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Mystery 1950s (?) bike

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Mystery 1950s (?) bike

Old 11-28-21, 03:08 PM
  #1  
Kekec1965
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Mystery 1950s (?) bike

Hoping someone here may have an idea who could be the maker or to point out where to look at. Nice light frameset at 1974 gm frame and 749 forks, so quality steel I believe. Wrap-over seatstays and some other touches point to someone like Mercian, but serial numbers and their location plus that fork crown cut-out do not. Asking elsewhere to no avail.

Any idea? Thanks in advance.










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Old 11-28-21, 03:49 PM
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fascinating find - thank you for sharing it with the forum!

a number of British producers did road frames with track blades & crowns

Falcon and Bob Jackson are two which come quickly to mind; see nothing to suggest either of these makers however

wonder if serial 55815 could indicate a frame done on August 15 of 1955?

some of the braze-ons are likely post construction additions
was hoping we might see a trace of original finish in spots such as steerer, shell interior, seat tube interior but it looks like they made a very thorough job of media blasting prior to the current respray

forum member MauriceMoss will be sure to enlighten us upon his next visitation

thanks again


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Last edited by juvela; 11-28-21 at 03:55 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 11-28-21, 03:58 PM
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Not from the 50's ....evidenced by the TI Raleigh ( Tube Investments ) sticker on the fork in the 3rd photo ....this is probably from the 80's
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Old 11-28-21, 04:01 PM
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Yeah, lack of oiler on the BB rules out 50s or 60s. I'd imagine that brazed-on nut for the rear cable stop and the windowed fork crown are unique to this builder. I'm afraid I don't know that signature, however.
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Old 11-28-21, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by TPL View Post
Not from the 50's ....evidenced by the TI Raleigh ( Tube Investments ) sticker on the fork in the 3rd photo ....this is probably from the 80's
The late Reynolds stickers could have been applied after a repaint, possibly following the addition of some braze-ons. Nice frame.
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Old 11-28-21, 08:32 PM
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I would guess it's late 70's limited production British.
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Old 11-29-21, 07:05 AM
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I suspect that the frame may had some modifications in its life, as suggested - the stickers point out to 70s rather then earlier age. Rear OLD at 120mm would suggest more 50s than 70s think? Was looking for evidence of original paint, but none found (yet). The gear cable guide on the right hand side is not correct as it look like the one for the front mech hence should be on the left. No guide there, but will check for possible oiler, which may have been removed/filled in.
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Old 11-29-21, 11:33 AM
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I am surprised no one has remarked on the little hole in the right rear dropout, which is for a certain derailleur, perhaps a Campy Sport? The Campy experts know, so I'll leave it to them. @juvela? Anyway, I think that dropout indicates a frame built before about 1965. I look forward to being corrected by someone who knows.

Also, are those round fork blades? Not that many builders built road bikes with round fork blades. The few I've seen were from the 60's or earlier. Not that that means much.

If @maurice Moss doesn't recognize it immediately, I would post this on the CR list. I suspect someone will recognize the serial number treatment.
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Old 11-29-21, 12:12 PM
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as regards the small hole to accommodate the spring end of a Campag Sport rear mech -

member verktyg has posted on more than one occasion that this feature disappears in 1973

it is entirely possible of course to see it on frames of a later date when the builder is using up older stock

have also seen frames which were clearly earlier than the 1973 date which did not exhibit it

this makes me wonder if Campag may have offered the 1010 both ways at one time...(wylde speculation)

disclaimer - am not remotely one of the forum's Campag experts so delighted to defer to those more knowledgeable


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Old 11-29-21, 12:17 PM
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The triangular shape of the wrap-around seatstay reminds me of Urago. I am not saying it is Urago, but does anyone know of a british builder that also used that specific shape?

Last edited by gbi; 11-29-21 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 11-29-21, 12:53 PM
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Same lugs as a Urago, also
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Old 11-29-21, 01:02 PM
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The wrapover seat stays with the sharp "boneline" and the crown, with thevery slight arced rear brake bridge are the best featured to help identify it.
the rack bosses, the brake cable bridge all present to me later modifications.
The lamp bracket also is probably original.
My best dart toss is very early 1960's

brand... as it probably had torch work at the repaint, I would drop the fork and look for filled head badge holes.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:56 PM
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Thanks for suggestions - have looked for any signs of badge holes and could not find any. There are some remains of stickers on seat and down tubes, but I suspect these are later edition.
Headset on the bike is Brampton England if this gives away anything? Also, to me at least, those fork dropouts seem unlikely to be used in 70s onwards as someone mentioned this bike could be from.
Have gone over frame and fork again, no sign of any paint either, they stripped it very well (unless original of course ). Was not aware of that small hole on rear mech hanger, I thought it is a little indentation, but it was just full of dirt, so yes it is a small hole indeed.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions so far.
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Old 11-30-21, 01:53 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Yeah, lack of oiler on the BB rules out 50s or 60s. ...
I'm afraid that that is no indication of age. Lots of bikes from all periods didn't have them.
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Old 11-30-21, 05:01 AM
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Nice looking and interesting frame.

