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  • Frejus in Britain
    The top models could be distinguished by a vertical cut out in the sides of the seat lug and a grease nipple at the back of the head tube Initially three models were listed The model M Super Corsa the F5 Corsa and the cheapest model the F4 Strada which was the only model to incorporate internal brake and gear cabling They weighed 7lbs 8lbs and 9lbs respectively In common with all imported frames of the period a chainset was supplied as standard equipment which was of course engraved with Frejus on the sides of the cranks The Campimissimo was added later that year It was essentially a Super Corsa with Campagnolo ends and came with Paris Roubaix gear and hubs It cost a staggering 30 a colossal amount in those days and far above the more modestly priced but versatile Super Corsa at 17guineas 17pounds 17shillings However that was still expensive when compared with a hand built British equivalent In 1951 the Corsa became the Tour de France after Kubler s win and a track frame became available the Pista The paintwork on all models can best be described as sober and characterised by a steel grey finish barely contrasting with the chrome head lugs and the all chrome forks This finish was achieved with a special lacquer over nickel plating on the top models and with steel coloured enamel on the two cheaper ones The Tour de France model also sported bright yellow panels on the seat tube and head tube but on the Super Corsa it was common to find a plain blue enamelled head tube with or without a matching panel on the seat tube Other colours were to follow Frejus components were also marketed in the form of mudguards pedals wide flange hubs and alloy racing rims These are rarely if ever seen these days but Frejus Balilla brake callipers do turn up but never with any levers The frame numbers are stamped at right angles at the top of the seat tube on the left hand side usually a six figure number starting with 01 02 and 03 on early models The model type could be identified with the frame size which was stamped under the bottom bracket i e MC 56 MS 60 TDF58 etc Early Super Corsa models have forged Simplex ends either plain or with a gear hanger This could be converted to accept the Campag Gran Sport gear by filing a notch in the back of the hanger but some were simply amputated through ignorance In a copy of Cycling dated July 1953 an advert appeared for Simplex Frejus boasting that their then novice team would be ready to win the 1955 Giro D Italia Whatever that outcome more World Championships victories were to follow in 1953 54 and 55 Frejus displayed all these dates with the words CAMPIONE DEL MONDO on the Super Corsa head badge but this clearly had to be updated periodically when more wins were accrued

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/frejus.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Cicli Gasparetto - Italy
    EMME points downward so enabling the change to be effected when pedalling forwards The rear wheel is unclamped by turning the lever beneath the seat outwards and the change is made by moving the lever up or down The wheel then floats back or forth as necessary alignment being maintained by the splines on the spindle engaging the rack in the rear fork slots This machine was imported specially into this country by my Spartan Wheeler clubmate Maurice Sprentall He worked in the cycle trade being employed as the enameller at Anelay s No 1 Record Cycle works in Darlington On a visit to London in 1948 he went to Fonteyn s cycle shop where he was shown a catalogue from the Milan Cycle Show Featured in it was a model of the Gasparetto road bike with the GI EMME gear An order was placed but it was many months before it was delivered not the least by being locked in snow in the Alps for six weeks Alas there were to be problems with the frame The top tube had concealed cables for the brakes and it was found to be cracked It was returned to Fonteyn s for repair and re enamelled black from the original blue The ornate lining was added at this time The misfortune continued when an accident resulted in the top tube being bent A replacement top tube was fitted at Anelay s with conventional cable stops It was at this point that I acquired the bike in 1955 Only the forks had the decorative lining so I took tracings and reproduced the decoration on the frame I attempted to ride the machine as equipped in several races but found it to require much more dexterity than I could muster I found a temporary

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/gasparetto.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Gillott 1: Beginnings
    had another job to go to As a result the very day war ended in May 1945 Jim began framebuilding for Gillott at Southampton Way London Harry had acquired some stock of tubes and lugs before the war so they were able to make about 20 frames in the first year As demand increased Harry took on more staff always monitoring employees by keeping a close eye on the quality of their work Bill Philbrook joined Gillotts in 1946 he was born in Sydenham and had been employed at Buckleys of Forest Hill in the pre war years Harry took on several other frame builders as well as a young apprentice called Ron Cooper Ron showed a natural aptitude with the torch after being tutored by Bill and also by Len Hart who specialized in fillet brazing and after a couple of years had taught Ron the complex art of building bi laminated frames Harry Carrington right and Ron Cooper together again at the V CC Family Day at Herne Hill Cycle Track in 2000 where Mark Steven s arranged an outstanding display of Gillotts Horace Tribe taken in 1952 He was the manager of Gillott s shop in Portsmouth Also a cyclist he was in the Gosport CC team which won the Catford 24 in that year Harry was expanding the business now as he had a 49 control which he had negotiated with Arthur Gillott who was in poor health at this time A G spent most of his time in the Brixton branch in Atlantic Avenue the address that gave the name to Gillott s lugless model the L Atlantique A third branch was opened in Portsmouth so Harry spent a lot of time on the road fetching and delivering bikes and frames for repair as well

