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Help identifying vintage Nigel Dean

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Help identifying vintage Nigel Dean

Old 06-08-16, 09:39 AM
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delucks
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Help identifying vintage Nigel Dean

Hi all,

First post! I was recently visiting a relative, and while going through the shed I came across this bike (I didn't embed images directly as they're too big for the forum).

I was already planning to start cycling to work, and I have in the past toyed with the idea of a bike restoration. Said relative was kind enough to let me have the bike for free (just need to transport it down from the North of the UK to London, ~40).

Problem is, I'm pretty clueless with where to start with a restoration project. I like the bike as it is, but I was contemplating maybe converting it to a three-speed as i'm not convinced i'll need a 7 speed and would like to get rid of the bar mounted shifters.

When I get it down here I'm planning on taking it into my local shop to get some hands-on advice about restoring it, but while it's not here I was just looking for some more information about the bike. Any information that anyone has would be appreciated! That includes brand, history, anything I should be aware of, ideas for the refurb. Honestly anything, just trying to get as much info as I can

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-08-16, 10:50 AM
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Welcome!

That is considered a short frame. Do you know if it fits you?

looks like fresh tires, new grease, cables and you could be on your way. Before making drastic plans see if this bike is what you need.
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Old 06-08-16, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Welcome!

That is considered a short frame. Do you know if it fits you?

looks like fresh tires, new grease, cables and you could be on your way. Before making drastic plans see if this bike is what you need.
Thanks! I haven't measured up against it, unfortunately. I had to leave and these photos were taken after I left. I'm short (~160cm) and from the size guides I've been reading it seems that a 20" road frame would be suitable for my size. I understand that it's important to measure against it properly, but considering it's free and in the ballpark size-wise I figured I'd take a gamble...
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Old 06-08-16, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by delucks View Post
Thanks! I haven't measured up against it, unfortunately. I had to leave and these photos were taken after I left. I'm short (~160cm) and from the size guides I've been reading it seems that a 20" road frame would be suitable for my size. I understand that it's important to measure against it properly, but considering it's free and in the ballpark size-wise I figured I'd take a gamble...
Good, sounds like some homework and thought has gone into the decision! Then by all means, clean and replace the consumables and ride that gorgeous bike. It's a stunner!

if it is close to fit, easy changes to the seatpost and stem would make it perfect. Depending on where you ride and in what weather would be the consideration for changing gearing or adding racks, fenders and such.

Keep us up on the news !

Last edited by 3speedslow; 06-08-16 at 11:11 AM. Reason: spell h...
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Old 06-08-16, 11:31 AM
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That's an awfully nice bike for 40 quid, I like it just the way it sits, after cleaning, etc. But it is a racing bike, not a cruiser. If you don't like the shifters mounted to the down tube, look into getting a pair of 7-speed indexing stem shifters instead; they are easily enough found. It's a popular downgrade for older folks who don't have the flexibility to reach down to the proper shifter location. I've got some of said shifters I'm taking off a bike that needs to be converted back to it's original, racier configuration
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Old 06-08-16, 11:49 AM
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@TimmyT has one and puts lots of miles on it.
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Old 06-08-16, 03:11 PM
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Nigel Dean was on the UK national cycling team for a while and raced professionally. After racing, he worked for the Claude Butler outfit, and then went into making bikes under his own name. It's unclear if he made them all by hand or ordered some through Panasonic. Since then, he has moved into auto racing and fabricates racing parts in Britain.

Most of the bikes that I have seen are from the mid to late 1980s, and most are 531. The bike you have fits this description fairly well: late 1980s 531 frame. Yours is a mid to upper level range with a mix of 105 and 600 series parts. I would guess that it dates from sometime between 1986 and 1988, and from what I can see, it was handmade.

You will want to repack the bearings with fresh grease, change the cables and housing, and find some new handlebar tape and tires. Other than those relatively minor things, you have a fully functional bike. I would expect this bike to fit someone around 5'-5'4" tall (152-162cm). Your height falls in that range, so you're probably OK.
That's a nice find. Enjoy it!
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Old 06-08-16, 03:14 PM
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Welcome to the Bike Forums.

I can't say that I know much about your bicycle, however; I did put some thoughts together to help people, new to the vintage bicycle scene, avoid some of the mistakes that I made while learning. While waiting for your bicycle to arrive, you might want to have a look at MY "TEN SPEEDS", a website dedicated to help people just like you, save time, effort and cash when refurbishing/restoring a vintage bicycle.

Hope it is a help.
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Old 06-09-16, 05:54 AM
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^^^, Welcome to the forum, and exactly what Randy offered above. His site is an excellent primer on getting a restoration done correctly, and enjoy doing it, too. That is a really nice looking bike, it will be fantastic with a little work and getting the consumable parts replaced and everything cleaned and greased up properly. Enjoy the miles it will give you.

