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  • The story of Hill Special cycle frames
    letter followed by three or four numbers C is known to be 1950 An identifying feature of the frames is the distinctive wrap round where the rear brake bridge was extended to form an extension round the seat stay Another feature was the large number of the distinctive fully chromed frames that were produced money no object with elaborate spearpointed flamboyant overspray at the tube junctions but leaving the lug chrome exposed To produce these the individual tubes were polished after cutting and mitreing and whilst this helped the plater to produce a superb finish it certainly put pressure on the frame builder to produce at tidy job Sadly few of these frames remain with the overspray and transfers in place Down tube transfers took various forms with an arrow pierced Hill Special being an early version followed by a black and red three dimensional script design with later on plain black and white blocks The original Hill Bros head and seat transfer matched the style of the script of the down tube transfer this was later supplemented by an elaborate crest based on the Padiham Town Coat of Arms and the motto Virtutis Fortuna Comes Fortune the Companion of Valour This was later modified for Blackpool production with a central red rose on a white background replacing the more elaborate coat of arms used at Padiham In the 1950s Adam bought the rights to the Merlin name from Ernie Merlin and these were produced alongside the Hill Special range Following the recession in the cycle trade in the late 1950s Adam heard that Claud Butler was in financial difficulties and drove down to London and purchased the tools and the goodwill of the business from him It is possible that Adam also bought the rights to the Saxon name as some twin tube frames were later built but the current ownership of this name is not know Unfortunately the Hill Brothers business was itself in difficulty and a meeting of creditors was held in 1958 to review the situation It is a comment on the creditors regard for Adam that they asked that he should continue in business and repay money from future profits but Adam who was not enjoying good health could not face this prospect and so the Clarion Cycle Works was closed and production at Padiham ceased after twenty years At about this time Adam sold the rights to the Merlin name to Bob Jackson who used it to produce a range alongside his own Adam moved temporarily to Jersey to join his brother Tom Adam then moved to the Lake District where he and his wife ran a guest house but Adam s heart belonged in Lancashire and he returned to open a retail shop on Padiham Road Burnley This was a short lived venture as cycling was in decline and Adam briefly turned the shop over to Gents Outfitting After this he spent a time as Chief Inspector at Main Gas at Padiham Dennis

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/hillspecial.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Classic lightweights template
    and week ends in his workshop creating very attractive frames with elaborate lugwork Hilton soon moved his workshop into an empty shop house on Back Lane in the centre of the small town Here he had more room to build his frames a small window to exhibit a few accessories but more importantly more room for his customers to mill around in and for the Wheelers to take over as their clubroom Friday evenings witnessed frame building on the left of the front door and darts on the right Hilton did all the preparation of the tubes and the brazing up using an oxy acetylene torch but was assisted by a chap called Fred who was the lug cutter He too was part time Usually cast lug blanks were used these being either painted white with the outline of the lug being drawn on freehand with a blue ball pen or Engineers Blue was used and the outlines scribed through the finish No templates were used The designs were cut by drilling sawing with an Abrafile and then filing and tidying up and thinning down with needle files As Oscar Egg Super Champion pressed lug blanks became available they too were used It was quite common on Friday nights at Hilton s for cyclists such as Haskell and clubmate Dennis Scholes both skilled metal workers to help Fred with the preparation and cutting of the lugs Brian also used to help with some of the repairs and odd jobs needing brazing All Wrigley frames were custom built with four models generally being available each one designated by the name of the lug design The basic model the Competition usually used ready cut Oscar Egg lugs with Nervex Pros only appearing much later on Like so many Yorkshire builders such as JRJ and Whitaker and Mapplebeck Egg lugs were favourites The next model cut from EKLA cast blanks had large simple twirls resembling bigger Egg SC3 lugs the model on the L H Brooke s frame on this site s Oscar Egg page Then came the Superbe model all scrolls and long spearpoints and finally the International a very individual design unlike any other frame builders This is the model in the accompanying photos The International frame featured here now belongs to Jon Wright the grandson of Bill Burns secretary of the Colne Valley CC Hilton did not use any jigs when building frames just a few gauges and a reliance on the old crossed string method of tracking up the rear triangles His workmanship was meticulous as was his taper filing and thinning of the lugs both before and after brazing The intricacy of the lugwork International models being very popular often gave rise to problems of cleaning up the frames after brazing Because he had no sand blasting equipment all the lugged joints were fluxed up with borax paste which was then left to dry in situ When the flux had hardened Hilton used to very carefully remove as

