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Old 02-11-10, 10:00 AM   #1
SoreFeet
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Hercules with Reynolds 531?

I found a bike at the local salvage yard and it had a decal on it. It was very mangled but I think it was a 531 decal. It said guaranteed built,stays and tubes but the letters were very obscured. The bike was all black with drilled out lugged. Hercules rubber/metal block pedals. 26 1 3/4 rims. I'm not sure If I want to drive all the way back for it. The hub was a Hercules 3 speed brand.

I would try to fit 700C rims on it and make it a brakeless path racer...
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Old 02-11-10, 10:07 AM   #2
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I don't recall in any of the Hercules catalogs, ever seeing a mention of Reynolds tubes being used.
Maybe not a Herc frame...
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Old 02-11-10, 10:10 AM   #3
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I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Hercules was a British competitor of Raleigh's until Raleigh bought them in the 60s. I think Sheldon said the Herc. 3 speed hubs were basically copies of SA AW. I don't know if they made 531 tubed bikes, but I would venture a guess to say I think possibly so. Sorry I have no other info!
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Old 02-11-10, 12:48 PM   #4
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Yuoil is on the right track, but I think it's not so much that Raleigh bought out Hercules, but was the one left standing when they all got bought out,one after the other, in the 50's and early 60's.

So TI bought up Hercules, Phillips, Sun, and Norman(not to mention Reynolds, Sturmey Archer, Brooks...) in the 50's. Raleigh already owned Rudge and Humber, but in the 50's was also buying out competition such as Triumph and I don't know what else. Finally TI bought Raleigh as well, and in the early 60's closed all the bicycle factories but Raleigh and Carlton and ... something else?

Anyway, before all this consolidation happened, all these various bicycle manufacturers were in direct competition with one another and Raleigh. I don't know what they all offered, but I do know Norman offered 531 framed bikes in the 50's --the Invader, more or less equivalent to Raleigh's Clubman; and the Rapide, more or less equivalent to the Raleigh Record Ace. I have read that Phillips and Triumph also offered bikes in that quality range, as well as a whole lot of the cheaper ones. And from old catalogs I've seen, Hercules also offered a wide range of bicycles and had its own branded hub (which was, I understand, an AW clone). So I imagine the top of the line Hercules bikes were indeed made of 531.

That said, I really doubt a Hercules bike with a 531 frame would have come with 26 x 1 3/4" rims. 26 x 1 1/4" or 27" is likely, 26 x 1 3/8" somewhat less likely, but 26 x 1 3/4" quite unlikely.

Still, a 531 frame at a salvage yard? Heck, go grab it!
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Old 02-11-10, 01:57 PM   #5
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Hercules, before the buyout, was the "price leader", the lowest price bikes. They were able to achieve this by making just about all their own stuff, including the tubes. But...
I've found a catalog reference to their "Kestrel" top-of-the-line club racer, being 531.

Last edited by David Newton; 02-11-10 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 02-11-10, 02:46 PM   #6
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I have a 3 speed model of this bike Kestral super club a few years older.It is 531 with 26" x 1 1/4 wheels.
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