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Old 01-07-11, 07:39 PM   #1
webike4fun
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What's the general consensus re: Dawes bikes???

Seen a few here and there on local CL. Not very educated on the British bikes...could be my Irish roots:lo My questions are: which models are "upper end" and are there other UK producers I should be looking for? Thanks

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Old 01-07-11, 09:39 PM   #2
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As far as I am aware, the Galaxy was considered a decent and popular bike for touring in England. It's prececessor was the Windrush, and the Double Blue was the top of the line model. I think there was another model called the Realm Rider, which I think was a little lower in the hierarchy. Bikes Direct sells some bikes that use the Dawes name, but they are Asian imports with decals that spell out "Dawes". You will not see Reynolds 531 stickers on them.

Check out this link:

http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/readers_bikes.html
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Old 01-07-11, 10:00 PM   #3
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Hi Webike -

Here's what I know about Dawes. For several years, they were made in Birmingham, UK. At some point (I'm going to guess late 80's early 90's) they were sold to a Chinese company and quality summarily dropped (I'm repeating what I've heard; I've no first-hand experience with Chinese Dawes'). Somewhat recently, it appears that the Dawes brand now falls under the BikesDirect.com umbrella. Folks seem to find the SST (track bike) agreeable, but that's the only positive I've heard.

As for the older ones, I agree with Cycleheimer in that the Galaxy is a somewhat decent touring bike (I have a refurbished 1970 Galaxy): Steel Lugged Frame, Reynolds 531 tubing, which I'm told was quite the thing in it's day.

As for how upper end, I can't tell, honestly. I've heard that the Galaxy et al were somewhat mid-grade bikes - not bad, but not spectacular. Then again, an acquaintance of mine hails from Scotland and upon hearing what I have, commented that they were higher end bikes. So there you go.

From Sheldon Brown:

Dawes

Production bikes ranging from just OK to quite interesting. There is an interesting drawing of a Dawes in the Data Book from the 50's. The majority of Dawes in the 70's did not have full Campy N.R. - the Galaxy was one such model. Very common and impressive with its 531 tubes but not spectacular otherwise. Figure for such a bike $ 300 or so. For top-end full N.R. bikes maybe $575. There were some interesting bright pink team issue frames from the 70's that were pretty nifty. Such bikes full N.R. should probably be worth $750 ish. Need a buyer who can deal with pink. Early 50's bikes such as the one in the Data Book with fun parts are probably worth in the thousand range - maybe. On old bikes the parts details are everything!
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Old 01-07-11, 10:35 PM   #4
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In the mid 80s there were about 4 bikes in the dawes lineup that were full 531, that leaves a lot of lesser known options for good bikes that are not super sought after.
I have only owned one but found the quality very good, boring in construction, fine looking paintwork, and well performing but not head of the pack for sure.

Bottom line: give one a try if you find a 531 model in your size.
You may not start collecting dawes but I bet you will find them enjoyable.
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Old 01-07-11, 10:47 PM   #5
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Catalogs are posted on the bulgier.net site.

I think Dawes' were pretty cool .
The Galaxy and Super galaxy are reputed to be pretty fine bikes.
- The Super Galaxy had 531 frames like the Super Course.
- Don't confuse these Vintage Dawes bikes with the ones available today.

I own an Atlantis (one notch above the Echelon) and can attest that it is indeed a nice bike.
- Thanks for an excuse to post it !


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Old 01-08-11, 12:34 AM   #6
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A university student named Lanny Salsberg rode a Dawes Galaxy a good chunk of the way across western Canada in 1968 and published his engaging story in Bicycling! (Feb '69) which made their 1970 "Best of..." anthology. He called it a "lightweight racing bicycle [sic, but '10-speeds' were all 'racing bikes' back then]...which has a ten-speed Simplex gear and, if the winds are right, will take you 125 miles in a day." He made it to Kenora before he bailed and hitched a ride around Lake Superior; Randyjawa can perhaps empathize with that decision.

The Galaxy was indeed the one with straight-gauge 531 in the three main tubes, like the Raleigh Super Course. The ones I saw around Toronto in the '70s were equipped similarly to my contemporary Super: Simplex derailers, good steel cottered cranks, Weinmann centre-pull brakes, and aluminum rims which were a great improvement over the steel rims I'd put up with on my earlier Peugeot. Never saw one with any Campy on them, but we were starving college students then, diverting a little summer job money into our passion. Put a Suntour V-GT on any of them and you had a cracking good sport-touring bike. I thought the Galaxies had a little "something" that set them off, maybe it was just the vibe from Salsberg's tour story.
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Old 01-08-11, 01:23 AM   #7
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I have owned several Dawes bicycles and three or four are still hanging in The Old Shed.

Most of the Dawes bikes I have/do own were/are Galaxy models. Two were Realm Riders. The Galaxy seems to be the middle of the line model with 531 main tubes and flimsy steel stamped drops. The finish is pretty good but, for the most part, fitted with unimpressive components.

The bike does offer a nice vintage feel as a rider but it is heavy when compared to some other bikes of its day. All in all, though, I would not turn my nose up at owning an old Dawes. In fact, I have a nice Realm Rider (62cm) and a nicer Galaxy sitting waiting for adoption right now. One of them, the big fella, is on Ebay right now.

Anyway, here is a picture of a Dawes or two...

