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1946 Hobbs of Barbican

Old 01-10-15, 04:27 PM
  #1  
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1946 Hobbs of Barbican

Well, first off I will swear I began a thread about this bike a couple months ago, but I'll be darned if I can locate it. Maybe I'm getting senile.

Anyway, briefly: Good things seem to come my way when I'm deliberately not looking to acquire something new. It was my good fortune to come into a British frame and fork from a maker I've had an interest in for quite some time - Hobbs of Barbican. After a gentle clean up, the first order of business was a wheel set. The frame is spaced at 110, and would originally have been running either an IGH or a fixed gear. (I've reason to believe it ran a four-speed IGH.) Beginning with a pair of French track hubs provided by fender1, new wheels have been built up; CR-18 rims are laced to the hubs.




The frame is 531 with nice lugwork and much of the originally lining still very visible.


And here's an overall side view. The bars, stem, and the crank (not installed at this point) are placeholders until I can locate period correct parts.
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Old 01-10-15, 05:08 PM
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This is quite lovely. Did it turn up for you locally?

Sounds like an interesting back story, too. Yes?

We'll all look forward to the progress photos.
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Old 01-10-15, 05:16 PM
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Yes, you did start a thread about it, I remember that. Not that I'll be able to find it either .

Is this why you were asking about Lauterwasser bars?
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Old 01-10-15, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
This is quite lovely. Did it turn up for you locally?

Sounds like an interesting back story, too. Yes?

We'll all look forward to the progress photos.
Actually, yes, there's a good backstory about the bike itself, a few detail of which I've shared on The Early Morning Cyclist back in November. One of the interesting things to me is that the original cyclist's name and club affiliation is painted along the top tube. The Middlesex Road Club still exists, they have kept club records for many decades, and the original rider (A. Burnett) set the 24 Men's Solo Record in 1947. If he purchased this Hobbs in 1946 one might be forgiven for (reasonably) presuming he was riding this very bike.



I do not plan to repaint or "restore" the finish beyond repairing the damage done to the head badge by some chucklehead who used model paint on it sometime in the distant past. I've cautiously removed the model paint with thinner and recreated the head badge on waterslide media. Since the weather is crappy, I'll probably add that this next week sometime.


Kinda makes you want to cry, right? But never fear, the graphic designer is here:

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Old 01-10-15, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Yes, you did start a thread about it, I remember that. Not that I'll be able to find it either .

Is this why you were asking about Lauterwasser bars?
Yes. There's a nice 1946 example on Classic Lightweights with Lauterwasser bars and I thought I'd emulate that bike to some degree.
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Old 01-10-15, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
Well, first off I will swear I began a thread about this bike a couple months ago, but I'll be darned if I can locate it. Maybe I'm getting senile.
not senile#1,
not senile#2
because I am also busily scouring the internet for information on 1946 Hobbs of Barbican bikes
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Old 01-10-15, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
Well, first off I will swear I began a thread about this bike a couple months ago, but I'll be darned if I can locate it. Maybe I'm getting senile.

Anyway, briefly: Good things seem to come my way when I'm deliberately not looking to acquire something new. It was my good fortune to come into a British frame and fork from a maker I've had an interest in for quite some time - Hobbs of Barbican. After a gentle clean up, the first order of business was a wheel set. The frame is spaced at 110, and would originally have been running either an IGH or a fixed gear. (I've reason to believe it ran a four-speed IGH.) Beginning with a pair of French track hubs provided by fender1, new wheels have been built up; CR-18 rims are laced to the hubs.




The frame is 531 with nice lugwork and much of the originally lining still very visible.


And here's an overall side view. The bars, stem, and the crank (not installed at this point) are placeholders until I can locate period correct parts.
Looks great! Those hubs seem right at home. Glad they are going to good use on a fine bike!
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Old 01-10-15, 08:25 PM
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That thing is amazing. I'd leave it fixed gear with brakes and ride the heck out of it.
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Old 01-11-15, 06:59 AM
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This is a really stunning frame, and your approach to the build is perfect. The angles suggest it will be a very nice bike to ride.

I also love these older English frames. The lug work often shows real care in the prep work.

If only for the eye-candy value:



Thank you, also, for the link to your blog. What a pleasant read. I am attentive because I have so many friends in the greater K.C. area.

So, what about the back story of how this frame ended up in your neighborhood?

:-)
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Old 01-11-15, 07:19 AM
  #10  
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Nice frame Azorch! I really hope you find one of those BSA cranks for her, that would really look sweet. Kudos on fighting the repaint urge, and can't wait to see the build pics!

EDIT** Just read your blog, unbelievably for the first time, and it sounds like you've got some great cranks already in mind. Your blog is fantastic, and I'll be one of your readers from here in.

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Old 01-11-15, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
So, what about the back story of how this frame ended up in your neighborhood?
On a lark, I joined the Facebook group "Vintage Steel Bikes and Parts Buy-Sell-Trade" because it seemed like a good match to my interests. Truthfully, it's simply one more thing that junks up my feed, but a couple months ago a guy posted some bits and pieces that caught my attention. He also mentioned that he had "a lot of old frames." What the heck, I asked if he happened to have either a Flying Scott, a Bates, or a Hobbs. Turns out he had all of them - and he was on the other side of the state in the St. Louis area. He and I got to chatting by email and phone, struck an equitable deal, and I got the Hobbs. How he got it - along with all of the other stuff - is the next part of the story. As I recall, he'd come across a guy that was getting out of the bike biz, had a warehouse full of "old stuff" and made him an offer. He tells me that he didn't have any idea how much stuff he'd just bought...I want to say that he wound up with something like six moving vans full of parts and frames that he shipped (from Tennessee, maybe?) to St. Louis. I believe he said that now he has his warehouse stacked to the gills. (By the way, he's not in the bike biz himself - or he wasn't until he made this purchase - I think he's a heating contractor or something similar.)

