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70s F W Evans: Somebody, please cancel my internet

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70s F W Evans: Somebody, please cancel my internet

Old 02-12-20, 04:51 PM
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desconhecido 
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70s F W Evans: Somebody, please cancel my internet

How this bike got to Houston, I doubt I'll ever know, but here it is. From the identifiable parts it appears to be early 70s and the lack of anything brazed on (except maybe cable guides on the bb shell) would seem to agree.. Brakes appear to be MAFAC but the levers, to my eye, don't. Rear seems to be longer reach -- we'll see. 3TTT Record stem with bars I don't recognize. B17 looks to have some life left. Can't ID the crank or seat post, otherwise most everything is easily recognizeable. If all goes well (depending on the current value of "well") I'll own it in a couple hours. What's wrong with me? Is there any help for it?

FW Evans bikes, as far as I can tell, are not well known in the US. They were sold through the Evans chain in the UK and were built in the basement of the Waterloo shop in London. Mr. Fattic, apparently, visited the shop in 1975 and met the guy who built the frames for Evans at the time. Some frames may have been built by contractors, but if they were and by whom is not well established. Seller's pics follow, I'll post some better pics of the frame etc when I get it. Price was reasonable so even if the frame turns out to be low value, I'll be ok.




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Old 02-12-20, 05:04 PM
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If the bike is not your size, there's no hope. If it is your size, then you're just proceeding normally for this place.
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Old 02-12-20, 05:08 PM
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Lovely bike, nice score.
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Old 02-12-20, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
If the bike is not your size, there's no hope. If it is your size, then you're just proceeding normally for this place.
I studied the photos for a long time before I contacted the seller and figured it was large 53 to large 54 and that's my best size. Contacted the seller and he said 54 cm, so it's my size. Showed the pictures to my wife and she says, "So, you'll cancel the order for the Bob Jackson." Actually, that's just a joke.
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Old 02-12-20, 05:14 PM
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Old 02-12-20, 05:52 PM
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Crank looks like something good and Japanese, like a Sugino Mighty Tour or early Suntour Superbe. I think I see a squiggly little "C" on the seatpost, like a Campy. Lovely bike!
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Old 02-12-20, 06:30 PM
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Heh! I remember that cushy foam bar wrap. Had some on my 1976 Motobecane. Same classic swoopy fork.
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Old 02-12-20, 06:34 PM
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I'd posted about one of them in the eBay/CL thread a short while back that looked really nicely put together: eBay / CraigsList finds - "Are you looking for one of these!?" Part II

Cool find. Definitely not a name you see often, but one with interesting history. Seems like a lot of the small shops in UK had noteworthy builders. Revell of London was another similar, lots of rumours I've read about some big names manufacturing their frames at some point, Mercian being one of them.
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Old 02-12-20, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by desconhecido View Post
FW Evans bikes, as far as I can tell, are not well known in the US. They were sold through the Evans chain in the UK and were built in the basement of the Waterloo shop in London. Mr. Fattic, apparently, visited the shop in 1975 and met the guy who built the frames for Evans at the time. Some frames may have been built by contractors, but if they were and by whom is not well established.
Yes I did visit their framebuilder located in the basement of their shop in 1975. This was before they had a chain of stores. I'm surprised their custom frames aren't better known. The shop was located near Waterloo Station one of the busiest train and tube stations in central London. My assumption is that their one builder couldn't produce all that many frames so their aren't that many survivors to make them better known.

Visiting that frame builder was a great experience. This was right after I had finished my apprenticeship up north at Ellis Briggs in Yorkshire. He was a clever guy and I took a lot of pictures of his gizmos he had made to speed up or refine the process. For example he had converted a sewing machine into a lug filing device. I've asked on the CR list a couple of times who he was and where he came from but have come up empty. He had lots of slogans written on the walls like "there are none so fallible as experts". FW Evans put out an advertising brochure in the late 30's boasting about the advantages of its layout fixture they invented. The cover said "The sure foundation for truth in cycle frames is an accurate jig". The funny thing is that their builder used a different kind of fixture when I was there. The concept of this fixture I have refined with lots of help over the years. I now have them laser cut and etched in Ukraine for my frame building class students .

