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Holdsworth bikes

Old 12-21-16, 01:59 PM
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Holdsworth bikes

What year did Holdsworth sell and stop making quality bikes? I keep reading mid 80's but I can find an exact date. And is it possible to tell by looking at a frame and telling? I keep eyeing a 1985 Holdworth Special with Reynolds 531. Would that be an original Holdsworth.
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Old 12-21-16, 02:14 PM
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here is the word straight from Mr. Kilgariff's site:

...By Easter 1985 there was a Marlboro presence at Holdsworthy and about Nov 1985 they took over. Holdsworth (and CB) production soon moved from Anerly to the The Holdsworthy Co Ltd, Alma Works, Darlaston Road, Darlaston (now Wednesbury), West Midlands (now industrial/commercial units). The 1986 range had more lower end models, as the budget "Challenger" range was added, but the top models maintain their high quality.
I added the boldface, if you believe the written word then there is your answer...I'd trust my own eyes and hands...
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Old 12-21-16, 02:20 PM
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1987 But I think they made their best Bikes pre 1970.

Customers bid farewell to London bike shop WF Holdsworth after 86 years | road.cc

Last edited by Wileyone; 12-21-16 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 12-21-16, 04:07 PM
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I have a 1990 Corsair in 531 and it rides like a dream. Not too light but confident and stable. I'd go for it in a heartbeat.
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Old 12-21-16, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone
1987 But I think they made their best Bikes pre 1970.

Customers bid farewell to London bike shop WF Holdsworth after 86 years | road.cc
The journalist got his facts wrong, or else Nigel Kilgariff did, but I tend to trust the latter:
quoting the journalist: "Sandy Holdsworth died in 1961, but his wife Margaret survived as company owner till the 1970s. On her death, Roy Thame inherited the retail arm, W.F. Holdsworth. The wholesale and mass-production side of the business, the Holdsworth Company, which owned the rights to all of the brands, stayed in the Holdsworth family."
and quoting the Kilgariff site:
"Mrs Holdsworth died on 24 Jan 1964. In her Will Mrs H. left the retail part of the business (W.F. Holdsworth Ltd) to her shop managers, two thirds to Roy Thame and one third to Lou Smith, while her shares in Holdsworthy Co. Ltd stayed in the Bryars family. Thus the businesses split, almost immediately after Mrs H's death. "We had started producing some frames prior to Mrs H's death as the plan was to split and form a separate company, but she died before that could be instigated" (RT)."
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Old 12-21-16, 05:33 PM
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I agree. When the Factory closed and the Putney shop closed may have been to very different Time periods.
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Old 12-23-16, 01:25 AM
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So, did you or didn't you?

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Old 12-23-16, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by MiloFrance
So, did you or didn't you?

He just had to = it's sooooo Special.
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Old 12-23-16, 02:46 AM
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Excellent. I look forward to more info!
Incidentally, I went out with the local MAMILS a couple of weeks ago. One of our number always does a 'comedy' write up of the ride. They are all on pretty high end Scott, Focus, Look and the like. I took the Special, complete with bar bag and toeclips. Clothing was Holdsworth/Campagnolo jacket, top, shorts and cap. All very orange.
Here is the excerpt from the report:
First cognacs were planned for the bar at Roquebrunn but unfortunately for event organiser Simon Roberts, the bar was shut. Luckily, word had come through that ex- Holdsworth pro Miles Barrington had been see at the bar in Cessenon signing autographs and discussing bottom bracket threads with anyone who would listen.



Well it made me laugh...

Last edited by MiloFrance; 12-23-16 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 12-23-16, 06:06 AM
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I haven't made a decision yet. So many bikes, so little money!
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Old 12-23-16, 06:19 AM
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You can say these are not quality, but I'd call you FOS - or in the more proper spirit, Thick as a Brick.




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Old 12-23-16, 06:53 AM
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Here is the bike in question.