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/hilton-wrigley-builders.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Hines of Finchley
    team of craftsmen turns out about 1000 lightweight cycle frames a year at the firm s Finchley premises But about 950 of these reach the road under the names of several well known cycle traders In the early days the team made frames only for Mark Hines shop but the quality and unique features of the Finchley product soon took the eye of others in the trade so Mark Hines and Wally Green supply them with their needs The frame making partners worked alone until Harold Peters came along bringing the experience and ideas he had formed in the big cycle firms Then the team made the special machines which were in demand when the back street speedway riders the Skid Kids took up speedway racing on bombed sites using adapted bicycles This craze died out but the Hines Green partnership continued and they turned their attention to the serious racing and club cycling world Wally Green who captained England s Speedway Test Team in 1954 knew a lot about the stresses and strains of frames in his line while Harold Peters brought in the bicycle knowledge Mark Hines business experience completed the pattern and Wally Green told the Finchley Press last week We are strong in all departments He instanced competition cyclists riding Hines built frames in many championship races in the National Championships four were taking part in Senior events and three among the Juniors Two machines using Hines frames were in the Tour of Britain A young Dutch employee of the firm Loudwik Beaumester riding in the Junior Championships brought more frame making ideas from the Continent where cycle racing is a serious sponsored sport In Britain it is very much a part time amateur game Keen on bikes All the members of the small but important firm are keen on bikes It is their keenness which has lead to the firm introducing designs of their own They have on the road a prototype machine of novel design intending it among other things to make it faster uphill and eliminate speed wobbles downhill Both Mark Hines and Wally Green hold high hopes for the new frame It also follows their first principles of supplying the best quality frames at a price which places it within the reach of many keen young cyclists The vast mass production frames of the Midlands hold no fears for the partners All Hines frames are tailored to individual riders specification something which Birmingham cannot match and the Finchley frames are made entirely by hand They use only Reynolds tubing for frames and forks drawn to their own specification Their order book filled with names not only of London traders but individual riders from all over the country keeps the frame builders busy for 12 hours a day and on Saturdays In past years the difficulty of obtaining the best steel bore heavily on them and has eased only in the last nine months At the frame making works Wally Green Harry Peters

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/hines-builders.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Hobbs of Barbican
    section known as the TF oval fork said to be the only really resilient racing fork The main frame used individually chosen butting to achieve a blend of stiffness and resilience referred to as balanced tubing All this combined with quite upright angles made for a subtly modern frame Perhaps the most striking innovation was the introduction of true fancy lug work in the Continental Superbe of 1937 This made for a uniquely handsome frame at the same time allowing the builder to ensure the even flow of brazing material throughout the lug Hobbs were one of the first major lightweight builders to specify hand cut fancy lug work perhaps coincidentally with Claud Butler This Superbe lug work created a benchmark for the feature which gave British lightweight frames an individuality lacking in the products of other cycle building countries for the next 25 years The original design of the Hobbs Superbe lugs can be traced in other builders work throughout the forties and fifties Below is shown a rare twin tube Hobbs of pre war vintage The top tubes are twinned with the Sturmey lever mounted between this is not obvious from the image Componentry Before the war Hobbs marketed some highly desirable equipment including continental dural brake cantilevers dural hub spindles handlebars cranks and stems everything to make the clubman s bike more exclusive Left Lytaloy cranks In the forties Hobbs introduced a range of high end components under the brand name Lytaloy These may have been manufactured elsewhere in the Sterling Works factory thus capitalising on the considerable capacity and expertise remaining after the war effort There were very efficient and stylish brakes and levers pedals alloy cottered cranks headset and bottom bracket very light alloy mudguards and even a pair of handlebars The pedals were superb very light with a solid alloy centre and the equal of Campagnolo s pedals introduced 10 years later With the exception of the cranks which had their problems these components were highly regarded by clubmen and were to be seen on rival builder s top end bikes Hobbs Lytaloy pedals Hobbs Lytaloy headset Frame numbering No company records have survived but the three different systems used have been interpolated from period documents Pre war frames were simply numbered in series the highest recorded number being a track iron no 2202 After the war the system changed presumably to cope with larger production capacity Numbers comprised six or seven digits the first two representing the year of build Thus number 4607821 a beautifully built Superbe lugged road path frame was built in 1946 In 1947 the system used until the end of production was introduced Each four or five digit number was prefixed by a letter referring to the month of build The first digit indicates the year Thus number A7151 a Raceweight in lovely original paint and complete with original invoice was built in January 1947 In 1950 the system simply used the prefix 0 1 2 or 3 Right

