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Davidson New to me

Old 03-28-22, 11:16 AM
  #1  
Gary12000 
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Davidson New to me

I thought i would reach out to the Hive and show my recent acquisition, it would seem the previous owner a long standing cyclist had the bike for 15 or so years maybe longer,
It so new to me i haven't done any investigation, other then the little bit of reading i did about these frames prior to getting the bike.

Any information on how to investigate would be appreciated, the previous owner got the bike used and was told it was a custom build when made, so i have no idea on what tubing was used,
it has some nice equipment on it, Super Record long cage RD, and a campy triple front chain set.

I'm looking forward to give it a wash then a once over and if the tires look ok a short ride to see what it rides like...

Gary






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Old 03-28-22, 01:25 PM
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Lucky you!
Seat post diameter may give us some indication of tubing used. @bulgie should be along soon to shed some light on this mystery.
Brent
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Old 03-28-22, 01:28 PM
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Whoa! A Super Record-Rally rear derailleur. Not something you see everyday.
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Old 03-28-22, 01:30 PM
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Great score in a beautiful color. Tall frame. Bill Davidson is still making bicycles in Seattle. The year of your bike would be around '79, give or take.
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Old 03-28-22, 01:53 PM
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I have a Davidson that's supposed to have been a 1983 custom build.
I believe the custom builds were called their "Signature" line.
Excellent build quality from Bill Davidson. The lugwork and paint (Imron?) On it looks flawless.
No tubing decals on the bike, but I suspect it could be Columbus SL
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Old 03-28-22, 01:57 PM
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Damn is that nice. I love the rear mech and fenders. A real civilized bicycle!!!
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Old 03-28-22, 02:55 PM
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Yours is close to the same vintage as mine. I bought it a couple years ago from the original owner who said it was built c. 1980.


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Old 03-28-22, 03:15 PM
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I like the 13-36 rear with a 54/36 front. No more guessing what your maximum capacity is!
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Old 03-28-22, 03:27 PM
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long cage

Originally Posted by WGB View Post
I like the 13-36 rear with a 54/36 front. No more guessing what your maximum capacity is!
Yeah i thought that was clever, who the heck is riding a 54 on a 13 though lol Speedy Gonzales???
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Old 03-28-22, 03:29 PM
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C9H13H,
You got the long cage RD also..that dark blue is a nice color... the build looks very similar style wise, i actually have a matching painted silca pump also, but the hand grip is cracked...
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Old 03-28-22, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by obrentharris View Post
@bulgie should be along soon to shed some light on this mystery.
I started there in '84, and I agree with SurferRosa that this one is about a '79.

The lugs are the first version of Henry James (Folson), cast in USA.

I think Bill used some Reynolds 531 back then, but by the time I got there and for some little while previous, he'd been using mostly Columbus. The steerer tube is the easiest one to ID, just take the fender off and see if there are raised helical reinfocements (sometimes called rifling). If there, it means Columbus. If the bore is smooth then I'd expect 531. If you take the fork out, you should be able to see either a Columbus dove stamped in, or the words Reynolds Butted in all-caps. Sometimes paint obscures the stamps, which are shallow.

If you positively ID the steerer, it doesn't necessarily mean the rest of the tubes are the same brand, he did mix'n'match a little, but more often I'd say the steerer does match the drapes er I mean the frame tubes.

If the fork blades are the older Reynolds "skinny oval" (about 29x16mm) then they're definitely Reynolds, Columbus didn't make blades in that oval that I know of. I think narrow oval 531 blades are very unlikely though, they were unfashionable by then. The fatter oval (about 28x20mm) was made by both companies, so that doesn't help. Their blade shape is very subtly different, hard to tell after paint. Some will tell you they're different ovals, but they both fit in the same crowns.

