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Unknown provenance?

Old 10-24-21, 10:41 AM
  #1  
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Unknown provenance?

A curious find yesterday at the Bloomington Bicycle Project (the co-op). I bought it just to keep it from becoming a retro fixie or even worse. I promised Brent I would post some pictures in a new thread and ask a bit about it. Seems a strange thing to find in the middle of the country and being so clean after a lot of years. So here are the pictures and perhaps some one here can help me find out a bit more about it. These are the first pics second post will have more. Smiles, MH

Cast drop outs with fender eyelets, and cable mounts for bolt on rear derailleur

Fork mount for front lamp

Unusual brake bridge

Fork lugs

Serial number on BB shell, Best I can see is it says: 2356

Frame mounts for pump and braze on cable routes
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Old 10-24-21, 10:54 AM
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More on this curious frame found at the co-op:

Reynold three tube frame sticker

Part of the strangeness of this frame, Look at the clean decals and the paint with little damage

Reg Harris headtube badge, appears to be original with very little wear from age

Seat tube decal with no damage and looking very original

This is a rare find today, the vestiges of a single braze on for 4, or 5 speed Benelux shifter. These were all Whitworth threaded. I sent the last of my parts for them to Brent last spring
Again I don't know a lot about these frames and why one would be here in middle Indiana in the year 2021? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, MH

Last edited by Mad Honk; 10-25-21 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 10-24-21, 11:08 AM
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Another cool find. It DOES almost look, 1) original, or 2) amazingly restored.

Decals and head badge are neat looking.

Does it look more like standard race geometry, or sport variety?
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Old 10-24-21, 11:15 AM
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I'd guess it HAS to be a careful re-spray with new decals, possibly done by a shop that specializes in such (so likely in the UK). But anybody who wants to can take such care and possibly can find those same decals, wherever the location.
Curious about what make are those dropouts (with no open "web") and that BB shell (which appears to be sand-cast)?
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Old 10-24-21, 12:14 PM
  #5  
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Jdawg,
It appears to be a sport geometry since it only has the one braze on for the Beneluxe shifter, and the frame mount for a headlamp. The single eyelets for fenders would also be an indicator for an all around bike. i was just struck to find it here in Indiana since it was of English origin. Smiles, MH
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Old 10-24-21, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
I'd guess it HAS to be a careful re-spray with new decals, possibly done by a shop that specializes in such (so likely in the UK). But anybody who wants to can take such care and possibly can find those same decals, wherever the location.
Curious about what make are those dropouts (with no open "web") and that BB shell (which appears to be sand-cast)?
The BB is one of three pictures that make me think old paint, but then there are four that make me think restore.

The decals are more pristine than they should be.

Is it a ton of a frame...would be interesting to figure out the tubing.

The drops seem to push the OLD clearance out a bit.
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Old 10-24-21, 12:18 PM
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How about a picture of the whole frameset?
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Old 10-24-21, 12:36 PM
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LA, Try these


Smiles, MH
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Old 10-24-21, 04:44 PM
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Interesting marque. It seems he was a British racer who went on to build bicycles. A quick google and some poking around led me to this: Peter Clarke's Reg Harris bicycle

It looks like it has the same rounded brake bridge that yours exhibits.
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Old 10-24-21, 05:07 PM
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That likely dates from the 60's. Looks like someone did a respray, taking care to retain the identity. Nice looking frame, even with the overdose of red.
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Old 10-24-21, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
That likely dates from the 60's. Looks like someone did a respray, taking care to retain the identity. Nice looking frame, even with the overdose of red.
i was surprised by the square taper BB spindle...
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Old 10-24-21, 07:21 PM
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Reg Harris was a famous British track racer in the late 40's and early 50's. He won 2 silvers in the 1948 olympics and 4 world sprint championships. I remember when surprisingly he won the British sprint championship in 1974 at the age of 54! He had a friendship and connection to the Manchester frame builder Johnny Berry. They belonged to the same cycling club. I shipped home to the US a lot of Johnny's equipment after Johnny died in 74.

According to Wikipedia, "he started a 'Reg Harris' bicycle manufacturing business in Macclesfield which lasted three years before folding."..That was in the late 50's. That was new information to me. I vaguely remember Johnny Berry telling him the only time I met him in 74 that he made a frame or two for Reg Harris. He was sponsored by several bicycle companies throughout his career.

The position of the down tube decals makes me think it is an amateur respray.
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Old 10-24-21, 07:55 PM
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Old 10-24-21, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
i was surprised by the square taper BB spindle...
Based on the 531 decal on the seat tube, the refinishing seems to have occurred in the 1980's or later. Given that, it's likely that the frame would have been built back up with whatever was at hand - especially if it also had gotten passed along only as a frame just before or after repainting.

edit - will go with Doug Fattic's estimation on original build date.
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Old 10-24-21, 08:35 PM
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Nice frame, and I would also guess a nice respray. No worn pant where you would expect it, such as on the lamp mounting boss. Is there a threaded grease fitting for the bottom bracket shell?
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Old 10-25-21, 12:21 AM
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Late 1950's Early 60's Reg Harris Frame

Reg Harris was a name familiar amongst the cognoscenti up into the early 70's. I remember seeing accessories here in the US with his name on them. They were probably sourced through Ron Kitching in the UK.

