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Charlie Harding mystery solved? Holdsworth built?

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Charlie Harding mystery solved? Holdsworth built?

Old 11-26-15, 04:56 PM
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I really don't know a lot about Harding history, so can't comment much on that. Do know that Holdsworthy did sell frames for "rebranding". Hill Cycles in Philadelphia is an example. Yup, there was indeed a Holdsworth "Special" model. In fact they used that same font for their model decals and placed in same spot on TT.
Holdsworth Special | Retrobike
Would be interesting to know if your frame has a 40" wheelbase and 73 deg angles as described in catalog on Kilgariff's site for '82 Special model. Yours doesn't have fender eyelets as in catalog, perhaps a special request to not braze on? British bikes often did have more clearance to allow for option of fenders. I have seen a couple of Holdsworth Special frames on this site converted to 650B. If you look at '82 price list you will see where Holdsworth "Special" did indeed come in a steel blue pearl.

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Old 11-26-15, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by allend
Holdsworth Special | Retrobike
Would be interesting to know if your frame has a 40" wheelbase and 73 deg angles as described in catalog on Kilgariff's site for '82 Special model. Yours doesn't have fender eyelets as in catalog, perhaps a special request to not braze on? British bikes often did have more clearance to allow for option of fenders. I have seen a couple of Holdsworth Special frames on this site converted to 650B. If you look at '82 price list you will see where Holdsworth "Special" did indeed come in a steel blue pearl.
Hard for me to determine angles but they appear parallel. This frame has long dropouts so wheelbase of 40"-41" is the range. Measured CtC: ST = 59, TT = 57, HT = 17.5, CS = 43 - 44. Front-Center is a relatively short 60cm, so the handling should be quick for such long chainstays. No eyelets, no braze-on for DT shifters either; but yes on BB cable guides + bottle bracket + TT guides and CS brake route.

If it makes any difference this frame was pulled for the 'Harding' rebranding and if they differentiated Irish vs USA Hardings, this was probably for the USA market.

Given the long CS and generous fork clearance, it will likely be fitted with the fattest 700c tires I can fit, 30mm smooth maybe 32 (likely no room for even small nobs) for off-road rides. No fenders wanted, as I've got a wet bike.
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Old 11-26-15, 08:36 PM
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Maybe a small braze-on stop underside of DT to secure clip on shifters? Should have no trouble with 700c 32's. Here's '82 catalog info pirated from nKilgariff.com:
https://www.nkilgariff.com/HoldsCats/...olds82_2_3.jpg
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Old 01-14-17, 03:07 AM
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Doug, you sent me a private message re how Harding frames built by Holdsworth were numbered - I don't have enough posts to read or respond privately so I responded in the other thread. I happened to visit Charlie today and just after I left I remembered the email with your question and called him back.

Generally: There were Harding's built in Ireland by, or overseen by, Charlie's brother and that is where they were sold. Charlie only made 10 frames over here - and the number 10 because when he was buying his tubing sets the price break was at 10 sets of tubing. Then business was too busy to focus on frame building.

The Holdsworth bikes were Harding specs licensed to Holdsworth - so angles and dimensions could be different from other Holdsworth lines. On serial numbering for the Holdsworth Hardings - they were production stamped by Holdsworth and Charlie simply doesn't recall whether he or his brother requested a Harding specific serial number series or sequencing. In fact he said he might have to go check his own bike (he has and still rides a Harding) to see if it sparked a memory.

That's all I got for you. If he moves a little more into the computer age I'll direct him to these forums and maybe he'll have more info.
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Old 01-14-17, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by GCBM
Doug, you sent me a private message re how Harding frames built by Holdsworth were numbered - I don't have enough posts to read or respond privately so I responded in the other thread. I happened to visit Charlie today and just after I left I remembered the email with your question and called him back.

Generally: There were Harding's built in Ireland by, or overseen by, Charlie's brother and that is where they were sold. Charlie only made 10 frames over here - and the number 10 because when he was buying his tubing sets the price break was at 10 sets of tubing. Then business was too busy to focus on frame building.

