Classic & Vintage - Help with identifying a bike
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09-05-10, 05:36 PM
I recently found a bicycle in the cellars of a Grade II listed Building and I am trying to find out a bit more about it.
It has no brakes and is a single speed.
I have attached photos of the bike, badge, lugs, serial number and chainring.
Any help you can give or if you can point me in the direction of where I may find out more it would be much appreciated.
09-05-10, 06:24 PM
I am going to tryout what I learned from C&V and say a Norman? strickly going by the N on the headlight bracket. fabulous looking bike
09-05-10, 06:50 PM
+1 for a Norman, manufactured in Ashford, Kent, UK ? That lugwork is impressive and pretty unique. Nice find!
09-05-10, 06:59 PM
actually I want to know what a Grade II building is? is that UK for condemmed?
09-05-10, 07:03 PM
actually I want to know what a Grade II building is? is that UK for condemned?
09-06-10, 07:06 AM
actually I want to know what a Grade II building is? is that UK for condemmed?
Quite the opposite Trina, it's a historic building of some importance and even if you own the building you are very restricted by law in what you are allowed to do with it. Got a leaky roof? Can't just call in a contractor to fix it, you have to apply for permission and in many cases the repair has to conform with original materials, methods, etc. They are usually (though not always) very old buildings (and we have some buildings six to eight hundred years old that are still in use), that have to be maintained as part of Britain's historic heritage. TV aerial or satellite dish? Forget it!
Norman? Maybe, but it's completely unlike any Norman I've ever seen, either in person or in photos. I really don't see any features similar to the Normans I've seen. But then mine date to 1950, and the other examples I've seen all date to various points in the 50's. All have lugged frames and cottered cranks. And I have never seen a Norman with an N lamp bracket; the bracket I've seen is somewhat plainer. Of course, as I say, my experience with Normans is restricted to their last decade in business, and for all I know they may have made bikes like this at some earlier date.
Even so, I thought the Brit tradition was to have 32 spokes on the front wheel and 40 on the rear; to have 36 on both suggests non-British origin (I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong). Similarly, is this style of crank at all common on older English bikes? It is of course very common on American ones and I believe I've seen it on German bikes as well.
There used to be a few interesting photos on the Norman Cycles Club page, sbut now only one remains , namely this (http://www.normanmotorcycles.org.uk/index.php?supermode=gallery_view&previewm=1&a=Gallery&image=090520055426_pushbike_2_.jpg&screenres=1280-1024), but again... I don't see any similarity to OP's bike.
What is the tire size? That may possibly offer some clue to point of origin and/or date.
09-06-10, 12:15 PM
thanks for the comments so far. The general mood seems to be turning against it being a norman, and the german american thing is gaining strength.
rhm the tire size is 26 inch if that helps.
09-06-10, 12:44 PM
I'm beginning to wonder if it is an NSU
09-06-10, 12:59 PM
another tidbit I have discovered is that the inner tubes use the old woods valve system
09-06-10, 01:00 PM
Tire manufacturer (partially visible in one photo)? Any markings on hubs, bottom bracket hardware, pedals or saddle that would identify at least country of origin, if not mfgr?
Oddly, it looks like it has too much fender (mudguard) clearance -- possible that smaller diameter wheels than original were fitted at some point?
09-06-10, 02:31 PM
the tires are Trelleborgs
No, I'm sorry, "26 inch" isn't quite enough information to tell us anything. Tire sizes are a very strange thing; you need to tell us exactly what it says on the sidewall of the tire. 26 x 1 3/8" for example is not the same as 26 x 1.375 (though mathematically identical). There's also 26 x 1 1/4 and 26 x 1.75 and... oh, you get the idea. Read up on the subject here (http://sheldonbrown.com/tyre-sizing.html), maybe you'll find a clue.
After tossing out the German idea, I realized that German bikes of that vintage very often have a mudguard ornament; a purely decorative thingie, a little bit of sculpture, that stands up from the top of the front mudguard. I happen to have a photo of one on an NSU, which I attach. I don't mean to suggest every NSU had this style ornament, or indeed any. Is there any sign that yours may have had an ornament once (is there a mounting hole)?
Also, I wonder about the headlamp bracket. I associate that style of lamp bracket with English bikes. Anyone: do these occur on continental bikes? If so, of what vintage?
Woods valves... well, those are still made and used in China and no doubt much of the third world; they are still common in Germany... so not very informative.
Charles makes a good point about the wheels/mudguards. How wide are the mudguards? If you have 26 x 1.5 (or other decimal) tires on there, then 26 x 2 or wider ones would fit; and this would take up the remaining space under the mudguards (just a thought).
More photos would be most welcome. Also, any markings on the frame or other parts; ESGE or HEBIE on any frame fittings, for example? markings on the hubs?
09-07-10, 02:16 PM
the tires are 26 x 1.75 x 1 1/2
There are no mounting holes on the mudguard at all
I have had a good look for other markings and have found what looks like KOVO and HVA on the rear cog.
It also has a back pedal brake if that helps.
It has been suggested that it might be a Monark (sweedish Brand) by the Bicycle Museum of America
09-09-10, 10:25 AM
Sorry for hijacking this thread, but I tried already to send a private message to Charles Wahl but it does not seem to work:
I found a thread from May about Campagnolo metal cable housings where you wrote "I have about 25 feet of the stuff, only it's Suntour and not Campy (which is slightly larger diameter)."
Can I ask, is it actually looking like the Campagnolo stuff, or different? Here's the image again: http://www.flickr.com/photos/steel-is-real/2704731493/in/photostream/
The campa housing looks like a coiled wire/spiral, is yours the same? Is it made of stainless steel like the campa? An image would be great. What is the diameter of your housing?
I am wondering if the stuff might be suitable to be used as a brake cable housing, so could you sell me a bit of it, like 2 feet? This would be really nice - I am based in London, UK, but shipping should not be a problem for something as light and small as that, I guess?
My email is email@example.com
Thanks in advance!
09-09-10, 11:18 AM
Well I suppose it bumped the thread back up, but a bit off topic.
Anyway latest discovery is a logo on the saddle. 2 circles one each at two corners of a triangle, so faint it wont photograph.
09-14-10, 12:59 PM
A bit more investigation has revealed the following
The bike was originally painted black with some gold detailing on the mud guards and possibly around the lug work.
The rear hub has the following markings Torpedo DRP
the front badge seems to have been held on by three screws one on the bottom two at the top.
the chain is very wide 3/8ths it looks like
and the pedals are half inch.
let me know if any of this helps.
No, I'm sorry, that's not much help.
Half inch pedals, 3/8" chain, nothing very distinctive there. Two screws at the top of the head badge, one at the bottom; this will help confirm a theory, if you ever get as far as to have a theory.
Torpedo DRP... no, not much help there either. Possibly Torpedo DDR? Torpedo was a line of hubs made by Fichtel & Sachs in Germany, and possibly their factory in East Germany retained the name; this would explain DDR. But that's just a thought. Torpedo hubs were also made by other factories on contract.
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