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  1. #1
    Senior Member robbied196's Avatar
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    Very Old Dunelt 3 Speed, But How Old?

    I saw an advert in my local paper this weekend for a Brian Rorke 531 racing frame and a very old gents bike. Racing bikes are more my thing, so I went to look at the Brian Rorke frame. I've ended up buying the frame and this Dunelt. I couldn't resist such a nice project, as its all complete but obviously needs a complete strip down and restoration. I've searched around the net for Dunelt information and found they began making motorbikes in 1919. Also, I've found some sales brochure's for 1957 by which time they were fitted with cable brakes. I can't find much info on their bicycles pre 1950. The guy I bought this Dunelt off, seemed to think it was pre-war, and from the rod brakes and fully enclosed chain guard it would appear to be maybe late 1930's. Are there any old vintage bike experts out there that can give me an idea of age, or even model.

    P6170347.jpgP6170337.jpgP6170341.jpgP6170322.jpg

  2. #2
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    im no expert but ive had a few similiar bikes. try and date it off the rear hub should have a date on it. these bikes changed little in looks over the years, also look for a serial number by the seat post. i cant decode it but some one could. my wild guess would be mid 50s. as far as restoration put some good tires on it,clean and wax it and your ready to go. its a good looking original bike

  3. #3
    Senior Member robbied196's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kccomet View Post
    im no expert but ive had a few similiar bikes. try and date it off the rear hub should have a date on it. these bikes changed little in looks over the years, also look for a serial number by the seat post. i cant decode it but some one could. my wild guess would be mid 50s. as far as restoration put some good tires on it,clean and wax it and your ready to go. its a good looking original bike
    Thanks kccomet, I read about sturmey archer having a date on the hub, unfortunately, this seems to have been replaced and there's no date on mine, I'll try and find a serial number.

    I've now got the bike stripped down, apart from a couple of seized nuts and bolts it stripped down easily. Some of the paintwork and chrome is pretty poor. I'm tempted to return this to its former glory, bare metal respray (keeping it black) re-chroming, repaint the coach lining, new white wall tyres, the full works. But, would I be doing the right thing?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mike from Iowa's Avatar
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    I have a 1950's Dunelt one speed coaster brake cruiser. It has a Resilion hub rather than a Sturmey-Archer.

  5. #5
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    i guess it depends on what your going to do with the bike. i usually dont buy anything thats been repainted, i like the patina the character of an old bike. some people want bright and shiny. your bike looks pretty good as is to me. you wouldnt be money ahead with a repaint and chrome if you decided to sell the bike

  6. #6
    Senior Member robbied196's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kccomet View Post
    i guess it depends on what your going to do with the bike. i usually dont buy anything thats been repainted, i like the patina the character of an old bike. some people want bright and shiny. your bike looks pretty good as is to me. you wouldnt be money ahead with a repaint and chrome if you decided to sell the bike
    I'm well into the cleaning stage now and the chrome is coming up well. Unfortunately, the frame paintwork isn't so good. Besides the numerous chips and scrapes, someone has taken a paint brush to it, with what looks like mat black emulsion! I'll try cleaning it off as there might be something better underneath.

    I'm still researching Dunelt to try and get an approximate date. At the moment I've found no number stamped on the frame, and the rear sturmey archer hub also has no date. But there are some interesting parts. The front wheel hub is actually engraved as Dunelt and opening the chaincase revealed this lovely cut chainset. Also, nicely stamped Dunelt handlebars (pre-cleaning). From the little information I've sourced off the net, most of these sort of details seem to have gone by the 50's.
    The earliest catalogue I found from 1956 also shows all their models using cable brakes. The wheels are 32 spoke, I read the number of spokes used can roughly date a wheel, but no reference as to what age 32 spoke wheels might be! Maybe the attached may shed a little more light
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Senior Member robbied196's Avatar
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    I finally got the Sturmey Archer AW hub cleaned up properly and noticed a faint stamp, so unless someones dropped a new hub in, it seems like a 1956 Dunelt.

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