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1950s era bicycles

Old 10-27-20, 08:22 PM
  #26  
nlerner
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
One make no one has mentioned yet is Allegro. The geometry on 531-tubed Allegros looks pretty much unchanged between 1936 and 1974, and the ones built c.1960-74 with Bocama 14/II lugs seem to go for reasonable prices. Unless you get really lucky and score a Special from the 50s with Nervex Pro and all the cool funky chrome and smoked paint ....
Hmm, @rhm has one of those though I think it's from the 1960s.
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Old 10-27-20, 08:25 PM
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More of Rickert
no nds pics
(not at home either)

edit: add pic of nds BB








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Old 10-27-20, 08:40 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Hmm, @rhm has one of those though I think it's from the 1960s.
I believe you are correct, and there is a thread about it somewhere on this forum. His, if memory serves, was one of the nice Specials with braze-ons for bar end shifter cable stops and maybe even rear brake cable stops. Dates on these are somewhat unclear, but a while back I assembled this spreadsheet - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...h6HkE/htmlview - of Allegros, which seem to have an orderly, sequential serial number scheme postwar, if not earlier.
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Old 10-27-20, 08:41 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...IIRC, there wa a thread on here a while back from a guy in Brooklyn who discovered a very fine Rudge version of the Lenton Grand Prix I have. He was talking about selling it, and might even have started a sale thread in the for sale section. You should look for that, because that was a very, very well preserved foundation for a project bike.

There were a lot of those Lenton's imported to the USA, and most of them used a version of the SA hub. There's a guy here who runs a hipster repair and resale bike shop, Addison, who has one of the regular Sport versions that he might want to part with. But you end up still paying a lot for shipping, which is a downer when you are just starting out a project. Much better to discover one locally, using magic.
Among the best of the breed were the 1952 Raleigh Super Lenton and its identical but differently branded sibling, the 1952 Rudge Aero Special. I have the Rudge:

Photographed a few days after I got it, all I added was the S-A saddle. Needed full over haul, now working on brake cables.
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Old 10-27-20, 08:44 PM
  #30  
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I did own this 1951 Raleigh Clubman some time back:
IMG_5562.JPG

As well as this '50 Clubman (originally the same color as the '51!):
IMG_5572.JPG
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Old 10-27-20, 09:00 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Sadly it sounds likeI the frame Miguel is looking for is not currently hanging in Neal's basement.

(You sure about that, Neal? )

No, but seriously, i have, or have had, a few bikes of the kind you're thinking of.

The first was a Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix that i got from Neal. Nice plain gauge 531 frame, similar to the Super Course. I ran it with an FM hub for a while, then reverted to the original 2×4 derailleurs, then moved it on to another forum member. Cool bike!

A recent addition is an Armstrong Moth from about 1950. I got the frame from Neal. I'd say this might be what you want, Miguel, but it's a complete bike, not a project.

Aside from those two, and perhaps something I've forgotten, Neal is in no way implicated in the Norman Rapide, Holdsworth Sirocco, Fothergill, Lambert, Falcon, 1963 Lenton Sports, Drysdale Sport Tourer, Schwinn New World, 1951 Lenton Sports, and other projects.

The perfect bike will fall into your hands sooner or later. But in the mean time I would probably find a placeholder frame and start assembling something around that.

There are a few common English bikes from the early seventies that have frames indistinguishable from the frames you're looking for. Raleigh made the Super Course, and other makers offered something similar-- Lambert, Falcon, Dawes, Holdsworth....
The earlier Super Courses were very similar to my 1952 Rudge, down to the difficult Raleigh BB thread. With the '50s Raleighs be aware of quirks like front wheel OLD, rear wheel OLD, front dropout design and wheel retention features, odd 32 hole spoking and 40 hole in the back, great wheel clearances, frame designed for fenders, US AW (wide-range) hubs, limited gearing options unless you fit a chain tensioner and go hybrid. Plusses: looooong chainstays, curvey high-rake fork, 531 straight gauge throughout, interesting "livery," low trail, very smooth ride. Very laid-back geometry (71 degree seat tube!) allows great setback with a Brooks saddle, top tube is long and stretched out, but a lot of that is for saddle setback. Wheelbase around 1080 mm for a 55 cm seat tube. Not a road race bike, but in those days, it was about long rides solo or with a group, allroad performance, practicing for Land's End to John O'Groats. The RRA was the next step up from this bike. Mine has alloy rims and 350-ish gram Paselas in its future! Brake reach would be huge if I went for 650b, the frame would need brake augmentation surgery.
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Old 10-27-20, 10:14 PM
  #32  
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What to look for? Well, the craze is for French right now, so naturally English represents a good value for the money.
Gillott, Claud Butler (before 1958 Holdsworth buyout), Carlton, Ephgrave, to name just those that come to mind.

What I have? I have a Jack Taylor tandem from '59. It is basically French in style: Maxicar hubs, Le Cyclo and Simplex derailleurs, 650b, Lefol aluminum fenders, custom racks. If you stripped the logos, you'd think it was an Alex Singer and it would sell for thousands. I picked it up for nearly nothing. The 5-speed Le Cyclo works as well as a Suntour VGT in my estimation, but is much more difficult to set up than a Sturmey. I've ridden it on gravel and it works amazing. I also have a René Herse from the late '40s but it's basically what he offered in the '50s as well. What can I say? It's the project to end all projects, and will keep me occupied through all future corona lockdowns. I bought it instead of saving for retirement. I don't regret it yet.
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Old 10-28-20, 03:10 AM
  #33  
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Old 10-28-20, 03:36 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
The RRA was the next step up from this bike.
The RRA was the high water mark for the kind of bike you're talking about. Incredibly light frame, awesome graphics, beautiful workmanship, and several proprietary parts(crank, pedals, bag support, stem) made specifically for this model. The stem was chromed steel, presumably 531, with a lug that matched the lugs on the bike frame. It was basically a deluxe version of a pre-war bike, obsolete before it hit the market.

i had one from 1948, and i liked the geometry so well that i copied it when i had a custom frame made. I loved that RRA too much, always wished I had the correct crank, among other things. I had to sell it before it became an obsession.