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/gillott.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Granby the first of the British lightweight builders?
    Granby taper tube frame no 219 which was delivered to him on 10 January 1948 The frame is built with single speed fixed gearing South of France bars GB brakes and Williams 5 pin chainset Note obligatory bell and flint catchers on sprints Ewings fought in and survived WW1 as did Percy Dean another active Catford member who shortly after the war became Ewings business partner The two having raced as a tandem pair at 50 miles and 12 hours before the war By 1921 the marque was one of the most respected by racing men both on the track and in time trials In June of that year they took a full double page advertisement in Cycling listing the events won on and riders of Granby machines Right A stunningly restored 1922 Granby with wooden sprint rims owned by Eric Saylis In 1925 they made a patent application for their Taper Tube method of construction This design was in pursuit of a stiff frame the goal of many of the lightweight builders over the years In 1926 the patent being granted production then started of the Marque s most famous product The Taper Tube and Taperlite models these being favourites with many clubmen in the 1920 s 30 s Selbach produced more or less simultaneously a taper tube model although he did not hold the patent It is thought that he had shared with Ewings Dean the undoubtedly high cost of tooling up for the initial run of taper tube stock Granby was also supplying taper tube sets to any builders who requested them The Marque continued to be popular with many club and racing men In late 1936 or early 1937 Bill Ewings died and the business moved a few doors along the road to number 337 This

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/granby.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Bill Gray - frame builder
    is believed that Bill used this numbering system on all frames he built including those for other builders In addition to road racing frames including those for the Clive Stuart racing team Gray built track frames and even novelty bikes for stage and circus performers He was the first British framebuilder to use welded aluminium His frame making output was reduced for a time when he fell into a lucrative side job working on contract to the garage next door to his shop welding new floor pans to replace the rusted out ones on 1960s Minis Giving up framebuilding in the early 1980s he went on to work for British Oxygen and finally part time at a boatyard in Colliers Wood South London although he still continued to do frame repairs and kept a stock of Claud Butler frames and bits for sale Aged 85 Bill Gray passed away in August 2002 after a short illness one of Britain s top framebuilders of the classic era and whose work whilst less well known than others who built under their own name is no less well regarded by those in the know Mark Stevens adds I knew Bill Gray back in the 1990s when he was working for Brocky Keith Brock at The Boat Harbour in Colliers Wood I would nip out of College in Camberwell where I worked take a bus to the Oval then the Tube carrying or going to collect a repaired frameset Bill worked in the back of the shop in a cold cluttered draughty dimly lit workshop Most of his work was making tow bars for cars and boat trailers and associated repairs He had all his old frame building tools and jigs there along with many old and new frames in various states of cannibalisation I recall seeing a tandem made out of several mountain bike frames There was a Unicycle hanging on the wall and two tiny ordinaries made for children part of a limited production from the 60 s if I recall correctly He did many frame repairs for me mainly replacing pump pegs and filling bottle cage holes He also made me a replica Thanet stem complete with T s He was very modest and self effacing but told me that in the course of his career he built over 2000 tandems When I bought a Claud Butler SWB owned and ridden by Ron Sherit and Pat Wright of the Redmon he lent me one of his tandem build books which had the entry for my frame in it I copied every page and gave the book back It dates from 1947 to 1956 and details tube lengths for strut tubes and centre bar tubes angles position of stops for hub brakes and so on He built Show Tandems and these are listed and for other shops including Lidell Baines O Brien Read Bros a Lot Duckett Berry Bone Quinn Holmes The Lightweight Shop J R J Cycles Evans Bache Bros Harvell