The Holdsworth bikes were Harding specs licensed to Holdsworth - so angles and dimensions could be different from other Holdsworth lines. On serial numbering for the Holdsworth Hardings - they were production stamped by Holdsworth and Charlie simply doesn't recall whether he or his brother requested a Harding specific serial number series or sequencing. In fact he said he might have to go check his own bike (he has and still rides a Harding) to see if it sparked a memory.

That's all I got for you. If he moves a little more into the computer age I'll direct him to these forums and maybe he'll have more info.

Thank you for posting this information.
Tell Charlie - there is another Harding (not Irish) on the C&V Forum that enjoys riding his Harding/Holdsworth.
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Old 01-14-17, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by GCBM
Doug, you sent me a private message re how Harding frames built by Holdsworth were numbered - I don't have enough posts to read or respond privately so I responded in the other thread. I happened to visit Charlie today and just after I left I remembered the email with your question and called him back.

Generally: There were Harding's built in Ireland by, or overseen by, Charlie's brother and that is where they were sold. Charlie only made 10 frames over here - and the number 10 because when he was buying his tubing sets the price break was at 10 sets of tubing. Then business was too busy to focus on frame building.

The Holdsworth bikes were Harding specs licensed to Holdsworth - so angles and dimensions could be different from other Holdsworth lines. On serial numbering for the Holdsworth Hardings - they were production stamped by Holdsworth and Charlie simply doesn't recall whether he or his brother requested a Harding specific serial number series or sequencing. In fact he said he might have to go check his own bike (he has and still rides a Harding) to see if it sparked a memory.

That's all I got for you. If he moves a little more into the computer age I'll direct him to these forums and maybe he'll have more info.
Great to hear Charlie is still around! We took a trip down to L.A. for Xmas and I stopped by his old storefront to snap a pic for another Northwest transplant that used to hang out at Charlie's in the 70's and early 80's.

Charlie was really good to me back then.....

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Old 01-14-17, 01:01 PM
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Otis, We probably ran into each other - I used to work at another shop in West L.A. in late 70's while at UCLA. But Doug (Dudla), who worked at Charlie's at the time, saw me drop my wallet while riding on campus and chased me back to my shop - that was the beginning of the end. I visited at Charlie's in my free time until I switched shops - and I was there until late 80's.

I'll have to show him these threads so he sees that Hardings from the old days are still out there. Problem for me was by the time I was there he had no more Harding's in my size (needed a 57 or 58) - but he did have a gold anodized Alan Competition frame set on the wall that sang the siren's song - still riding that today as my primary bike (minus the fork that had both blades snap on me about a year ago).

I still visit when I'm in the neighborhood to check in - and to borrow tools only he has and scavenge through old parts he held onto - mostly used parts that some of our more well-heeled clientele would switch out at the first notice of a creak or a smudge. It used to crack me up because Charlie was the type to tell them they didn't need to replace even though it was in his interest to make another sale - and then they would insist. More parts that went into his black hole of used parts that would come out years later when someone needed something that wasn't readily available before widespread internet searching and shopping. Now I get to scavenge those same old used parts.
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Old 01-14-17, 05:33 PM
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GCBM

Many thanks for the reply. This is very helpful in understanding how Holdsworth numbered their "special" builds. During early 70's it looks like they had a separate 4 digit system allotted to frames built specifically for outside shops. By 75 looks like they fell under same six digit system as all their other frames. Will be helpful to dwscrimshaw@bti who has posted thread "Holdsworth Frame Numbers" with serial number data and predicition graphs.
https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...UZYSTNKZkN4TmM

Great to talk to someone with first hand experience!

Doug

Originally Posted by GCBM
Doug, you sent me a private message re how Harding frames built by Holdsworth were numbered - I don't have enough posts to read or respond privately so I responded in the other thread. I happened to visit Charlie today and just after I left I remembered the email with your question and called him back.

