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Old 11-12-08, 04:25 PM   #1
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Bikes you do not know the name of. Must be pics though... WTF is it?

OK, I got this mystery machine from way, way back.
Been posted on here before inside another thread.
But it is still doing my head in.
And I need to know....

It is definitely English, lightweight, 30s or 40s.
Not Claud Butler. Not bilaminated lugs.
Components probably not period.
Lugs distinctive, Nervex?
It has perplexed all the UK experts I can ask the questions of.

Here it has been repainted by me, with more coats to go. (Outlining to be done later)
But having stripped it to bare metal, (I have photos of the whole process), still nobody can supply any real clues.
The frame angles and the bend on the forks say late 1930s to me.
The serial number on the drive side rear drop-outs make it highly unusual.
Hetchins, Royal Scot(?) Don't think it's either.....

The fork crown is highly distinctive too.

BB highly distinctive also.

A most lovely machine, light and deserving of attention, but I need to put a name to it.
Waiting now for some serious responses
Plenty more detailed pics on demand.
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Old 11-12-08, 07:17 PM   #2
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I honestly have no idea... but... is the tubing in not great condition or something? Cause it looks all bumpy and whatnot. Hopefully I'm not insulting your paint job, I'm just really curious, cause that material appearance is usually only in like iron or low-grade steel.
-Gene-
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Old 11-12-08, 07:20 PM   #3
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IIRC, he received it with a thick, thick powdercoat on it. When it was stripped, this very rough surface was left. I dare say it would be a disaster to attempt a bondo spot-fill job on this one.

-Kurt
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Old 11-12-08, 08:53 PM   #4
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What's with those strange braze ons? I figure the two lower bolts on the fork are for a small rack. The larger one higher on the fork, possibly a light mount? and how about that thing on the BB, is that an oil port? I don't know who made it, but I like it.
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Old 11-12-08, 09:35 PM   #5
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you are right on all counts about the braze ons. The one on the bottom bracket is made to fit a grease zerk or alternatively a little oil cup with a spring loaded lid. it needs to be plugged if one of these things isn't going back in the hole. That is a perfect way to drain water into the bottom bracket shell.
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Old 11-13-08, 07:00 AM   #6
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Well, I don't know, and that's for sure, but from what I can see the head lugs are reminiscent of those on the Norman Invader and Rapide, and the mudguard mounts are like those on the Rapide, neither of which I've ever actually seen. Have a look at this page from a 1950 catalog:


There are some differences, possibly to be explained by yours being a bit earlier or, then again, not a Norman.

Gnome has a (slightly later?) Invader, and posted a few photos of it, which you might peruse...

Anyway, good luck!

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Old 11-13-08, 09:37 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses guys.

First, the paint is only one thin coat awaiting another while this one hardens, and Kurt is right.
I stripped the original, horribly thick, green paint to discover some pitting on the surface, and absence of possible bilaminated lugs.
Nevertheless I have rust treated the surface before painting and it is going to be preserved and used.

The BB greaser nipple will be fitted after finishing.
No water will be getting in there because it is stuffed with grease.
A similar greaser nipple is on the lower end of the steerer/stem.

The braze-on on the front right fork is for a lamp bracket. Common here for this period.

Never considered Norman for a candidate, but I will check it out.
I've been trying to find out what the lugs are and am assuming right now they are Nervex, but haven't found the exact match yet.
It is definitely 531 or A+P, much too light to be anything else.

The chain-wheel is also vaguely familiar, but again I can't find the match. But it may not be original anyway.
One interesting point is that the pump pegs, mounted behind the seat-tube are off-set to the left.


Here is a pic of it as I got it. Thick green paint and all.


And here a pic of the nude BB.

No stamps, just the odd square section plug/filler.
Still a bit of a mystery.....

My main efforts are directed to the unusual placing of the serial number on the rear drive side drop-outs.

Quite unusual this.
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Old 11-16-08, 04:49 PM   #8
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Well, I don't know, and that's for sure, but from what I can see the head lugs are reminiscent of those on the Norman Invader and Rapide, and the mudguard mounts are like those on the Rapide, neither of which I've ever actually seen. Have a look at this page from a 1950 catalog:


There are some differences, possibly to be explained by yours being a bit earlier or, then again, not a Norman.

Gnome has a (slightly later?) Invader, and posted a few photos of it, which you might peruse...

Anyway, good luck!

Rudi
I checked out the Norman pages (which were very interesting in their own right) but mine is not a Norman of that era.
The quest continues.
I've spent a good few hours researching on the net and came up with this one as the nearest yet.
http://www.theoldbicycle.co.uk/forum...php?topic=34.0
Then scroll down to last post on the page, second link.
http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/f...582cv/Path.jpg
This looks exactly like mine.
Almost.
Am pursuing the line right now.....
Could be a red herring but you never know

Last edited by viscount; 11-16-08 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 11-16-08, 04:57 PM   #9
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Here's mine, posted here on other threads, still a mystery. The eBay seller I bought it from was told it's a Gitane by the previous owner, who had it painted-- thus, no decals. It's a cyclocross bike, so may be a Gitane XO, circa 1991 with the hi-wire cable routing. Still, it's just a guess, and apparently nobody recognizes the bike...