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/hobbs.html (2016-02-09)
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  • W F Holdsworth
    had round fork blades and used Holdsworths own oval box crown it cost 15 5 0 This was also the first year of the Hurricane produced as an entry level complete cycle not available as frame only Right the new Holdsworth Whirlwind head lugs Left Monsoon 1960 1954 saw the introduction of the Monsoon this middle of the range frame costing 12 12 0 with scroll lugs was to prove a success for Holdsworth and stay in the range unaltered for 10 years The frame was designed as a Massed start frame with 72 parallel angles I believe and it s only my opinion that the lugs used were part of the stock bought from F H Grubb in 1951 after they stopped trading The lugs are almost identical to those used on the F H G Perfection Exquisite model offered by them in the late 50s 1955 A watershed year for Holdsworth The range consisted of Whirlwind 17 17 0 Zephyr 14 14 0 Cyclone 14 7 6 Monsoon 12 12 0 Typhoon 11 11 0 Right Hurricane 1958 with Nervex Lugs The Hurricane Cycle only available to five different specification depending on the equipment from 23 9 0 Most significant was the move towards Nervex lugs only available on the Cyclone this year All other models stayed as previous years it leads the way But Holdsworth still embellished the lugs by adding the long spear point to the Nervex lug Also new this year for the Monsoon was the mention of Agrati ends with Campagnolo self centering ends available at extra cost These had only been available on the Whirlwind during the previous year Things get a little fuzzy in the period from 1955 60 What I do know is that trading became difficult at Holdsworth and the range was reduced to four frames by 1960 These were Cyclone Zephyr Monsoon and Hurricane The Cyclone and Hurricane both had Nervex lugs while the Monsoon and the Zephyr retained theirs from previous years Gone during this period were the Whirlwind and Typhoon The People For me this is a fascinating period in Holdsworths history As a schoolboy cyclist I won winter Roller events and gained silver and bronze RTTA medals at 10 and 25 mile time trials on my pride and joy a Holdsworth Monsoon I rode with the South Eastern Road Club fellow members being Lou Smith manager of Holdsworths Beckenham branch his wife Ann both became directors of Holdsworths in later years and BobDonnington who later married Leslie Smith and became a Holdsworth manager Holdsworth were a large producer of hand made quality frames equally as good as any small volume builder They employed frame builders and designers with the quality of Bill Rann Bill Hurlow and Chas Roberts to name but a few so the quality was assured we should not undervalue them The Head Badge and down tube transfer The changes in 1953 included a new head badge left Stamped from a soft alloy it

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/holdsworth.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Jack Holland frame builder
    when I watched and heard this process happening so often Jack Holland s National Clarion Cycling Club pin on badge The photograph of a Jack Holland in Readers Bikes on your website is beautiful but I think that originally most of these special machines would have more delicate and detailed enamelling Usually there was a base coat of one colour and then my father made a contrast with another colour by skilled work with the spray gun He would make one colour gradually fade into another an effect which I have not seen elsewhere the owner of this bike describes it as originally having such a finish He was very skilled at this He had a colour chart sprayed on to an old fork and would also do special requests from the customer who did not want his machine to look the same as anyone else s Plenty of time was taken over this aspect of an order My father did all the finishing by hand lining the lugs with a very fine paint brush This was a job he did in the evenings when the shop and workshops were closed In the winter he would do this in the living room giving the excuse that the paint must be kept warm in order to have a place by the fire Another job done in the evenings was trueing wheels Jack Holland s transfers produced by Eagle Universal A popular choice for roadsters was gunmetal although these were not usually given the same fancy treatment as the lightweights Knockin Bags were made as a sideline in our shop by my mother and me She had a sewing machine and made up bags in strong canvas The bags had a long canvas strap and it was carefully measured so that the bag did not go low enough to interfere with the rider s control of the cycle The contents were employed when the cyclist had a knocking sensation from his stomach I was allowed to help in the cutting out and easy sewing parts These were also known as Musettes which is of course French for bagpipes I guess the bag was called this after the shape Mrs Edith Holland remembers that the frame numbering was under the bottom bracket and consisted of the month followed by the year and then the frame number e g 3 56 1234 would be frame no 1234 completed in March 1956 Robin Walker has Holland frame no 25717 So it dates Feb 1957 the 17th one built that year I will try to remember the names of some of the customers who always came into the house for a cup of tea and a chat Frank Beeson taken on 22 8 48 I remember him well as he worked for my father for several years He belonged to Dartmouth Cycling Club of West Bromwich This would have been one of my father s machines and is fitted with an Osgear The reason there is

