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The nicest Royce Union you ever did see

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The nicest Royce Union you ever did see

Old 06-14-14, 07:28 PM
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The nicest Royce Union you ever did see

Much as many people scoff at contemporary big-box store bikes like Diamond Back and Schwinn without the perspective that these were once decent brands of their own, I spent my mechanic's youth and life scoffing at the likes of Royce Union never considering that such a brand might have suffered the same fate. Well, I still am not sure, but I did find this today. The chrome-lugged frame proclaims being made in Italy. The Ambrosio stem, Universal brakes, and Campagnolo Sportman derailleurs would support this. The pedals and front hub are Simplex, and the crank appears to be, although it is not marked. The rear hub is a venerable Suzue, which I assume was replaced in the early 70's. The rim are steel. The seat post is 25.9mm. No serial number.

I assume it is early to mid 1960's. It seems comparable to the Raleigh Gran Sport of the day. It is kinda heavy by todays standards. Not sure what I am going to do with it (it is not my size). I have no idea what sort of saddle it might have once had. The paint is fair, but there are large portions of it missing. Anyone have any history on these bikes?















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Old 06-14-14, 08:19 PM
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Yes, probably 1960s. That is indeed the nicest Royce Union I ever did see. In the early 1960s I do recall seeing a few Italian-made department store 10 speeds, complete w/ the chrome lugs and stays yours has. That was also back in the day when some of the Sears bikes were made by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Graz, Austria.
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Old 06-14-14, 10:55 PM
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Yeah, there were some nice bikes in the sixties made by the companies that would later produce the crap. Add Huffy to the list; they sold Raleigh-Carltons under their name in the early 60s, including my own "Huffy Mark 10", which is a 1962 Raleigh Gran Sport, minus the Campy drivetrain.
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Old 06-15-14, 11:08 AM
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That's great! I've got one of these in my garage loft. Mines gold with internal cable routing for the rear derailuer. It's on the list of bikes to build soon.
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Old 06-16-14, 11:29 AM
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she even has Wa pedals...

have had several of these italian royce unions come through.

her frame is constructed of all Agrati bits. lugs are part of an ensemble designated as "am"; sometimes referred to by enthusiasts as the "comma lugset."

hubset appears it may be Simplex of Italy, a possible aid to dating.

obvious contract build. wonder who the maker was? chiorda perhaps?

Last edited by juvela; 06-18-14 at 11:27 AM. Reason: remove error
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Old 06-16-14, 11:32 AM
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That seat looks incredibly uncomfortable though.
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Old 06-16-14, 01:39 PM
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I inherited 3 Royce-Unions, early 70s vintage back in the mid 70's. The components were pretty awful. Put the best of the bad lot on one frame and rode it for years. The shifters never stayed put- not enough friction. The brakes were suicide. The rest of the bike was adequate if heavy. I outgrew it by high school and they disappeared. Burnt orange, not bad looking. Wish I had one today to compare with a Wallymart Varsity.
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Old 06-16-14, 02:01 PM
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I had a Royce-Union when I was a little kid. I have nothing but fond memories of that thing.
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Old 06-16-14, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by John E
Yes, probably 1960s. That is indeed the nicest Royce Union I ever did see. In the early 1960s I do recall seeing a few Italian-made department store 10 speeds, complete w/ the chrome lugs and stays yours has. That was also back in the day when some of the Sears bikes were made by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Graz, Austria.
have similar recollection. one used to see these and other similar italian tenspeeds of differing badges at discount houses in the 1960's. about 1965 such bikes sold for ~$65. whereas a UO-8 or Raleigh Grand Prix at the time was ~$79 iirc. the same machine might be sold as Royce Union, Roma Sport, Milano Sport, Juventus or literally scores of other names.

they also did a lugless version that was sold as Hermes and an assortment of other labels as well.

