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A classic from Cooper

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A classic from Cooper

Old 11-02-11, 10:45 PM
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DMNHCAGrandPrix
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A classic from Cooper

When I first got interested in bikes in early 70s, the top of the line Raleigh Professional with it's Victor Fastback seat stays was an object of extreme lust. I saved money for a year and a half, and was able to afford a Raleigh Grand Prix instead.

Last week I saw a bike on Craigslist that stopped me in my tracks. Not a Raleigh. Definitely English however. And with an unusual seat cluster and attention to detail that went far beyond anything I was used to seeing in any production bike. I went up to take a look this weekend, went for a test ride, and brought home a beautiful Ron Cooper.


From the serial number on the bottom bracket, and the nine speed Campagnolo Record group on the bike, I believe the frame was built in 1997 and equipped in 1998. Ron began his frame building career in 1947 at Gillott Cycles in London, and set up his own essentially one-man shop in 1970. He is particularly well known for using careful mitering and freehand brazing instead of jigs. When you personally hand build every frame that has your name on it, you don't produce nearly as many bikes as builders who set up larger production facilities. However Ron had 50 years of frame building experience when he built this bike in 1997. It is a rare pleasure to see, own, and ride a bike built by someone who began producing frames before Fausto Coppi won his first Tour de France. Still cleaning it up and dialing it in, but already grinning from ear to ear after my first few rides on a modern classic.
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Old 11-02-11, 10:51 PM
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Whoa.
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Old 11-02-11, 10:53 PM
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Drive train. Notice lugged drop outs both front and rear.

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Old 11-02-11, 10:59 PM
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Unusual rear seat stay cluster, combining lugs at top tube, a single "fast back" join on seat tube, and seat stays that connect just above rear brake.

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Old 11-02-11, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DMNHCAGrandPrix View Post
Unusual rear seat stay cluster, combining lugs at top tube, a single "fast back" join on seat tube, and seat stays that connect just above rear brake.
This is just awesome! That, the lugged dropouts and the brazed "head-tube badge", are the perfect blend of artistic/functional craftsmanship without any over the top gaudiness. I'm loving how the lug and brazing blend in that seat cluster, very cool! Thanks for sharing this unique machine.

-Andy
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Old 11-02-11, 11:56 PM
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That bike is really a work of art. Nice find! I am sure you will be grinning from ear to ear for a long time to come enjoying the ride of that beautiful bike. It may have taken a long time, but you definitely have a lust worthy bike now! Everything about it says class.
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Old 11-03-11, 01:09 AM
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Thanks for the nice comments. Here's the last batch of the night.




More info on Ron Cooper and his bikes and methods can be found at the site below. However, I needed the "WayBack Machine" to be able to view the interesting collection of articles and interviews.

https://web.archive.org/web/200904010...operabout.html
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Old 11-03-11, 02:00 AM
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Wow ! I love the seatstay design.
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Old 11-03-11, 04:44 AM
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Sounds and looks like a great bicycle.

All kinds of interesting details on this one.

So, were each of his bikes "custom" orders?

What tubeset is indicated on this particular bicycle?

I know very little about the brand and this one makes me quite curious.



....and the condition looks to be outstanding.
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Old 11-03-11, 05:04 AM
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Amazing find! and full record too, awesome. The attention to detail is fenomenal on this bike, judging from the pics. Many happy miles!
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Old 11-03-11, 05:24 AM
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This a shining example of how artisanship surpasses 'production' ,and how personalization of the process of design and execution turns a machine into a work of art. A beautiful selection of group components really sets it off.

One question — how do I get a saddle that that one?
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Old 11-03-11, 06:50 AM
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That really is a beaut! One of the nicest Ron Coopers I've ever seen.

What size is it. Look about a 58-59 CC.
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Old 11-03-11, 07:05 AM
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Wow - you scored big time. Ron Cooper is a highly regarded British builder - your pics explain why. Timeless beauty.
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Old 11-03-11, 07:21 AM
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I had those designs in my frame that built this summer. Even with the lugged fork dropouts. The seat tube lug is a little different but the wishbone is a lot alike. Very cool find and definitely nice ride.
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Old 11-03-11, 07:39 AM
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Whoa! Beautiful bike.

It's not vintage, get it outa here! :^)
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Old 11-03-11, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
Sounds and looks like a great bicycle.

All kinds of interesting details on this one.

So, were each of his bikes "custom" orders?

What tubeset is indicated on this particular bicycle?

I know very little about the brand and this one makes me quite curious.



....and the condition looks to be outstanding.
Ron Cooper did build to order, and some of those were orders from bike shops who ordered a few at a time, say 6.
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Old 11-03-11, 08:06 AM
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Wow. I love mono seatstays and this one really takes the cake.
Very nice, abnd nicely photographed. I hope you ride the hell out of it.
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Old 11-03-11, 08:25 AM
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As Joey lawrence would say - WHOAAAAA. I love everything about that bike - from the lines to the little flourishes.
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Old 11-03-11, 08:29 AM
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Great find, I hope you get many years of enjoyment.
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Old 11-03-11, 08:41 AM
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My Cooper is about 20 years older with more classic elements although the monostay in the rear is a beautiful feature (my Proctor has this).

Have handled a lot of rather beautiful hand built bicycles in my life... nothing has ever come close to my Cooper for the exquisite attention to detail and they are as fast and smooth as they are beautiful.

It is no understatement when people say he is the greatest living frame builder.
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Old 11-03-11, 10:59 AM
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Stunning bike. As others have said, I love all the details and fastback arrangement. I also LOVE the color--reminds me of a Cinelli laser, though with more blue.
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Old 11-03-11, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Henry III View Post
I had those designs in my frame that built this summer.
Also a Cooper? Is it being built new, or are you putting parts on an older frame?
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Old 11-03-11, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by old_dreams View Post
What size is it. Look about a 58-59 CC.
I measure 57.5 cm for seat tube and 58 cm for top tube length (both center to center).
Seat tube angle appears to be about 72 degrees, and head tube angle a bit steeper (73.5 or 74).
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Old 11-03-11, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
So, were each of his bikes "custom" orders?
What tubeset is indicated on this particular bicycle?
There is no indication of tubing type on the frame. Ron Cooper has said in interviews that he uses a variety of tubing types, and often mixes and matches between sets when building a frame.

I suspect this particular bike was originally ordered through Bicycle Odyssey in Sausalito, a bike shop that has worked with Ron Cooper and displays and sells his frames.
https://www.classicrendezvous.com/Bik...le-Odyssey.htm

I may take a trip up to Sausalito and see if they can provide any more information on the history of this particular bike. The Craigslist seller was helping with the estate of the original owner, so did not know all the details of how the bike was ordered and built.
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Old 11-03-11, 12:22 PM
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I love it when people go sleuthing for the history of their bike....always makes for an interesting story. Best of luck!
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