Generally: There were Harding's built in Ireland by, or overseen by, Charlie's brother and that is where they were sold. Charlie only made 10 frames over here - and the number 10 because when he was buying his tubing sets the price break was at 10 sets of tubing. Then business was too busy to focus on frame building.

The Holdsworth bikes were Harding specs licensed to Holdsworth - so angles and dimensions could be different from other Holdsworth lines. On serial numbering for the Holdsworth Hardings - they were production stamped by Holdsworth and Charlie simply doesn't recall whether he or his brother requested a Harding specific serial number series or sequencing. In fact he said he might have to go check his own bike (he has and still rides a Harding) to see if it sparked a memory.

That's all I got for you. If he moves a little more into the computer age I'll direct him to these forums and maybe he'll have more info.
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Old 01-14-17, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by GCBM
Otis, We probably ran into each other - I used to work at another shop in West L.A. in late 70's while at UCLA. But Doug (Dudla), who worked at Charlie's at the time, saw me drop my wallet while riding on campus and chased me back to my shop - that was the beginning of the end. I visited at Charlie's in my free time until I switched shops - and I was there until late 80's.

I'll have to show him these threads so he sees that Hardings from the old days are still out there. Problem for me was by the time I was there he had no more Harding's in my size (needed a 57 or 58) - but he did have a gold anodized Alan Competition frame set on the wall that sang the siren's song - still riding that today as my primary bike (minus the fork that had both blades snap on me about a year ago).

I still visit when I'm in the neighborhood to check in - and to borrow tools only he has and scavenge through old parts he held onto - mostly used parts that some of our more well-heeled clientele would switch out at the first notice of a creak or a smudge. It used to crack me up because Charlie was the type to tell them they didn't need to replace even though it was in his interest to make another sale - and then they would insist. More parts that went into his black hole of used parts that would come out years later when someone needed something that wasn't readily available before widespread internet searching and shopping. Now I get to scavenge those same old used parts.
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Old 01-14-17, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Otis
Are you Gordon?

Yes indeed I am ... and now I'm feeling anxious trying to figure out which of the regular crowd you are, lol.
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Old 01-14-17, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Otis
Are you Gordon?
and I saw your Drillium page and wonder if you were one of those I was drilling out cranks, chain rings and levers for way back when.
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Old 01-14-17, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by GCBM
and I saw your Drillium page and wonder if you were one of those I was drilling out cranks, chain rings and levers for way back when.
Nah, I was a complete neophyte then. You and Charlie taught me everything about road cycling at the time! I worked down the street at Rhino Records. I'll PM you my email.
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Old 07-16-18, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by GCBM
Doug, you sent me a private message re how Harding frames built by Holdsworth were numbered - I don't have enough posts to read or respond privately so I responded in the other thread. I happened to visit Charlie today and just after I left I remembered the email with your question and called him back.

Generally: There were Harding's built in Ireland by, or overseen by, Charlie's brother and that is where they were sold. Charlie only made 10 frames over here - and the number 10 because when he was buying his tubing sets the price break was at 10 sets of tubing. Then business was too busy to focus on frame building.

The Holdsworth bikes were Harding specs licensed to Holdsworth - so angles and dimensions could be different from other Holdsworth lines. On serial numbering for the Holdsworth Hardings - they were production stamped by Holdsworth and Charlie simply doesn't recall whether he or his brother requested a Harding specific serial number series or sequencing. In fact he said he might have to go check his own bike (he has and still rides a Harding) to see if it sparked a memory.

