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Charlie Harding. to refinish or not to refinish... rebrand the frame question

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Charlie Harding. to refinish or not to refinish... rebrand the frame question

Old 07-14-11, 11:48 PM
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Charlie Harding. to refinish or not to refinish... rebrand the frame question

ok, so some might remember this Charlie Harding i picked up a little while back.

well it's been sitting ever since, but i'm now ready to get to work on it.

my question is: seeing as there is no real "collector" value, mainly because there's no official answer to who actually built these frames (although some speculate as i do that they are Holdsworth built), would it be so terrible to have it refinished and leave off all the Harding decals?

i'm not 100% set on what i want to do, whether it will include a re-chroming of the fork and stays or straight color, and whether or not it will be painted or powder coated (i've used a local powder coater who does amazing work), or something else


does it have some historical significance to anyone? i mean, there's almost no info online about him, it's not like he was a TdF winner or even a frame builder for that matter. he was a shop owner, as far as i can gather, who ordered high end frames from someplace in Cork, Ireland, built them up and slapped his name on them.

if you have any additional info on Harding and who might have built the frames he sold, please post what you know.


otherwise, i want to ride it, i want to refinish it, should i?



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Old 07-15-11, 12:30 AM
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As bad as the paint is... it's not really that bad looking. I'd say it's comparable to the condition of my Mercian. If it were mine, I would leave the paint and decals, clean the rust and build it up. The best part about my Mercian being beat up is I don't fret about keeping it shiny, it's actually very freeing!
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Old 07-15-11, 02:36 AM
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I think patina is a cool thing. Together with fine and well function components the bike will be awesome. Great to see that brand!
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Old 07-15-11, 02:51 AM
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Take lots of pictures of the decals and placement. Colors and other details. Then finish it any way you want. I would clean it up, and repaint it. the frame looks really nice.
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Old 07-15-11, 09:23 AM
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I'm with MKeller on this. You can fix up that paint pretty well, and it will look fine. I don't know anything about Charlie Harding either, beyond what you just told me, but I don't think that matters. The quality of the frame speaks for itself, and it is what it pretends to be. If you re-badge it with what you think it is (but can't prove it), then you shift the whole thing from something you know to something you don't know. A guaranteed Charlie Harding is, in my opinion, preferable to an alleged Holdsworth.

For what it's worth, I am in a similar position with my Fothergill. Fothergill was a bike shop. For much of the time he was in business, he had a frame shop in which excellent frames were made. Mine does not look like any other known bike from that shop, looks considerably older than the oldest known Fothergills, and so on. But the original frame decals clearly say Fothergill. So I replicated them. The decals on mine are like the decals that it had on it when it was new, or at least a lot newer. So is it really a Fothergill? I don't know, probably never will; but it's either that or a no-name.
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Old 07-15-11, 09:27 AM
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same deal with my "Jack Taylor". I plan to keep it as is, badged as a Taylor and all, and ride it. It might be a Taylor and it might not.
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Old 07-15-11, 09:32 AM
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cool, orange and has some character. I'd build it with some quirky lever operated derailleurs and keep it looking as is simply because i think it looks cool.

If you wanna refinish it you've got a pile of good reasons IMHO. #1 being that you want to refinish it.
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Old 07-15-11, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
As bad as the paint is... it's not really that bad looking. I'd say it's comparable to the condition of my Mercian. If it were mine, I would leave the paint and decals, clean the rust and build it up. The best part about my Mercian being beat up is I don't fret about keeping it shiny, it's actually very freeing!
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Old 07-15-11, 09:34 AM
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I think it's beautiful as-is
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Old 07-15-11, 09:35 AM
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wow, that would be a hard one for me ... it would be very cool to leave as is, cleaned up with a great component group on it.

Maybe build it, ride it, photograph it, then decide?

I'll be going thru the same process in less than a month so I'm all ears.

