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-   -   1950s era bicycles (https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/1216250-1950s-era-bicycles.html)

bikemig 10-27-20 12:06 PM

1950s era bicycles
 
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.

juvela 10-27-20 12:10 PM

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r u open to hybrid gearing examples?


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bikemig 10-27-20 12:15 PM


Originally Posted by juvela (Post 21763234)
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r u open to hybrid gearing examples?


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I'm open to pretty much anything that looks interesting. I just know some of the gearing from that era is a pain to find parts for and I plan on using the bike. Everything else being equal, I'd prefer a frame I could build up with an SA hub.

I'm also trying to learn a bit about bikes from that era as that is beyond my knowledge base.

3alarmer 10-27-20 12:31 PM

https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...1d3c504b98.jpg
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...13d9f5e349.jpg

...based on my own experience, were I looking for a project, I would not limit myself to the 1950's. A lot of the stuff from the 1960's with cottered cranks is very similar in geometry and componentry. And it gives you another decade of candidates that are available. These two I have were just accidental acquisitions, that came up on the local CL over the years. I guess if you're open to ebay and other sources, you might find more candidate bikes. The people over on the CABE have a lot of 50's stuff for sale, but it's mostly fat tyre Schwinn's and Rollfast's.

Also, if you do buy something from the 50's, and want it to be mostly period correct, look for something that still has all the components on it. Some of that stuff is hard to find, and you end up on ebay, where it is pricey.

Here are two perfectly nice bikes from the 60's that might easily pass for 1950's bicycles at first glance.

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...00cc2c02e2.jpg
1965 Carlton Catalina
https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...0ff807216e.jpg

bikemig 10-27-20 12:35 PM


Originally Posted by 3alarmer (Post 21763260)


...based on my own experience, were I looking for a project, I would not limit myself to the 1950's. A lot of the stuff from the 1960's with cottered cranks is very similar in geometry and componentry. And it gives you another decade of candidates that are available. These two I have were just accidental acquisitions, that came up on the local CL over the years. I guess if you're open to ebay and other sources, you might find more candidate bikes. The people over on the CABE have a lot of 50's stuff for sale, but it's mostly fat tyre Schwinn's and Rollfast's.

Also, if you do buy something from the 50's, and want it to be mostly period correct, look for something that still has all the components on it. Some of that stuff is hard to find, and you end up on ebay, where it is pricey.

Here are two perfectly nice bikes from the 60's that might easily pass for 1950's bicycles at first glance.

Snip . . .

1965 Carlton Catalina

I appreciate the advice and those are beautiful bikes. I've seen that Follis before and you did a fine resto job on that bike. Agreed about preferring a complete bike given the cost of locating period correct bikes.

I have two bikes from the 60s so that's why I was thinking of a 50s era bike:

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...18e89576ac.jpg
Olmo gran sport from around 1960
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...4eac10b47d.jpg
Schwinn Paramount tourist 1968

3alarmer 10-27-20 12:39 PM


Originally Posted by bikemig (Post 21763239)

I'm also trying to learn a bit about bikes from that era as that is beyond my knowledge base.

...there're a couple of forums over on the CABE, one on "imports", and another on "lightweight bicycles". They are not the most active ones, but there a threads you can look at there. I did long thread on the Follis restoration over there, with a lot of photos that I took in process. I think it's in the "current projects" forum.

The most intersting things I learned about 1950's bikes were the limitations on gearing range, and how riding around on steel wheels with no bead hook so you can't use a modern high pressure clincher tyre is the reason tubular tyres and rims were the standard hot setup for so long. I just gave up and relaced modern rims to my hubs, using new stainless spokes. The real authentic guys laugh at me, but I can't hear them if I go fast enough. :)

3alarmer 10-27-20 12:46 PM

...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. :)

nlerner 10-27-20 01:04 PM

As is usually the case, Hilary Stone has some very nice British frames from the 1950s for sale:

Hilary Stone Classic Bike Frames pre-1970 p2

It's interesting to see how some are set up for hub gearing, some for derailleurs (with Cyclo fittings, mostly).

juvela 10-27-20 01:06 PM

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bikemig -

one thing which comes up for many enthusiasts when searching for dreigangers is the matter of frame size

most of the gents models one finds are 21" frames

"usually" the largest frames offered by many makers were 23" and those can be difficult to locate

there are some larger ones but they tend to be "few and fur betwixt"... ;)

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nlerner 10-27-20 02:29 PM

I can also add that one 1950s bike in my stable at the moment is a 1950 Raleigh Lenton Tourist. It's my stealth Raleigh 3-speed in that it's a Reynolds 531 frame, but otherwise unremarkable with very understated graphics.

https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...3802c3a995.jpg

BFisher 10-27-20 03:07 PM


Originally Posted by bikemig (Post 21763225)
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.

