Correct me if Iím wrong). So Iím looking to you to shed some light on the matter. Photoís linked for your viewing. Thanks for reading, happy cycling all.
06-18-10, 04:24 AM
It's obviously a Falcon, probably from the early to mid 70s. The fork doesn't look right, but they used various fork designs, so it might be, and neither does the brazed cable guide on the BB nor the brazed pump pegs. There were several levels of Falcon quality with the best, probably, being the Sam Remo which had DB 531 frame, stays, and forks. The lugs don't look right for the higher level double butted frames.
Bikes that I've seen pictures of from the 60s had a smoother and flatter wrap of the seat stays around the seat lug. Very late 70s Falcons didn't seem to have the wrap at all. All the high level, double butted frames that I have seen had either chromed lugs or long point lugs with cutouts -- and fancier too.
The good news is that even the lesser bikes may have been made with 531, though straight gauge.
So, what you have is probably an entry level Falcon made of straight gauge tubing maybe 531 or a less type of ChroMoly. If the frame is straight and aligned and has no mechanical problems, you might clean it up and repaint it (again). You can find repro decals on ebay and there are plenty of pictures on the web to show how the Falcons were branded.
06-18-10, 04:45 AM
I did some additional reseach and found it's obvisouly not just a Falcon but a Frankenbike. Frankenbike is the middle grade Falcon With Reynolds 531 plain gage tubing, Cinelli handlebars, and low end Campagnolo shifting equipment, along with a steel crank, half step gearing, and tubular tires, equipped (about 23 lb). Falcons used a unique "wraparound" seat stay. It's one way you can recognize a 60's or 70's Falcon from any other bike, regardless of how it's been repainted. The Falcon Merckx bikes used this feature, though they were painted in Orange and not identified as Falcon frames. Often mistaken for a model name, "San Remo." It may have started as a model name, but Falcon stuck it on many distinctively different models ranging from low end up to top of the line. Just as Bianchi has "Celeste" as "their" color, the quintessential color for an old Falcon is a Robin's Egg Blue color. Frankenbike used Reynolds 531 plain gage (not double butted) tubing.In the days of steel bikes, double butted 531 was the HM carbon of its day, and, along with the hand lugwork, indicated the bike was a true aristocrat. It also forges a Jaguar connection. The Jaguar XKE used Reynolds 531 tubing in its front subframe.
06-18-10, 06:02 PM
Here are some pics of a mid 70s "Frakenbike" (as you call it) frame being prepped for painting. This one is 531DB frame, stays, and fork. Pretty much the same frame as the San Remo except a lesser quality of workmanship and finish (though you can't tell about the finish from these pics. The wrap around seat stays are distinctive, but not unique. Several different Raleigh models had very similar treatment though every one I've ever seen was better executed than most of the Falcons I've seen.
First is the wrap around seat stays. Notice the nice lug, though attention to detail in filing etc is not great:
Here's the bottom of the head tube and the fork crown:
Campagnolo dropouts. Fronts are Campagnolo as well:
Another shot of the seat lug. Notice the brazing of the seat stays -- not very impressive:
Couple mores shots of the head lug:
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