That's all I got for you. If he moves a little more into the computer age I'll direct him to these forums and maybe he'll have more info.
Sorry to resurrect this thread I know it's been a while but I now find myself with a Harding bike and I'm trying to find some answers. You seem like the person who may be able to help.
heres some photos of my new friend and a link to the thread where I'm doing what I can to discern its mysterious nature haha
It seems to be an entry level model, given its tubeset and its stamped dropouts, at least so I'm told. I'm curious what types of models Harding offered and where this lands.
thanks!
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage-bicycles-whats-worth-appraisals/1149563-harding-road-bike.html


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Old 07-16-18, 07:35 PM
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Looks like the Holdsworth Championship, perhaps a precursor to Elan, which was only in Kilgariff's Holdsworth catalogue for '78. (Can't find a '79 catalogue but there is a recently likely identified '79 Championship discussed on Retrobike. However number doesn't fit, unless 4 is actually a 1 and then # 011999 would place frame as a c.1978. I agree kinda looks like a poorly stamped 4 and perhaps I'm stretching here but may be worthwhile to scrape a bit of paint off or pull fork stem if still in doubt.

If a definite 041999 making it a c.1982 then perhaps it was a special order by Charlie Harding. Holdsworth branded Harding frames maintained the Holdsworthy factory numbers, although special orders were often built in a separate area of factory. It has been described that when ordering from Holdsworth, Harding often requested particular specs so I suppose it might be possible that he ordered a special bunch of earlier model Championship frames for rebranding? Though the cable routing style on BB and chain stay appears earlier than c.82. Appears GCBM hasn't been active for a while, but hopefully will comment.

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What model is my Holdsworth? | Retrobike
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Old 07-16-18, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by allend
Looks like the Holdsworth Championship, perhaps a precursor to Elan, which was only in Kilgariff's Holdsworth catalogue for '78. (Can't find a '79 catalogue but there is a recently likely identified '79 Championship discussed on Retrobike. However number doesn't fit, unless 4 is actually a 1 and then # 011999 would place frame as a c.1978. I agree kinda looks like a poorly stamped 4 and perhaps I'm stretching here but may be worthwhile to scrape a bit of paint off or pull fork stem if still in doubt.

If a definite 041999 making it a c.1982 then perhaps it was a special order by Charlie Harding. Holdsworth branded Harding frames maintained the Holdsworthy factory numbers, although special orders were often built in a separate area of factory. It has been described that when ordering from Holdsworth, Harding often requested particular specs so I suppose it might be possible that he ordered a special bunch of earlier model Championship frames for rebranding? Though the cable routing style on BB and chain stay appears earlier than c.82. Appears GCBM hasn't been active for a while, but hopefully will comment.

Doug
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_atr...57600179790468
What model is my Holdsworth? | Retrobike
Wow! Thank you so much for your response!
If the components are to be believed(which I know is not always on point, especially if it was ordered as a frame and then out together at a later date) then the bike is an 81-82. Myself and a few others were trying to nail down the date in the linked forum.
was this model always 531? Mine seems to be a hi ten steel main frame given its tru-wel sticker. This one doesnt look to have the derailleur claw mount like mine does.

Picture of my rear derailur claw mount and the stamped dropouts


Tru-wel decal
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Old 07-16-18, 07:56 PM
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I'll be sure to check closer on the BB and I was looking to pull the fork eventually and see what the SN there too.
I am LOVING learning the history of these frames. I feel like I've stumbled upon a pretty unique find.
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Old 07-17-18, 09:30 AM
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That link was super helpful! I was having a heck of a time trying to find a Claude Butler catalouge from that time. I found a couple that seem like they could work.
Edit: it seems like mine is a 1981 Mystiuqe as that year matches my set up and that year the mystuiqe only had 531 forks just like mine.
thanks for the help!

The CB Mystuiqe seems to be the exactly the same bike EXCEPT for the full 531 tubeset on this one. That keeps tripping me up as mine seems to be hi-ten steel. But boy does this look exactly the same.


Description seems quite close. It even specifies that the mystique came with 531 forks. Which seems to imply the body is a differnt grade, which would match my set up.

