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Help ID this bike.

Old 06-28-11, 06:58 PM
  #1  
abarth
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Help ID this bike.

I picked this up today. Interesting bike with 600 gruppo. Looks like it was repainted. Downtube decal says JBrittain. Nothing interesting with that name on Google. Probably early 80's. It has English threaded BB. "12" on the bottom of the BB shell, no other marking on the bike. Shimano dropouts, eyelet in front and none for the rear. There are 5 splines inside the steerer tube (Tange?). I am thinking it is a custom built from a small builder or Japanese production. Craftsmanship is OK...a little sloppy. Any idea?











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Old 06-28-11, 10:55 PM
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unworthy1
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I don't think it's production, think it's a custom frame from somebody who was still kind of green, probably American. The frame bits and style choices are kind of hodge-podge, but the steerer with 5 splines is probably Columbus, and the fork crown is a European make. Very tight spacing between the seat stays: is it a 5-Speed (120mm) rear? Are the lugs Nervex Dubois, anyone?
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Old 06-28-11, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
I don't think it's production, think it's a custom frame from somebody who was still kind of green, probably American. The frame bits and style choices are kind of hodge-podge, but the steerer with 5 splines is probably Columbus, and the fork crown is a European make. Very tight spacing between the seat stays: is it a 5-Speed (120mm) rear? Are the lugs Nervex Dubois, anyone?
Thanks unworthy. They do look like Nervex Dubois. The rear has a 123mm spacing. You are probably right about American built. I found this old thread about a custom builder in the late 70's name Jim Brittain from Spokane, WA. This is probably one of his bike. Does anyone know Jim Brittain and his contact info?
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Old 06-29-11, 12:18 AM
  #4  
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https://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/v/...ugan/brittain/

More info on him ^


https://mtbike.mountainzone.com/bikes...asp?bid=693145

Brittain's Cycle Sport
12510 E Sprague Ave
Spokane, WA
99216-0755
509-922-7466

that might be his contact info.... ^ the shop info seems really outdated.
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Old 06-29-11, 02:05 AM
  #5  
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Nice time capsule patina. I like finding 'em all dirty. Lol.
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Old 06-29-11, 10:21 AM
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Since there's still a shop with his name, you should contact that place and see if Jim is still around. He might want to see his #12 frame (and it probably IS his 12th) and he might have some history to share. The fact that he took Eisentraut's framebuilding class kind of explains the seat cluster (but, ahem, it's not up to the Old Man's level of craftsmanship).
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Old 07-05-11, 03:19 PM
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Not sure how I missed this. Jim Brittain was a great guy. Not sure if he was from California but his shop in Spokane WA was "our" LBS for quite a few years (we lived 60 miles from it). He sold Raleigh, Peugeot, Vitus frames, Olmo (I still dream about one of the pearl white models hanging in his shop that I couldn't afford). We bought the following from him that I can remember: Peugeot - one model with Carbolite 103 (my brothers), two PSV's, a Vitus 979 frame (that was repainted by my dad to look like his PSV to hide the fact from my mom that he had a new bike), a Nishiki for my sister and an 83 Raleigh Gran Prix - Reynolds 501. My dad also bought a Teledyne Titan (currently on my wall) from Jim and also a early 70's Peugeot PL8 (used as an indoor trainer for years). We recently bought a used Peugeot Triathlon for my sister that was also from his shop.

He was a very good mechanic but I wasn't aware he had built frames so it may have been before he owned the shop. From what my dad remembers he sold the shop in the late-80's/maybe early 90's to move to Alaska for missionary work or as a pastor. Looks like he was a pastor at Talkeetna Community Church but it's no longer operating. Might possibly still be in Talkeetna.

By the way, Abarth - if you don't want it I might have to take it off your hands.
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Old 07-05-11, 03:36 PM
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Nice bike! I hope to see it fixed up, and I hope to read a ride report, too.
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Old 11-06-12, 10:13 PM
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Update:

I've spent the better part of a year trying to track down Jim Brittain for Abarth so he can get some information on his bike. The good news is I was finally successful two nights ago. I had found someone with the same last name who had opened a bike shop in Puyallup, WA. The shop had a Facebook page (yes, there are benefits to FB it appears) and I sent the owner a message describing why I was looking for contact info for Jim. It turns out the owner of this new shop is Jim Brittain's son and he told me Jim had moved back to Spokane, WA and was the mechanic at one of the shops here in town.

I stopped by there tonight and had a great 30 minute conversation with Jim (and it could have gone longer had I not had to leave for dinner). I told him first that Abarth wanted to get info from him on the bike and he graciously provided his information which I passed on. It was a fantastic conversation. He remembers all 8 bikes that he sold my dad for our family in the 1980's (all still functioning) including the PSV's, Teledyne Titan and Vitus 979. He was working on a new Cervelo carbon aero road bike and said how it can be frustrating to work with the new equipment. In the "old" days you could take a bike out of the box including wheelset and have it put together and dialed in within a couple of hours. Some of these new bikes take an entire day to put together.

Jim said he started building his first couple of frames when he worked in a shop in California that Albert Eisentraut also worked at. He never had formal training and the first couple frames weren't successful but then progressed and got better. He took notes and watched Eisentraut to learn about frame building. When he moved to Spokane in 1971 he continued building frames and selling them. He would usually build with Reynolds 531 for the main tubes and Columbus or some other tubing for the fork and stays. He built one or two with Super Vitus. I commented how I'd love to have another Super Vitus bike again and he said it was too bad because up to a couple of years ago he still had a couple of Super Vitus tubesets that he'd bought from Eisentraut. In total Jim said he probably built around 100 frames.

Jim commutes daily about 17-18 miles on one of his bikes and said he'd like to start building frames again. When he was in Alaska he got into riding fat tire bikes like the Pugsly and he really wants to build a frame for one of those. He still has his vintage bikes including an early 70's Masi.

All in all I think we both loved going back in time and talking vintage steel.
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Last edited by scozim; 11-06-12 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 11-07-12, 07:54 AM
  #10  
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Scozim, great detective work and nice story to boot.
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Old 11-07-12, 08:10 AM
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+1,
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Old 11-07-12, 10:42 AM
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And, I just remembered he said one of his other bikes is a Rene Herse.
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