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  • J R J (Bob Jackson)
    spray these frames with flamboyant transparent enamels over a silver base coat for 1 extra the same finish could be had over chrome plate giving a de luxe effect His favourite colours for road frames were flam ruby flam royal blue or flam emerald green These finishes were accompanied by a white head panel elongated diamond panels in white on the down and seat tubes and long triangles in white on the fork blades All frames had double box lining He claimed that the white paint showed off the Olympic circles better This JRJ track frame has been beautifully renovated by a local framebuilder Chris Marshall who had worked many years for Pennine Whitaker Mapplebeck It is probably the Olympic Sprint No 2 model that was designed for track use and short road work i e 10 and 25 mile time trials using fixed gear With a 40 5 inch wheelbase it was just 0 5 inches longer than the Olympic Sprint No 1 model which was designed for serious track use and had a small braze on lug on the top tube in front of the seat cluster the saddle support that held the saddle nose rigidly in position was bolted to this lug Both models were very popular with British amateur riders and used by several UK champions A larger frame such as this one would have 74 72 angles whereas the mid sized ones had 73 parallel The lugs on this frame are the Oscar Egg Super Champion model SC2 this pattern being the most popular in the range In 1963 Bob Jackson marketed the same frames under both the Merlin and JRJ names One example was the Merlin Modena or the JRJ San Remo Another frame sold as ideal for massed start or for time trialling was the Merlin International or the JRJ Internationale In addition they listed the Madison track and Olympic track frames Confusingly the catalogue also listed Record and Olympic Italia as complete cycles J R J advert in Sporting Cyclist January 1961 Merlin advert in Sporting Cyclist July 1961 In the Leeds and Bradford area there was much competition among the various framebuilders because the two large cities are less than ten miles apart Bradford boasted Baines cycles who were content to produce their short wheelbase Gate design while well known road racer and framebuilder Geoff Clarke produced well balanced sound but unfussy frames At Ellis Briggs they produced their fancy lugged Superbe and International models but preferred to nibble their fancy lugs out of Ekla or Brampton cast lugs Some Jackson track frames including Justin Cotton s were built with reinforcing at the chainstay bottom bracket junction see image below The other popular Bradford builder Whitaker and Mapplebeck later to become Pennine Cycles under Johnny Mapplebeck was the preferred shop of the breakaway road racers members of the Britsh League of Racing Cyclists W M claimed that their frames were inspired by continental designs but this did not prevent them from

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/jrj-bob-jackson.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Knight Cycles - Wolverhampton
    needed to complete the bicycle was bought in through the trade for them This custom trade was not a major activity for the firm Some of the shop outlets had a good throughput at this time and some came to Knights with their own specification A number of these shops also employed several bike assemblers working just with Knight frames at their shop Knights worked up to about 14 men on the pay roll at the firm s peak The firm retained its connections with the sport and together with Whitemans the Manchester wholesaler and Gibbsport the clothing manufacturer the firm supported the Whitemans Gibbsport Knight Racing Team This was probably the mid 1980 s which Mick remembers as being their best years when seven to eight frames per week would have been the maximum throughput Knight transfer of unknown date Mick has noted that the frame number would have been stamped on the bottom bracket with the fork steerer tube usually only carrying the last digit of a small batch This was done so that when the framesets were being painted which was also done in house the forks painted separately from the frames could readily be put into their correct frame at the final building stages of production A number of makes and models of lugs were used though mostly Prugnat with bottom bracket and drop outs from Haden or other British firms all sets being sourced from local trade suppliers There have been a number of types of Knight transfers the original pattern being solvent fix type similar to those shown below down tube and at the top of the page which are in fact modern reproduction facsimiles on thin vinyl by H Lloyd Cycles This first type was as used on bicycles made at Pendeford Airport and were superseded by another type of which only one is known to survive at present before the final version was introduced in the late 1980 s Left and above Final head seat and down tube version of the Knight transfers Above Distinctive topeye and fork crown