Another place you might be able ID by eye is the chainstays. If the stays are fluted, i.e. indents for the tire clearance, then those are relatively easy to ID as either 531 or Col., for those in the know. (R flutes and C flutes look quite different.) It's harder if they're round-oval-round — I can still tell an R from a C in person, but the difference is subtle, hard to see in a photo, and impossible to teach over the internet.

Looking inside the bottom bracket will tell you if the tubes are SLX/SPX, but I don't think Davidson used much of that — I don't remember any. Very unlikely on this vintage anyway.

Not all his frames were custom back then, he also made small batches that were sold thru REI. There are no distinguishing differences, no serial numbers or sales records, don't bother asking! The batch-built frames were just as good though, no corner-cutting that I'm aware of. Later he came out with "price point" frames with model names like Challenge, Discovery, Impulse and others that were less expensive, made with Tange tubes. That's when the custom bikes started to become known as Signature. Before that, all frames got the sig decal whether custom or not.

I realize none of this really matters. I seem to like spewing out all the facts I know, whether or not it makes any difference. Ride it and enjoy!

Mark B

Last edited by bulgie; 03-28-22 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 03-28-22, 05:03 PM
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@Gary12000 Congratulations re "Davidson New to Me"! I've been looking for a frame recently. In the interim, I've settled for this poster that I purchased at Bill Davidson's Elliot Bay Cycles shop in the 80's....

IMG_3182
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Old 03-28-22, 05:10 PM
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Interesting facts

Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
I started there in '84, and I agree with SurferRosa that this one is about a '79.

The lugs are the first version of Henry James (Folson), cast in USA.

I think Bill used some Reynolds 531 back then, but by the time I got there and for some little while previous, he'd been using mostly Columbus. The steerer tube is the easiest one to ID, just take the fender off and see if there are raised helical reinfocements (sometimes called rifling). If there, it means Columbus. If the bore is smooth then I'd expect 531. If you take the fork out, you should be able to see either a Columbus dove stamped in, or the words Reynolds Butted in all-caps. Sometimes paint obscures the stamps, which are shallow.

If you positively ID the steerer, it doesn't necessarily mean the rest of the tubes are the same brand, he did mix'n'match a little, but more often I'd say the steerer does match the drapes er I mean the frame tubes.

If the fork blades are the older Reynolds "skinny oval" (about 29x16mm) then they're definitely Reynolds, Columbus didn't make blades in that oval that I know of. I think narrow oval 531 blades are very unlikely though, they were unfashionable by then. The fatter oval (about 28x20mm) was made by both companies, so that doesn't help. Their blade shape is very subtly different, hard to tell after paint. Some will tell you they're different ovals, but they both fit in the same crowns.

Another place you might be able ID by eye is the chainstays. If the stays are fluted, i.e. indents for the tire clearance, then those are relatively easy to ID as either 531 or Col., for those in the know If they're round-oval-round, I can still tell an R from a C in person but the difference is subtle, hard to see in a photo, and impossible to teach over the internet.

Looking inside the bottom bracket will tell you if the tubes are SLX/SPX, but I don't think Davidson used much of that — I don't remember any. Very unlikely on this vintage anyway.

Not all his frames were custom back then, he also made small batches that were sold thru REI. There are no distinguishing differences, no serial numbers or sales records, don't bother asking! The batch-built frames were just as good though, no corner-cutting that I'm aware of. Later he came out with "price point" frames with model names like Challenge, Discovery, Impulse and others that were less expensive, made with Tange tubes. That's when the custom bikes started to become known as Signature. Before that, all frames got the sig decal whether custom or not.

I realize none of this really matters. I seem to like spewing out all the facts I know, whether or not it makes any difference. Ride it and enjoy!

Mark B
Mark… thanks for the info, it all matters to us vintage nerds… and it creates a record of your experience on here for posterior- erity as I get into the details I will try to discover more…
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Old 03-28-22, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean51 View Post
I've settled for this poster...
Next time you're in Fremont, you gotta get that signed.
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