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Old 11-18-08, 03:31 PM   #10
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Thanks for the responses guys.

First, the paint is only one thin coat awaiting another while this one hardens, and Kurt is right.
I stripped the original, horribly thick, green paint to discover some pitting on the surface, and absence of possible bilaminated lugs.
Nevertheless I have rust treated the surface before painting and it is going to be preserved and used.

The BB greaser nipple will be fitted after finishing.
No water will be getting in there because it is stuffed with grease.
A similar greaser nipple is on the lower end of the steerer/stem.

The braze-on on the front right fork is for a lamp bracket. Common here for this period.

Never considered Norman for a candidate, but I will check it out.
I've been trying to find out what the lugs are and am assuming right now they are Nervex, but haven't found the exact match yet.
It is definitely 531 or A+P, much too light to be anything else.

The chain-wheel is also vaguely familiar, but again I can't find the match. But it may not be original anyway.
One interesting point is that the pump pegs, mounted behind the seat-tube are off-set to the left.


Here is a pic of it as I got it. Thick green paint and all.


And here a pic of the nude BB.

No stamps, just the odd square section plug/filler.
Still a bit of a mystery.....

My main efforts are directed to the unusual placing of the serial number on the rear drive side drop-outs.

Quite unusual this.
Hi Viscount,

I was surprised to see rear drop outs the same shape as yours on a classic bike in the December 2008 "Cycling Plus" magazine. Haven't got the mag to hand right now, but it was an old Hetchins. Couldn't tell from their photo if the lugs were the same shape as yours. Might be worth e-mailing the contributor your photos for comparison?

All the best, Old peddaller
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Old 11-18-08, 04:02 PM   #11
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First, the paint is only one thin coat awaiting another while this one hardens,
Did you use any primer? It would help fill those pits with a few coats and sanding in between...
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Old 11-19-08, 04:57 AM   #12
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Hi Viscount,

I was surprised to see rear drop outs the same shape as yours on a classic bike in the December 2008 "Cycling Plus" magazine. Haven't got the mag to hand right now, but it was an old Hetchins. Couldn't tell from their photo if the lugs were the same shape as yours. Might be worth e-mailing the contributor your photos for comparison?

All the best, Old peddaller
Funny you should mention the Cycling Plus article because I have seen it and thought along similar lines.
I have it here now and the drop outs are the same, or very close.
I dismissed it on the basis that mine didn't have the curly seat and chain-stays.

However your suggestion prompts me to wonder if it could be a Hetchins from pre 1935 when he patented the 'rear vibrant triangle'.
Or possibly production of non vibrant triangle machines continued alongside the new patented ones.
Bit of a long shot but might be worth further investigation.
Would be very nice if it did indeed turn out to be an early Hetchins

I did check the excellent Hetchins site and compared the known numbering systems to mine and could find no similarities.
Having said that, if it is a very early Hetchins those details may not be available or known.
Food for thought at least.

I always thought that the key to this puzzle was the positioning of the serial number on the drive side drop-out.
So very few known builders used this position.
Haven't yet removed the forks to see if the steerer is stamped similarly because the head clip is a little difficult to remove.
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Old 11-19-08, 05:21 AM   #13
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Did you use any primer? It would help fill those pits with a few coats and sanding in between...
No, I used no primer, simply applied a few coats of anti-rust compound (Kurust) before applying the first thin coat of paint.
I was intending to rub it down and then apply more thin coats of the paint. (Multiple thin coats of paint are a traditional coach building method, on quality vintage cars at least!)

Initially I was thinking that I wanted to see the bare metal before deciding my strategy.
I knew it had an excessive amount of paint but was not satisfied with it and was also wondering about the proposition (suggested here) that it had bilaminated lugs.
Stripping the paint revealed all, including the pitted surfaces! And non laminated lugs.

So I thought that the best thing to do was to prevent any further rusting/deterioration, give it a coat of paint and wait and see what I discover.
(Always easy to remove it again, if necessary)
That's the situation now.
If it does turn out to be a rarity, even a Hetchins possibly, I can adjust my original strategy

The surface pitting should not affect the integrity of the frame (it has no other dents/problems that I can see) and so it could be finished eventually in such a way that the pitting is not obvious.
If it turns out to be a rare machine it will obviously get the best treatment.

I got this machine as one of a pair (from the wife of a deceased vintage bicycle collector) and the other one turned out to be a 1935 Claud Butler when I researched it.
So this one could be anything!!

This could turn out to be an interesting story yet
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Old 11-19-08, 12:24 PM   #14
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However your suggestion prompts me to wonder if it could be a Hetchins from pre 1935 when he patented the 'rear vibrant triangle'.
Or possibly production of non vibrant triangle machines continued alongside the new patented ones.
Bit of a long shot but might be worth further investigation.
Would be very nice if it did indeed turn out to be an early Hetchins
I believe Hetchins made straight-stay frames right through their history. OTOH, that doesn't look to me like one of the pre-war Hetchins lug types.

