Tuesday, December 29, 2009


After many hours of friggin around on this frame set, I have finally got the Bates to a stage where I thought it was ready for paint. The cantiflex tubes proved to be a real hassle to straighten.
Sorry about the quality of the photos, I will try and post some better ones soon.

I am pretty happy with the result, the off white, 50's green and dark red works well together I think.

This build up will have a nearly full British group set, so stay tuned and I will post some photos when finished.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


My brother has just turned up, back from his OE, to stay with us for a little while.
After the mandatory "what was such and such a country like" conversation was over, I got down to business, and asked the real question, "what sort of bike do you like to ride now".
Turns out he doesn't much like racing bikes, but does like something a bit grungy, but mostly a bike to just get around (he doesn't drive).

With the design brief in mind I got to work...
(this all happened within 12 hours of him turning up at our place)

I had just come back from Auckland, visiting my mate Chris from the Scroungers car club,
so was all inspired to build a bit of a beater bike.

Started with a Aussie Ken Evans frameset, which I had been given a while back, looking pretty much like it is now, paint half stripped by hand, surface rust etc.
Next we tried using some old "26 wheels with a Sturmey Archer three speed, but the rear didn't quite fit, which is a bummer, they looked real good.
I had a search of the leanto, out in the back yard, and found this ragged old set of wheels.
Campag low flange hubs on Fiamme "27 alloy rims, perfect.
Next I found a trashed set of campag cranks, with the alloy peeling, some cool old pedals and a half dead Cyclo freewheel, she was starting to take shape.

For bars, I used a set of GB alloys, for a little bit of flash, on a unnamed steel stem from a thirties racer.
Shimano 600 front brakes, with a BMX lever for a touch of the modern, or something.

Liam, about to test ride the bike, and nearly crash in to a parked cop (not wearing a helmet), when the brakes failed.Yeh it was pretty funny.

Looks cool, and goes good too.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


The Empire is finally finished. I have taken it out for a couple of short rides, and as usual there is a couple of small finishing touches needed.
However from the time I have ridden it, I can already see that I will be putting a few miles on this one, she is a real sweetie.
I will probably change the Brooks swallow for a B17, I love the look of the swallows, but they just don't suit my arse.

1953 Empire Super 531 frameset.
L.J. Simplex three speed rear derailleur with shifter
Durex block
Simplex front rod derailleur
Stronglite cranks
Simplex chainwheels
Phillips pedals
Brooks Swallow saddle
GB Super Hood brake levers
GB Coureur brake calipers
Cinelli steel stem
Coloral alloy water bottles
Fiamme red label rims
Harden high flange hubs..mmmm..my favorite.

GB Super Hood levers, without hoods, nice anodized adjusters though.

By the way, make sure you put your white cloth bar tape on AFTER you have the bike sorted!
At lest that way they might stay a little bit clean, well longer than about one hour, which is how long my stayed clean for.

Cyclo rear drop outs.
Four speed block, but Simplex can only handle three.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


My helpers and pizza eaters, thanks guys.

I took a little exhibit of NZ cycle racing history over to Taupo, for their Cycle Challenge weekend.
It was a bit boxed in, as you can see in the photos, but it didn't look to bad.
Better than in does in the photos anyway.
Took the family along, a had a great time. If you are ever in Taupo, go for a ride through the botanical gardens, it's well worth it.

The exhibit looking a little squashed in.

Some memorabilia.

Neil Geraghtys 1958 Australian 'Master Sports track bike.
Neil won the '58 Austral star wheel race ( Australia's biggest track race of the year) on this frame.
I will do a piece on the blog about this bike and the race shortly.