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New purchase can anyone identify this beauty?

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New purchase can anyone identify this beauty?

Old 02-19-16, 06:35 AM
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New purchase can anyone identify this beauty?

I have just bought this Hercules bicycle for a pretty reasonably price. It looks to be complete and it should clean up pretty well. I think it's from the 1930's and I'm guessing it's something like the Hercules equivalent of a 30's Raleigh Record ace by looking at the swan neck stem and saddle pillar. I'm guessing that it was one of the real top of the range bikes of the era by looking at some of the components. Can anybody help with a rough age or exact model?















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Old 02-19-16, 08:07 AM
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Another one! Lovely look to it, quite different from the Rudge with this Herc having gears and the stem, seat post so different. Looks to have green paint on it?

lots to work with , lot of work.

Sorry, beyond my knowledge to pinpoint a date or model.

fender clip is off the stay bridge so no stress there on getting the fragile fenders off. Is the badge really rusted or is that the head tube with a hole in it? Can't tell.
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Old 02-19-16, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Another one! Lovely look to it, quite different from the Rudge with this Herc having gears and the stem, seat post so different. Looks to have green paint on it?

lots to work with , lot of work.

Sorry, beyond my knowledge to pinpoint a date or model.

fender clip is off the stay bridge so no stress there on getting the fragile fenders off. Is the badge really rusted or is that the head tube with a hole in it? Can't tell.

Yeah its the original green paint. Very unusual as most bikes of this era were all black.

And to be fair there isnt too much work. It just needs to be taken apart, have all the parts cleaned then put it back together and replace the tyres, tubes and bearings. It's a real shame that one of the grips is missing because that will be near impossible to replace. The other one however is original and in excellent condition. Even has all the original cables in working order too.

As for the badge im not sure whats going on there but I hope the head tube isn't rusting though.
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Old 02-19-16, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by shadaboot28 View Post
Yeah its the original green paint. Very unusual as most bikes of this era were all black.
I thought it was neat seeing the 1899 Schwinn Catalog- that Black and Brewster Green were THE paint options.
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Old 02-19-16, 12:50 PM
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Lycett saddle looks like a Gentlemans 99n which was around the 40's through 50's. Have not seen another badge yet. That would be a real date stamper.
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Old 02-19-16, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I thought it was neat seeing the 1899 Schwinn Catalog- that Black and Brewster Green were THE paint options.
Oh I was only referring to British bikes of the era. Over here most bikes in the 30's were black, apart from the real fancy expensive ones. Might of been a different story in America though.
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Old 02-19-16, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Lycett saddle looks like a Gentlemans 99n which was around the 40's through 50's. Have not seen another badge yet. That would be a real date stamper.
I'm now 100% sure the bike is from the 30's after having a look over it. And yeah im slighly suspicious of the saddle and think it may be of a later date as I don't think the 30's ones had that type of badge.
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Old 02-19-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by shadaboot28 View Post
Oh I was only referring to British bikes of the era. Over here most bikes in the 30's were black, apart from the real fancy expensive ones. Might of been a different story in America though.
I think you are correct- in both the US and the UK.

I recall seeing some red bikes- but I have no idea if those were personally custom modified.

Although it's not exactly related, the saying about the Model T was: "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black."
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Old 02-19-16, 01:54 PM
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The closest reference I could find to 1930s Hercules is this 1940 poster. The closest bicycle to yours is the Model "O" Racer. But your bicycle looks older, as you have noted.

https://threespeedmania.wordpress.co...ers/40herc09b/
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Old 02-19-16, 02:48 PM
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Seems like most bikes this age and older end up with hardly any paint left on them. I suspect tat tell paints back then we're just not that good and eventually just mostly chalks and rubs off, leaving the frame tubes bare, thus all the surface rust all over the bike........... but there's usually "good bones" under all that.....
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Old 02-19-16, 06:28 PM
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Quite a relic... best wishes for the restoration!
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Old 02-19-16, 07:32 PM
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I suggest that it has been upgraded over time. saddle, chainset, brakes, gears.
have a look through the catalogues at the V-CC library
Veteran-Cycle Club Online Library

the 1934 "E" Club model has the swan neck stem.
http://veterancycleclublibrary.org.u...20Library).pdf
check the spec's of that against the components on yours.
as well as the 1935 version
http://veterancycleclublibrary.org.u...20Library).pdf