Also, if memory serves, my pre-war Hobbs of Barbican frame has the SN stamped on the rear dropout. Pre-war Hobbs SN's are consecutive and end at about 2200 before another numbering scheme took over post-war. What is the SN on that frame (a bit hard to make out from the photo).
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Old 11-19-08, 02:48 PM   #15
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Hetchins did make straight stay frames as well as "vibrant triangle" models at all times in their long history and indeed in my opinion it's likely that more straight stay frames were made and sold than "curly" ones. The serial number's a bit of a puzzle though if it doesn't match the Hetchins sequence (a sequence which frankly I find a little bit confusing!) I didn't know that Hobbs also put their numbers on the drop-out. Hetchins numbers are on the outside of the right drop out, some old Clauds had them on the outside of the left rear drop out (I used to have one of those a long time ago) but no idea which side Hobbs would put theirs.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:19 AM   #16
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Serial number is 19588, no letters!
It's a new area for me, Hetchins etc. have never been in my vocabulary before.
(The Thanet was a proper one-off)
The Hetchins site, good as it is, concentrates on the curly machines and so wasn't much help to me except perhaps to rule mine out on the basis of the numbering system.

Another friend suggested it might be a Royal Scot, but the original web-site has disappeared it seems, and I can find nothing as yet.

The Norman trail has led me nowhere yet either.
I would have tried contacting the V-CC but have not had much/any joy from several of the Marque Enthusiasts.
(with the honourable exception of the Raleigh Sports, Lenton expert Paul Whatley
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Old 11-25-08, 05:23 PM   #17
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Latest theory is that it might be a 1931 Claud Butler.
19588 could be 1931, September (9), and 588th made that year.
Fits the SN pattern.
Long shot, but it would be cool if it were right.
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Old 11-25-08, 09:59 PM   #18
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This is not mine but I wish it was.....wtf is it? Cool bike.
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Old 11-25-08, 10:09 PM   #19
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This is not mine but I wish it was.....wtf is it? Cool bike.
Cool!

It's a Bowden Spacelander, built in 1960 by Bomard Industries in Kansas City, Missouri.

You can read about it in a paragraph and photo on pages 178-179 of The Bicycle by Pryor Dodge.

Originally conceived in 1946 as a shaft-drive bicycle an energy-storage system to aid in uphill riding, but manufactured as a normal chain drive bicycle. Made of bonded fiberglass, and available in seven colors.

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Old 11-26-08, 04:42 AM   #20
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WTF is this one then?

Has similarities to the Bowden.
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Old 11-26-08, 05:09 AM   #21
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WTF is this one then?

Has similarities to the Bowden.
Judging by the date on that photograph, that may be the Bowden Classic, the original bike conceived in 1946 by Frank Bowden, and which became the 1960 Spacelander.
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Old 11-26-08, 09:42 AM   #22
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The peaked-lapel DB suits and the shoulder padding suggest that the photo dates from the mid '40s. Early American suits from the '60s would exhibit characteristics similar to those from the mid '50s - looser shoulders, far fewer DB's, fewer peaked lapels, etc.

I wouldn't hesitate to say that it is the '46 model, probably taken in the same year.

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Old 11-26-08, 10:09 AM   #23
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Hey Kurt, we're supposed to id the bike, not the suits

check this one out...anybody recognize it?
http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bik/934891748.html
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Old 11-26-08, 02:40 PM   #24
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That second photograph is dated 1946; the man holding the bike may be Frank Bowden-- he certainly bears some resemblance to the photograph of Frank Bowden in The Bicycle. The bike in that second photograph is almost certainly a Bowden Classic. This would be the original Bowden bike, with shaft drive and an energy storage system to assist in uphill riding. There's not enough information in The Bicycle to indicate whether the Bowden Classic actually went into production, or was a prototype.

In 1956, Frank Bowden designed the Bowden Spacelander, and that bike did go into production in 1960, as I noted above. But here's another bit of uncertainty-- the bike in the first picture, that I identified as a Bowden Spacelander, looks a little bit different from the photograph of the Bowden Spacelander in The Bicycle-- in particular, the design of the bottom of the front fender of the bike Texraid attached differs slightly from the one Frank Bowden is pictured riding in The Bicycle.
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Old 11-26-08, 02:54 PM   #25
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Latest theory is that it might be a 1931 Claud Butler.
19588 could be 1931, September (9), and 588th made that year.
Fits the SN pattern.
Long shot, but it would be cool if it were right.
Hi Viscount - so we've come full circle then!

I can't pin it down but my gut feeling has always shouted "Claud" at me whenever I look at the photos of your 'enigma'. It'd be neat if it was because then I could claim some mystical "Claud Butler" divining power developed from spending so many of my formative years in close proximity to this magnificent species!

Truth to tell though, it's definitely a very old, very high quality, beautifully crafted handbuilt lightweight frame that could have come from any of the artisans of its time. It's definitely British and I feel certain it is from one of the London based frame builders, nearly all of whom seem to have worked at Claud Butler at one time or another.

Good luck with your investigations, can't wait to find out!

Stuart
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