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Old 07-21-14, 07:34 PM   #1
Zaphod Beeblebrox 
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1937 Bates

Finally on the road, here is my 1937 Bates.







The short take: It rides wonderfully. Its responsive when you step on it, feels quick without being harsh, and its incredibly lightweight.


The longer story: After many years of searching for a Bates in my size I finally found my quarry on eBay and scored it for what I would consider an excellent value. Just the frame and fork and as is apparent, not original paint. Happily the serials on the fork and frame match and correspond to being constructed pre-war, most likely around 1937. I don't have the sense that anything was added to this frame after its initial construction although anything is possible… there is a cable stop on the chain stay, ostensibly for a derailleur or possibly even an IGH, and stops on the top tube for the rear brake.

Obviously everything about this build is completely wrong. The component group is pat. '72 Campagnolo NR with lo-flange Campagnolo hubs laced to Rigida rims. Bars/Stem are Cinelli, Lyotard Berthet pedals, and top it off with some Weinmann centerpulls. All wrong. But in a way it feels so right.

This isn't the final solution for this frame. It will no doubt undergo a major change in components, likely over the winter. This is mainly a proof of concept that I can build it up with modern (by 1937 standards) parts, and that it fits well and I like the ride. So far i'm hitting on all points.
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Old 07-21-14, 07:37 PM   #2
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That looks great! Do you know what model it is? I have a 37 Bates Utopian that's being painted right now. I can't wait to get to ride it. Very cool!
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Old 07-21-14, 07:45 PM   #3
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That is a sweet bike!
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Old 07-21-14, 07:54 PM   #4
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I think mine is an Ideal. Not totally sure though.
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Old 07-21-14, 07:59 PM   #5
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Beautiful. Interesting fork and head tube angle.
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Old 07-21-14, 08:44 PM   #6
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Totally masterful Bates. I really dig it. When we riding again? Whenever it is, bring that, Dawg.
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Old 07-21-14, 08:57 PM   #7
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come do the notch this fall!
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Old 07-21-14, 10:05 PM   #8
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Fork's bent.

But in all seriousness, the components look right at home. As someone mentioned on the TdF bikes thread, it's amazing how little the basic frame design changed between around 1940 and 1990.
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Old 07-22-14, 04:45 AM   #9
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I love it!!! I love that fork and almost bought one, maybe a knock off, once.

I like the build and while, as you pointed out it isn't period, it doesn't look bad either. I just hope when we see it next spring it isn't sporting a carbon/Ti 11spd Record groupo with deepdish carbon wheels.
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Old 07-22-14, 04:51 AM   #10
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Neat bicycle, for sure. I hope to see it done up in period correct fashion I've managed to see a couple at Cirque in the past. They always turn heads.
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Old 07-22-14, 05:11 AM   #11
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Real nice, ZB. Do you plan on restoring the paint and decals some day?
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Old 07-22-14, 05:40 AM   #12
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That's great!!!!

A Bates BAR is one of the few bikes I pine for.
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Old 07-22-14, 06:52 AM   #13
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Thanks folks.

There's no original paint to "restore" anymore… what you see is a mediocre (at best) amateur paint job done by some previous owner. Its flaking and peeling but thankfully free of rust, so cheers to the bloke who did it on that point. At some point this frame will get stripped and professionally painted at which time proper decals and head badge will be applied.

The end game is to have a bike I can grab and go blast through the Vermont mountains with so gearing will all change and this Campagnolo NR stuff will likely go on to some other project but for now its fun if not a little painful trying to handle the hills around here on a 42-25. Manly.
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Old 07-22-14, 08:08 AM   #14
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Fork's bent.
...it needed to be said. Swell bike, tres chic.
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Old 07-22-14, 08:21 AM   #15
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Wrong build? Ehh....I think of them as Resto-mods. Steel cottered cranks, and 4 speed freewheels are only fun for so long. Looks like like a nice useable build. Many happy miles!

Hey...where's the bottle cage
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Old 07-22-14, 08:34 AM   #16
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I'd keep the alum. rims, the rest is easily changed out--a 5 speed with simplex or cyclo would be good. Nick at Lloyds had the decals. Check the inside of head tube for original paint, but be advised that even though you may be able to correctly match the color , the paint may not look the same because now a days the pigment partials are larger to reflect better in Auto paints .
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Old 07-22-14, 08:41 AM   #17
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Yeah, I think a modern drivetrain will make it more fun, and period-correct be damned. I'm impressed that such an old thing rides so well. I also like how the non-period correct stuff looks good on it.

The BB is very high, so wouldn't it be a scream if you entered cyclocross races on it? Even if you came in last place, you'd be the coolest kid on the block.
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Old 07-22-14, 08:42 AM   #18
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I like what you have done with it, and I see no reason to swap in a poorly-shifting Cyclo or Simplex bandspring derailleur or a cottered steel crankset.

Of course, that's easy for me to say, since I have a 1959 Capo that has been updated and upgraded with 1970-1980 parts (brakes and shift levers are original), as well as a 1960 with mostly original components.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:43 AM   #19
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There's definitely some modern parts that interest me as far as implementing the final solution for this Bates.

I really like the idea of 120mm cassette hubs from Gran Bois Compass Bicycles: Hubs
I like their cranks too even though they're pricey...I wanna keep to alloy parts as much as possible to keep the weight down. The frame is so lightweight to being with, no reason to spoil that with steel parts.

Any parts recommendations welcome. Color suggestions too... I'm pretty open to hearing ideas. I think the main thing I know I want on the final build is these Lyotard Berthet pedals and the GB Cypres Tires. Aside from that the rest is up in the air
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Old 07-22-14, 11:49 AM   #20
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Totally masterful Bates.
Yes, he is surely the master of this bates.
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Old 07-22-14, 12:22 PM   #21
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Yes, he is surely the master of this bates.
He is Craven Moarhead.
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Old 07-22-14, 12:40 PM   #22
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Aw shucks you remembered ;-)
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Old 07-22-14, 12:59 PM   #23
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He is Craven Moarhead.
Was, actually. Back when he only had one head.
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Old 07-22-14, 01:59 PM   #24
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Aw shucks you remembered ;-)
It's a great name.
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Old 07-22-14, 02:55 PM   #25
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It is/was.
Too controversial for BF though so I had to grow a second noggin and become president of the universe. Its an upgrade.
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