Something tells me this is going to be a really cool project.

Wildwood 10-27-20 03:17 PM

I had been searching for a birth year bike and a German bike. If one is willing to compromise birth year to birth decade, to kill 2 birds (so to speak) with 1 bike. I wanted a rear derailleur mount so the Hugo Rickert from 1959 (reliable but unconfirmed 100%) fit the bill.


https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...e32bda676.jpeg
Unfortunately, still a project
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...5114937b1.jpeg
Unusual cable routing rollers below
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...c76d96707.jpeg

merziac 10-27-20 03:39 PM

@Wildwood

Can we have a pic of the NDS BB/guide, jockey wheel too plz? ;)

clubman 10-27-20 04:15 PM

bikemig, what size frame?

markk900 10-27-20 04:37 PM


Originally Posted by merziac (Post 21763535)
@Wildwood

Can we have a pic of the NDS BB/guide, jockey wheel too plz? ;)


And the seat cluster too please? Them's some might sharp looking points.....

bikemig 10-27-20 04:41 PM


Originally Posted by clubman (Post 21763596)
bikemig, what size frame?

56-58 cm center to center is pretty much dead on the money.

AeroGut 10-27-20 05:00 PM

Thereís a Lenton Grand Prix on Cincinnati CL right now thatís definitely project condition. Seller says itís 1958. Pics arenít very good.

https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bi...221250951.html

rhm 10-27-20 06:03 PM


Originally Posted by nlerner (Post 21763305)
As is usually the case, Hilary Stone has some very nice British frames from the 1950s for sale:

Hilary Stone Classic Bike Frames pre-1970 p2

It's interesting to see how some are set up for hub gearing, some for derailleurs (with Cyclo fittings, mostly).

Sadly it sounds likeI the frame Miguel is looking for is not currently hanging in Neal's basement.

(You sure about that, Neal? :lol:)

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....

ilikebikes 10-27-20 06:30 PM

https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...b0c674e91.jpeg
My Bertin is similiar to the one pictured, but not exactly as mine has steel cranks and lacks the dynamo braze on, Iíll post a pic of the actual bike tomorrow.

3alarmer 10-27-20 06:30 PM


Originally Posted by AeroGut (Post 21763658)
Thereís a Lenton Grand Prix on Cincinnati CL right now thatís definitely project condition. Seller says itís 1958. Pics arenít very good.

https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bi...221250951.html

...that's a 21" frame, but it appears to be all there. What I can see of it, anyway. Can't see a lot of stuff, like the derailleurs.

3alarmer 10-27-20 06:38 PM

.
...here's the original thread on that Rudge Pathfinder 23" framed bike that is roughly equivalent to a Lenton Grand Prix.

droppedandlost 10-27-20 06:38 PM


Originally Posted by AeroGut (Post 21763658)
Thereís a Lenton Grand Prix on Cincinnati CL right now thatís definitely project condition. Seller says itís 1958. Pics arenít very good.

https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bi...221250951.html

cable FD makes it 61ish, I think

nlerner 10-27-20 07:09 PM


Originally Posted by rhm (Post 21763733)
Sadly it sounds likeI the frame Miguel is looking for is not currently hanging in Neal's basement.

(You sure about that, Neal? :lol:)

I swear Iím not holding out on Miguel! I do agree that many Ď70s frames make excellent Clubman-type builds. My latest is a Ď73 Condor Italia with 700c wheels, a rear FM hub, and a Stronglight alloy crankset. If you ignore the derailleur hanger and gear cable stops, you could easily take it for a 1950s bike.

3alarmer 10-27-20 07:17 PM

https://www.bikeforums.net/21691887-post18.html

...this is the last post in the for sale thread on that Rudge pathfinder. I would buy that if I didn't already have the Lenton. Even if you spend a hundred bucks on shipping, it's still about right on price, given the condition of the paint and decals, original components all there, etc, etc. And it's a 23" frame.

rustystrings61 10-27-20 08:14 PM


Originally Posted by 3alarmer (Post 21763835)
https://www.bikeforums.net/21691887-post18.html

...this is the last post in the for sale thread on that Rudge pathfinder. I would buy that if I didn't already have the Lenton. Even if you spend a hundred bucks on shipping, it's still about right on price, given the condition of the paint and decals, original components all there, etc, etc. And it's a 23" frame.

I was briefly the second owner of a Rudge Pathfinder in this size and color, but the slightly later version with a cable operated front derailleur. The collector I sold it to still has it more than 20 years later.

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 ....


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