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Old 02-12-20, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
Yes I did visit their framebuilder located in the basement of their shop in 1975. [...]
Thank you for your recollections. There seems to be very little history available about the FW Evans bikes from the 70s and your comments from back in 2016 are the best that I can find. It very well may be that the day that you visited their shop was the day that the builder was brazing up this bicycle though I would believe it may be somewhat earlier based on the lack of brazed fittings, save for cable terminations around the BB and on the irght chain stay. Oh, and the nub/stud on the down tube to prevent the shifters from taking a ride down the down tube.
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Old 02-12-20, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
Crank looks like something good and Japanese, like a Sugino Mighty Tour or early Suntour Superbe. I think I see a squiggly little "C" on the seatpost, like a Campy. Lovely bike!
The crank turns out to be Sugino. Don't know the model, maybe I'll figure it out later. The seatpost is a Campagnolo 27.2mm, I presume NR. Headset is NR. Cable clamps, pump umbrella, Impero pump head, all Campagnolo. Only Asian parts appear to be the crankset and the bars which are an SR "rando" bend. Underneath the pump umbrella clamp is a 531 decal which appears to be the diagonal DB frame, forks, stays sticker from the early 70s. No trace of decals on the fork legs. Don't know what the crank is doing there, seems unlikely that somebody built the bike almost totally Italian/European but went with the Sugino crank and SR bars, but who knows. The rings on the crank are 50 and 40 so it's only about 5% from the typical 52 42.
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Old 02-12-20, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
I'd posted about one of them in the eBay/CL thread a short while back that looked really nicely put together: eBay / CraigsList finds - "Are you looking for one of these!?" Part II

Cool find. Definitely not a name you see often, but one with interesting history. Seems like a lot of the small shops in UK had noteworthy builders. Revell of London was another similar, lots of rumours I've read about some big names manufacturing their frames at some point, Mercian being one of them.
I don't watch that thread a lot -- I guess I need to. Too bad that auction ended without an apparent sale. Maybe had something to do with $181 shipping. I received two frames in one package from Wisconsin for $35. That frame looks like a real nice frame. The only thing I can say bad about the one that I bought is that the paint job is far from perfect. Not terrible, but many little nubs in the paint like it was painted in a room that wasn't as clean and dust free as it should have been.
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Old 02-13-20, 12:04 AM
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I'm not an expert on frame building -- if it can't be found with google, I don't know it. But, from my limited experience with European/British bikes of the 70s, this frame looks pretty good. All the lugs seem to be nicely finished and there are no obvious flaws like the vugs and blobs one might find on some frames. Nothing ornate, but everything clean. Nice fork crown etc.



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Old 02-13-20, 12:12 AM
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Turns out the brakes are Racers front and rear and the levers are MAFACs as well. With intact gum rubber hoods. I've never seen brake pads like this in person before and only once seen them in an Ebay ad for some MAFAC Competition 2000 brakes. I previously thought they were some sort of tandem pads but have since learned that the tandem pads were like regular pads but extra long (as I understand it). They seem to still be spongy and serviceable. Cool. edit: Nice shape, too. Remind me of radiatori. edit again: Scott Mathauser brake pads. Says "Mathouser" right on them.

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Old 02-13-20, 12:40 AM
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I certainly hope that you did not cancel the Bob Jackson order!
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Old 02-13-20, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I certainly hope that you did not cancel the Bob Jackson order!
I have a Bob Jackson World Tour that I bought in 2003. Great bike. If I were to buy another new British frame, it might be a Mercian. Every one of those I've ever seen has been drop dead lovely.
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Old 02-13-20, 02:32 AM
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The original F.W Evans, don't confuse with the chain of stores of that name, was very famous for being the specialist builder of touring bicycles as early as the 1930s. They were also famous for tandems; my Father had an F.W Evans tandem on which he and a friend made a tour of Devon and Cornwall (from their Surrey home) in July and August of 1945 - my Father was 16.
They used a number of builders in the 1960s and 1970s, Tom Board among them, all top builders...I'd sooner have an Evans than a Mercian any day, the F.W Evans featured looks lovely and has excellent hand finished lug work with superb shorelines.