To me, there's a huge gaping hole in the history of this frame. It's built and raced in England, at the very least for a season. This was in 1946-47. Bikes are expensive to come by in that era and most people hang on to them for a while. When the owner and bike parted ways, and how it ended up Stateside are mysteries to me. I've reached out to the cycling club in an effort to find out what I can about the cyclist, maybe contact his family. If for no other reason that to satisfy my own curiosity I would like to know more, or at least reasonably speculate, about that gap.

Your Hilton Wrigley is spectacular by the way!
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Old 01-11-15, 08:04 AM
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Thanks. . . I think. I really limit to the max extent possible my engagement w/ FB. While tempting, I have no more space available to me! We all love the story of the warehouse find. Wish I had a spare warehouse. I think.

I also believe wax & polish for your Bates is the way to go. The patina is handsome here. Do you have a nice photo of the fork crown, please?

With the Wrigley, I had no choice but to refinish. It, too, had been raced in the English Midlands, had shifter bosses brazed on - & one broken, rattle can painted and re-re-badged crudely back to Wrigley. It needed to be cleaned down to bare metal for inspection and touch-ups. (It received a rave review for build quality.)

The only photo I could get Norris to take of my current bike as-it-was-found is below.



I traded the slightly smaller Hilton Wrigley I found from a collector in Sheffield for this one. This actually emerged from Norris' dungeon because the one I had found was badged with Hilton's late 50s - early 60s head badge/crest image, of which Norris had no example.

We, in a greater collective of people including several here + YOU, spent a year duplicating the graphics. Norris wasn't very experienced with taking photos let alone getting them onto his computer. We did the graphics in stages, each so much better. It took even longer to actually get the frame refinished, but that story is told elsewhere in the archives of this forum. The end is a rare-in-the-US example of that wonderful window in British cycling history when the finest frames were built by the artisans there. Due to tax rules, the top builders did not sell "complete" bikes, but only the frames. Many were re-badged for sponsored racing purposes.

Obviously, we all wonder what other treasures remain in the transplanted warehouse? Stories, per chance?

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Old 01-11-15, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
The patina is handsome here. Do you have a nice photo of the fork crown, please?
Here it is right after it arrived, and before even the most rudimentary of clean up.

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Old 01-11-15, 11:35 AM
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That's going to be a magically cool bike!
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Old 01-11-15, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
That's going to be a magically cool bike!
Absolutely! What he said^^ !

But @AZORCH - are you SURE you can improve upon that artistically rendered headbadge painting?
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Old 01-11-15, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
But @AZORCH - are you SURE you can improve upon that artistically rendered headbadge painting?
I know, I know - it's going to be pretty tough to top the hand crafted workmanship.
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Old 01-11-15, 02:31 PM
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I don't often see oil ports on headsets. I wish bikes still had oil ports. I'd use them.
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Old 01-12-15, 07:16 AM
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@AZORCH, heads up! HOBBS 'BLUE RIBAND' Decal | eBay
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Old 01-12-15, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
The Blue Riband graphic would be pretty cool, but it's a different model and date of Hobbs than mine. It's all good though - I've already generated lightfast waterslide transfers with an opaque background.



I'll "clothe" my head tube sometime this week and post updated photos when I do. For those of you (Big Block?) who might need a repop of the ca. 1946 graphic, let me know...I will likely have a couple left over (unless I completely screw up all of these. )
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Old 01-12-15, 09:08 AM
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Oh, cool! As I've just demonstrated, I don't know my way around Hobbs graphics. It's kinda too bad; English bikes of that period have some really great graphics, and those ones you've printed are kinda plain (in my humble opinion). Can't argue with what's right, though.

And yes, waterslide is far preferable to vinyl! Application can be tricky, but I doubt you'll mess up more than one or two. I usually get them on without much trouble and then botch them up afterwards. Patience is a virtue! Apply one decal and let it dry for as long as you can stand. They look great right away, but the glue under the decal can take hours or days to dry, and they're relatively fragile until then.
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Old 01-12-15, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Oh, cool! As I've just demonstrated, I don't know my way around Hobbs graphics. It's kinda too bad; English bikes of that period have some really great graphics, and those ones you've printed are kinda plain (in my humble opinion). Can't argue with what's right, though.

And yes, waterslide is far preferable to vinyl! Application can be tricky, but I doubt you'll mess up more than one or two. I usually get them on without much trouble and then botch them up afterwards. Patience is a virtue! Apply one decal and let it dry for as long as you can stand. They look great right away, but the glue under the decal can take hours or days to dry, and they're relatively fragile until then.
Agreed. I've found I need to leave at least a week of drying time before putting a light clear coat over the transfer. It's also best to allow it to dry in a warm, dry (not humid) environment - so winter works much better in my region than does summer. Summer tends to result in waves and wrinkles days down the line.
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Old 01-12-15, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
For those of you (Big Block?) who might need a repop of the ca. 1946 graphic, let me know.

I will see how it responds once I get to pick it up in a few weeks time.
Two lube points!
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Old 01-12-15, 03:12 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Big Block View Post

I will see how it responds once I get to pick it up in a few weeks time.
Two lube points!
Oh man, can't wait to see more...looks very complete, too!
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Old 01-12-15, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
Oh man, can't wait to see more...looks very complete, too!
I hoping it is still as I bought it. It was picked up and stored for me by a fellow collector. BUT he is putting together a Blue Riband and was eyeing the headset
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Old 01-12-15, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Block View Post
I hoping it is still as I bought it. It was picked up and stored for me by a fellow collector. BUT he is putting together a Blue Riband and was eyeing the headset
Yes, I have my eye on that headset too!
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