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Australian Hillman Criterium bike

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Australian Hillman Criterium bike

Old 03-09-15, 05:32 PM
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Australian Hillman Criterium bike

I acquired this tatty old race bike the other day, yet another nice one that had fallen on hard times.

Looked to have been used as a commuter or errand bike for a while, and with a couple of crashes thrown in (cracks in paint, one dent and a bent seatstay).
Mechanically, seems to have been owned by someone who had no appreciation for good bicycles, no proper tools, and who also would never pay to have a qualified wrench spend even a minute with it.
I had to put my own 7s wheelset on it in lieu of the extra hours getting the "original" wheels sorted. Fresh cabling, heavy cleaning and the usual hours of tinkering and adjusting.

So another "after" photo with no "before" picture having been taken.
Angles are 76-degrees square(!)... ... still pending it's first test-ride this evening.


Last edited by dddd; 03-10-15 at 01:49 AM. Reason: 76 degrees was 66 degrees, doh!
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Old 03-09-15, 07:49 PM
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Wow...you made that look great. That is one rare bike...that thing is going to be fast, especially going up hills. Maybe one of the few Hillman bikes in the bay area. Did you figure out for sure, what year that thing is?
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Old 03-10-15, 12:22 AM
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Treat us to a few detail shots along with that ride report, perhaps?

Looks like a nice one, 531 or 531c, roughly mid-to-late-1980s?

Also, assuming 66 angles = typo, yes? Or am I missing something...

You note that this particular bike had a rough individual life history - do you know anything about the history of the marque?

I've seen some cool Australian bikes on various forums over the years, but can't say I know much about 'em!

I think I may take a special interest given some vague affinity (as a Canadian) for a fellow 'Commonwealth' country that has it's own cool but little-known-elsewhere makes and marques...
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Old 03-10-15, 01:21 AM
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Being Australian and from Melbourne, I know Hillman's quite well. I met Henry Hill and had many conversations with him over the years, and have met his sons, Gordon and Barry. I'm not sure when Hillman Cycles started in the bike business but I'm guessing the 1930's. The Hillman marque is a well known Aussie brand.

Personally, I have owned quite a few Hillman's over the years and really appreciate them. It was also satisfying to be able to talk with the builder of my bike (although not all frames were built in-house). I always looked forward to a visit to their shop as they were always very close to the racing scene and you never knew just what you might come across in their store. I remember once putting together a Ozgear fitted bike - Henry was able to advise me plus he had a box full of old and various Ozgear parts (and this was in the 1980's) Its not uncommon to find an old Hillman with the odd Campagnolo 50th anniversary component on it. Henry would use a 50th anniversary component from a complete 50th gruppo if he needed a component to finish a build. It is also possible to find a Reynolds tubed Hillman frame with Columbus lugs - what ever it took but quality of component was important.

Some very classy Australian riders have ridden Hillmans over the years and it was nice to see these guys in the shop from time to time.

As time has passed, the frame building died off and the business moved to new premises (then back again). Henry had passed on and the old the original feel about the bikeshop had changed. I now live 2000 km. away but I think the store still exists.

I hope you enjoy your bike and feel comfortable riding it. Henry Hill once told me that his favourite bike colour was yellow (mainly for it's safety aspect). I have always enjoyed my Hillman's and really treasure my last Hillman; a Hillman track bike.

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Old 03-10-15, 02:19 AM
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Thanks, Joe.
I think the 7sp 600 gruppo is from 1988 or so, after Hillman's World Championships win in 1985. The W.C. stripes appear on the headtube.

The frame has BCM (Bocama?) bottom bracket shell, Campy dropouts and both teardrop-shaped and triangular cutouts, with fairly long lug points. Tubing is 531c, which might hint at the year of construction (mid-1980's?).

I got in an hour ride today, and had to make changes. The bars were too far forward and too high, so I installed this SR brand stem with it's dropped "aero" clamp head and 15mm shorter length. I also got rid of the Cinelli Criterium bars and used Cyclone Brake levers, so was able to set aside the fully wrapped original bars/stem/levers for a smaller bike build.

I also changed the seatpost from the heavy Sugino to this 177-gram Kingsbridge post (from my very oldest stash of parts) that was cut down and fits this 27.0 seat tube ID. Weight is now 21.88lbs w/pedals.

The bike is very twitchy and can't be ridden far no-handed, as the bars start shaking/oscillating! I mis-typed the 66-degrees, all angles are 76 degrees! Thanks mikemowbz for that tip-off.
Yes, goes up hills rather easily, but different or higher brake levers or a more traditional bend bar than this Specialized bar would work and feel better on this one.

Thanks, Gary for the bit of history and passion you've provided. And thanks, again, Joe for picking this one up for me.


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