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1961 Royce Union

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1961 Royce Union

Old 05-30-20, 11:03 AM
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bikerosity57
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1961 Royce Union

I just picked this up today. Iíd heard of the name before but this is the first one Iíve actually ridden. Itís obviously a Raleigh clone, but itís better made than a Hercules, or Robinhood: it has really nice cable clips, and real forged brazed in fork drop-outs. Decent brazing in the lugs etc etc. It rides nice and smooth, but the old Wrights saddle is horrible! Itís a metal plate with vinyl covering and it hard as a rock.




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Old 05-30-20, 11:06 AM
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Also has the much better metal fulcrum, and nicely chromed holder.
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Old 05-30-20, 11:39 AM
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Nice. Looks like a solid bike. I wonder what the story is on these. Seems like one of those paper companies where the products were all made by contractor. I remember when they sold these at Macy's, the later crappy version. A few years later, not sure when, they moved production to Japan and the quality took a serious nosedive. My brother had one that looked outwardly almost exactly like that in the 70s, but it was pretty much junk.

Huffy was a good bike once too...

Found this old thread:
History of the Royce Union brand?

Last edited by Salamandrine; 05-30-20 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 05-30-20, 11:50 AM
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very nice, even comes with alloy brake calipers

wonder why women's pedals were fitted

perhaps they ran out o' gents on the production line...

being in Joysey puts you right close to the R. U. hq in Brooklyn

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Old 05-30-20, 12:43 PM
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bikerosity57
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The left pedal is a replacement. The right pedal Iím pretty sure is original. I just sold my old Hercules that was similar, and it had the same pedals as the right hand one.
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Old 05-30-20, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by bikerosity57 View Post
The left pedal is a replacement. The right pedal Iím pretty sure is original. I just sold my old Hercules that was similar, and it had the same pedals as the right hand one.
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Thank you so much!

It was the left pedal which appeared to be a women's to my eye.

Back in the early nineties I used to communicate with a vintage bicycle enthusiast in Vineland who had a wholesale fish business. He did smoked fish.

Do you have any idea of who that might have been?

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Old 05-31-20, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

Thank you so much!

It was the left pedal which appeared to be a women's to my eye.

Back in the early nineties I used to communicate with a vintage bicycle enthusiast in Vineland who had a wholesale fish business. He did smoked fish.

Do you have any idea of who that might have been?

-----
Off hand no, but I will find out assuming heís still live etc. I could use a local ally for classic bike parts, info, etc. I live in Millville and work in Vineland.
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Old 08-01-20, 01:36 PM
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A few things I see that differ from the common Raleigh clones.
Your fenders have a wider center bead area, where as every Raleigh, Robin Hood, Hercules, etc. has a very narrow 8mm raised bead on the fenders. The fender pattern on your bike is more like that of an American bike like a Columbia or Rollfast.
The second detail is the non-chrome front hub. I've seen that hub before laced to Dunlop Endrick rims but not on a Raleigh clone.
around that same time Rollfast had a three speed they were selling that was made in England, it used that same hub, same wheels, and same fender profile. I had one that looked very much like your Royce Union. It had the same fork crown and dropout combo, and the same color. The fenders were also wide center bead style. The difference was that it had chrome steel calipers. Rumor had it that the Rollfast models were Royal Enfield bikes rebadged for DP Harris.

Fork dropouts on the sub brand bikes were stamped steel, as were many on some Raleigh bikes as the years went on.
The dropouts on your bike appear to be the same as earlier Raleigh branded bikes and not a sub brand, but your fork crown is the same as Robin Hood and Hercules. (Raleigh used a tubular fork crown).

My guess would be that Royce Union, from NY, put out for bids and Raleigh answered with a bike that was kind of a mixed bag of parts.
It was also just after Tube Investements buyout of Raleigh, so the mix of parts could include that many more brands, which could explain the different fender pattern from most Raleigh family bikes.

The aluminum calipers are odd, I've never seen any of the English three speeds with those, but I suppose those could very well have been changed over the years. I have seen a few Holland and Maylasia built Raleigh bikes with alloy calipers, but those were all 1970's models.

Does the seat tube 'coat of arms' tell where in England it was made?


Here's a pic of the fork dropouts on a '61 Raleigh Sports:
(This is the style that used the shoulder type axle nuts, each dropout has a recess which engages the shoulder of the nut centering the axle in a fixed location.).


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Old 08-01-20, 01:55 PM
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It looks like a Raleigh rear dropout. The serial number number should at tell us if it is Raleigh manufacture.
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Old 08-01-20, 07:20 PM
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The coat of arms says: Je Maintaindrai which is the motto of Holland ď I will MaintainĒ. The bikes head sheild says Made in England. As also does the decal/painted Made in England on the top tube. The front hub is identical to ones Iíve had on Robinhoods and Phillips in the past. I have looked up Royce Unions on line and found many that are similar or identical to mine including identical alloy brake calipers. Itís a much better bike than the cheaper but solid Robinhoods and Phillips etc, but not as nice as my Raleigh Sports. They ride about the same though.
And, yes the mudguards are different than on any other Raleigh clone Iíve had, but if you look online youíll find other RUís with identical mudguards.
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Old 08-02-20, 06:39 AM
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My dad bought me a Royce Union bike like this around 1961-62 for my first bike. It was kid's bike, with 24" wheels. I remember going to Western Auto to pick it up. It was green and white, and had a coaster brake. I don't have a photo, but I was always under the impression that it was american-made. I learnt to ride on that bike, so it was a very special bike, and still is, in my memory. We used to turn the bike upside down, turn the crank real hard a few times, and pour dry dirt into the rear fender to watch it fly!

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