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1950's Bates Cantiflex

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1950's Bates Cantiflex

Old 04-07-15, 06:43 PM
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1950's Bates Cantiflex

I picked this bike up on Chicago CL over the weekend. I was going to sell it as its a bit small, but its such a cool bike I think I'll play with it for a while. Its powdercoated a bright red orange. I added a seat panel and painted the head tube. Added some lug lining. After riding it today I did a little more lining and decoration.

Bates had a special tubing called Cantiflex that was made for him by Reynolds. It is larger in the centers of the tube and tapers down to the lugs on the 3 main tubes. The Diadrant fork of course is unique. It also has Reynolds Rapier chainstays which are very pretty. And pencil thin seat stays. Its a real tour de force of classic British cycling bike construction. Complimented with some nice components that appear to be all original.





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Old 04-07-15, 07:12 PM
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It seems like an interesting bike-

If just for the fork- but also from what you're saying about the tubing.
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Old 04-07-15, 07:29 PM
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Very cool!
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Old 04-07-15, 07:31 PM
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You could run some meaty rubber on that beast! Very cool bike.
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Old 04-07-15, 07:46 PM
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You got an excellent deal on that. Take a look at Hillary Stone's page on frame size; in some periods frames were intentionally sized small, whereas in other decades they'll be bigger. The seat tube dimensions of this frame may seem wrong, but it might just be designed for a guy your size. If so, it'd be a pity to let it go.

Note: there were two Bateses. Brothers, iirc, who went their separate ways.
A diligent scholar would suss out which one you've got, not that I'd know the diff.
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Old 04-07-15, 07:47 PM
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^^ I was about to say the same thing. Look at the reach on those calipers! What make are they?
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Old 04-07-15, 08:06 PM
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That's a really cool bike.
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Old 04-07-15, 08:15 PM
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I'm putting one of these together- mine is a B.A.R. (Best All-Round).

Is yours built at Westcliff or is it prior? The serial number should say...
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Old 04-07-15, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious View Post
I'm putting one of these together- mine is a B.A.R. (Best All-Round).

Is yours built at Westcliff or is it prior? The serial number should say...
The serial number is 4024.
Also has GR 23 on the BB.
Does that tell you anything?

Edit: after further investigation perhaps the serial number is UU 14024.

Last edited by big chainring; 04-07-15 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 04-07-15, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
You got an excellent deal on that. Take a look at Hillary Stone's page on frame size; in some periods frames were intentionally sized small, whereas in other decades they'll be bigger. The seat tube dimensions of this frame may seem wrong, but it might just be designed for a guy your size. If so, it'd be a pity to let it go.

Note: there were two Bateses. Brothers, iirc, who went their separate ways.
A diligent scholar would suss out which one you've got, not that I'd know the diff.
From what I have read this is a Horace Bates bike. Size wise it has a 57cm c-c top tube and 57cm c-t seat tube. I have it set up so it works well for me. Not a bike I would ride all day, but for a nice 20 miler it's great.

The brakes are old Weinmanns. The bike came with vintage sew-up wheels or sprints if you will. I would imagine it was built to accomodate 27" clincher with mudguards.
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Old 04-07-15, 10:47 PM
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Really neat bike. Thanks for sharing. How does it ride? Are you able to distinguish any particular characteristics of the fork?
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Old 04-08-15, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
Really neat bike. Thanks for sharing. How does it ride? Are you able to distinguish any particular characteristics of the fork?
The fork, absolutely! I rode about 20 miles yesterday. It absorbs shock like no other bike I have ridden. Why this design never caught on, I don't know. Although Pinerello has something close on their current bikes.

My general impression is it rides like a track bike. Quick handling, super smooth, and I haven't weighed it yet but I think it's in the 20-21 pound range. Super lightweight. The wheels have light gauge spokes, Fiamme rims, and add to the light feel.

From checking on the Classic Lightweights website I think what I have is a Bates BAR circa 1950.
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Old 04-08-15, 07:00 AM
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The lugs appear to be Brampton:



The ones in this photo have bulges to hold the earlier style of headset cups, but I'm sure Brampton made both styles.

The brakes are the first generation Weinmann centerpull, not the "luxe" Model but otherwise the same as I have on my Allegro. They were introduced in 1957 according to this article.

