Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ron Kitching Crono Express

  Ron Kitching, a name well known in
the UK during the sixties through to the eighties, 
as being one of the biggest importers of cycle 
racing components and in the country.
Ron was also known as a generous and enthusiastic 
sponsor of top riders in Cyclo Cross, Time Trialing,
and even had his own sponsored teams .
Barry Davie, Ron Kit Cyclo Cross team

 Ron Kitching (R) with Andre' Bertin and Eileen Sheridan
 photo courtesy of Bertin classic cycles, who have a great piece
on Ron Kitching here. 
Ron Kitching also had a range of bikes built under his
name on the market in the early seventies.
Of course every item in the bikes manufacture was 
gleaned from the Ron Kit inventory.
This could make for quite an interesting array of
tubes, lugs and components on the one Ron Kit
machine..witness the Crono Express.
 The Crono Express as it arrived, tatty, but as far as I can tell
mostly original.
according the original add for the Crono Express, the frame
was constructed from the following components;
Tubes Vitus 971
Bocama 'sport' head lugs
Milremo 'Trident' bottom bracket shell
Milremo' Super Corsa Fork crown
Zeus 'Gran Sport'drop outs
Milremo 'Classic de Luxe' head set
TA Professional bracket set.
  Crono Express add International Cycle Sport
May 1974.
Notice that they have the rear wheel set at the very
front of the rear drop out, to make the wheel base of this TT
bike look a bit shorter I assume.

My Crono Express seems to have been brought as a
frame set, and built up independently from the suggestions
made in the Ron Kit add, which is a bit of a shame.
I think I will build this up (one day) as it is in the add.

Quite an unusual seat cluster, I am sure that I have read
elsewhere that this was also a Milremo part.
Note the Ron Kit badged seat bolt.
Bocama lug and decal, bot the prettiest lug profile I have seen. 
Mafac Tiger brake caliper, with Milremo fork crown, plenty of 
light between the tyre and bottom of the crown.
 Early version Campagnolo Record R/D.
Zeus drop out.
Vitus 971 decal, very unusual to see on a English bike.
 Cinelli steel stem/bars, non original brake levers.

Even though Ron Kitching bikes where heavily 
advertised at the time, often with full page colour adds.
I could only find a bare few examples on the internet, 
whether this means that they didn't sell well, 
or just that not many have survived I don't know. 
However after talking to my pommy pals, 
I have the feeling they were not that
highly regarded by most serious riders.

Still Beryl Burton was sponsored by Kitching for quite a while,
so they couldn't have been all that bad.
Although that being said, Burton would have probably still
kicked everyone's arse riding a Raleigh MK 1 Chopper.

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