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Who knows about Drysdales?

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Who knows about Drysdales?

Old 04-27-11, 06:18 AM
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tiger1964
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Who knows about Drysdales?

I have one but do not know much about them except what I was told verbally.

My brother rode his first race in 1960 (in front of the White House) as a teenager on one, allegedly a 1935 model, which he still has (track bike, obviously). He said it was a Red Devil model, I could not say as it had been repainted. Sorry, I was four at the time.

Fast forward to the late 90's, he's packing up to move out of state and I helped with the bikes (17 at the time?). I'm a bit taller than he, and as I picked up one I jokingly mentioned it looked more my size than his; he paused for a moment, and said "take it". it has been in my (dehumidified) basement ever since, it needs "restoration".

He got it in the mid-1970's, I recall his 200-mile trip to pick it up from an older guy he knew as a kid; I think it might have been the original owner. I was told it's a 1958 "Grey Ghost", where do they come up with these names or are they really the names at all? Well, it is grey/silver, after all, almost looks like Hammerite finish paint; at least the Drysdale decals are still on this one. Road bike (gee, I need to take a digital picture someday), Campy Gran Sport rear shifter, Gnutti steel cotterless cranks, Mafacs, I cannot remember the rest of the componentry and do not have the bike in front of me.

All I've heard about Mr. Drysdale (Albert? Alfred?) was that he was based in NY and learned his craft from someone named Kopsky (and I've been shown once, many decades ago, a track fork I was told was made by Kopsky). All hearsay, I cannot substantiate. Anyone know the brand more intimately?

What I really need to do is somehow dedicate the man-hours to make the bike presentable. That said, following a few topics on this forum reveal that others have a more rigid definition of restoation than I'm used to. I was planning on stripping it down to bare metal, painting it however I want (I'm actually pretty good with a rattle can) contact my wife's friend who is a graphic artist and claimed he could duplicate the decals from digital photos, clean up and replace/upgrade components (as in, if I like it and it's old, it goes on the bike). This would not pass muster in a musuem, more like what a car enthusiast would call 'resto-rod". Well, no harm done - yet.
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Old 04-27-11, 06:22 AM
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Pictures?
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Old 04-27-11, 06:32 AM
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Some good info here: http://www.ebykr.com/2006/06/drysdale/

and here: http://www.bikecult.com/works/archiv...rysdaleTN.html

and some photos here: http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA/drysdale_alvin.htm

I'll register my unsolicited vote to leave the original paint and 'patina' untouched, unless there is serious bubbling rust destroying the integrity of the frame.
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Old 04-27-11, 06:33 AM
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Alvin Drysdale.

The early ones are labeled "Velox" and the later ones are labeled "Drysdale." I have an early track bike, low end model called "Alvin."

I am no expert, but I've been trying to learn what I can about Drysdales for a few months now. Drysdale is one of very few American hand-made bicycle makers of that era. I don't suppose there's many of us that can think of a half dozen names. American handmade bikes from the 50's are so rare that people who collect them are also rare; oddly, this seems to reduce their value in comparison to much more common bikes of a similar quality from other countries. At any rate, I assure you what you have is a highly desirable bike, worth a very careful restoration, and there are a lot of people who would be thrilled to do that. If you have any second thoughts about that, if you're unsure of whether you really want to commit yourself to that, you probably shouldn't do it.

Please show us pictures before you strip the paint off! If the decals are still present, it's probably a very bad idea to repaint. If you have any concern for the bike's value, in terms of money, repainting it reduces the value considerably. Even aside from that, we tend to frown on repaints here, so be prepared for a chorus singing "don't you dare paint that!"
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Old 04-27-11, 07:03 AM
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That pic of Mr. Drysdale hold that huge frame is classic. Great.
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Old 04-27-11, 07:23 AM
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Good info here. At least the links confirmed "Red Devil' if not "Grey Ghost".