Last edited by juvela; 06-16-14 at 02:34 PM. Reason: correct spelling
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Old 06-16-14, 02:40 PM
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I had a white and dark blue Royce Union "Long Horn" stingray style bike growing up. It's wheel base was about 6" longer than the Schwinn Stingray my friend had. My RU had a Shimano 3 speed hub with a stick shift. By early high school, the frame broke on the left side of the rear triangle, next to the weld for the dropout, both chain stay and seat stay. Riding two up probably didn't help, nor did jumping it.

Then I rode my dad's Royce Union English Racer style three speed, until one of the dropouts on the front fork decided to part company with the fork. It was a gold color (paint).

I believe both were purchased from Caldors in Wilton, CT on US7 (long before it was a highway); just down the road from Bob Sharp Datsun.
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Old 06-16-14, 06:01 PM
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This thread is an interesting revelation about the Royce Union brand. I received a department store RU 10-speed in acknowledgement of my physical growth in my 10th year. Everything about it was decent and sturdy, albeit entry level. Steel everything except the brakes and hubs, which were Dia Compe, and Shimano, respectively. The saddle was the typical foam with vinyl cover on a steel base that would probably be rated as a world class ass-hatchet by an adult rider, but didn't bother me much at my size and weight at the time. The RD was a Lark, with the obligatory non-integrated guard that weighed as much as the derailleur +50%, but hey, despite my efforts, I never managed to bugger up the RD.
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Old 06-17-14, 10:17 AM
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the very first bike I ever overhauled was this Royce Union. it was 2007 / 2008 so of course i turned it into a single-speed conversion.

Before:



After:


Last edited by Catnap; 06-17-14 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 06-17-14, 11:19 AM
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Balindamood, your Royce Union looks so much like an Atala that I'd look for a serial number stamped on the right side of the seat tube. Might start with a 63 or something, giving you the year it was made.
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Old 06-17-14, 11:29 AM
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Her's mine. I started reassembling it after I spotted this thread. The crank is a cottered Ofmega. This'll make a sweet city bike.
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Old 06-17-14, 11:55 PM
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your Royce Union looks so much like an Atala that I'd look for a serial number stamped on the right side of the seat tube. Might start with a 63 or something, giving you the year it was made.
After some de-cruding of the bottom bracket, I found a serial number of 23334 stamped in small print.

Doesn't seem to help much in figuring out its origin.
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Old 06-18-14, 11:45 AM
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tip:

it may be just a photographic effect but the cranks look as if they may be slightly out of phase. she has wedgebolt head leading on the drive side. you might wish to check to see if it is the same on the off side...

sometimes when wedgebolts are replaced a bike can have very slightly different cuts on the two bolts if the mechanic found it necessary to file them. this can result in the arms being off by just a very few degrees.
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Old 06-19-14, 04:50 PM
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wrt dating -

checked at velobase and at velo-retro for their campag timelines. vb gives a launch date of 1961 for the bicycle's sportman rear derailleur. while v-r gives a launch date of 1963 for the model. unfortunately, no discontinuance dates are given.

VeloBase.com - Component: Campagnolo Sportman

Velo-Retro: Campagnolo Timeline
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Old 06-19-14, 07:28 PM
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It amazes me the C&V bikes you find so far North!

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 06-19-14, 09:17 PM
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It amazes me the C&V bikes you find so far North!
It takes a while for the glaciers to spit them out.
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Old 01-21-15, 09:47 PM
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I have a similar one, parents bought 2 in 1968-70, one was stolen in '75. I rehab'd it in 2000-put aluminum wheels and new tires on it. narrowed the bottom bracket and put a sealed bearing shimano crank set.
Has shimano Lark derailers and shifters on the frt down tube. I love riding it, very comfortable and fast.
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Old 01-22-15, 12:05 PM
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it's now been about seven months since the beginnin' o' this thread and am still a-wonderin' just how that sanshin matsumoto stern wheel came to be housed between this machine's dropouts...

ah well, the two nations were allied in the war after all.
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Old 01-22-15, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79
That seat looks incredibly uncomfortable though.
It totally works as long as the contact points for your sit bones are centered on your hips and about an inch apart.

Look at any hardware store for a rubber washer as "padding."
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