The RRA frame weighed 72 ounces. 531 frames in my size typically run 75-80 ounces. My two A&P frames are even lighter- Fothergill is 69 oz, Armstrong 68 oz.

As was mentioned yes, I have an Allegro. It came from John's bike shop (Pasadena?) and lived a hard life in the salty fog of San Francisco Bay. It's a 1960 with all the best components of that era.

The Allegro and the RRA were as different as 531 bikes could be.

The Allegro frame weighs 80 oz.

Last edited by rhm; 10-28-20 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 10-28-20, 03:53 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I swear I’m not holding out on Miguel!
No i suspected that. Okay, next step: bikemig should contact photogravity .
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Old 10-28-20, 05:39 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
No i suspected that. Okay, next step: bikemig should contact photogravity .
Hmm, interesting in that I sold my 50s RRA frame to @photogravity!
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Old 10-28-20, 11:14 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
One make no one has mentioned yet is Allegro. The geometry on 531-tubed Allegros looks pretty much unchanged between 1936 and 1974, and the ones built c.1960-74 with Bocama 14/II lugs seem to go for reasonable prices. Unless you get really lucky and score a Special from the 50s with Nervex Pro and all the cool funky chrome and smoked paint ....
I have one from around 1959-61. Most of the chrome is in rough shape and the frame has a few issues, but it still rides great.

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Old 10-31-20, 09:45 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
The RRA was the high water mark for the kind of bike you're talking about. Incredibly light frame, awesome graphics, beautiful workmanship, and several proprietary parts(crank, pedals, bag support, stem) made specifically for this model. The stem was chromed steel, presumably 531, with a lug that matched the lugs on the bike frame. It was basically a deluxe version of a pre-war bike, obsolete before it hit the market.

i had one from 1948, and i liked the geometry so well that i copied it when i had a custom frame made. I loved that RRA too much, always wished I had the correct crank, among other things. I had to sell it before it became an obsession.

The RRA frame weighed 72 ounces. 531 frames in my size typically run 75-80 ounces. My two A&P frames are even lighter- Fothergill is 69 oz, Armstrong 68 oz.

As was mentioned yes, I have an Allegro. It came from John's bike shop (Pasadena?) and lived a hard life in the salty fog of San Francisco Bay. It's a 1960 with all the best components of that era.

The Allegro and the RRA were as different as 531 bikes could be.

The Allegro frame weighs 80 oz.
Interesting about the frame weight! My Aero Special has full 531 frame tubes, stays, and fork blades, but they are straight gauge, and seemingly not a very thin gauge. The seat tube at least is not sleeved (as far as I could see) and it uses a 25.5 mm seatpost, so at the top at least, that 's the ID. The OD measures 28.6, so that is 1 ⅛". So the difference in wall thickness is (28.6 - 25.5)/2 = 1.54 mm, which is a pretty darn stout bicycle tube, even for a seat tube. I hope I have made a mistake in the math, but it clearly makes a tube that is a lot heavier than what a more recent classic frame would use (,9-.6 single butted). A 72 oz frame is 2030 grams and RHM did not say whether that includes the fork.

I think I can't start talking about the frame without talking about the bike, if that's ok with everyone! For extra road-hugging weight, mine has the original chromed Dunlop Special Lightweight rims which are beautiful, have bead seats which fit a modern cheapish Specialized wire-beaded tire extremely well, and needed minimal truing/dishing when I received them. It also has a steel stem, chainset, and seat pillar. To reduce the road-hugging weight, I replaced the stem with a GB in the same dimensions, the bars with a set of GB Randonneurs, the seat pillar with a Kalloy aluminum straight pin, and the original Raleigh Industries chainset and BB axle with a very old TA Cyclotourist on a TA spindle. The TA spindle fit perfectly between the bearings on the original Raleigh weird-thread cups. Sometime in the future I'll put on a set of Al wire-bead rims and modern stainless butted spokes. As I get more ambitious I'll replace the original Sturmey AW hub with an aluminum-shell AW or FM.
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Old 10-31-20, 10:03 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I am fishing around for a project bicycle. I really don't need anything but I'd like to find a bike from the 50s.

The easiest ones to find are English 3 speeds. I wouldn't mind one but I'd like for it to have a 531 plain gauge main triangle and those are harder to find. Show me what you have and what you would look for if you wanted a bike from the 50s. I'd prefer to stay away from a bike with a derailleur from the 50s since I figure back then sturmey archer was in many ways a better choice.
Bikemig, are you familiar with the blog "https://on-the-drops.blogspot.com/"? Peter Kohler wrote it in the 2016-2019 time frame, covering steel road racing and sport bikes of the UK from the 1920s up until the classic Raleigh Professional V. Some of it has been published in the Vintage Cycling material from the British VCC, and some articles were incorporated into the Sheldon Brown website - you would have to search carefully for them. He has reproduced a lot of original factory information, magazine reviews, pictures, and sales brochures for Club-type and roadsters of the days. He also has a lot of Sturmey-Archer information. The sales info nearly always includes frame details, sometimes including geometries. 531 was a known brand back then, so if a bike had 531 tubes Raleigh advertised it. I would think you could find half a dozen specific models to target in your search.
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Old 10-31-20, 10:09 AM
  #40  
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A friend showed up on one of these recently. Beautiful bike...
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