John.

N.B apropos Mafac brake pads - 3 spots for solo, 4 for tandem pads.

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Old 02-13-20, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by hobbs1951 View Post
The original F.W Evans, don't confuse with the chain of stores of that name, was very famous for being the specialist builder of touring bicycles as early as the 1930s. They were also famous for tandems; my Father had an F.W Evans tandem on which he and a friend made a tour of Devon and Cornwall (from their Surrey home) in July and August of 1945 - my Father was 16.
They used a number of builders in the 1960s and 1970s, Tom Board among them, all top builders...I'd sooner have an Evans than a Mercian any day, the F.W Evans featured looks lovely and has excellent hand finished lug work with superb shorelines.

John.

N.B apropos Mafac brake pads - 3 spots for solo, 4 for tandem pads.
Thank you for your observation and thoughts. The lugwork looks good to me -- well executed and not ostentations,nttawwt. The bike is amazingly well preserved considering it probably has not been much used for a number of years judging from the aged tires and deteriorating handle bar sponges. The MAFAC hoods are still flexible and uncracked and I'm hoping give a couple more years service. There doesn't appear to be any rust on the stuff that rusts quickly, like the Campagnolo top tube clamps. I don't think I've seen many, if any, that have been in service for very long at all that haven't got rusty nuts, at least. Not only does it look like this bike was kept inside, but not in a garage where everything gets wet with dew most every morning, unless covered. I'm speculating it's spent most of it's life in an air conditioned library, probably reading Balzac or Waiting for Godot.
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Old 02-13-20, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by desconhecido View Post
I'm not an expert on frame building -- if it can't be found with google, I don't know it. But, from my limited experience with European/British bikes of the 70s, this frame looks pretty good. All the lugs seem to be nicely finished and there are no obvious flaws like the vugs and blobs one might find on some frames. Nothing ornate, but everything clean. Nice fork crown etc.
I am a frame building and can confirm you are right that is an exceptionally finished British frame. It is much nicer than the typical quality of other brands mentioned in this thread. Those Prugnat brand lugs have been carefully shaped and thinned. They are pretty crude in the raw. The seat stay attachment is very nice. And the builder messed with the fork crown to make it better. One has to keep in mind that in the 60's a frame like that would sell for less than $100 so a builder couldn't take much time with the details and still make a profit. If he was an independent contract builder like Tom Board who built for a variety of shops (including Pat Hanlon), that $100 had to be divided into materials and paint cost and the wholesale price to the shop. An average labor time to make one frame in that era could be a day or less. The details on this FW Evans frame couldn't be done in one day. At Ellis Briggs where I learned, Andrew (with my help) would spend the better part of a week making one frame. However the purpose of their frame shop was to primarily add prestige to the business that included retail Raleigh sales, general bicycle repair services and repainting. Their custom frame business isn't what put money in their pocket. I'm going to guess the builder I visited in the basement of their bicycle retail store also had the same purpose as the builder at Briggs. It was an example of their expertise and would encourage potential customers to buy any of their bicycling needs there.

By the way the 1930's F.W. Evans catalog can be seen on bulgie's website here: <https://bulgier.net/pics/bike/Catalogs/FWEvans-late30s/> A picture of Tom Board on the Classic Rendezvous site shows an Evans type of fixture on the wall behind Tom: <https://www.classicrendezvous.com/British_isles/Board_Tom.htm>

Here is a picture of the print I took of their builder in 1975. I never found out who he was. He was a very clever guy and I learned more from him than any other of the many visits I had with other builders.
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Old 02-13-20, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
[...]
Here is a picture of the print I took of their builder in 1975. I never found out who he was. He was a very clever guy and I learned more from him than any other of the many visits I had with other builders.
Thank you for that picture -- very cool.

In the 2016 RoadBikeReview forum thread there were two Evans frames mentioned. The one which was the topic of the thread had been refinished blue with new decals. SN 5377. Reference was made to a frame on ebay but no pictures were available. SN of that frame was 5372. Mine is SN 5095. Recognizing that these were probably sold as bare frames and that the frame might not have been sold right away and that a buyer might buy a frame and not complete the bicycle for a time, there probably is no way to date these things unless there is a secret code to the SN. Interesting, the blue frame in the RBR thread had different lugs, different fork crown, and different seat stay end treatment -- the blue had the flattened wrap around like on the better Flcon Sam Remo bikes.

