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Help identify Falcon Olympic frame (70s/80s?)

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Help identify Falcon Olympic frame (70s/80s?)

Old 03-17-13, 09:28 AM
  #1  
stevek1ng
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Help identify Falcon Olympic frame (70s/80s?)

Hi everyone,

I picked up this Falcon Olympic 10 speed (all in good working order) in London the other day for 70. I'm wondering if any of you can help me date the frame? Here's a few specs (not sure if any of these components are 100% original or not):
  • Shimano Altus front and rear derailleurs
  • Weinmann Vanqueur 510 centre pull brake callipers
  • Weinmann brake levers (complete with "suicide" lever attachment)
  • Alero cold forged cranks
  • Chrome plated fork ends
And here's some pics of the bike:



I can't find much information on these bikes online, but here is what I do know:

All other Falcon Olympics I've seen say "Designed by Ernie Clements" on the front badge - however mine doesn't have this. Also all the others say the tubing is Reynolds 531 (I'm yet to find one that isn't) - however, mine doesn't have a 531 badge anywhere to be seen. In it's usual place (see seat stay pic) is a worn off sticker from a bike dealership by the looks of it. But all of the decals have been all but completely scratched off anyway...so I'm just hoping someone decided to remove the 531 badge

My frame has a fairly typical looking join between the seat stay and seat tube - I've seen lots of other Falcons that have a "wrap around" one-piece seat stay, which was apparently a signature of Falcon frames at one time. I suspect this style was found on earlier bikes and then dropped for the more standard style (like mine) at some point - so this could be a clue - but unfortunately I have no idea what year this would have been.

So, the main things I would love to know about this bike:
  • The year it was made
  • Is the frame Reynolds tubing, or not?
  • Do you think I got a reasonable deal for 70?
I picked this bike up seeing as it looks like a perfect candidate for my first single speed conversion (and the chrome fork ends are still in pretty nice condition!). But I'm wondering whether it's actually worth spending much money on it - if it's 531 tubing, I may go to town on it with a full respray and new decals...if it's standard steel, I may just keep the build as cheap as possible!
Attached Images
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Falcon_full.jpg (100.1 KB, 188 views)
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Falcon_badge.jpg (96.8 KB, 164 views)
File Type: jpg
Falcon_calipers.jpg (94.4 KB, 163 views)
File Type: jpg
Falcon_seat-stays.jpg (97.0 KB, 167 views)
File Type: jpg
Falcon_chainset.jpg (97.3 KB, 162 views)
File Type: jpg
Falcon_derailleur.jpg (95.7 KB, 158 views)
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Old 03-17-13, 11:35 AM
  #2  
bertinjim 
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Hi, stevek1ng-

I think your Falcon is an entry level model with hi-tensile in the frame and forks. The Falcon I owned previously was very nicely made with flat plate stay caps and very nicely finished lugs on the 531 frameset. Your bike should be fine for a fixie conversion but I think splashing out for a respray would be excesssive.
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Old 03-17-13, 12:09 PM
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Cheap hi-ten frame/fork. It should make a good fixed gear, but I would spend as little money as possible on it.
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Old 03-17-13, 02:32 PM
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If you have a look at the components, you should be able to come fairly close, if not right on, when attempting to identify the vintage of the bicycle. Have a look at How Old Is My Bike? paying closest attention to the Component Numbers section. It does not take long and you might have a bit of fund doing it. Best of luck.
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Old 03-18-13, 06:11 AM
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At best, it would be a Reynolds 531, plain gauge, main triangle. However, to be be sure, measure the seat post diameter and report the result. As for age, it's hard to tell, as I suspect this is a Frankenbike. The Altus derailleurs came out circa 1978/1979 however, these appear to be replacements given the low position of the shifters on the down tube. A factory employee should not have mounted them that low and close to the Falcon logo. The Aero style crankest is from the early 1980s. Other feature such as large flange hubs, indicate boom era. Ignoring the components and looking at just the frame, the non-banded, down tube logo does suggest a post boom model from the late 1970s.
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Old 03-22-13, 04:46 AM
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Wow T-Mar, so much good info there, thanks! Will measure the seat post diameter tonight.

And thanks for the link randyjawa, I will be sure to check that out.

Also - The rear hub is only a standard size flange - one of the wheels must be a replacement. The rim on the front is considerably more rusty than the rear (so I suspect the original?), and has a dimpled braking surface, the rear does not.

So it sounds like a late 70s model, and then someone in the early 80s replaced the crank, rear wheel and deraillieurs. In one sense that makes me feel better about replacing the wheels and stripping the components...although now I'm concerned the reason for replacing the rear wheel and derailleurs might be due to a crash

Any tips for checking the structural integrity of the frame?
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Old 03-22-13, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by stevek1ng View Post
...although now I'm concerned the reason for replacing the rear wheel and derailleurs might be due to a crash

Any tips for checking the structural integrity of the frame?
It's probably not due to a crash. Most riders simply don't take their weight off the saddle the when traversing obstacles like potholes, railroad tracks, etc. As a result, the rear wheel takes the impact with a lot of weight on it. This is absorbed primarily by the rim, which goes out of true. Unless the rim is trued immediately, it will get progressively worse even with even minor impacts, to the point where it has to be replaced. This is a fairly common occurence and most owners replace the whole wheel as opposed to the rim.

You can give yourself a warm fuzzy by examining the frame for crash damage. Crashed frames typically have more damage on one side than the other. Typically the damage occurs at the extremities, such as the saddle flanks, brake levers and pedals, which come into contact with the ground.

Except in the most extreme cases, structural integrity of crashed frames is not a issue and these frames generally provide readily apparent clues such dents and creases in the tubing or ever visible bends. Minor frame damage is typically exhibited as alignment issues. The quick and simple check for alignment issues is to ride the bicycle with no hands or at least a very light touch on the bars. A misaligned frame will generally pull to one side or not track straight.
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Old 03-23-13, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
At best, it would be a Reynolds 531, plain gauge, main triangle. However, to be be sure, measure the seat post diameter and report the result.
The inner diameter of the seat tube is 29mm.
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Old 03-23-13, 08:38 AM
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Are you sure about this measurement being 29mm. I would expect this frame to have 25.4 or 26.0 seat post but no larger than 27.2. If you pull the post the whole way out the size is usually marked on the bottom half of the post.
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Old 03-23-13, 10:28 AM
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29mm sounds like the OP was measuring the outside diameter of the seat tube as opposed to the seat post. Nominal outer diameter on an imperial seat tube is 1-1/8" (28.6mm).
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Old 03-23-13, 11:37 AM
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Sorry I was using a tape measure which turned out not to be all that accurate!

With a ruler I get 26.5mm inside diameter of the seat tube.

My seatpost has a slightly tapered end with no measurement marked on it - so I haven't bothered trying to measure that.
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