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File Type: jpg DawesGalaxyGreenFullSideRight.jpg (105.0 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg Dawes_Realm_63_Full_Side_1.jpg (102.7 KB, 86 views)
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Old 01-08-11, 07:22 AM   #8
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The pretty much folded by the late 80s. Their Reynolds 531 bikes were all hand brazed production. Top model was the Atlantis, a working man's road racer.
Galaxy was the touring model. They were nicely made English bikes, just didn't have the cache of Raleigh.
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Old 01-08-11, 07:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
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The pretty much folded by the late 80s. Their Reynolds 531 bikes were all hand brazed production. Top model was the Atlantis, a working man's road racer.
Galaxy was the touring model. They were nicely made English bikes, just didn't have the cache of Raleigh.
I have a Dawes Super Galaxy made of 531 & I will add that it is a nice bike with Suntour Cyclone front & rear derailleurs as well as the shifters. Mine has a TA triple crank & Weinmann center pull brakes with drilled levers & a brooks leather saddle. I like the bike and it fits me well but the one thing that I don't like is the finish. The finish on my bike looks almost as if it was rattle can painted and the stock decals ( excluding the Reynolds) are very poor. I am going to have mine repainted with a better quality decal kit installed and then I think it will rank as good as any upper Japanese bike of the time.
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Old 01-08-11, 08:13 AM   #10
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I have certainly learned a lot from this post.
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Old 01-08-11, 08:15 AM   #11
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I've owned a Dawes Double Blue since about 1980 - 81. I bought the frame after crashing a Raleigh Record. I've always loved the ride, but the build quality is somewhat questionable. One of the rear dropouts broke sometime in the mid-eighties. The frame was warranted for life, so I took the frame back to the importer who, at the time, was headquartered in Connecticut. The fellow there was very nice about giving me a replacement frame. In retrospect, it was probably the last Double Blue frame brought into the US. I remember that there was a gorgeous red frame sitting on a stand, and the fellow told me that it had been built by the Dawes workers as a special project in the "skunk works". I've always wondered what happened to that frame. A few years ago I decided to refurbish my frame, so I stripped off the paint. When the paint came off, I discovered that the brazing was the sloppiest I've ever seen! Globs of brass in some spots, gaps in others. I'm actually kinda surprised the bike stays together. I'll never part with my Double Blue, and I still love the ride, but I'll never buy another Dawes.
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Old 01-08-11, 08:41 AM   #12
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here is my Echelon, which i found on ebay by searching for a Brooks Copper Rivet Professional. a saddle with a bike attached. it's DB 531 on the main triangle. i have fallen mysteriously for this thing, and have upgraded just about everything on it except the Suntour Vx derailleurs, which are terrific. considering what it is, i have a ludicrous amount of $$ in it. and i love riding it.






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Old 01-08-11, 08:46 AM   #13
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Some great Dawes catalog page scans and photos on Flickr...

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=grub...75395133%40N00
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Old 01-08-11, 09:32 AM   #14
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I have an 80s Dawes touring bike w/ canti brakes, Reynolds 531 tubing, reasonably fancy lugs (but only one water bottle mount!). I bought it as a frameset, and used it as my main commuter this fall. Interestingly, when I was in London a couple of years ago, the vintage bikes I saw most often were Dawes, not Raleighs. Here's one:



And here's mine:


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Old 01-08-11, 10:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycleheimer View Post
the Double Blue was the top of the line model.
I have a Double Blue that I like a lot--partly because it looks very cool, and partly because it seems to fit me perfectly. It's a 1964, I believe. I wouldn't call it super high-end--it has stamped dropouts and a cottered steel crankset (of course, at that time a lot of high-quality bikes still used cottered cranks). The fork is half-chromed, but not the stays, unlike some supposedly lower-end models, which did have chromed stays as well. The frame is supposed to be double-butted 531 and probably is, but there's no Reynolds decal or any sign of one. I've posted pictures of the bike several times in the past, so I won't do it again here unless someone asks to see it.
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Old 01-08-11, 10:32 AM   #16
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I have a Dawes Galaxy frameset from the mid 70's, hasn't been built up yet. But when I was in the market for a tour bike back in the 70's the Super Galaxy was on the short list, ended up with a Bob Jackson.

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Old 01-08-11, 10:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I've posted pictures of the bike several times in the past, so I won't do it again here unless someone asks to see it.
Hey, no fair! Let's see that pic!

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Old 01-08-11, 11:17 AM   #18
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.... I've posted pictures of the bike several times in the past, so I won't do it again here unless someone asks to see it.
Please post.
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Old 01-08-11, 11:29 AM   #19
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Hey, no fair! Let's see that pic!

Neal
Busted! Okay, Neal, here you go.
Bike no longer has the SA hub--now set up as a super-wide-range double--48-32 in front, 14-34 freewheel. I like it that way. (Changed the original derailleurs for Suntour VGTLuxe)
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File Type: jpg PICT0007.jpg (102.7 KB, 71 views)
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Old 01-08-11, 12:34 PM   #20
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Sweet looking bike, jonwvara!
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Old 01-08-11, 12:49 PM   #21
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Here is a pic of my Dawes Super Galaxy as found, it is now stripped and awaiting paint. I have a lot of the aluminum bits cleaned and polished & ready to go back on. I am going to have it repainted gloss black with red decals, cables, bar wrap & tires all of which I have standing by.
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PS anybody know where I can pick up new chainring bolts for this TA triple, I thought I found the right ones on ebay but when I got them they weren't right.


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Old 01-10-11, 12:21 PM   #22
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Dawes Echelon as it rolls now--


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