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A Diamond (frame) In The Rough - 65 Year Old Humber Sports

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A Diamond (frame) In The Rough - 65 Year Old Humber Sports

Old 07-06-17, 11:01 AM
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CriticalThought
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A Diamond (frame) In The Rough - 65 Year Old Humber Sports

I recently rescued a 1952 Humber Sports and wanted to solicit some advice as well as comment on some aspects of it that really intrigue me (and to hear any thoughts from those more informed than I am).

I've always been a fan of unusual engineering, especially of underdog / oddball engineering, so the opportunity to pick up a Humber with the (and I use this word loosely) famous duplex forks was too good to pass up. I've long been a fan of chassis design (Gordon Murray, Colin Chapman, and their ilk long being heros of mine). When I started cycling in earnest I noticed that forks in particular had a huge impact on feel. The first bike I really started putting serious milage on (and for a few years being my century "go to" bike) was an aluminium framed 2000 LeMond Alpe D'Huez that had a carbon fork designed like a standard one (meaning aside from the material, the dimensions and design were essentially the same as if it were made from traditional material). It really softened the harshness of the frame, but it flexed. It flexed so much that anytime there was a sharp turn at the bottom of a fast 40-50mph descent you could really feel the front and rear of the bike fighting one another. Not long after this I started seeing carbon forks with dimensions and layups more appropriate to the materials properties. Anyway, ever since learning that LeMonds idiosyncrasies I've been even more interested in fork design.

From what I've read the duplex forks were marketed by Humber as giving a better ride (though in perusing old adverts I don't recall that being called out specifically). I suspect it was more of a marketing gimmick or differentiator than adding any value in the ride itself. I hope to find out once I've cleaned up the bike and have it in a more rideable condition. Any advice or opinions on how best to clean it up would be appreciated. Despite having a lot of rust, I think she's in fairly good shape. Most of the rust seems light and superficial. I am leaning more toward preservation than restoration.











There are a few details that I really like:

The Ornate Headbadge with a Royal Warrant of Appointment


Interestingly, the headbadge changed subtly after the death of King George VI in February of 1952. The subscript no longer read "BY APPOINTMENT TO H. M. THE KING" but was changed to read "BY APPOINTMENT TO LATE KING GEORGE VI" as seen in this other example I dug up online.


I also like the brazed on pulley as opposed to the clamped on style.


And the very unusual duplex forks
( I came across this beautifully engineered reproduction of them on another forum. )




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Old 07-06-17, 11:47 AM
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Beautiful example from the time.
Jealous.
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Old 07-06-17, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Beautiful example from the time.
Jealous.
+ 1 as to both statements. Lovely bike and a fun job getting this beauty back on the road.
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Old 07-06-17, 01:22 PM
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Cool bike. I had a '37 Humber Sports, neat bike. As for the resto, for the paint cleanup, I'd recommend Meguiar's Cleaner Wax, it has a mild abrasive and will leave a highly-polished shine. Just stay off the gold foil decals with it. For the rust, small parts can be soaked overnight in vinegar, take them out and wipe them off and the rust is gone. On large items, like the wheels, you can wrap the rims with paper towels soaked with the vinegar, and leave overnight. Enjoy the project.
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Old 07-06-17, 01:34 PM
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Hey I saved a 52 Humber this year too. Yours looks fully restored compared to mine.
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Old 07-06-17, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Hey I saved a 52 Humber this year too. Yours looks fully restored compared to mine.
Hey @clubman! That's great. Any chance you're able to post some more pics? I'd love to compare & contrast. That's a nice green. I'm especially curious if your head-badge has the "late" King George VI wording or if it's just the same as mine.

Congratulations on your bike! (Ah, I'm also curious what kinds of wheel-rims yours has. I have an old Hercules ofa similar vintage with Dunlop marked rims, and I couldn't find any markings on the Humbers, though they're pretty rusty and I haven't cleaned them yet.)

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-06-17, 01:48 PM
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Will get back to you with pics later. Working!
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Old 07-06-17, 04:15 PM
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I have crappy pics and won't get any soon. My headbadge doesn't say 'late' but neither did my 55 Humber.



My serial number is about 9000 later than yours.



They're similar bikes with different paint schemes. Frankly, almost all of them are dark blue or occasionally black. My westrick rims have the dull raised centre. I'm not sure, are you saying your rims are branded Humber? I'd need to see a pic of that!
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Old 07-07-17, 11:44 AM
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Oh goody - a chance to show mine!

Mine is a late 49 or early 50 based on the serial number and rear hub dating (so to answer the original question the numbers do somewhat fit into the Raleigh sequence as per the Headbadge, which make sense as they are just Raleighs with different cranks, forks and badges as per the parts list).

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Old 07-07-17, 11:45 AM
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my apologies - looks like my photos are being held for ransom. Will take a while to move them somewhere.
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