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Old 07-17-18, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by allend
Looks like the
If a definite 041999 making it a c.1982 then perhaps it was a special order by Charlie Harding. Holdsworth branded Harding frames maintained the Holdsworthy factory numbers, although special orders were often built in a separate area of factory. It has been described that when ordering from Holdsworth, Harding often requested particular specs so I suppose it might be possible that he ordered a special bunch of earlier model Championship frames for rebranding?
I have been very curious since finding this bike. How often did Harding do rebranding? Do you have any idea how many they put out a year? I'm just curious how rare a bike like this is, I cant find another model with this branding like it anywhere.
I'm not interested in resale. I just love the history and the story of it.
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Old 07-17-18, 01:12 PM
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I really know little more than what is in GCBM's post elsewhere in this thread and what I have learned re other Harding frames in working with Dave Scrimshaw, collecting and making sense of Holdsworthy serial numbers. If you go to his Excel data base (it helps to have MS Office version) you will see other Harding branded frames (as well as other shop brands) during early half of 70's that used special 4D numbers (separate from larger 5D system) for Factory made to measure frames and frames built for smaller shop branding. After move in 1975 to Oakfield Road location a new 6 digit system, always beginning with 0('s) was adopted and other branding, made to measure builds and Clauds were all lumped together (as your frame).

I have never read anything re volume of Hardings badged Holdsworths sold, but I don't think I've seen a Harding that was not a Holdsworthy factory build. (prob only less than 10 that I've seen). Also one must remember that these frames were built to Harding's specs so may not fit exactly the measurements (hard to appreciate) or have braze-ons that are entirely similar to catalogue models. So might be difficult to slot in as a clone of a particular catalogue model as Championship or Mystique. Although the majority of Harding Holdsworths I've seen are higher end frames ie clones of Special model or Pro. there is little doubt that he also had demand for more "economical" frames and probably gave specs for a bunch of frames as yours. On Dave's Excel spreadsheet there is a Harding with a c1981 number that does look similar to yours. The Excel sheet has links as reference, the one similar to yours includes comments by GCBM who worked at Harding's small shop:
197* Harding? Holdsworth rebrand? Any thoughts?

Dave Scrimshaw's link:
https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/f...UZYSTNKZkN4TmM
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Old 07-17-18, 01:16 PM
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PS: Your lugs I believe are Prugnat 62S and were frequently used in Holdsworthy models.
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Old 07-17-18, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg
Late to the party...

There's a widespread misconception among many US bike fanciers that there was something sacred and holy about the classic European frame builders and component makers.

Bike shops and frame builders regularly farmed out work to outside sources especially during the bike boom era of the early 70s. They were businessmen and were far more interested in selling products than creating sacred collector objects!

The Brits were especially bad about that with the famous Italian marques not far behind.

Many well known British frames were made by contract builders and in the same note many of the bigger companies produced frames for other shops or brands.

No chins in the family, inbreeding was rampant!

It's quite possible that the bike in question was made at one of the various Holdsworth facilities.

Holdsworth as well as Mercian and all of the bigger name British frame builders produced frames of many different quality levels. Reynolds 531 frames with cheap stamped steel dropouts. Nice looking frames with cheap tubing and fancy dropouts and so on.

A number of years back I bought a Holdsworth on US eBay that the seller was trying to pass off as a Team Professional. I knew it wasn't but I bought it anyway because I liked the orange and kingfisher blue Team kit.

I figured that if it was a bad riding bike I could part it out and use the components on other bikes.

It took me a number of months of researching but I finally figured out what the bike or at least the frame was.



Because of some weird tax laws in the UK many bikes were sold as bare frames and then assembled with the buyer's choice of components.

The bike that I bought had a 1973 WF Holdsworth Competizione frame cobbled together into an interesting frankenbike.

The 1974 WF Holdsworth catalog described the Competizione frame as "Built with good quality tubing these frame are designed for racing and are ideal for the young enthusiast". In other words an entry level racing frame!

During the 70s Holdsworth didn't use tubing decals on their frames for the domestic UK market unless requested.

At best the frame on my Competizione is made of straight gage Reynolds 531 tubing. It could be made of some lighter weight gas pipe tubing too.

