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1980s Brian Rourke

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1980s Brian Rourke

Old 08-18-15, 11:36 AM
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1980s Brian Rourke

As received, save for the rear wheel.

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Old 08-18-15, 06:40 PM
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Nice!
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Old 08-18-15, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
Nice!
Thanks. The tape is atrocious, as is the saddle(!) and soon to go. The yellow-green dots/strips are reflectors of some sort. Hope to start cleaning her up this week.
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Old 08-18-15, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Thanks. The tape is atrocious, as is the saddle(!) and soon to go. The yellow-green dots/strips are reflectors of some sort. Hope to start cleaning her up this week.
A tragic disappointment I still remember is arriving at my local recycling centre to throw away a lot of old metal pipes. There at the back of the metal skip was a bright yellow Brian Rourke hand built with Campagnolo kit and black Mavic rims, just looking a little tired and dirty. I was unable to rescue this discarded beauty - I even offered the attendant (operative) cash to retrieve it, but the facility is monitored by CCTV and it was not worth his job to be seen breaking all the rules. Always loved those frames, I've not (yet) owned or ridden one, but have ridden alongside other riders on Rourkes and they seemed to be sweet handling, responsive bikes that held speed well, especially uphill. Have fun with yours and post ride reports plus photos when you've ridden it - I'd like to know if my impressions are correct!
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Old 08-18-15, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
A tragic disappointment I still remember is arriving at my local recycling centre to throw away a lot of old metal pipes. There at the back of the metal skip was a bright yellow Brian Rourke hand built with Campagnolo kit and black Mavic rims, just looking a little tired and dirty. I was unable to rescue this discarded beauty - I even offered the attendant (operative) cash to retrieve it, but the facility is monitored by CCTV and it was not worth his job to be seen breaking all the rules. Always loved those frames, I've not (yet) owned or ridden one, but have ridden alongside other riders on Rourkes and they seemed to be sweet handling, responsive bikes that held speed well, especially uphill. Have fun with yours and post ride reports plus photos when you've ridden it - I'd like to know if my impressions are correct!
What a pity the bike couldn't be saved. I had never heard of Rourke until the CL ad popped up. I rode it just a couple of minutes Sunday night to make sure the frame was straight. First impressions were favorable, but I won't know for sure until it's set up properly for my anatomy. lol Happy to post a ride report soon. Good to hear these bikes climb well! I need all the help I can get.
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Old 08-18-15, 07:12 PM
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Thank you!

At last...we can see why it is not a Ghisallo: no wood rims.
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Old 08-18-15, 07:17 PM
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Here's a patina close-up. Minimal pitting on the chrome. Love those lugs.

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Old 08-23-15, 03:01 PM
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Not too bad Horatio, honest patina of a well-ridden racing bike. I'd just clean her up really well, maybe touch in some of the more annoying scratches with paint or nail varnish, carefully clean the chrome with something gentle then treat the whole frame to a good wax polish. Lovely classic English bike.
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Old 08-23-15, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
Not too bad Horatio, honest patina of a well-ridden racing bike. I'd just clean her up really well, maybe touch in some of the more annoying scratches with paint or nail varnish, carefully clean the chrome with something gentle then treat the whole frame to a good wax polish. Lovely classic English bike.
Good idea, and that's what I'm working on for now. I stripped and cleaned the frame today. The paint polished up nicely, and the chrome looks much better as well. I'll try to post some pics in a couple of days.
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Old 08-24-15, 04:41 PM
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Treating the rusty patches with vinegar.
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Old 08-27-15, 06:14 PM
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Interim build for evaluation of ride qualities.

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Old 08-27-15, 08:35 PM
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There's a really good video that Rob Penn did a few years back on the BBC called "Ride of My Life" that I love watching. Even burned a copy onto a DVD. He does this dream bike build where he travels to each location of the company to see how the parts are made. His dream frame is from Brian Rourke as Brian fits him and his son Jason builds and paints the bike.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AZqyosN4iD8
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Old 08-28-15, 04:03 AM
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Thanks for the link. I watched that a couple years ago and forgot Rourke was mentioned. Neat documentary.
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Old 08-29-15, 03:58 PM
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Twenty-five mile ride this morning. Nice ride qualities. A keeper. And my first custom-made bike!
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Old 08-29-15, 04:01 PM
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Was he an American builder? I love the fork, with the chrome going way up and just a small bit of paint. Really nice looking bike.
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Old 08-29-15, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
Was he an American builder? I love the fork, with the chrome going way up and just a small bit of paint. Really nice looking bike.
Thanks. It cleaned up well.

Rourke is a former British racer. From the company website:

The business has been built up by Brian who has an impressive C.V. including 25 years of road racing and mountain bike racing, amassing National Road and Track Championships and five Veteran Road titles. Brian has also ridden in the UK Milk Race 3 times and in numerous International events.

His son now builds the frames.
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Old 08-29-15, 04:28 PM
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Lucky bugger !
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Old 08-29-15, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Lucky bugger !
Yeah, but that Ghisallo was probably one-of-a kind.
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Old 09-01-15, 03:52 PM
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Just got an update from Rourke Cycles. Turns out my bike IS a Rourke (and not Mercian), confirmed by Brian himself:

Brian has identified the bike, he says the frame was made by Harry Hall's frame builder of the day to help us out for a few frames that were made for the U.S. That's why the H is imprinted underneath. So yes it was built by another frame builder (and a very good one) for us, but it is one of ours.

From the stamping I would surmise this is the 112th frame provided by Harry Hall for Rourke Cycles, but I still don't know what year. There is a diamond with what appears to be "03" inside, so perhaps 1983 for year of manufacture.

Just happy to know it's genuine and not a knock-off (and rarer than I thought.) Now to research Harry Hall...
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Old 09-01-15, 04:03 PM
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From Classiclightweights.uk, describing a 1960s Harry Hall bike :

The frame builder, Harry Hall, was an amateur racing cyclist who opened a shop in Manchester in 1957 and started producing custom built frames which were used by many of the top cyclists of the time. Harry gained a reputation as a top mechanic and he and his shop became famous for providing a neutral service vehicle (a mini) at many UK events. Harry was also mechanic to Tom Simpson during the ill-fated 1967 Tour de France.

Harry retired from the shop in 1989, started racing again and amongst his victories included the British National & World Age Related Championship.
Sadly, Harry died in 2007, but his shop "Harry Hall Cycles" still exists in Manchester and is run by his son Graham.
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