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Browning find - Is this frame any Good?

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Browning find - Is this frame any Good?

Old 10-06-20, 04:17 PM
  #1  
Dannyboy21 
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Browning find - Is this frame any Good?

I picked up what I thought was a junker today. I gave the guy what he was asking because it had Suntour ratcheting barcons and quick release skewers - I figure wheels must be aluminum if it has skewers. When I got home and started to look more closely at parts to scavenge I realized that the shifting was pretty respectable - Suntour V luxe rear. Comp V Suntour front derailleur and the barcons. Then I noticed forged dropouts, a bunch of French parts and Weinmann/Normandy wheels, Not a bad score.

My question is then, is this frameset better than a high tensile steel? I thought it might end up in recycling but it looks not too shabby. Let me know your thoughts.










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Old 10-06-20, 04:27 PM
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-----

the forum has had several discussion threads on these

you can use the search function to pull them up if wished

certainly looks to be "one of the good ones"

date appears 1974-75

pedals slightly later than cycle; all else contemporaneous

the threads discuss who were the actual manufacturers

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Last edited by juvela; 10-06-20 at 04:45 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 10-06-20, 04:38 PM
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Thanks for the pictures. Good, yes. This one has conventional derailleurs. Nothing wrong with that, however, Browning has an interesting history of having invented a clever front gear change system. As a result they built bicycles. Now we need someone more expert than me to assess how good it is. But there is nothing inherently bad about it and it should be a good serviceable and enjoyable bike with some interesting history. An American bike company before Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Gary Fisher, Kline and all.

This is the same Browning family that makes guns. It is notable that there are a number of gun makers that made bicycles. BSA and Miyata come to mind right away. There are probably more.

You have an mix of French and Japanese components. All good stuff for the time though.
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Old 10-06-20, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
Thanks for the pictures. Good, yes. This one has conventional derailleurs. Nothing wrong with that, however, Browning has an interesting history of having invented a clever front gear change system. As a result they built bicycles. Now we need someone more expert than me to assess how good it is. But there is nothing inherently bad about it and it should be a good serviceable and enjoyable bike with some interesting history. An American bike company before Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Gary Fisher, Kline and all.

This is the same Browning family that makes guns. It is notable that there are a number of gun makers that made bicycles. BSA and Miyata come to mind right away. There are probably more.

You have an mix of French and Japanese components. All good stuff for the time though.
If anyone knows how to manufacture quality steel, it would be a company like Browning
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Old 10-06-20, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post

This is the same Browning family that makes guns. It is notable that there are a number of gun makers that made bicycles. BSA and Miyata come to mind right away. There are probably more.

You have an mix of French and Japanese components. All good stuff for the time though.
Yes. There may be a Browning BAR 7mm hunting rifle in the family. I was mostly wondering what the frame composition may be. Is it chromoly? Butted etc? It seems like it looks much like the Browning Grade V that I have seen photos of online. Can't find too much info about them though.

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Old 10-06-20, 05:02 PM
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Our google overlord tells me that the model is Grade V, that was the top of the line for Browning. I couldn't find any info on the frame tubing.
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Old 10-06-20, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

the forum has had several discussion threads on these

you can use the search function to pull them up if wished

certainly looks to be "one of the good ones"

date appears 1974-75

pedals slightly later than cycle; all else contemporaneous

the threads discuss who were the actual manufacturers

-----
Thank you Juvela - I did try to read through two threads before posting. I didn't find the info I was looking for so I took the initiative to try on my own thread.
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Old 10-06-20, 05:06 PM
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frame certainly appears to have been fabricated in France or Belgium

the low countries began using Shimano bits for quality frames in 1973

would expect it to have been constructed with one of the tubesets from Ateliers de La Rive, as a "first guess"


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Old 10-06-20, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
... It is notable that there are a number of gun makers that made bicycles. BSA and Miyata come to mind right away. There are probably more. ...
Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Graz, Austria
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Old 10-06-20, 07:02 PM
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regarding gun manufacturers and cycle & cycle fittings manufacturers -

there is/was a small cluster of firms based in and around the city of Liege in Belgium who did both. do not know to what extent they may have done both simultaneously or moved back and forth between the two industries.

should not write more on this as we have so many low countries members with first hand knowledge of the industries in this area of Belgium.