on a Knight cycle In its hey days the firm produced a number of models all with names which could be associated with the name Knight in some way such as the Knight Commander One of these was the Knight Saracen model This model was in fact to a specification supplied only to Staples This firmâ developed from Brian Staples s cycle shop in Kenilworth Warwickshire Elaine Dunn Brian s daughter recalls how her engineer father had a keen interest in building his own bicycles Early in the 1980 s he arranged for Knight Fabricators to provide frames to his own specification which were built up into complete bicycles by Jim Gittins in the back of Staples s shop Jim who was initially on loan from Knights eventually as demand grew left Knights and worked direct for Staples Staples began to take larger numbers and the Saracen model name indirectly gave rise to

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/knight-cycles-builders.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Leach Marathon
    came from that source when it closed The address for Leach Marathon on my head badge is 53 55 Martin St Stratford The athletic male figure on the head badge is Greek and ties in with the name Marathon Bryan Clarke says Beside the Martin Street address the seat tube transfer also shows 187 Leytonstone Road right I wondered whether he realised the impending redevelopment plan and intended to carry on at that address although I can find no one who remembers it this is now unlikely see Derek Athey s note at bottom of page My family used to go shopping in Stratford Broadway as late as 1963 and the whole block was pulled down a year later I think I never saw the shop so I don t know whether it was pulled down before that date In 1960 Bill Leach was advertising a new model the Europa in Cycling My brother in law used to go past the shop on his way to school from where he lived in Crownfield Road There are several VCC members who remember the shop Terry Murton Neil Palmer I was always told that he built some frames himself but also employed others Below is an image of Bryan s Leach Marathon with Nervex Professional lugs John Conway from Australia adds I was interested to read the piece about Leach Marathon on the web page I remember the shop in Stratford The frames were indeed built in or at the Stratford shop That was where all of the good lightweight stuff was He usually kept a bike in the window but there was never much display The shop in Leytonstone Road was also there in the early 50 s possibly late 40 s even It was what I call a bread and butter shop and sold all of the general cycling requirements and several brands A good and useful shop never too expensive and always well stocked In a manner of speaking that shop had all of the competition because Reid s and Rivett s were opposite each other in the same street a couple of miles up the Road in Leyton I have always been confused with the boundaries between Leyton and Leytonstone so it may have been Leytonstone The road outside the Stratford shop at the time was cobbled as was virtually the whole of the Mile End Road This used to play havoc with poorly built frames I never heard of an LM breaking I cannot remember the lugs he used but most of the ones I saw had the standard plain lug of the day whose name manufacturer I cannot recall but it was similar to what you would see on a Holdsworth The standard of finish was always very high I seriously contemplated owning one but alas sheckels or lack of interfered Also we were spoiled for choice with Ephgrave Bates of London E G Bates Hobbs Hetchins Paris and Rensch all within cycling distance Norman Jones

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/leach-marathon.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Lipscombe Cycles
    four figure frames numbers are found under the bottom bracket and on the fork column It has been suggested by John Clark that the first two digits probably represent the year of build He purchased his bespoke Italian style model in the mid 1960s Bicycle frames by Frank Lipscombe are therefore worthy additions to the frame builders hall of fame In the 1960 s Frank Lipscombe designed and built the almost unique Compacta folding lightweight and his wife remembers about twelve being built to order for customers The link connects to details and images of one of John Spooner s Compactas I am grateful to John Clark for supplying me with additional material for this short article Lipscombe seatstay bridge Compare with bridge on right Ephgrave seatstay bridge Lipscombe down tube transfer Roger Bugg writes I can add that my machine is 5926 and was almost new when I bought it in late 1960 This seems to lend weight to the theory that the first two digits represent the year Link for details of another fine 1960 Frank Lipscombe machine Richard Masson relates I have just found your excellent website and read the piece about the Frank Lipscombe frame First let me put to rest any suggestion that anyone other than Frank build his frames Up until I went off to sea