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Are Rotrax all that?

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Are Rotrax all that?

Old 01-26-23, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
If I bought this it wouldn’t be to flip but to build it into a touring bike.

lots of Brit parts, etc

The lugs are downright sexy.

And I really don’t know Reynolds 501. I thought those were Levi’s.

I only know 531 and 735.
I like your creativity. Who would have thought to convert a track bike into a touring bike. Brilliant!
And I too think back brakes are highly overrated. Who needs 'em?
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Old 01-26-23, 11:34 AM
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Mike Barry of Mariposa had one. I think they sold it after he passed. The pictures I saw were beautiful. https://mariposabicycles.ca/2016/07/18/rotrax/
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Old 01-26-23, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by HelpSingularity
I like your creativity. Who would have thought to convert a track bike into a touring bike. Brilliant!
dont ever forget

im an idiot.

this frame was a fleeting thought before I knew it was a track bike.

as stated, I have zero desire for this frame at this point.
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Old 01-26-23, 11:37 AM
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Also there was one for sale on Vancouver island a couple of years ago. I think they were asking $800CAD at the time. It was pretty elaborate too.
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Old 01-26-23, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
dont ever forget

im an idiot.

this frame was a fleeting thought before I knew it was a track bike.

as stated, I have zero desire for this frame at this point.
This sort of thing was very common 100 years ago, probably it was the only way to go, technologically speaking. Over the years I've read of a few contemporary individuals doing all sorts of trips on fixed gear bicycles. So it's not unheard of.
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Old 01-26-23, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rgvg
Mike Barry of Mariposa had one. I think they sold it after he passed. The pictures I saw were beautiful. https://mariposabicycles.ca/2016/07/18/rotrax/
Wow, that mixte is stunning. I mean, they are both great but I love seeing high end mixtes.
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Old 01-26-23, 12:08 PM
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Rotrax was one of the top British builders. They have a very loyal following in Britain. They were in Shirley, Southampton.

1953 Rotrax Shirley

81 year old John Crump with his Rotrax at Eroica California

Rotrax seat cluster

Rotrax in England
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Old 01-26-23, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
If I bought this it wouldn’t be to flip but to build it into a touring bike.

lots of Brit parts, etc

The lugs are downright sexy.

And I really don’t know Reynolds 501. I thought those were Levi’s.

I only know 531 and 735.

This would be fairly simple and this bike could make a decent bike-packer. There are probably even ways to attach racks without damaging the frame or adding braze-ons. Many of the "track" bikes of the 1950's and 60's were actually "dual-purpose". In other words, the fork and brake bridge were tapped so that on the week-end, you could fit a set of (or a single) brakes, attach your "sprint carriers" to your handlebars, and secure your track wheels with those. That way, you could ride to the track, put your track wheels on, and compete at the track with that very same bike. A lot of people used their track bikes to get to work or school, with either multiple gears or just one.
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Old 01-26-23, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by daka
Rotrax? I thought they made snowmobiles. $800 for a frame & fork would be way up there for me anyway, but for a fixie/single speed? Seriously, how often would you ride that?
rotax.... engines common in snowmobiles and ultralight aircraft
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Old 01-26-23, 12:26 PM
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I think the frame that @Robvolz was considering is just another example of a more contemporary someone exploiting a legendary brand for profit. Those of you that read the $1000 Nivex thread know that this annoys me to no end. So just as you have to wonder today when someone tells you they ride a Rene Herse whether it's the real deal or a carbon fiber bike that Jan Heine commissioned, now you will have to ask the same about Rotrax. Maybe next we'll have to endure a Hetchins made out of low end tubing with beads of weld instead of lugs. It'll go great with someone's Tesla......

Last edited by daka; 01-26-23 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 01-26-23, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
Rotrax was one of the top British builders. They have a very loyal following in Britain. They were in Shirley, Southampton.

1953 Rotrax Shirley

81 year old John Crump with his Rotrax at Eroica California
Wow, that is one gnarly hill. My hat is off to all those who made it.
That climb most certainly separated the men from the boys, as the saying goes.
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Old 01-26-23, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by HelpSingularity
I have never seen a track bike with shifters.
I didn't introduce the idea of the bicycle being set up for multi-speed use to the thread.
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Old 01-26-23, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
Rotrax was one of the top British builders. They have a very loyal following in Britain. They were in Shirley, Southampton.

1953 Rotrax Shirley

81 year old John Crump with his Rotrax at Eroica California

...
John exchanged me a Hetchin's that was one size too large for him, for a small sum and the J.A. Holland that once-upon-a-time forumite, sammyboy had found in the UK and passed on to me. If I ever get another shot at that Holland, I'd love to get it back.
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Old 01-26-23, 12:50 PM
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The crown looks very late 70s-early 80s to me; the use of the fancy vintage curved seat stay bridge could be older, or could be a nice "bespoke" touch. Is the rear bridge even drilled for a brake? The lugs look like Bocama Professionals, the long point variety.