I venture that it's well over 26 lbs. It takes a 26.6mm or 26.8mm seatpost which indicates the tubing is quite thick.

It rides and handles pretty well so I decided to keep it.

Here's some Flickr pics:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/2826722...7627858982976/

About 6 months later I picked up a real 1973 Holdsworth Team Professional frame, serial number 350xx.

The serial number on the Competizione is 0041???



Chas. verktyg
This post is extremely misleading and incorrect. Weird tax laws (sic), first of all check your facts. The tax was purchase tax and was applied to luxury goods until 1973, where bicycles are concerned it was cheaper - for the buyer - to purchase a bare frame which did not attract purchase tax where a complete bicycle would - this is how my Wife's Father purchased his Hobbs of Barbican.

Some very well respected shops did not build their own frames and usually had a relationship with a local builder. For example Geoffrey Butler, a highly regarded shop in Surrey could supply Roberts built frames but with GBs name affixed. Other shops such as Youngs (a London shop) had Bill Philbrook build their top end frames).

The Holdsworth factory (e.g) did produce trade frames, this is very different from what I've mentioned above as someone like Roberts would supply a frame to Geoffrey Butler on a bespoke rather than trade basis - I trust the nuance is clear.

The comment about tubing decals is also misleading, Hetchins, in the early days did not fix tubing decals unless at the customer's request - when they did it was often affixed to the rear of the seat tube - as it is on my '47 Super Special.

And ideal for the young enthusiast does NOT mean a true racing frame !!! The comment about in breeding is offensive. Finally, the finest British frame builders did NOT produce frames of varying quality - Ron Cooper, Gillott, Charlie Roberts, Bill Philbrook, Ephgrave, Allin - six of the finest and not one built a bad frame.

John.

Last edited by hobbs1951; 07-17-18 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 07-18-18, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by allend
PS: Your lugs I believe are Prugnat 62S and were frequently used in Holdsworthy models.
thanks for the info!
That was really helpful. I think I'm quite satisfied with " somewhere near a champion or mystuiqe with slight differences due to ordering personal specs from the shop" haha
I just love finding a self branded bike and digging into its history. I did the same thing with Dave Quinn(now bike factory) bike.
I'm doing some work on it but really enjoying the ride so far. Gears are a little rough with the non indexed shifting but I think with a new chain and some new cables it will be much better.
I'll post pics once I get back up to condition.
Im even considering turning it into a three speed given its hi-ten frame body and lack of a rear derailur hanger (its got a claw on derailur).
I'm thinking given its Irish heritage it wouldn't be total blasmphamey to make into a three speeder haha
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Old 07-24-18, 01:14 AM
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I finally pulled the fork out for a headset cleaning and double checked my serial while I was there. It is that same as before 041999. So 81 it seems? I havnt gotten into many forks but for those of you have had pulled the forks out of your holdsworthy bikes does this paint look right to you? It seems odd for the paint to go up inside the head like this. There is some drip coming down from the top in on the frame itself also. Not sure if other models had this with paint but it has me wondering if this is normal for a frame painted in factory.
Just curious as always. Sorry to keep posting about this, I just really enjoy the mystique of a hard to pin down origin.
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Old 07-24-18, 05:38 AM
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Bikes: 1903 24 spd Sunbeam, 1927 Humber, 3 1930 Raleighs, 2 1940s Sunbeams, 2 1940s Raleighs, Rudge, 1950s Robin Hood, 1958 Claud Butler, 2 1973 Colnago Supers, Eddie Merckx, 2 1980 Holdsworth, EG Bates funny TT bike, another 6 or so 1990s bikes

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Paint on Steerer

Both my Holdsworth have this same amount of paint on the steerer. Obviously they were painted separately and then mated.
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Old 07-24-18, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Johno59
Both my Holdsworth have this same amount of paint on the steerer. Obviously they were painted separately and then mated.
cool just curious thanks!
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