in the Merchant Navy in 1959 I knew Frank pretty well and hung around the shop in Markhouse Road whenever possible I never heard Frank say a good word for any other framebuilder ever As far as he was concerned there was only one person who could build a frame properly and his name was Frank Lipscombe End of story I rode a 1950 Claud Butler Courier Anglais lugless and double welded Accles and Pollock tube which Frank always said would fall apart one day and kill me My Dad bought it for me second hand in 1953 for 15 which was a lot of money back then I was a racing mad lad and Frank took me to the Century Road Club in Waltham Cross about 1954 and I stayed a member throughout my cycling career I rode time trials mainly but some massed start mainly evening sign up and race events at Crystal Palace We used to train on a set of rollers on the pavement outside Frank s shop on Saturday afternoons to the amusement of passing shoppers We thought we were so cool I was interested to read the piece about Ray Booty The Boot was hero to most of us this quiet clarinet playing RAF National Serviceman seemed superhuman I understand he had a naturally very slow pulse rate which helped his incredible stamina Gordon Pirie the athlete was the same if you remember him But what is that about his gears I remember him riding with a rear derailleur operated by a rod up the back forks He used to reach back to the base of his greatly extended seat tube and

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/lipscombe.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Norris Lockley - 'Bespoke of Settle'
    following training with the British Oxygen Company I became much more proficient in controlling the movement of brazing spelter with the torch flame within a lugged joint and also outside on lugless frames I abandoned my early void filling technique and became very skilled at filling the voids by using an externally applied rod of thicker than normal diameter say about 1 8 and a smaller than normal nozzle usually a No1 With the much smaller flame I could almost stroke and coax the slightly pastier filler rod into the voids by controlling the heat and the rate of flow of the braze material at the same time As my tutor at the BOC always said always use the smallest nozzle possible It may take a little longer but a craftsman with a lighted torch in his hand should never be in a hurry Queries about the suitability of this particular tubing Reynolds 531SL set crop up on a regular basis either regarding its use for frames for heavier riders or about some of the faults it was supposed to and in certain senses did actually have It should be remembered that this tubing had been about in the 50s when it was just one of the various gauges of the standard 531 DB that were available to help build lighter frames I don t recall there being any restriction on or suggestion of a recommended maximum weight in those days Indeed I remember top builders such a Pat Skeates Clive Stuart Hilton Wrigley using the lighter tubes for frames as large as 24 some of my clubmates rode these sizes but only for fast road bikes and not touring or track machines The metallurgy of the tube i e the alloying elements are the same as those for the standard 531 DB and no special care needed to be exercised unlike with 753 that emerged later which had a different metallurgy I remember talking to the Reynolds representative when the Series 531SL was launched in the mid 70s and recall that he urged the use of silver solders rather than silicon brazing alloys in order to limit the heat input required However this recommendation was due to the use of finer gauged tubes not to alloying elements It should be remembered also that when the lighter gauge 531 DBs were in use in the 50s many builders were using different types of heat sources and gas mixtures The age of the ubiquitous oxy acetylene torch had not really dawned In those days I was using coal town gas and compressed air This gave a much larger softer and less hot flame The large flame actually enveloped the whole of a lugged joint with what we called a brush flame It was easy but took longer to heat the whole joint area to the same temperature without any fear whatsoever of over heating or burning the tubing resulting in the brazing alloy running very freely throughout the joint Reynolds 531SL got itself a bad name when frames started cracking on the chainstays This was not due to any problem with the steel per se but to the manner in which Reynolds had put the dented area adjacent to the point where the chainring would spin Additionally the gauge of the seat stays and I believe of the chainstays was reduced This lack of stiffness gave rise to the rear of the frame flexing under load When the set re emerged as 531 Pro with slight reworking of seatstay sections and indentations of the chainstays the flexing had not been removed sufficiently which led in turn to 653 in which the rear end stays were made up of 753 components The problem was then resolved However the Peugeot Pro