If the builder was spending a couple days or more to build a frame, he couldn't have been building many more than 50 or so a year so these things aren't going to be found on every corner.
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Old 02-13-20, 12:58 PM
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Just so the pictures from eBay don't get lost to time, here's the pics from that auction I referenced above.










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Old 04-12-20, 11:02 AM
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Following this thread with some interest, as I too have an F. W. Evans tourer that somehow found its way to Austin, TX. Scooped it off of local CL for $40 complete last year, and have only just turned my attention to building it back up as more of a "sport tourer" than the expedition rig it came kitted out as. Reynolds 531st, beautifully-finished lugs, decals and transfers all in wonderful shape. I'm looking forward to getting it built up and back on the road!

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Old 04-12-20, 11:23 AM
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^ Nice!
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Old 04-12-20, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rgechols View Post
Following this thread with some interest, as I too have an F. W. Evans tourer that somehow found its way to Austin, TX. Scooped it off of local CL for $40 complete last year, and have only just turned my attention to building it back up as more of a "sport tourer" than the expedition rig it came kitted out as. Reynolds 531st, beautifully-finished lugs, decals and transfers all in wonderful shape. I'm looking forward to getting it built up and back on the road!
A very nice bike. Looks like yours has the same head tube, seat tube, and downtube decals that mine does. The photos that Francophile posted from the ebay ad seem to be of a later bike. I believe that during the 70s (forget what I read as the year of that move) the shop moved and the brand decals on the seat tube and head tube changed at that time. Your bike and my bike have decals from before the move.

I finished work on mine about a month ago, slowed down for weeks by a pretty nasty cold that one practitioner said was pneumonia, though certainly not covid. Everything came apart and was serviced except I didn't remove the headset from the frame and fork and didn't remove the BB fixed cup. All cups and cones were in good shape and I didn't really have to replace anything except the sponge on the bars which coudn't be saved even if I'd wanted. So, replaced the sponge with some red Fizik tape, replaced the Campagnolo clamp-on cable guide at the bottom bracket with cable housing as there were brazed fittings for that purpose. The only significant change was the replacement of the Sugino crankset with a NR crankset from about 74 with some SR rings from about 86. Sugino Mighty(I think) is pretty nice, but with everything else being Campagnolo and as I already had the parts it seemed the right thing to do. Tried som 700C wheels as replacements for the 27", but couldn't quite get the brakes to reach, so, 27" Super Champion rims laced to Nuovo Typo hubs remain. Though I did rebuild the wheels, replacing the galvanized Robergel spokes with Sapim stainless.

Put a couple hundred miles on it and am very happy with it, except there is still a bit of squeal with the brake pads. Adjusted almost all of it out, but those Mathouser pads do like to announce there presence. But, the brakes will absolutely stop the bike with those pads and it seems that the noise lessens with use. We'll see -- black Koolstops may be in order.

The ride is great, comfortable, straight, and true.

Here is a photo of the bike today while it was resting in the garden. Silly phone seems to have focused on the background. And, the reds have taken on a purple tone. In person, they are red.

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Old 04-12-20, 08:03 PM
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-----

Recall that BICYCLING! magazine did a feature article on Evans in the 1970's. My guess is that it would have been around 1974, but that is just a guesstimate. If anyone knows of a directory for back issues of the publication perhaps they could look it up and post it.

Have an expedition size F.W. Evans musette. Colour is raw siena with bright blue silk screen printing in block letters. Dates from early 1970's.

A few links -

https://www.evanscycles.com/help/company-history

F W Evans 1920s-30s

https://lcc.org.uk/articles/london-c...s-evans-cycles

https://www.facebook.com/evanscycles/

https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/bi...g-bike-review/

https://steel-vintage.com/f-w-evans-...e-1930s-detail

---

There is/was also an unrelated Evans marque of France. Found a juvenile from this maker which appears to date from ca. 1950. Traded to a collector friend.

-----
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