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Old 07-15-11, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
As bad as the paint is... it's not really that bad looking. I'd say it's comparable to the condition of my Mercian. If it were mine, I would leave the paint and decals, clean the rust and build it up. The best part about my Mercian being beat up is I don't fret about keeping it shiny, it's actually very freeing!
Agreed. That frame looks great.
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Old 07-15-11, 12:49 PM
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No question IMO, leave it how it is, it looks awesome.
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Old 07-15-11, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
If you re-badge it with what you think it is (but can't prove it), then you shift the whole thing from something you know to something you don't know. A guaranteed Charlie Harding is, in my opinion, preferable to an alleged Holdsworth.
just to clarify, as my title is confusing, I never intended on rebadging it as a Holdsworth. I agree that that would be a huge stretch seeing as there's no concrete evidence that that's who it's made by. I would have it refinished and left badgeless.

I'm starting to agree with everyone here. I've never actually risen the thing for any significant mileage. I think I'll build it up, ride it, and go from there.

I too like the paint color/character/patina, part of the reason why I posted.
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Old 07-15-11, 12:59 PM
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Ps. Anyone have a clamp on Super Record derailleur they want to sell or trade me?
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Old 07-15-11, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by shnibop View Post
Ps. Anyone have a clamp on Super Record derailleur they want to sell or trade me?
I'd keep the bike as-is, I love oddball bikes and as soon as it's repainted then it's lost all it's character. Second choice would be to restore it to original, but that's a heck of a lot of work.

I have a Campy SR front derailleur and Campy SR 26.8 seat post . . . and I'm thinking your Lotus Supreme frame looks cool . . .
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Old 07-15-11, 02:31 PM
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Once a Harding, always a harding. I'd rollit as is. Sweeet patina.
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Old 07-15-11, 02:33 PM
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touch it up. gently.
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Old 07-15-11, 08:37 PM
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Put some linseed oil on those bare spots and ride on!
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Old 07-15-11, 09:39 PM
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That tells me all I need to know if it were my frame.
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Old 07-15-11, 10:40 PM
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If it were mine, I'd build it, ride it, and see if I loved it. If I loved it and planned on keeping it around for a long time, I'd probably take lots of pictures, strip it myself, take pictures of that, at least one of them being a picture of it just half stripped, and then have it redone. That way it's pretty straight forward that it is what it is and you just had it redone. Then I'd have it refinished, either stock color with decals or another cool paint-job, but preferably with stock decals if it was monetarily realistic. If I didn't decide I loved the bike then I'd leave it be and just ride it for a little bit, or more likely, just take my parts back off of it and sell it the frame-set right away.

Upon looking again, I think I might leave the drive side stays chrome rather than paint over them if they were in somewhat decent condition, and see what you could do with the fork before repainting it. For some reason it only seems right to leave the fork chrome, and just from personal experience I really prefer a chrome stay. You'll get it repainted and end up chipping the paint on one of your first rides and being disappointed about botching your fresh paint job. That and chrome stays look cool anyway.

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Old 07-16-11, 09:44 AM
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Given that it seems to be a British bike, you ought to post this on the Classic Rendezvous list, as well as on the Retro Bike classic forum https://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=12

As for the CR list, the main "walking encyclopedia", Norris Lockley, is off to France for a couple weeks, so may not be logging on during this window of time. I'd bet he'll know this maker. In the meantime, there are other Brit bike experts there who might be able to fill you in.

I'm also restoring an unknown (in the US) British bike, and, with Norris' help, I'm discovering it was a major marque in the Yorkshire biking scene of the 50s and 60s. It's been enormous fun.

So, I also vote to make sure you photograph every single detail (repeatedly) if you think you want to refinish. But I also vote that you build it up and ride it a while first, as is. You may be pleased.

Cheers!
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Old 07-16-11, 10:11 AM
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I like your frame very much. Like others on this post, I like the character this frame displays as is. I recently purchased an unknown French frame and built it up. The paint looks just o.k. but no dings or cracks. Guess what, it fits and rides just great! Personally, I wouldn't repaint this beauty. Enjoy.
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Old 07-16-11, 10:48 AM
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Unless you can get the decals replace just like they are, i would not repaint, just touch it up aand polish the chrome
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