The best identifying feature may be the positioning of the mudguard braze ons. I would concentrate on that feature.

the Viper Model 2 appears to have the same attachment points as yours
http://veterancycleclublibrary.org.u...20Library).pdf

can you give post photos of the brake calipers?
and what is the wheel size?

is there any stampings on the chainring?
Williams component dating

and work through the Cyclo brochures to see if you can identify the date of the Cyclo Benelux rear derailleur
Veteran-Cycle Club Online Library
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Old 02-20-16, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Block View Post
I suggest that it has been upgraded over time. saddle, chainset, brakes, gears.
have a look through the catalogues at the V-CC library
Veteran-Cycle Club Online Library

the 1934 "E" Club model has the swan neck stem.
http://veterancycleclublibrary.org.u...20Library).pdf
check the spec's of that against the components on yours.
as well as the 1935 version
http://veterancycleclublibrary.org.u...20Library).pdf

The best identifying feature may be the positioning of the mudguard braze ons. I would concentrate on that feature.

the Viper Model 2 appears to have the same attachment points as yours
http://veterancycleclublibrary.org.u...20Library).pdf

can you give post photos of the brake calipers?
and what is the wheel size?

is there any stampings on the chainring?
Williams component dating

and work through the Cyclo brochures to see if you can identify the date of the Cyclo Benelux rear derailleur
Veteran-Cycle Club Online Library

Thanks for all the great information! When I get round to cleaning it all up I will get pictures of the brake calipers and look on the chainring.
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Old 02-20-16, 07:38 AM
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Some of the 30's catalogs are missing from the Veteran Cycle Club. As I cant find my bike in any of them my guess is that my bike might be from one of the missing years? Which are 1932, 1933, 1936 and 1939. My bike has green paint, a 23'' frame and full chrome forks. I can't find any frames even close to that? Most of the similar ones in the catalogs were only made with 21'' frames and half chrome forks.
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Old 02-20-16, 01:17 PM
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"can you give post photos of the brake calipers?
and what is the wheel size?"



It has montor ventura brakes and 26 x 1 1 /4 wheels

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Old 02-20-16, 01:27 PM
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Very nice! I agree with the 1930's date, but I don't see any details that would narrow it down. I agree the derailleur and saddle are later (mid to late 50's). The plain lugs with elliptical holes are typical of lower range Hercules bikes as late as the 50's but the headclip stem and curved seat post are earlier.
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Old 02-20-16, 01:56 PM
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check through the available catalogues to see when the wheel sizes changed from 26" to 27". That gives you the end date.
then work though the previous years to see if there were any start or end dates to using the mudguard mounts in the locations you have.
Chrome plated forks were an option as set out in the catalogues.
Are there any remaining decals? (no decals could be evidence of a respray.)
The green paint near the gear lever suggests it was green polychromatic. This was not mentioned in the paint styles for the sample catalogues I looked at, so I am suggesting it is a respray.
If you remove the forks, is there any evidence of an earlier colour?
Is there any serial number on the frame or headtube of the forks?

What I would do is contact the V-CC Marque Enthusiast for Hercules and ask. But then I am able because I am a member of the V-CC.

Last edited by Big Block; 02-20-16 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 02-22-16, 06:05 AM
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I think you guys are right. I think that someone in the 50's took a frame from the 30's, resprayed it and then modernized it with new wheels, gears, cranks, saddle and I think the stem and seat post are possibly from a 30's tandem. There are no decals on the frame and no evidence that they ever made frames with this colour and most of the parts are definitely 50's. I had high hopes for this bike to become part of my collection. But despite the miss-match of parts and repaint it is still a very nice bike but i'm too much of a pureist to allow it in the collection so it will soon be up for sale. Thanks again for all the help
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Old 02-22-16, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by shadaboot28 View Post
I think ... it will soon be up for sale. ...
Yeah, fair enough, but keep that stem and handlebar! And maybe the seat post. Those things are really hard to find.
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Old 02-23-16, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by shadaboot28 View Post
...it is still a very nice bike but i'm too much of a pureist to allow it in the collection so it will soon be up for sale
I like it Great find, I don't expect the handlebars to come from a tandem tho... They usually had a larger diameter steerer tube in the thirties.
Depending on where you are located in the UK, pls let me know if and when you are putting it on the market.
I love pre-50s bikes, but unfortunately they tend to be too small (20") for my 5ft11in.