British track bikes have come drilled for a front brake to this day to enable them to be ridden on the road for training and time-trialing, per U.K. Traffic laws dating back to at least 1936; I suspect this one was built long after the golden age of road-track iron, as most of those are drilled fore and aft for more flexible use.

I would frankly be shocked if you could put anything bigger than a 25mm tire on this one. It would not be a fun bike-packing bike, but it would be awesome for fast fixed-gear days on good roads.

All of the Rotraxes I have seen in years past at the old Cirque dy Cyclisme were vintage examples with larger clearances and fancier lugs.
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Old 01-26-23, 02:16 PM
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You could also build it up like this with a Torpedo hub. I believe this one is owned by a forum member.

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Old 01-27-23, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by daka
I think the frame that @Robvolz was considering is just another example of a more contemporary someone exploiting a legendary brand for profit.
I disagree. I don't think someone would take the time and money to drill-out the head-tube for the exact-correct rivet-spacing and then locate a perfect-condition Rotrax badge. Also, why would someone take such a high-quality frame, detail it so immaculately, and then identify it with the wrong livery? Then, again, why would they choose a 501 chromo decal? I think this frame is the real deal. Anyway, I think Rotrax is still building bespoke, so they would know.
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Old 01-27-23, 03:57 AM
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That frameset is gorgeous. If you live somewhere relatively flat, why not ride something with style?
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Old 01-27-23, 05:07 AM
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Guys. I hadnít taken a good look at the bike.

The second somebody pointed out that it was a track bike I lost all interest in it.

I would not mind owning an English touring bike, Reynolds Holdsworth etc.

I told the guy days ago I was no longer interested because it was a track bike.

There are so many better ways to make fun of me. And I hand you all the ammunition you need. Donít waste it on this.
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Old 01-27-23, 06:19 AM
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Thanks very much for this thread. I can't remember the last time anyone posted a photo of a bike frame from that peculiar era in British history when massed-start road racing was prohibited and only time trials were allowed on roadways.

By the way, I've been riding track bikes for over 50 years, and I didn't realize that was a track frame until it was pointed out earlier in the thread. My only excuse is that I was distracted by its dazzlingly pristine condition. I have absolutely no need of yet another track frame, but I'm having to suppress the urge to add it to my roster.
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Old 01-27-23, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
There are so many better ways to make fun of me. And I hand you all the ammunition you need. Donít waste it on this.
What are you talking about? Who is making fun of you?
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Old 01-27-23, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Force
You could also build it up like this with a Torpedo hub. I believe this one is owned by a forum member.

Exactly. Internal gears would be easier than putting a 3-speed Benelux on.., IF you can get the shifter cable housing clamp/stop to hold fast.
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Old 01-27-23, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
I disagree. I don't think someone would take the time and money to drill-out the head-tube for the exact-correct rivet-spacing and then locate a perfect-condition Rotrax badge. Also, why would someone take such a high-quality frame, detail it so immaculately, and then identify it with the wrong livery? Then, again, why would they choose a 501 chromo decal? I think this frame is the real deal. Anyway, I think Rotrax is still building bespoke, so they would know.
I wasn't suggesting that someone constructed a single fake. If they had done that it would probably be badged Colnago . I think someone other than the original craftsmen owns the marque and is legally building what may or may not be a lesser machine badged and decalled with a famous brand. Like Volkwagen builds Bentleys, or BMW builds Minis or Ford built Jaguars and Aston Martin's for a time. The brand name can add value via recognition or sentimental connection. It is a business tactic, not a crime, but it still annoys me. Mostly because mention of the original creators is usually swept aside to make room for the ego of someone new.......
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Old 01-27-23, 12:20 PM
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50-something Rotrax Concours I have languishing in the back of my bike room...




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Old 01-27-23, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by daka
I wasn't suggesting that someone constructed a single fake. If they had done that it would probably be badged Colnago . I think someone other than the original craftsmen owns the marque and is legally building what may or may not be a lesser machine badged and decalled with a famous brand. Like Volkwagen builds Bentleys, or BMW builds Minis or Ford built Jaguars and Aston Martin's for a time. The brand name can add value via recognition or sentimental connection. It is a business tactic, not a crime, but it still annoys me. Mostly because mention of the original creators is usually swept aside to make room for the ego of someone new.......
Yes, I realized a little late that you may have meant that. I know nothing about this aspect of British law, but would a company based somewhere else be able to advertise on their marquis Southampton? (Huffy bought Raleigh, and moved their manufacturing to the U.S., but noted as such on the badge). I will admit that I have not heard of new (or even new-ish) Rotraxes. Reynolds 501 made its debut in 1983, and that is long-after any Rotrax I had ever seen was built.
There are references to Rotrax being solvent a recently as 2016, though. I'll try to contact them, just for curiosity's sake.
Did they farm some frames out to larger houses and put their names on them? I have no reason to believe they did.
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Old 01-27-23, 02:03 PM
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Wow those Rotax look cool
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