Friday, November 21, 2014


Just got back from taking the Shorter on it's 
second maiden voyage, I guess that's why I have my
happy face on.
Of course I had to change the straight cut TT block that
I had on in the original photos, although I did try it out,
and yes they did cause a high degree of discomfort into
even a moderate headwind, this wasn't helped by the 
Cinelli Unicanitor saddle, which is no Brooks professional.
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Prognosis; Well all I can say is that the men who built
this frame set knew exactly what they where doing, it feels like
it is only meant to go fast, and preferably in a straight line.
It feels quite fragile, unusually light, and very purposeful.
One thing I did notice, is that the drilled brake levers, although,
not actually serving any real purpose in terms of weight saving,
did add a good amount of morale to the ride, just looking
down at them instantly reminds you why you are aboard this
slightly uncomfortable and twitchy machine...  
pedal hard until your legs feel like lead, 
and your lungs are about to burst.
 A view from the cockpit.

So all and all not a Sunday cruiser, that's for sure.
 One to take out after spending the evening reading 
old English cycling magazines,  preferably some 70's ones,
and getting all enthused about the classic Brit TT scene.
Or is that just me....
 On my favorite 40km circuit, with more
reasonable freewheel for a man of my modest abilities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I have just finished building up a very sweet 1970's
Alf Engers Shorter TT replica.
 This is of course the Shorter that
built Alf (King) Engers 25 mile TT bike's throughout 
  most of his time trial career.
King Alf was the first RTTC member to go under the 50 minute 
mark for the 25 mile (40 km) TT  when he did a 49m 24s 
ride in 1978, averaging over 49 kph.

Alf was one of the early English riders to start drilling 
and milling components to reduce weight,
insist on super super short wheelbase frames,
 and super big chainrings,
all of which Alan Shorter was happy to supply.
Alf's drilled and milled Shorter.
Alf had a really interesting and some times explosive career, 
he was always at war with the officials of the RTTC.
 Definitely well worth following up and reading about
if you don't already know about his Cycling career. 
There is a good contemporary interview with Alf here

The 8.6 Kg Alf Engers Shorter replica.

Ever since I picked up an old set of drilled and chopped 
universal brake calipers I have wanted to put together a 
replica of Alf's pink Shorter TT bike, so was really pleased
to find this one here in New Zealand.
Apart from the headset,and bars, everything else
on the frame was binned or relegated to the parts bin.
But the frame...well the frame was everything I had been
looking for in a 1970's style English TT frame.
Super short wheel base
Shot in seat stays
Drilled lugs and drop outs (short Campagnolo)
 And this very cool lightened  B/B shell.

I stripped the paint off the frame, and repaired a few
minor dents.

Had my local auto paint shop mix me up
a special brew of Shorter (Mercier) pink pearl in base coat
and the next thing you know... have one of the coolest bikes to ever roll on two wheels.

 To be honest I haven't even ridden this one yet,
which is strange for me, as that is usually the first thing
I do when I have finished a build, but this time I am just enjoying
having it sitting in the workshop at the moment.

The original drilled and chopped universal calipers that started
my sad obsession with English TT bikes.

 Huret Jubilee-SR Royal and Campagnolo SR pedals
To me this drilled bike gear is like twin four barrel Holleys
on a 426 Hemi, pure Hot Rod.
Well maybe not quite the same, but you know the vibe
is pretty similar.
Weinmann levers and 400/500 calipers where
default choice of many TT riders, I don't  think
they stop you all that well, but are featherweight...
Campagnolo H/F hubs, Super Champion arc en ciel rims.
28 tied soldered front, 32 rear.

Check out those cool white Panasonic tubs, I got them from
The tracksupermarket in Japan, and they only took 3 days to
get here!...thanks guys.

 Sure is pretty.
I was surprised when I weighed the finished bike,
  ready to ride, it was only 8.6 kg's Alan Shorter
would have been proud.
My homage to Alan Shorter and Alf Engers.


Yet another reason why I like tubs..
A good way to get wild flowers home to 
your honey in reasonable condition.
Lots of pretty flowers ready for picking out
there this time of year...

Friday, November 14, 2014


By pure chance I came across this very
cool late 1930's Saxon Twin tube tandem track bike.
When I first viewed it, it was in a sheep 
shed, covered in dust and bird shit.
 The Saxon, pulled down from the sheep shed, looking a little 
bit unloved.
Anyway, after a little negotiation I managed to buy the
bike from it's owner. The first thing I did was to strip off
all the modern gear that was on it. and give it a wipe down.
I was extremely pleased while cleaning it, to find this
sign writing on the bottom tube.

The Greendale Cycle Club was local Hawkes Bay cycle club 
with a very long racing history.
I will have to do some digging around and see if I can't 
find some more background on the bike, and the club.

 I couldn't help mocking it up to see what it looked like in
battle dress, pretty hearty I think.

 One of the few original components left on it, was this
Chater Lea crank.

 Twin tube looks great, I can see why the light weight
guys search out the road bikes.
 28" woods will really finish the Saxon when it is 
all restored, can't wait to get into this one.
I will have to finish a couple of other bikes first though,
so probably won't be until the new year.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Here is a Ti Raleigh Track bike I 
restored a little while back, but never 
got around to getting any photos of the 
finished machine.

I stripped this one by hand, 
it had a beautiful build quality, 
as you would expect from a SB frame set.

A lovely seat cluster, I have to admit this is one of 
the first places I look when assessing a frame.

I have painted a few Ti Raleigh's over the years
and have always used the one piece down tube
decal available from most suppliers.
This time I decided to paint the yellow and 
black, as was done originally.
I am happy that I did, it just feels better.
 Photographed outside it's new owners house.
I really enjoyed restoring this one.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I Have just finished restoring this early Seventies Holdsworth Italia frame set, I was going to keep it, but other projects demand funds, so it is now for sale.
I am pretty sure after reading the famous Holdsworth website 
that this frame-set is most probably 
the work of either Reg Collard or Tommy Quick, although I can't verify this.
Any way it is a absolutely beautiful slice of steel, and I will be real sad to see it go.
But I have got a cool new project to keep my spirits up...
a Seventies Shorter TT frame set, will post photos soon. 
Frame stripped and ready for some light body work.
Overall the frame was in excellent shape.
You can see by the condition of the drop outs that this
machine has seen very little action in it's life.

After many hours the frame is painted and ready to roll once more.
This is really a very nice frame set, and I'm not just saying that 
because of my well known soft for British race bikes.....