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/bill-gray-builders.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Walter Greaves: the man, his story, and his bikes
    around a bit I found that half a dozen of the local lads were wont to go off cycling together from time to time so I fell in with them and we formed a regular group I recall that we could raise a Hobbs of Barbican a WF Holdsworth with solid large flange hubs and a Baines Gate Never to us a Flying Gate The others are forgotten Walter Greaves saw this group as a heaven sent opportunity Having fallen out with all the local clubs here was his chance to form his own and do things his way We were all agreed on affiliation to the colourful BLRC but what to call this club The Olympic spirit was Walter s sporting ideal and he insisted that Olympic should be in the title How about Bradford Olympic the obvious choice As there were already East Bradford West Bradford and Bradford Elite all NCU Bradford Co op Velo and the other League club Bradford RCC together with the minuscule non racing North Bradford Greaves pushed for Airedale so Airedale Olympic was born with me as its first Secretary Andrew Eatch supplied this entry on Walter Greaves from the BLRC 1949 handbook Later came South Bradford and Star both BLRC clubs and then the Bradford Elite turned League to great rejoicing amongst the Leaguers and to the dismay of the Union Star was an exclusive peel off from Bradford RCC We sought to register as our colours yellow with a black chest band but Polhill RC already had that so we made do with yellow with black collar and armbands None of the NCU before breakfast black for the BLRC In the course of time we gathered new members including about four from the Farsley area between Bradford and Leeds and one of these relieved me of the King of the Mountains which had so stupidly embarrassed me After my time the axis of the club swung towards Leeds which really is in Airedale It s still going and long may it do so Walter s dream was to open a cyclists cafe at a certain bungalow on the Keighley road south of Skipton Cyclists would flock to it except that they wouldn t Walter wasn t half as popular as he imagined As far as I know he did go to live on that road and became a folk singer claiming being Walter to be the definitive voice of Yorkshire Folk and living into his eighties Someone who was there then will no doubt have the right story Ian Peacock on Walter In his folk singing incarnation Walter wrote a great song about the granting of the old age pension entitled What Lloyd George Gave Me The chorus goes He took me out of t workhouse And he gave me life that s free Five shilling a week for cheatin death That s what Lloyd George gave me A North Yorkshire trio called Castabella can be heard giving an authentic rendition to this day Ken Russell adds to this piece Walter bought the premises we knew as Winifred s Cafe on the Skipton road intending to reopen it as a cafe and to use the garage as a Forge As there was no mains water he tried to drill a water bore hole and he did indeed locate water but it turned out to be water from the canal The cafe project was dropped but the Forge was a success When Walter became ill with Parkinsons disease his son took over the business I called to see Walter around 1986 He was living in terrible conditions but still talking in a positive way about obtaining a word processor and writing his autobiography Whilst I was there he told me how he lost his arm Apparently his father was a Quack doctor and an alcoholic Whilst travelling in his father s car round the bend at Sandbeds Idle approx 200 yds from my place of birth his father was the worse for drink Walter decided to bale out on to the running board at the same time as they passed a tram The tram hit his arm which had to be amputated below the elbow After his death the premises were sold and then demolished The new owner built a stone detached house of very modern design on the site and named it THE FORGE I do believe that Walter teamed up with Geoff Wood Pennine Cycles for his folk singing I seem to remember seeing them both on TV from a club on Kirkstall Road in Leeds back in the 70 s Walter s world record an extract from Bradford Telegraph and Argus 18 April 1978 Bradford cyclist Walter Greaves lived with his mother in Newlands Place Undercliffe when he set out on January 6 1936 to attack the world record of 43 996 miles cycled in a year He quickly met a lot of bad winter weather On the first day he rode against the wind to York and for four of the first seven days he was soaked by rain Travelling to Doncaster he finished with ears and fingers frostbitten He completed a Leeds York Beverley Selby circuit in driving snow and on roads glassy with ice One day struggling through snowdrifts on the North Yorkshire moors he fell off his machine eight times Soon he was going further afield and finding better weather and by mid June he had completed 21 500 miles He rode a lap of honour at a track meeting at Herne Hill Greaves who had lost his arm in an accident as a teenager had a specially constructed one handlebar machine and as a vegetarian kept to a diet of milk brown bread butter tomatoes apples nuts and orange juice He was in line for 50 000 miles in the year when an abscess formed on his leg after a spill and necessitated a minor operation which cost him a precious fortnight In November