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Old 10-07-20, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by brian3069 View Post
Our google overlord tells me that the model is Grade V, that was the top of the line for Browning. I couldn't find any info on the frame tubing.
There seems to be a little anecdotal evidence (BF thread 2011 and one internet source) that at least the main triangle might be Reynolds 531, but nothing conclusive. Wouldnt want to throw that out.
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Old 10-07-20, 07:52 AM
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If the price was low enough, I would clean it up and ride it. The Browning mark would be why I would keep it.
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Old 10-07-20, 08:33 AM
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Take measurements! What's the seatpost diameter and tubing OD? Weight of framset? If it has forged drops very likely it's some kind of CrMo main triangle.
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Old 10-07-20, 08:37 AM
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It may also be a point to consider that earlier Browning rifles were made in Belgium (FN I believe?) and tend to be highly coveted. I owned one for a bit that had a mere 3 digit serial number. Whether this relationship extended to bicycles I have no idea but I suppose itís not out of the question ?
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Old 10-07-20, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians View Post
It may also be a point to consider that earlier Browning rifles were made in Belgium (FN I believe?) and tend to be highly coveted. I owned one for a bit that had a mere 3 digit serial number. Whether this relationship extended to bicycles I have no idea but I suppose itís not out of the question ?
Most notably the Mauser 98 action variants. They supplied to other names as well. I have a Browning Mauser 98 with SN 0003 L71 in white that I have not been able to find any info about.
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Old 10-07-20, 11:32 AM
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The Browning bicycle line was purely a 1970s phenomenon, and was part of the company's desire to branch out in the sporting goods world. These were built in the same time frame that manufacturing firearms in Europe was getting pricey enough that some Browning sporting arms were built in Japan, notably some .22 rifles. The bike line as I remember it off the top of my head was a basic entry level 10-speed, a nicer 10-speed and this one, which was probably 3 tubes something. The workmanship never blew up my kilt, but it's still a better than average 70s 10-speed, and it does at least have forged dropouts. After the bike boom they kinda went away. They were at least better built than John Deere's entries to the field!

Jonathan Moses Browning's firearms designs were farmed out to various American manufacturers - Winchester, Remington, and most especially Colt. In Europe, Fabrique National (FN) was their prime outlet, and FN ALWAYS took Mr. Browning seriously.
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Old 10-07-20, 05:34 PM
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two details which place the frame in the mid-range by eye are the use of a welded crown and a square cut seat lug

there were millions of hi-tensile frames manufactureed which received forged crowns such as the Raleigh Gran Prix

it is a cost cutting corner to see a welded crown on a cycle presumably constructed of quality tubing

square cut seat lugs are very production and associated with lower end models; usually even on mid-level bikes they are scalloped

contour of blades makes me think they are not quality; frame likely a "three-tuber" whatever the tubing

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Old 10-07-20, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

two details which place the frame in the mid-range by eye are the use of a welded crown and a square cut seat lug

there were millions of hi-tensile frames manufactureed which received forged crowns such as the Raleigh Gran Prix

it is a cost cutting corner to see a welded crown on a cycle presumably constructed of quality tubing

square cut seat lugs are very production and associated with lower end models; usually even on mid-level bikes they are scalloped

contour of blades makes me think they are not quality; frame likely a "three-tuber" whatever the tubing

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I have decided to take some of the better parts to build up a Gitane Professional TdF frameset I have. While removing the rear brake caliper, I noticed the seat stay bridge was a square plate found on a lot of department store bikes. I likely will keep the frame and rebuild it with lesser parts I have around and donate it to a local group who provide bikes to the needy.
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Old 10-07-20, 11:02 PM
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an ESGE plate style bridge fits in with the idea of a low countries origin

some builders there mount them on frames higher up the range than those of other lands

forum member non-fixie posted last week a newly taken in Dutch house branded cycle which he determined to be eleven tube Reynolds yet wears an ESGE -



Olympia Sport

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Last edited by juvela; 10-08-20 at 07:28 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 10-07-20, 11:41 PM
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All these frame detail notes had me inspecting a 1977 Austro-Daimler AD SLE that is sitting here.

Shimano dropouts w/threaded adjusters, welded fork crown, 531 butted main tubes. No chrome.
Lugs are slightly nicer, but the modest Stronglight TS cranks not so much.
Huret Challenger derailers and GB stem. Rigida 1319's on Normandy HF hubs.
Plain aluminum seat pin, Weinmann sidepulls.

The subject OP's bicycle begs for geometry (angles) measurement and a test-ride to judge it's character. Some of these odd-ball finds turn out to be fabulous riders, you never know!
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Old 10-07-20, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dannyboy21 View Post
...
My question is then, is this frameset better than a high tensile steel?
Only honest answer is "You ride it and tell us." One of my best riding bikes is an old, cheap Apollo that is made of God Knows What. Nothing super special about the vintage parts I put on it, but it just goes.
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Old 10-08-20, 04:44 AM
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Does it have 27" wheels now? Would make a nice commuter with 700c wheelset and anti-theft patina but then you'd want to keep the brakes on it. Will make someone happy at the co-op, no matter the tubing forged drops make for a reliable build.
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Old 10-08-20, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
Does it have 27" wheels now? Would make a nice commuter with 700c wheelset and anti-theft patina but then you'd want to keep the brakes on it. Will make someone happy at the co-op, no matter the tubing forged drops make for a reliable build.
It does have 27 inch wheels. Seat post is 27.0mm. Clips on top tube are standard diameter as is the front derailleur..
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Old 10-08-20, 02:53 PM
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Hijacking my own thread! I am moving the good and French parts over to my Gitane TdF frameset as was the original plan. Starting to look great. Big question ... what is up with the rear mech hanger being smooth bored with no stop? The derailleur bolt is too wide anyway. Do I have to make the threads myself or is this as it is supposed to be? My first decent French bike so, I don't know much about them at all.


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Old 10-08-20, 03:00 PM
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you can run a metric 10.0mm X 1.0 tap through there

you still to cut or grind a stop at the four o'clock position to convert the Juy hanger to be compatible with non-Juy mechs


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