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Old 12-23-16, 07:07 AM
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it's gorgeous - what would you question?
I think it's easy to argue frames after Putney were hand-made by different people, but doesn't mean they were made by buffoons.

Last edited by bulldog1935; 12-23-16 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 12-23-16, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bulldog1935
it's gorgeous - what would you question?
I think it's easy to argue frame's after Putney were hand-made by different people, but doesn't mean they were made by buffoons.
Not sure I understand this at all. Can you please explain. THANKS
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Old 12-23-16, 07:14 AM
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the title of the thread is when did Holdsworth quality go away?
All these hand-made steel Holdsworth bikes are gorgeous right up to 2015.
Ownership changing hands doesn't mean production went awry.
To me, Holdsworth quality is questionable on current China-made aluminum bikes, but I wouldn't question a current steel bike.

Last edited by bulldog1935; 12-23-16 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 12-23-16, 07:19 AM
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I have seen one of the new Holdsworth Planet X Frames and they are nice. I own a 1967 Italia Putney Shop Bike. Believe me when I say the originals were much better. Much better.
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Old 12-23-16, 07:22 AM
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they were made by a smaller group of people in smaller numbers, and adding people to increase production adds more hands.
Doesn't mean they are made differently. Changing where their paycheck comes from doesn't change anything, though maybe some key artisans will retire rather than move.
The rarity of the old bike makes it more special.

But to sloar, if it says (and is) Holdsworth, it's lugged steel, and it meets your price expectation, it's an investment purchase.
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Old 12-23-16, 07:26 AM
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Believe what you want.
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Old 12-23-16, 07:30 AM
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ok

"your Holdsworth is inferior" - see Thick as a Brick

Last edited by bulldog1935; 12-23-16 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 12-23-16, 07:41 AM
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@bulldog1935 Are they all yours????

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Old 12-23-16, 07:42 AM
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I had a Mistral from the 80's. Great rider but construction was nothing special. Had some gaps in the brazing, lugs were not finished well, etc. I cannot say whether that's typical or if I just had a substandard one.

I would question the notion of bicycles as investments, save for a select few. If you want your money to grow, invest in the market. But you can't ride that.
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Old 12-23-16, 07:44 AM
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@sloar Have you got it dated yet? My best not very edumacated guess would be 1977-1980. Bigger logo, side pulls, but same lugs as mine. just my €0.02 worth..

PS. That saddle... potentially worth 1/3rd of the entire asking price, can't quite see it properly...
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Old 12-23-16, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by MiloFrance
@bulldog1935 Are they all yours????

no I copied those from the press link - the workmanship is great and especially the paint is phenomenal.

Throwing out an American example.
Tom Ritchey is still hand-brazing frames.



I'm sure you can see the difference in workmanship between his frames and lugged steel models made for his marque.

Having the Tom-brazed frame would be really special.

Riding the two, I doubt if you could find $10,000 difference between them.

As far as investment, the quality there depends on your purchase price.
If the purchase price is right, the C&V Holdsworth is more likely to appreciate than depreciate.

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Old 12-23-16, 08:02 AM
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I'm sure you could say the same about fishing reels, but I built a $30k collection that paid for itself by smart shopping - it cost my time, and has since bought me bikes, kayaks, firearms.

Any out of production item you buy should be a price that you could later sell it for more.

Crap, I bought a Nitto big rear rack with a Ben's discount, used it 3 years and sold it for what I paid (because there is no current stock and demand is high)

Last edited by bulldog1935; 12-24-16 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 12-23-16, 09:11 AM
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I hear what you are saying; you obviously know what you are doing and it's working for you. Many of us do the same thing, maybe on a smaller scale by having the bike hobby support itself.

35 years ago one could buy a top flight bike for around $1000 give or take. That same bike is probably now worth around $1000 in 2016 dollars if you can find the right buyer. So it hasn't even come close to keeping pace with inflation, which in my mind makes it a pretty lousy investment. You can look up what the same $1000 would have done in an index fund. That's all I'm saying.
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