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/waltergreaves.html (2016-02-09)
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  • H. E. 'Doc' Green
    cut lugs that Doc liked to build with a steeper seat angle and shallow 72 deg head coupled with a shortish fork rake Although very different in size design and BB height the Italia has angles of 72 74 and the one with hand cut lugs 72 73 rather like a Frejus The result is a peerless response and handling justifying Ron Cooper s description of him as a master framebuilder 1954 H E Green Spearpoint headlugs H E Green Italia H E Green Special From the carbon copies in receipt books that survive from the early 1950s and the early 1960s ones are missing from the late 50s the number of frames built reflects the highs and lows of the lightweight cycle trade at that time Whilst 78 frames were built in 1954 this declined to just 17 a decade later Doc was forced to sell up in 1965 to start a new career with British Oxygen but remained a keen cyclist gaining medals as a vet He died in 2005 Frame numbers start with 5301 the first two digits representing the year of build coupled with a sequential build number This is normally found on the left rear fork end dropout The last recorded frame is 65655 and cost 18 0 0 The head and seat transfers feature the letters H E G above HANDBUILT LIGHTWEIGHT with the Dawes Road address in the section below Frames purchased at Morden had simply MORDEN SURREY as the address Down tube transfers were in an attractive script or as a block see images below I am grateful to Len Ingram the VCC Hetchins marque enthusiast for sharing his research with me and for allowing me to use information from an article written by him in News and Views in 2002 John Dodson and Mike Barry their memories and Neil Palmer the fount of all knowledge The notes about Ron Cooper were received from Steve Sheffield as well as information on his website Bryan Clarke adds some new information about H E Green frames In pursuit of transfers and information about his H E Green frame VCC member Chris Hutchinson has provided me with new information about the marque from Morden CRC secretary Graham Hutchings Chris bought his bike secondhand from Rory O Brien in 1973 and wanted to restore it and obtain the proper transfers Like my own Italia model his frame had the number stamped under the bottom bracket and not on the left side of the rear dropout the normal location on Doc Green frames Even more mysterious was that his frame number bore no relationship to mine or so we thought mine being 13691 with Fulham transfers and his 71336 having transfers with the Morden address when he first bought it However it was felt that the dies and their position on the bottom bracket were identical and the build qualities were also similar The mystery was solved when Graham wrote to Chris telling him that both were

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/hegreen.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Wally Green
    cut out underneath it and a transparent plastic sleeve inserted supposedly to keep the weather out Harold was not happy cutting into such a vital part of the frame at all However the rider for whom the frame was built went on to break the 25 competition record several times on it Alf Engers Frank Ward team member on his Wally Green finished in the team colours of red and white Time trial 1959 Milk Race Down tube transfer has Wally in italic and Green in block lettering More images and information from Frank below Most frames in those days were made to the rider s individual measurements as requested but some shops also ordered standard frames for their own stock sometimes in quite large quantities The frames were collected in the rough by the spraying company which was over in East London somewhere and generally came back to us a week later A lot of them had quite fancy colours as requested by the riders and of course all but the most cost conscious rider would also have lug lining This I seem to recall was usually done by young ladies who seem to have been very good at the delicate work There was also a fashion for a while to have chrome fork ends and sometimes 6 inches of chrome up the front and rear forks and chainstays Some of our customers were international standard or national champions on road track or time trial either on frames with Wally Green transfers or a trade customer name In about 1960 we had an Independents team for a couple of seasons or so Wal did a deal with Albert Beurink not sure of the spelling of the Cafe den Engel Ghent to supply the team clothing and be an extra sportif sponsor The bikes were white with pale green box panels on the seat tube and the block lettered WALLY GREEN transfer on the down tube The team members that I remember were Johnny Morris Trevor Smith Bob Spencer Johnny Pratt and for a time an Australian who d been racing in Europe Morrie Horder When the cycle trade went into a bit of a decline the shop was closed down and we moved up to a old but bigger workshop on the hill at the Boroughs Hendon The trade still declined and gradually we were made out of work In the same yard were some small lock up garages and one was used by the Samuelson brothers who were starting up in the film lighting business They later became I believe the biggest company of their type in the world When Wal s business finally became non viable and was closed down he was offered a job by the Samuelsons and soon went on to a high position in their firm Harold Peters died suddenly in the early 60 s I can t remember whether it was before or after the frame business folded A lot of the trade

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/wallygreen.html (2016-02-09)
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