Monday, April 18, 2016

Holdsworth Professional Sprint

Here is a very original 1970-72(?)
Holdsworth Professional Sprint.
For some reason these Pro Sprint track bikes seem
to be pretty rare, which is strange, as there are quite
a few Pro road bikes lurking about.

 Name says it all, the best of British.

With original team jersey, also quite hard to find.


For unknown reasons Holdsworth put their decals
on after paint, so they rarely survive intact.

If you have followed this blog at all, you will know I am a real
fan of British race bikes... if you look closely at this machine 
you can see why.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

1968 Dulux Six Day race jersey.

After much searching I have just
acquired this quite rare 1968 Dulux
Six day Cycle race jersey, 
made by New Zealand's
main cycling clothing manufacturer
at the time Vel-Sport.

This was the first year that the race, in it's eighth
year, had it's own jeresy, and the only year that
had the year on the jeresy.
Programme for 1968.
Derek Brown 1968 yellow jersey.

Derek Brown in action.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Raleigh RRA finished..nearly

Well after a couple of months of
slowly disassembling and reassembling
the RRA,( see in original state here),
 I have finally got it ready for the
first road test, complete with new Ultra Close
ratio Sturmey Archer AC hub with 
Dunlop Special Lightweight wheels.
I was really looking forward to this maiden voyage.
The initial ride up the road was a real pleasure, the AC
hubs ultra close ratios felt exactly right to me, far better
than the FM, AM hubs I am used to.
The first big ride didn't go quite so well, the indicator rod 
broke leaving me facing a stiff head wind in the 
toughest gear..ouch 
Still it didn't take away my enthusiasm for this classic ride.
Riding the RRA, you can really feel the solid British history
swirling around you, sort of like a bike version of the
 Bentley Continental R-Type maybe.
The best of traditional post war English engineering
 Fast, but not extremely so ( although I wouldn't say that to Ray Booty)
well thought out, stylish and comfy.
I chose the Oppy bend bars, imagining who would be buying a
RRA in 1950. I thought it could well be an older club man, 
with a little more to spend than your average rider.
Knowing that Hurbert Opperman was very popular in the UK
especially after his stay there in the 1930's, he could well 
have had his favorite old bars fitted to his new RRA.

I love the shape and feel of these bars, with the GB stem
just right. I was going to fit a twin bolt Reynolds stem, but
just couldn't live with a short stem.
GB Hiduminium brakes work very well.
Strata cages with Cyclo straps, combined with the
RRA specific pedals, make a great package.
Airlite front hub with Raleigh wing nuts laced
to Dunlop Special Lightweight rims.
Hollow axle, actually the RRA is surprising light...
no really.
Bluemels Feather light pump.
 Original Raleigh bag
Ray Booty on a special RRA built for him by Raleigh.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Richard Brimer work shop photo

Ok, sorry about photos of me in two consecutive
posts, but my friend and great photographer
Richard Brimer took this a few months back
and I thought it came out pretty good.


After many years of being out on loan,
I have my 1950 Sturmey Archer ASC three speed
fixed gear back, and back in action.
What bike to run it on was a bit of difficult question,
but luckily my own impatience has answered that 
difficult question for me. 
As my 1949 Bates was the only suitable bike in a complete 
riding state at the moment, and I have always been unhappy
with the 700c Fiamme wheel set on it, it was a done deal.
A few hours later I had a reasonably period correct, 
late 40's British TT machine to try out.
 Chater Lea drive train.
Brooks Swallow with alloy clip, surprisingly comfy.
Bluemels "Tour de France" pump, another one of my seemingly
endless fetishists, vintage lightweight pumps..sad I know.
Serious looking vintage lightweight front end.
View from the cockpit, you can see why I was pretty excited 
about trying this one out, sort of like riding a AC Ace...
...a Boutique English builder
who probably made a few more machines than you thought....
..based around a pretty stodgy old motor that they made cool.
SA ASC 3 speed fixed ultra close ratio hub gear,
 with alloy body and wing nuts, looks
good and goes well too.
Not quite like the 3 speed on your average Raleigh
Ruddspeed modified Zephyr motor in a AC Ace.
Not quite the same as in your uncles old Zephyr.
 But what I really liked about the Bates fitted with the ASC hub,
is that this is the first bike that actually made me laugh out loud
while I was rattling along as fast as could.
I love riding this bike, it's fast but it feels authentically old, 
which is a much more difficult combination to bring off
 than you might think. 
Maiden voyage.
Before the power of 3 fixed gears on a vintage
lightweight brought a huge smile to my face.
Even the broken chain after 25km didn't dampen my
enthusiasm for this wonderful time machine.
So the Bates Bar gets my vote as the 
AC Ace of the bike world.
What bike is that car?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

1979 Liberati Professional ( I should have walked away)

There is a term sometimes used when discussing
 old vehicles or objects, 'survivor', which is
pretty self explanatory, an unrestored example
in better than average condition, often with 
nice patina.
I think there should be another term, survived.
Which would mean, rough, but original and intact.
This is the exact state of this 1979 Liberati Professional
I have just unearthed.
From five feet, you might think, mmm not to bad...
but in reality, unless you where fully committed to a total 
restoration, this machine wouldn't be for you.
Luckily I am, well I am now.
Don't get me wrong, this really is a beautiful Italian
superbike, and what is coolest about it, is that this is 
exactly how it came built up from Cicli Literati in 1979.
Very pretty chrome panto lug's (nicely thinned), fork crown.
All the chrome on the frame will need lots of
linishing work and rechroming.
New cable eyes on the top tube will need to be brazed on.
 One of the things that I instantly liked about this bike, 
is that it isn't just all Super Record, 
it is a mixed gruppo in the finest
pre single groupset tradition.
 SR derailleurs and shifters of course, 
notice white high light in drop out triangle.
Universal CX brake set is nice.
Nicely sculptured Galli Chainset with Campagnolo 
chain rings, plenty of lushous Italian 70's pantograph.
SR pedals with Fides super light record cages.

Cicl Liberati  shop, Tuscolano, Rome late 1950's.
More pantograph, SR seat pin.
3TTT bar set...more panto.
Primo Liberati and his wife Gabriella opened
Cicli Liberati in 1957.
Literati had been a enthusiastic amateur road man, 
so opening and cycle business was natural for him.
Apparently the Liberati brand was very active in supporting
amateur cycle racing clubs in Rome.
Unfortunately I can't seem to find much information
on the brand, however they are still operating,
so I will attempt to get some more history directly
from them.
Photo of the Liberati shop taken a couple of years back.
 The reason why I didn't walk away from this project.
I am pretty fussy about the seat cluster area, don't know
why, I just am.
This seat cluster is one of the nice ones, especially the
chrome seat binder, it's surprising you don't see this
more often, such a nice little finishing touch.

When I saw this machine, sitting right down the back 
dark corner of that old Italian guys garage, 
probably untouched for at lest 20 or more years.
 I thought, I know I shouldn't, but I
am going to restore this beautiful machine, it has 
survived, but probably not for much longer. 

I aim to have this one finished for next summer.
It will be a stunner.