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1970s Claude Butler Road Bike - what to do with it?

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1970s Claude Butler Road Bike - what to do with it?

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Old 10-06-11, 06:07 AM
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MarkN
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1970s Claude Butler Road Bike - what to do with it?



So, I just bought this bike, although I won't get to see it until Sunday. However, in my eagerness, I want to know more about it in order to decide what to do with it. It's going to be my next steed for commuting.

The choice is between keeping it as a geared bike, and converting it to a fixed gear. If I keep it as a geared bike I would want to upgrade the shifter to controls on the handlebars; I'm not a fan of the down-tube shifter. How hard would that be?

According to the seller;

* 1970s Claude Butler
* Reynolds 531 frame - 55cm
* Shimano 600 rear derailleur
* Shimano pedals with original toe clips
* original Weinmann 610 brakes with recent brake pads replaced
* "I’ve serviced the bike regularly and replaced the rear wheel, brake pads and cables very recently"

I don't think it would be too much of travesty to convert it as, from the sounds of things, it has seen heavy use and is not in completely original condition.

Things I would particularly like more info on include the handlebar clamp width (23.8mm, 25.4mm?), stem width, the wheel size (27''?) and any other pertinent info I should consider...

If I wanted to change the handlebars for ones with a 31.8mm clamp size, how hard would it be to change the stem for one that fit? (eg. hard to find bullhorns with a smaller clamp size)

I've never done a fixie conversion before but am well up for learning on the job.

Cheers!
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Old 10-06-11, 06:52 AM
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jezmellors
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I'd leave it as is, at least for a while, it sounds like everything works and it's a very usable bike. I've no idea what the clamp width etc. is but i think you will pretty much be able to do anything you want to it, there is normally a way around any problem, the only limiting factor being cost. As far as changing the shifters, it is possible and not difficult, i have an old cougar frame which i had updated. You end up with little bosses where the downtube shifters were and the cables go through them, i don't know if you can see on this pic.
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Old 10-06-11, 07:49 AM
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You've got a quill stem, and I don't think I've ever seen a 31.8 mm clamp quill stem. If you really insist on having a 31.8 mm bar, then you'd first have to get a quill-to-threadless adapter, and then a stem. OTOH 25.4 mm quill stems with removable faceplates (which you need if you want to run a "real" bullhorn, their tight bends won't go through a wraparound clamp) can be found. Reworking 25.4 into 26.0 is fairly easy.

Shifter controls on the handlebars can be both easy and difficult. Friction-style thumb shifters are real easy(inexpensive too), indexed brifters can be a real pain.
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Old 10-06-11, 08:08 AM
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jezmellors - ooh, I like the look of that. You may well be right and chances are I'll do that until at least Christmas when I have more time. Even so, once the bits start wearing out I think I'll be looking at a fixie-conversion plan again

dabac - cheers for the info. Actually there do seem to be a fair few 26mm clamp area bars available so perhaps it's simpler than I thought.
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Old 10-06-11, 08:26 AM
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If you want a fixed gear commuter just leave the down tube shifters for now and find a gear you like and ride in it. if nothing else it will let you experiment with different gear ratios. if you want to experiment with bull horns I have done several chop n flop's. Get an old scrap drop bar and hacksaw midway thru the curve. There are lots of on line sites showing how it's done. I have a set of chops without the flop on my Cannondale and it has been switched over to a Sora brifter setup with the large hood boots. Makes for a really good feel for me. Others hated the idea, but I like bull horns on that type of a ride and doing that gave a couple really nice hand positions. Here is the chop no flop. just don’t chop the bars that came with the bike that way you can go back or resell with original parts, same with down tube stuff. throw it in a zip lock bag and save it.
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Old 10-06-11, 09:29 AM
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Why is everyone now starting new topics with "So, "...?
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Old 10-06-11, 12:46 PM
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I would suggest you ride it pretty much as is for now. As for converting I'm not sure it would make a lot of since at least from a finanicial standpoint. I'm not sure what the UK bike market is like right now. In Denver where I live you can find fairly nice new fixed gear bikes from $200 up and good used conversions are starting to show up on the market starting around $125. If the UK market is similar it just wouldn't make since to spend $100 plus on parts plus all the time and effort to convert a bike this nice.
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Old 10-06-11, 01:05 PM
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Restore it as it is..

fixie conversions are unnecessary now, they are so trendy that there are cheap bikes sold, new..
as mentioned above..

Now If you got ahold of a British winter training bike ,
a combination of a track dropout with mudguard eyelets , made for a purpose,
in a bike with room for those fenders , and a fork also for brakes and mud guards.

and had getting your cadence spin up to snuff for the next season's racing.. in mind,

whole different thing..
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Old 10-06-11, 01:27 PM
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It doesn't matter to me if you ride it as is, or make it a fixie...

However, please, please don't saw off the cable stops, derailleur hanger, etc. You may, at some point down the line want to restore it to a geared bike. Or you make get bored with it and sell it to someone who does. You should also keep the original parts for the same reason.
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Old 10-06-11, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jim hughes View Post
So why is everyone now starting new topics with "So, "...?
fify
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Old 10-06-11, 02:36 PM
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Do what you want, but personally I'd leave it as a geared bike. I for one never heard of a "Claude Butler" so on this side of the pond I'd say it's fairly rare. Even though it may not have much value, it looks good in the bike rack!

25.4 bullhorns are available. Origin8 for one offers them. As far as the shifters, top mounted friction shifters are readily available. Early mountain bikes used them. Then there's new- Falcon shifters, which run about $15 US (set). There are other options as well. See Velo Orange, Rivendell, etc. Or you could do some Paul "thumbies" with the appropriate bar end shifter- either Ultegra or DA, but that's an expensive option. Or you could do some bar ends on them bullhorns.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:39 PM
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MarkN
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I do get what you're all saying and I was more or less persuaded to restore it... but, now that I've got the bike, I'm still in two minds about it. There's still a choice.

The wheels are significantly out of true. The paintwork is quite heavily chipped and flecked with rust. The chain wheels are like sharpened teeth (though the chain and cassette look relatively recent). It's generally gunked up and could use a good clean. The wheels hold air, the brakes work, the bottom bracket and steering tube seem ok, the frame is solid, and it's ridable, as described by the seller. But it's not that much of a nice bike right now. That would take a fair bit of work.

There's still the issue (for me) of the down tube shifters; I'm generally more inclined to leave the bike in the top gear, holding onto the handlebars, rather than reach down and shift while braking or accelerating.

So, I'm afraid to say I'm leaning towards doing it up over time, to my own tastes, pretty much for the fun of it and experience and learning. It's my second bike so I can keep the old one going for now.
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