I've seen that fork crown before but, for the life of me, I can't remember where. It might come to me later.

The most unique feature on the frame is that serial number placement.

While there were a few British marques that stamped serials on the nozzles of the bb shell, most of them did it on the down tube nozzle (like Bates, RO Harrison, Leader, for example). The only builder that did it on the chain stay nozzle (that I know of) was Jack Holland (John Arthur or 'JA' Holland) of West Bromwich.

Some of his frames had serial numbers stamped on the chain stay nozzle (in 2 rows) like on this mystery frame, some on the downtube nozzle, and some just on the underside of the bottom bracket shell. Here's an example of the chain stay nozzle number:




Jack Holland's numbering format was MMYY followed by the sequential number (for the given year). In the case of the mystery frame - it would make it the 15th frame of 1958, made in May of that year (with that kind of volume, it's not surprising there aren't more examples online).


When looking at the other features of the mystery frame, the problem is not only that there aren't a lot examples of Holland frames online but that their features also vary quite a bit.
So, if we're dealing with a custom builder with a pretty low volume - it would be very difficult find a match to the mystery bike.

There was work done on the frame, post-construction, as others have noted.
The dropouts are mismatched. While the serial numbers do match between the steerer and the bb shell, the fonts don't.
This means that, for the fork to be original, the builder would have had to construct it with tips that don't match the rear dropouts and then stamp it with a different set of numbers than the frame.
Possible but I'd say very unlikely. More likely explanation is that the fork is a replacement with the number stamped so as to make it look like it belongs with the frame?
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Old 11-30-21, 06:54 AM
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[QUOTE=MauriceMoss;22324209]Nice looking and interesting frame.

I've seen that fork crown before but, for the life of me, I can't remember where. It might come to me later.


Great to hear you have seen it before and yes please, if you do remember let me know

While there were a few British marques that stamped serials on the nozzles of the bb shell, most of them did it on the down tube nozzle (like Bates, RO Harrison, Leader, for example). The only builder that did it on the chain stay nozzle (that I know of) was Jack Holland (John Arthur or 'JA' Holland) of West Bromwich.

J A Holland was suggested to me before and your adding to it may kind of reinforce this. He was a small scale builder after all. Also part of the (UCI) rainbow flag remnants on down tube look very much like design of his decals. I'll also compare the lettering that is faint, but can be seen on down tube with the lettering he used - I was convinced the first letter is P or J, so another clue perhaps?

Looking at this frame from ebay

So nice to see the responses from everyone above, so thank you again.
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Old 11-30-21, 07:04 AM
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I've seen a J A Holland frame with a fork very similar to the OP's frame, except the cutout was plain not fancy.
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Old 11-30-21, 07:07 AM
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ebay link now carries a message "no longer available because ended by seller"


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Old 11-30-21, 07:07 AM
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Kekec1965
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Cut out forks on J A Holland recently sold in UK

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Old 11-30-21, 07:14 AM
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England had many small frame builders. I have many listed in my notebook when I visited them for research in the 70's. It seemed like there was one in every town and several in bigger size cities. Where in the UK are you located? it is possible that where you got it isn't going to be far from where it was made and another clue to its origins.

The treatments on this frame are very distinctive, The way the seat stays attach and the fork crown are strong clues to its identity. Hopefully someone will recognize who built with those characteristics.
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Old 11-30-21, 09:22 AM
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Kekec1965
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
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ebay link now carries a message "no longer available because ended by seller"


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It does, but you can still see it if you scroll down or look for "original listing"
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Old 11-30-21, 11:17 AM
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there was a Haden crown that had a "window" cut-out in the sides, I cannot find any decent pic of that online, also not sure if they made one for round blades...maybe a better sleuth can follow that track if it has any value.
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Old 11-30-21, 12:28 PM
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Cool mystery.
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Old 11-30-21, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Kekec1965 View Post
It does, but you can still see it if you scroll down or look for "original listing"
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Old 11-30-21, 03:09 PM
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Kekec1965
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Another couple of J A Holland bikes

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