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1950s era bicycles

Old 10-27-20, 12:06 PM
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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.
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Old 10-27-20, 12:10 PM
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-----

r u open to hybrid gearing examples?


-----
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Old 10-27-20, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

r u open to hybrid gearing examples?


-----
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.
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Old 10-27-20, 12:31 PM
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...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.


1965 Carlton Catalina
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Old 10-27-20, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post


...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:


Olmo gran sport from around 1960

Schwinn Paramount tourist 1968
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Old 10-27-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post

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.
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Old 10-27-20, 12:46 PM
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...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.
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Old 10-27-20, 01:04 PM
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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).
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Old 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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Old 10-27-20, 02:29 PM
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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.

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Old 10-27-20, 03:07 PM
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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.
Something tells me this is going to be a really cool project.
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Old 10-27-20, 03:17 PM
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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.



Unfortunately, still a project

Unusual cable routing rollers below
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Old 10-27-20, 03:39 PM
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@Wildwood

Can we have a pic of the NDS BB/guide, jockey wheel too plz?
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Old 10-27-20, 04:15 PM
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bikemig, what size frame?
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Old 10-27-20, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
@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.....
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Old 10-27-20, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
bikemig, what size frame?
56-58 cm center to center is pretty much dead on the money.
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Old 10-27-20, 05:00 PM
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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
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Old 10-27-20, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
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? )

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....
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Old 10-27-20, 06:30 PM
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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.

Last edited by ilikebikes; 10-27-20 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 10-27-20, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AeroGut View Post
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.
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Old 10-27-20, 06:38 PM
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...here's the original thread on that Rudge Pathfinder 23" framed bike that is roughly equivalent to a Lenton Grand Prix.
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Old 10-27-20, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by AeroGut View Post
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
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Old 10-27-20, 07:09 PM
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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? )
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.
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Old 10-27-20, 07:17 PM
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FS: 1958-59 Rudge Pathfinder Grand Prix (Raleigh Lenton)

...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.
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Old 10-27-20, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
FS: 1958-59 Rudge Pathfinder Grand Prix (Raleigh Lenton)

...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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