Judging by the saddle-to-bar relationship I'd say it fits you pretty well!
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Old 04-08-15, 07:28 AM
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What I found on Classic Lightweights was perhaps the lugs are Ekla. The seat stay caps too were provided by Ekla.

Edit: yes I see now they are Brampton lugs.


The Gran Sport derailleur is 1st generation with the built in cable adjuster.


So the parts are later than the frame. The fork crown and fork are a mystery. I cant find any Bates' with the simple fork crown mine has or the round fork blades. Perhaps a replacement? By Bates for sure. Or is this a characteristic of earlier Bates bikes? I think the top tube cable guides and downtube cable stops were added at a later time as well. It was used as a 10 speed with front derailleur.

Anyone have an open C Cathet
Ynowmpy shift lever in their parts bin? I am missing the lever for a front derailleur. The 5 speed set up on the bike now is sort of poorly executed.

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Old 04-08-15, 07:44 AM
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Ekla lugs, definitely a possibility. They were widely used and widely imitated (by Brampton for one).

Could you post photos of the cable guides and cable stops that you suspect are later additions? Also the dropouts?

Is there a serial number on the fork steerer? English road bikes of that era often had round fork blades. The RRA, for example.
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Old 04-08-15, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky View Post
^^ I was about to say the same thing. Look at the reach on those calipers! What make are they?
It is indeed unusual to see a Weinmann Vainqueur 999 in the 750 length on the front of an English bike. Normally they ran 610 in front and 750 in back, which Nishiki and others copied for many years. Very cool bike!
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Old 04-08-15, 10:08 AM
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Very cool indeed. I have a '37 Bates (forget which model) that I absolutely love. Enjoy it! If you find the ride to be a bit too harsh try a wider tire. I happily run 700x32 GB Cypres tires on mine. S'nice. I saw that same one on CL and was thinking I was interested, but I really only need one ;-)
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Old 04-08-15, 10:11 AM
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Nice looking bike
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Old 04-08-15, 10:40 AM
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Also that is definitely a Horace Bates. The other brother E.G Bates continued making frames as well but only Horace retained the use of the Diadrant fork and the Cantiflex tubing.
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Old 04-08-15, 10:44 AM
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Beautiful. Nice paint work additions - I like your color choice.
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Old 04-08-15, 10:50 AM
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Nice improvement with the paint accent and detail. Hope to be up in Chicago for that C&V meet and ride later this month. You bringing this gem?

Have a feeling you might regret after selling it. Interesting and always unique. Cheer's-
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Old 04-08-15, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
Nice improvement with the paint accent and detail. Hope to be up in Chicago for that C&V meet and ride later this month. You bringing this gem?

Have a feeling you might regret after selling it. Interesting and always unique. Cheer's-
Not sure I can make it to the ride. If I do then yeah I would probably bring it.

I went over the paint again with a cleaner blue. It's turning out nice. Looks a little like a Lejeune or Flandria. Which is good, I like the color schemes of those bikes.
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Old 04-08-15, 12:11 PM
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Roy Cooper still makes frames with the Cantiflex tubing and Diadrant forks.

Best I can make out if the serial number is correct, this is a Best All-Round (B.A.R.) built shortly after the war, possibly prior to the move to Westcliff on Sea.

The advantage of the Cantiflex tubing is it makes the frame less whippy. Apparently butting the tubing at the lugs is exactly backwards from how it should be done, where the tubing gets thicker in the middle to prevent flex. This apparently worked and so the Diadrant fork was developed to improve the ride.
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Old 04-08-15, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious View Post
Roy Cooper still makes frames with the Cantiflex tubing and Diadrant forks.

Best I can make out if the serial number is correct, this is a Best All-Round (B.A.R.) built shortly after the war, possibly prior to the move to Westcliff on Sea.

The advantage of the Cantiflex tubing is it makes the frame less whippy. Apparently butting the tubing at the lugs is exactI followIly backwards from how it should be done, where the tubing gets thicker in the middle to prevent flex. This apparently worked and so the Diadrant fork was developed to improve the ride.
Not sure I follow what you are saying. The tubing has internal butting, thicker at the lugs thinner in the middle like traditional 531. Yet the external dimension of the tubing gets larger in the middle of the tubes.
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Old 04-08-15, 01:46 PM
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^^ You are correct. The first time I read about the tubing I missed that.

Bates Cycles 2: Cantiflex frame tubes
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