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Help appreciated in identifying this frame

Old 08-02-13, 12:25 AM
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capella lugs
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Help appreciated in identifying this frame

This is a frame my friend bought from an auction house - so there was no contact with the previous owner.
The frame is very light, and as the pics show it features Campagnolo dropouts and Nervex lugs.
It also has very long and fine rear fork stays. It has no identifying stickers, headbadge etc , but it came with an early Frejus headset – although the various features of the frame aren’t like any Frejus I can find online.

The top ends of the seatstays may be an identifying feature – I cant find anything matching these in online pics.
As seen in the photos, there's a small pulley that appears to be part of the original build, mounted on top of the bottom bracket.

The frame is very light – we haven’t weighed it on scales, but it is undoubtedly lightweight tubing. The other feature that stands out in riding it, is the quick steering. When I rode it up the street – I immediately thought of one of RandyJawa’s comments about an old Italian bike he rode , when he said –“The bike was quick, and the steering was even quicker – very typical of an Italian bike” (or words to that effect ). Any help with identifying would be appreciated . Cheers.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/99752202@N06/
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Old 08-02-13, 06:20 AM
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I don't know. But I can offer a few observations:

--Nervex lugs have a reenforced ring around the top and bottom of the head tube. Yours don't have this. So either it has been filed away, or they aren't Nervex lugs.

--English and Italian headset threads are close enough that one can interchange them. Not close enough that this is a good idea, but that's another matter. so the fact that the bike came with a Frejus headset does not mean it's Italian.

--the lamp bracket on the right side of the right fork blade was made for riding the bike on the left side of the street.

So whatever it is, I would start with the assumption that it was made in England, Australia, or New Zealand.

And a few questions:

Is the whole frame chromed?

What's the bottom bracket threading?

What's the seat post size?
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Old 08-02-13, 12:24 PM
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It's almost certainly a British (or Commonwealth) frame...since you're in NZ we have to allow for a local builder.
The lugs are a style of Nervex, but not nearly as popular a cut as the "Pro"(EDIT: these are Nervex Serie Leggere, 45/159, they did not have the reinforcing rings that the Pro 49/162 did), possible that the BB shell is also Nervex: how about a shot of the bottom BB shell?
I may have imagined it, but there could be a hole in the Campy DO for a return spring, making this a DO intended for a "Sport" Campy RD, which if true would help date it.
I have seen a similar fork crown but can't recall the make just now (EDIT: might be a Vagner or modified from a stock crown, but could just as well be something from EKLA or another make), I'll try to get info and update this if I do. Those stay eyes are also a good clue but nothing I can instantly ID.
Certainly a nice vintage frame and deserves some better components than the "dog's breakfast" it currently has...IMHO.

Edit 3: one thing that came up when I looked for info is that Frejus had a special place in the UK as one of the first Italian marques to gain a large market share due to early importing and marketing by a series of UK agents, who also brought in "Frejus" branded parts, including headsets. Importer also sponsored pro racing teams of domestic UK racers.

Last edited by unworthy1; 08-02-13 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 08-02-13, 03:30 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far - I cant get a photo just now, but I can confirm that the bottom bracket is stamped / cast with 'Nervex' and a serial number - and yes the previous owner(s) have been very haphazard in choosing replacement parts - maybe they reached into the parts bin with their eyes closed!

From the comment above about the Frejus headset-are you saying that all Frejus headsets have italian threads ? Thanks for any input.
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Old 08-02-13, 05:30 PM
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It sounds like I have been corrected on at least two points. That is, yep, your lugs really are nervex, and apparently a Frejus headset does not imply Italian threads.

You implied the unusual stay caps might be the key to identifying the maker, and I think you are right about that. I tried and failed to find decent photos of bikes make down under, but that is where I would start.
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Old 08-03-13, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by capella lugs View Post

From the comment above about the Frejus headset-are you saying that all Frejus headsets have italian threads ? Thanks for any input.
I can't say for certain based on the small ad literature for Frejus headsets imported to the UK, but I would bet that Frejus (or whoever might have contract-built them) would not have offered alternative threading for the British market.
I bet they knew the fit of an Italian-threaded HS on a British fork was "close enough" and that was that.
It's been "close enough" for tens of thousands ever since, too, even though Campagnolo DID bother to offer all popular flavors of threading with their HS (including BSC but not Raleigh).
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Old 08-03-13, 10:43 AM
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and kicking around the features of this frame: the chisel-pointed stay caps and little roller cable guide are very distinctive, but...no dice so far.
Eddie Bosomworth is the only Kiwi framebuilder I've heard of, and this is way too early for him. There were several early Australian builders centered in/around Adelaide that might be considered, but I haven't seen a match based on Google-ing (not anything like a Malvern, obviously).
You could try the BNA (Aussie bike forum) for expert help, but based on the brilliant job that several folks at the CR List did ID-ing that recent "Claud Butler" as a genuine Ellis-Briggs International, there's where I would go.
I wonder if I can impose on them again so soon?
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Old 08-03-13, 03:26 PM
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Oh what else so they have to talk about?
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Old 08-03-13, 05:02 PM
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^good point!^
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Old 08-03-13, 05:28 PM
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capella lugs- You have Nervex lugs- specifically Nervex Serie Legere Model 45. The crown???? The lug type and the roller cable guide are similar to Bertin and other French makers in the early to late 1950s. The stay caps are the puzzler because that style was often used on bespoke British frames like this Nulli Secundus Hetchins. This is going to be an interesting thread!
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Old 08-03-13, 06:10 PM
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Hetchins was mentioned by one quick-responder from the CR List, but he said just cause the little roller is something Hetchins did on his '62...
EDIT: I think by '62 a Hetchins would have been made by Bob Jackson...true? (Jackson is another possible, I guess)
another thought was Macleans...but the name mentioned by 2 was Rickert (German but ridden by Brits) for both the roller and the stay eyes...but I haven't seen pix that convince me of any match.
Jury's still out.
if there are ANY serial numbers/stamps, as well as seatpost size and stem quill diameter...DO TELL..

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Old 08-03-13, 07:26 PM
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There's been a flurry of speculation from a number of CR List members, especially from Peter B. who points out that the stay caps and forkcrown are both EKLA products
https://www.classiclightweights.co.uk...omponents.html
and that Macleans was one of many British builders in the '50s who used this brand (and also used EKLA lugs), but that doesn't rule Macleans in or out.Mercian was another, again early '50s, EKLA was a Belgian maker.
Others are pretty certain it's British, not Aussie or Kiwi (or German Rickert, either) and sure looks stylistically more '50s than any other timeframe, but that's where details like the Campag dropouts and forkends close-up plus any markings AT ALL could help out, here.
So, caplla lugs, please get back with anything you may have to add.

Last edited by unworthy1; 08-03-13 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 08-03-13, 07:58 PM
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Ok - thanks for all that - excellent ! Yes the plot thickens - Bertin is one possibility I have combed through pretty thoroughly but couldnt find a match for the capstays on any Bertin from the 40's through to 70's - looked closely at Bob Jackson as well - that one is still on the 'suspects' list. I would have thought the cable roller was 50's , but have been looking in the 60's as well -
interesting the staycaps on the 'Nulli Secundus Hetchins' - I will get those extra images and specs of the bike, and get back. Cheers

Last edited by capella lugs; 08-03-13 at 08:00 PM. Reason: typos
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