team used 531SL frames with great success in the late 70s Perhaps flex and stiffness are all relative terms and open to individual interpretation Building a frame with the Nervex lugs by Norris Lockley including some history of the origins I am was a framebuilder and I still do have several full sets of these lugs in stock so I am always interested in seeing what other builders think of them and how they have adapted them This article is sent to add a little bit of the historical background to the company and the development of the Series Mk1 and II of the Nervex Pro set In the late 40 s and early 50 s most British framebuilders relied upon cast lugs with which to build their frames These could be from English manufacturers such as Vaughan Davis Brampton Chater Lea etc or from European manufacturers such as Aerts or EKLA As the European economy picked up after WWII supplies of more modern lugs started to be imported most of which were made from precision pressings of mild steel plate by a process called emboutissage Amongst the very first of these and very popular with builders were the excellent Oscar Egg Super Champion models By about 1953 builders such as JRJ in Leeds later to become Bob Jackson cycles were also offering the Nervex range of lugs as an option to these other brands JRJ also offered as did several other builders that I know of the Franco Suisse range I started helping a frame builder in about 1953 54 and up until that time I had not heard of Nervex lugs but was aware of Franco Suisse My recent research as demonstrated by the Franco Suisse advert from February 1950 see image left indicates that in fact the two brands were one and the same Franco Suisse a firm in St Etienne France being the manufacturer and Nervex being the brand of lugs that it manufactured It would appear from further research that Ste Franco Suisse either sold out to or changed its name to Francolam the name that appears on the box of lugs in the main Nervex article and on the cover of the much quoted and referred

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/norris-lockley-builder.html (2016-02-09)
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  • James W. Long
    started building frames and was also wheel building about this time His premises were located in a workshop set in a yard at the rear of his house in Gordon Road just off the Stratford end of Leyton High Road He built both lugless and lugged frames to a very high standard He originally learned his craft and worked for Bates at Comely Bank Like the other greats Stuart Purves

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/long-jas.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Macleans Featherweight Cycles
    the great pre war triallist built frames at the Holloway Road workshop Another customer Derek Waters born in Tottenham owned a Paris road race frame but still bought his clothing and parts at the shop because they were close to home and stocked an extensive range of wheels tyres accessories and clothing etc He remembers the two large double fronted shop windows in Upper Street with the entrance through the left hand doorway As you entered the shop the access to the workshop was in front of you Frames were displayed in the right hand windows with accessories and clothing on the left hand side The shop was dark inside with brown paint and a long wooden counter covered with fawn lino that extended the full length of the two shops Inside the shop a range of complete bikes were available which included roadster and touring models from other well known makers such as Rudge A wide range of specialist fittings were available from makers such as GB and Airlite The exterior of the shops was also painted brown red with the name MACLEAN in large gold letters above the windows Because the road sloped gently downhill you had to step up into the shop Derek recalls that Macleans catered more for the tourist market you would not see groups of road race riders hovering outside the shop in the same way they gathered outside the nearby shops of Hetchins or G W Lightweights built by Len Glover Head and Seat Tube Transfers The original transfer possibly an off the peg design featured an oval hatch in blue grading from dark to light from top left to bottom right The oval is contained within a wreath effect border At the bottom is a small ornamental panel The words D Maclean 2 Jackson Rd Holloway were inscribed on five lines within the large oval and the worlds London N7 on one line in the small bottom panel When he became the sole proprietor it is believed the Harry Bailey removed the D after Don s death in the mid 20s The most commonly seen transfer used on restored cycles feature the transfer used in 1928 33 366 Upper St period This transfer retained the wreath bordered oval which now contained the wording Maclean s Featherweight on two lines the latter word being curved downward In the small bottom panel appear the words 366 Upper St London on two straight lines The oval badge is now surmounted with the splendid