Originally Posted by rhm View Post

Please show us pictures before you strip the paint off! If the decals are still present, it's probably a very bad idea to repaint. If you have any concern for the bike's value, in terms of money, repainting it reduces the value considerably. Even aside from that, we tend to frown on repaints here, so be prepared for a chorus singing "don't you dare paint that!"
I am really bad at taking pictures; I have a digital camera, just got back from a trip, took zero pics. I will eventually photo the bike.

I plan to keep the bike forever, my nephew or whoever inherits it can take the value hit. That said, I'm already of two minds: one of a brilliant, glistening bike looking like-new, on (horrors) wheels re-laced to 700c and everything rechromed; the other a cleaned up version of what it is now, just new tires and cables.
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Old 04-27-11, 11:20 AM
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Without pictures it is hard to make a decision about a repaint. I prefer to leave the original paint if at all possible. It spent a lot of time earning that patina. I don't have a problem with new wheels and components to make it something you will actually use. Unless something is going into a museum, I think it should be something you enjoy. With that said, I wouldn't modify the frame or get rid of the original components. It may end up in someones museum some day and the original components would be next to impossible to find.


Oh, and the Drysdale's lived next door to the Clampets in Beverly Hills.
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Old 04-27-11, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Good info here. At least the links confirmed "Red Devil' if not "Grey Ghost".



I am really bad at taking pictures; I have a digital camera, just got back from a trip, took zero pics. I will eventually photo the bike.

I plan to keep the bike forever, my nephew or whoever inherits it can take the value hit. That said, I'm already of two minds: one of a brilliant, glistening bike looking like-new, on (horrors) wheels re-laced to 700c and everything rechromed; the other a cleaned up version of what it is now, just new tires and cables.
Unless the paint is completely shot and there's rust everywhere, DON'T REPAINT IT! If you do that, it can NEVER be original again, and in my book originality (and patina) counts for way more than pretty.

SP
Bend, OR
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Old 04-27-11, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jeepr View Post
I don't have a problem with new wheels and components to make it something you will actually use. Unless something is going into a museum, I think it should be something you enjoy. With that said, I wouldn't modify the frame or get rid of the original components. It may end up in someones museum some day and the original components would be next to impossible to find.
Yes, roughly how I treated my car -- excepting the non-original paint. Enough changes, the ones you can see are period changes, and I saved everything I took off. Did NOT cut anything (OK, a few drilled holes for a roll bar), it can more of less be changed back.

Well, I'll need to make a choice. Maybe take it apart, clean up the paint, etc., the best I can, and ask myself "can I live with that?" and decide whther or not to be a spray-can barbarian. It'll be a while, need to reassemble the house and my wife's bike (other topic) comes first... but might be a fun project.
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Old 04-29-11, 08:42 AM
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Update: Took a quick look at the bike last night; yet again, didn't think to take the camera along. Uh, it does not look good for a patina-preserving restoration, guys. Actually, the painted surfaces are not as bad as I thought and maybe polishing compound (and patience) could save it. The chrome, alas, is horrid. Stays and forks show little chrome, unless the corrosion buffs off it would be one pathetic finish. I'm afraid to touch the crank arms due to the peeling -- I've had "chrome splinters" before and they hurt. The Gran Sport RD looks like it should clean up nice.
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Old 04-29-11, 09:29 AM
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That chrome does sound pretty bad, but I still want photos. The chrome on my Schwinn New World was so terrible I resorted to rattlecan chrome paint, which looks pretty good in photos but wouldn't fool anyone. It's a cheesy half-fix, obviously... but worth considering, if you can stand it.

I'm curious about the decals, especially. In the photos I've seen, Drysdale/Velox bikes have the model name in both the head badge and on a single decal on the top of the downtube. The model name is more prominent than the maker's name. So if you have any decal preserved, I'd have thought the model name would be pretty obvious. And as you've noticed, the name "Grey Ghost" parallels the name "Red Devil" so seems a pretty likely name.
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Old 04-29-11, 10:22 AM
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When I heard this, I immediately thought of Mahé Drysdale, four time world champion rower:
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