I have a question about the Pathfinder as well - I found a rustbucket a while ago, sporting 26 x 1 1/4 FM (alloy hub - 50-10) wheels and Rudge features. I couldn't find any fitting decals underneath all the hammerite and layers of paint. Altho Rudge was owned by Raleigh back then, they didn't follow the Raleigh serial numbers. Also it has a 25.4mm alloy seatpost and you can feel a sleeve in the seat tube. Probably 531PG.
It doesn't have the windowed lugs.

I think it is an early Pathfinder...
Can you tell me if you have a 25.4 seatpost as well? Did you manage to pinpoint the year of manufacture?
Mine has the frame number on the seat lug: 241289 with a "R" underneath, how does that compare to yours.

Thanks in advance,
Rogier
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Old 02-23-16, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Creindesign View Post
...
Can you tell me if you have a 25.4 seatpost as well? ...
All the Raleighs I've seen from that era had the 25.4 mm seat post, including the 531 ones.
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Old 02-23-16, 07:21 AM
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@rhm for the love of standardisation Probably all the Raleighs (and derivatives) from that era had the same dropouts and octagonal headsets as well. I attach a picture from one of the decals I found on the Rudge, maybe someone here knows what it is.


I expect it to be a Pathfinder, but the decals and lugs (no windows) made me doubt.
Some more pics can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/136463...h/22220821760/

Ta, Rogier
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Old 02-23-16, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Creindesign View Post
I like it Great find, I don't expect the handlebars to come from a tandem tho... They usually had a larger diameter steerer tube in the thirties.
Depending on where you are located in the UK, pls let me know if and when you are putting it on the market.
I love pre-50s bikes, but unfortunately they tend to be too small (20") for my 5ft11in.

I have a question about the Pathfinder as well - I found a rustbucket a while ago, sporting 26 x 1 1/4 FM (alloy hub - 50-10) wheels and Rudge features. I couldn't find any fitting decals underneath all the hammerite and layers of paint. Altho Rudge was owned by Raleigh back then, they didn't follow the Raleigh serial numbers. Also it has a 25.4mm alloy seatpost and you can feel a sleeve in the seat tube. Probably 531PG.
It doesn't have the windowed lugs.

I think it is an early Pathfinder...
Can you tell me if you have a 25.4 seatpost as well? Did you manage to pinpoint the year of manufacture?
Mine has the frame number on the seat lug: 241289 with a "R" underneath, how does that compare to yours.

Thanks in advance,
Rogier
Milton - Cambridge
I should be putting it on ebay as a complete bike this week (hopefully tomorrow)

I also love pre 50's British racing bike and your quite right, they are never big enough! I'm 6ft2in! Although if you get the 23'' frames and adjust the seat post and stems then they are just big enough.

As for your Rudge I would suggest that it is either a pathfinder or an Ulster Sports. The Ulster Sports is the Rudge version of the Raleigh Trent Sports and both were on the lower end of the scale of racers they made in that era. The ulster Sports is very rare, much rarer than any Lenton or Clubman. In fact the only one I have ever seen is the one I used to own which I now very much regret selling!

My Pathfinder has a 25.4 seat post I think. And yes I know the date of mine, it's 1952.

The serial number on mine is 307239 R underneath.

Here's some pics of my old Ulster Sports:









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Old 02-24-16, 05:54 AM
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@shadaboot28 thanks for sharing your thoughts. Lovely Ulster, there is one on eBay now - a 21"

Based on your frame number and the 50-10 marking on the alloy FM hub I would think mine is a late 1950.
I had a good look at the 1949 Pathfinder, and although the lugs match the guide wheel for the SA gear cable is not brazed on.
The 1951 model has the windowed lugs. I cannot find any pictures from a 1950 Pathfinder, but looking at the 1950 Lenton seems to be a match with mine. Lugs match and they have a braze on for the guide wheel.

Afaik the chainset on mine is original and the Ulster Sports came standard with the "Hand" chainring.
Purely based on the chainset, I would think mine is a Pathfinder.
Purely looking at the frame it could be both - question is how to confirm it is 531/PG tubing or 2030 steel?

If seatpost is standard 25.4mm, would you feel a sleeve in the seattube with 2030 steel?

So sorry to change this thread from a very cool Hercules to questions about a Pathfinder/Ulster Sports.

Thanks again, Rogier
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Old 02-24-16, 08:17 AM
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Here's a '37 Herc....getting closer
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