The frame probably dates from the late 50's to the 60's. British Cyclo produced BENELUX shifters into the early 60's when they went Titanic.

1962 Benelux RD

BENELUX down tube shifter showing single and double clamps and a brazeon mount.


The lantern mount on the DS fork and the curved rear brake bridge were common features on bikes made in the UK.

The respray is a nice colour of red. It almost looks like a thin powder coat job. The Reynolds 531 sticker on the seat tube is wrong. That style with the gold TI Raleigh "cartouche" was used from 1977-1983.

The sticker indicates that only the 3 main tubes are Butted Reynolds 531. Mad Honk mentions that the frame is heavy which could mean that the forks and stays are made of a thicker walled lesser grade of tubing or even that the whole frame is made that way. The seatpost diameter is one way of determining whether the tubing is thin wall or thick wall.




The square BB spindle has no significance as a cottered spindle could have been easily replaced...

The dropouts look like an early 1960's Huret style without a derailleur hanger plus the slots are longer.

About 15 years back I asked a number of gents from the UK why some very nice Reynolds 531 frames made by top companies like Holdsworth and Mercian had cheap stamped steel drop outs. The answer was that it gave the owners the versatility to use single speed gears, internal hub gears or most derailleurs that attached with a claw hanger. This has plenty of room to adjust chain tension for a SS or IGH.



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Old 10-25-21, 02:21 AM
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My observations....I wasn’t very observant. Eek. Completely missed eyelets, tubing sticker picture, among others...

Secondly...you guys continue to amaze me with your sleuthing...

So circa 1960 frame made for racer’s small marquee, of 5 speed sport variety, three tube Reynolds, repainted sometime in the mid to late 80s, restickered with the wrong Reynolds sticker, but generally lovingly restored, repainted...
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Old 10-25-21, 05:27 AM
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I enjoy reading about mystery frames and marques. There is so much to be learned.
I am a bit concerned curious about the NDS of the rear brake bridge. Looks like the braze is deficient. Wasn't expecting that.
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Old 10-25-21, 06:20 AM
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Classic Rendezvous has a page on Reg Harris bikes:

Reg Harris Cycles main

Neat bike. I'm glad it's not local to me or I'd be tempted to buy it!
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Old 10-25-21, 08:03 AM
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I'm quite surprised by the mediocre workmanship. It's not up to the level of other Reg Harris frames that I've seen, though I haven't seen many.
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Old 10-25-21, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I'm quite surprised by the mediocre workmanship. It's not up to the level of other Reg Harris frames that I've seen, though I haven't seen many.
Perhaps the mediocre workmanship on the frames made in his business at Macclesfield is why the company went under after only 3 years of operation. Who knows what kind of workers he had making the frames. Working in a bicycle frame making company in the UK back then was a low paying low status job so it wouldn't attract the most talented or hard working employees.

I'd also guess that the other bikes you have seen with his name might have been made somewhere else and maybe at a different time? That was such a common practice for builders to make frames with someone else's name on the down tube. Until this subject thread and I read about it in Wikipedia, I didn't know he was making frames on his own premises. I doubt he knew much about making frames himself.
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Old 10-25-21, 09:41 AM
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Rear Brake Bridge Brazing

Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
Perhaps the mediocre workmanship on the frames made in his business at Macclesfield is why the company went under after only 3 years of operation. Who knows what kind of workers he had making the frames. Working in a bicycle frame making company in the UK back then was a low paying low status job so it wouldn't attract the most talented or hard working employees.

I'd also guess that the other bikes you have seen with his name might have been made somewhere else and maybe at a different time? That was such a common practice for builders to make frames with someone else's name on the down tube. Until this subject thread and I read about it in Wikipedia, I didn't know he was making frames on his own premises. I doubt he knew much about making frames himself.
\



I noticed the poor brazing on my first view of the frame. That was a common flaw on many lower priced British and French bikes.

Another possibility is that someone got carried away sandblasting a previous paint job and or some rust?

Many of those curved brake bridge "tiddly-bits" weren't made of tubing, just a rolled and formed piece of sheet metal with a seam on the bottom side. Brazing them in place was a little more work than just using a piece of straight tubing.

My touring bike - I built the frame in the mid 70's. The brake bridge was a piece of curved tubing. This is what would be expected on a better quality British frame from the 1970's. The brake cable was new and not cut to length.



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Old 10-25-21, 05:49 PM
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Well Folks,
This has been pretty entertaining, and filled with history of early 20th century and the bikes that were at one time a dominant force in cycling. The scant information about Reg and the fact that he lost his racing fortune, his wife, and his home to build and make a factory to build bikes. I suspect Doug and others here are all correct in the provenance of this frame and the history behind the product. It is unfortunately a bit too large for me to ride, so it now needs a new home! I did a bit of measurements and it has a 22" top tube C to C and a 22" center of BB to top of seat tube. The seat tube is 25.4mm by a quick check with a caliper for ID. So likely a mid range build for daily riding. I'm hoping some BF member will step up and take this one in for some TLC. I am willing to send to a member in the lower 48 for free if they will care for it. Thanks, All for your input on this one. If you want it PM me with info for shipping, Smiles, MH
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