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Old 06-09-16, 10:25 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys! Hit a slight hitch in being able to get the bike down here, so it's likely I won't be able to get it for another 6 months oh well, plenty of time to save for components! On the upside that means the bike is technically free...

Any feedback on the thought of conversion to three speed?

Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
That's an awfully nice bike for 40 quid, I like it just the way it sits, after cleaning, etc. But it is a racing bike, not a cruiser. If you don't like the shifters mounted to the down tube, look into getting a pair of 7-speed indexing stem shifters instead; they are easily enough found. It's a popular downgrade for older folks who don't have the flexibility to reach down to the proper shifter location. I've got some of said shifters I'm taking off a bike that needs to be converted back to it's original, racier configuration
Stem shifters seem interesting, the last bike I had shifters similar to the Shimano Altus EF51 (it was an Avanti Blade 3.0), and before that I had a twist-shift MTB. So i'm not really used to any of the more exotic shifter types!

Originally Posted by TimmyT View Post
Nigel Dean was on the UK national cycling team for a while and raced professionally. After racing, he worked for the Claude Butler outfit, and then went into making bikes under his own name. It's unclear if he made them all by hand or ordered some through Panasonic. Since then, he has moved into auto racing and fabricates racing parts in Britain.

Most of the bikes that I have seen are from the mid to late 1980s, and most are 531. The bike you have fits this description fairly well: late 1980s 531 frame. Yours is a mid to upper level range with a mix of 105 and 600 series parts. I would guess that it dates from sometime between 1986 and 1988, and from what I can see, it was handmade.

You will want to repack the bearings with fresh grease, change the cables and housing, and find some new handlebar tape and tires. Other than those relatively minor things, you have a fully functional bike. I would expect this bike to fit someone around 5'-5'4" tall (152-162cm). Your height falls in that range, so you're probably OK.
That's a nice find. Enjoy it!
Thanks for the great information! When you say handmade, do you mean that the frame and the components were bought separately and assembled? It's likely my grandfather did this in that case, as it was in his shed!

Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Welcome to the Bike Forums.

I can't say that I know much about your bicycle, however; I did put some thoughts together to help people, new to the vintage bicycle scene, avoid some of the mistakes that I made while learning. While waiting for your bicycle to arrive, you might want to have a look at MY "TEN SPEEDS", a website dedicated to help people just like you, save time, effort and cash when refurbishing/restoring a vintage bicycle.

Hope it is a help.
Thanks, i'll be sure to check it out!
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Old 06-09-16, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by delucks View Post
Thanks for the great information! When you say handmade, do you mean that the frame and the components were bought separately and assembled? It's likely my grandfather did this in that case, as it was in his shed!

He means the frame itself was handmade, as opposed to being made by machines.

The bike could have been built up with those components by your grandpa, or he could have had a shop do it for him. Either way he probably specified the parts he wanted.

Very cool bike, and a smoking deal.
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Old 06-09-16, 01:00 PM
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This bike is not the right type for a three speed conversion as it is a late 80s racing bike. You could do it, but it would not be the "best of both worlds." I would recommend getting either a Raleigh 3 speed if you wanted to ride upright or an older 60s or 70s racing frame with slacker angles and room for larger tires if you wanted a clubman-style of bike.
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Old 06-10-16, 05:48 AM
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Firstly, welcome to C&V!

That is a really nice Nigel Dean hand-built lightweight bike. I'd recommend saving some funds while you are waiting for it, then when it arrives, do the minimum to make it rideable "as-is" ( maybe grease the bearings, cables - or fit new cables if seized up, check tyres and inflate/replace if needed, change brake pads if they have gone brittle), then try it out and keep riding it. Any changes you need to make will become apparent as time goes on - and they might not be the ones you think you will need to make! For instance, if you think you will only need three speed then try only using three of the gears, but I bet you will appreciate having more! Downtube gear shifters give a superb feel to the change with their shorter more direct cable run and it doesn't take long to find the levers without thinking. For commuting, you'll probably find using the tops and centres of the handlebars gives you a more 'heads-up' position for better observation of traffic. The changes I'd consider for myself if intending to commute on your fine classic bike might be to fit mudguards (fenders) to reduce spray in the rain, fitting a rack and bag - if only to carry a decent lock in and rear view mirrors in place of the handlebar plugs. Everyone is different and it's your bike but I know we'll all be interested to see more photos once you are riding it!

Any questions, ask on here - we're always keen to give advice and opinions!
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Old 08-08-17, 01:58 PM
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Nigel Dean's factory / workshop was in Brigg in North Lincolnshire, UK. I visited it after he closed in the early 1990's and there were some off cuts of frame tubes. He definitely made the frames.
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