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/holland-builders.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Holmes of Welling
    The top model was the Feather Superbe notable for having scroll pattern fancy lugs The Elite model offered a continental style frame with Ekla lugs and the Club model model with Brampton lugs shown here By 1953 they had on offer a budget model called the Avanti Their lightweight credentials were reaffirmed in an advert in the first monthly addition of the Coureur Sporting Cyclist in May 1957 calling themselves manufacturers of high class lightweight frames and cycles and that there were no sidelines It was quite common for cycle shops to branch out at that time to cover the slack periods Frank Lipscombe in the same issue advertised no motors no television no toys It is believed that they closed their doors in mid 1963 after forty one years when there was clearly a slump in the market and retirement beckoned Sandy Holmes Holmes and his long time manager Stan Kessler Perhaps not a true rival Sydney B Harlow at 111 central Avenue also closed at this time the premises was to became car shop However there was always an alternative bike shop not far away A F Mills Welling Ltd at 108 High Street a long time rival also sold bicycles under their own name and advertised as agents for Claud Butler Falcon and Viking in 1965 They were particularly renowned for their tandems In the other direction along Bellegrove Road Clive Stuart opened a lightweight shop that was run by the frame builder Alec Bird With his brother Ken they ran a small cycle team that sponsored local cycling ace John Clarey in 1968 This was to become Welling Cycles a branch of Holdsworth and then bought by one of their employees Fred Elliott when that organisation went into liquidation in the early 1980s Although perhaps not

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/holmes.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Classic lightweights template
    left but perhaps their most famous association was with Dave Bonner below right of the Old Portlians CC who rode a Jensen before turning professional for Condor Terry Harradine below left purchased a Jensen frame second hand for 5 in 1965 that had a stripped bottom bracket thread and he took it to Major Nicholls for repair Major himself a meticulous frame builder was very complimentary about the build quality of the Jensen The Super Professional model cost 16gns in 1961 If this model was the type owned by Terry then it was built squarely with 72 degree parallel angles a 40 wheel base made with Nervex Professionel lugs and Reynolds 531 butted tubing This specification is certainly borne out by Colin Davies who had two frames made for him in the 1960s Frame numbers are prefixed by the year then the total build number ie 61310 63710 661012 and shows a steady output over this period Terry Harradine racing on Jensen Dave Bonner time trialling on Jensen This short article was prompted by research carried out by Terry Harradine and my conversations with Colin Davies Wally Happy and Eric Hall Paul Gittins responds to this page I was interested to read the feature on Jensen frames which were very rare up here in t north In fact the only one I remember seeing was ridden by Alan Sturgess when he was a member of Calder Clarion in the early 70 s He was I believe an ex member of Norwood Paragon which relates to the link between them and Jensen mentioned in the article Attached is a shot taken by F W Loasby of Alan riding his Jensen which was Orange colour in the Askern Road Club 3 up 25mile time trial on the O2 in April 72 The arm you can see just into the picture is mine We did an 0 for 5th place and won a Milremo tub wrapper each for our troubles I ve still got mine and use it in Old Skool events for my spare Notice that Alan has a pair of Campag brakes fitted which were very exotic in the day the first I d seen and we all thought he was mad After all they cost 20 a set A pair of Weinmann 500 s was less than a fiver and probably worked just as well or so we thought Below Jensen Cycles frameset list and order form Click on each image for larger version a click on the second version will release it from screen size limit 1962 framesets Frame order form Bryan Hill Epsom CC unearthed these documents in his loft He got them from Jensens but never actually ordered a frame although he regularly visited the shop as he worked as an apprentice at the nearby Creeds of Croydon He did however get two frames re enamelled an Allin road path which he still owns and am E A Grimstead road bike which was stolen from the bike

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/jensen-cycles-builders.html (2016-02-09)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2016-10-26