London Coat of Arms When the company moved to 362 3 Upper St the transfer was changed again The oval now contained a Fleur de Lys coronet above the upward curving worlds Maclean s Featherweight on two lines The small bottom panel contained the words 362 3 Upper St London on two lines The crowning London Coat of Arms was simplified by the removal of the Fleur du Lys from the centre of the Cross of St George shield Still a very impressive badge but no longer quite as stunning as the earlier versions from 2 Jackson Rd and 366 Upper St No further head and seat tube transfers have been recorded to date When the company was transferred to Holdsworth Cycles a completely new metal headbadge was designed and remained unchanged until the demise of the name The Holdsworthy metal badge consisted of a rounded oval with a simplified wreath border and a simple coronet at the top The interior has a black background with the word Featherweight across the top part and the word Cycles at the bottom both in gold In between diagonally across the centre of the oval the word Maclean is printed in large gold capitals on an orange red background bordered top and bottom by a gold strip Along the bottom of the oval is an oblong panel with a step base and fluted ends The interior of the panel has a green background upon which are the words London S E 20 in gold capitals The badge has mounting pins top and bottom A transfer version of this badge is used on the seat tube complete with marked pin holes Down Tube Transfers There are no records of the evolution of the transfers used on each side of the down tube It would appear that pre war frames only had the simple word Maclean in silver or gold capitall letters on each side of the tube After the war in the late 1940s the above transfer was replaced with the attractive MAC LEAN transfer in large gold block capitals with a motif in between the two parts where the dash is placed This consisted of a round wreath with the letters Mac inside on a red background A pair of silver outstretched angel s wings radiate from the central wreath Above the wings is the word Featherweights in small gold capital letters while below on two lines are the words 362 3 Upper Street and Angel N 1 These two lines are in small silver block capitals Also seen on a few cycles is a simpler transfer with the word Macleans in dark blue or red scrolled capitals Each letter with a white black border on a plain white background behind which is another elongated background in pale blue with a silver outer edge tapering to a point at each end This transfer is on both pre and post war machines Frame numbering and dating At the time of writing there are no known records or proven information regarding the numbering of frames both pre and post war However there are adequate known numbers of post war frames which have bills of sale that have allowed the verification of the numbering system used post war Pre war dating To date there are so few confirmed dates of manufacture or sale to be able to date any other frames from this period The known numbers listed below indicate how difficult it is to attempt to construct

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/macleans.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Major Brothers cycles
    member of both clubs who was also librarian for the VCC Some frames were built on the premises other later ones were bought in possibly made by Leader or by the frame builder for Allins of Croydon Right Arthur and Frank riding Rough Stuff According to Anthony Richards a great nephew both brothers were employed as instrument technicians during the war possibly at Farnborough which gives an early indication of the skills they would later bring to their cycle making They immigrated to Canada after the war but returned fairly soon to set up first one and then a second shop Like many other close siblings with strong characters they seem often to have fallen out and separate shops allowed them to keep their distance from one another when necessary They moved to Scotland and remained very active cyclists until Arthur s death in about 1990 Frank died in 2005 Major Bros frames are all very distinctive with a number of unique adoptions principally around brake cable routing See the attached illustrations Arthur had very strong view on components referring to FB as the world s finest hubs an opinion shared by several present day enthusiasts The brothers pioneered the early use of Guidonnet levers in this country with Mafac brakes Major s use arose from a medical problem as he found he could not use a conventional lever with his arthritis Conloy rims and Campagnolo FB or Airlite hubs were favoured often with a 4 spd Sturmey Cyclo derailleur combo Frame angles were often around 69 70 so pretty slack with braze on mountings for dynamo a Lucifer the best in Arthurs view and cabling It appears that after the late 50 s no more frames were built by them as demand had declined a few frames were made

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