Thursday, May 31, 2012

Viking Track bike

Another one of my favorites that I wish I'd never sold. I bought this from a friend, after much pestering, who'd bought it from it's original owner, Keith Lambert. If you don't know, Keith was one of the top British pros in the 70's and early 80's, riding for the Viking and Falcon teams among others and owner of our local bike shop. Not really know as a track rider he'd ridden the 79 National Track Championships on this specially made bike. As far as I know it was actually made by Harry Quinn, a famous frame builder from Liverpool who designed Viking bikes and who built frames that went on to win World championships and the Tour of Britain. 
It's made from Reynolds 531 and the bike is fitted with Campag record Pista chainset, hubs, pedals and seat post. It has Cinelli bars and stem. My mate had it drilled for a front brake and fitted a Dura-ace caliper and lever. The love the tied and soldered wheels. I used for time trialling and track racing throughout the 80s and then put aerobars on and used it a bit in the 90s for a few TTs.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bespoke II

To be honest I can't remember where I bought this frame but I think I just got the stickers from Norris at Bespoke since I'd recently got the 753 built there. Anyway, it was a built from super light Japanese Ishiwata tubing and finished in all chrome with track ends (with a gear hanger, changing a wheel was interesting!). It was my time trial bike so, as was the fashion at the time, it was built be light, with a single 52 teeth chainwheel and a 13-17 5 speed block. I fitted it with a plastic headset, that, though weighing less than air it wore out when you looked at it. Gotta love the half taped bars.
Skin suits were just coming into fashion, though thankfully the balaclava never caught on.

Norris also had the parts anodized for me which created quite a unique look. Later I had some very light 28 spoke radial sprint wheels built for it that needed regular trueing but looked lovely at speed. What you couldn't see is that I ran them with one ball bearing removed, no dust caps and just light machine oil! Things we thought made you fast in 1980! First bike I did under the hour for a 25 on.


My second made to measure bike, this one by Bespoke of Settle in North Yorkshire. Norris Lockley owned the shop and built, or at least worked on, all the frames. 
Club runs with the Bronte wheelers often involved a cafe stop in Settle and I guess we'd pop into Norris's tiny, under the arches, establishment. Though cramped there were always a few gems in there and I suppose I just fell for one of his creations, especially as he was building in the still rare Reynolds 753.  
Its a bit less flash than the Favori, despite the colour, with plain lugs, though I did ask for a Columbus fork crown just because I loved the press in plastic Columbus bird logo in red. It was an odd choice considering it was built in Reynolds tubing but then I did say I was a bike tart. 
At that time (1981) chrome was a bit passé so I had it painted in flat yellow with just the dropouts chromed. It was a nice frame and the brazed on front mech was still a bit of a novelty at that time so it looked pretty modern but in retrospect the stickers were a bit naff. I guess it's for that reason I had the frame repainted twice in the next few years.

This is me riding the Bespoke in the early season Whitehills road race near Skipton. I remember it well, not due to my performance but due to the fact that Malcolm Elliot was riding. This was about 1982 when Elliot was already a big noise (Junior world champs rider and national hill climb champion) but he went on to much greater things and is still rising today. Legend.

Here, I'm riding a time trial at the Harrogate Festival. In the days before aerobars, or helmets!


This was the first bike that I had made to measure. It's built from 531SL by Ellis Briggs of Shipley in West Yorkshire. I spent many an evening with my nose pressed against their shop window or pouring over the frames catalog before I finally plumped for this spec. 
Ellis Briggs are a good Yorkshire make, but they created the Favori name for their race bikes, presumably to add a bit of Italian flare.
At the time (around 1980) 531SL was 'the' tubing and Briggs's built it up into a lovely frame. I've always been a bit of a bike tart so I opted for lugs with the Clubs, Hearts, diamonds and spades cut out. 'Shot in' rear stays and brazed on cable guides and lever bosses. It's painted what was called Champagne, with black lining and the Favori name plastered everywhere.
The bike was built up with a Campagnolo Record groupset that I took from my Falcon team bike (more of later, if i can find any decent photos)  and later I added the bizarre PMP 'L' shaped cranks. Totally useless (they broke) but cool looking (bike tart!). Topped off with super cool Concor cream saddle (soon went brown) and Cinelli stem and '66' bars. Sprints and tubs of course. Breaks my heart that I haven't still got it, but I think the same about lots of my bikes........

Some of my bikes. N°1, Chopper!

I spent a while the other night scanning old photos of my bikes with the intention of getting all of them in one place, but for the moment it's all a bit random. I haven't managed to get them all together yet so I can't collate them chronologically. With that in mind I thought I start with something a bit left field, my chopper.
Bought in around 2001 from a mate, for a tenner, who found it in a neighbors overgrown garden. I had the bars and seat post re chromed just outside Nuneaten fro £44 if I remember rightly. The new front rim was found in the attic of a local bike shop and I had the wheels rebuilt with new spokes and put on new red walled tyres (after experiencing my first internet rip off!).
The orange paint was applied at work (TWR) by Mark, our resident master painter. I had the templates for the Chopper name made in the Arrows F1 graphics department so, unlike the originals, they are painted and not stickers. One day I'll get round to finding a chainguard!

Chinese Bicycle shops

In Shanghai there are bike shops everywhere, but then again there are bicycles everywhere so I guess that's no surprise. When I was last there I deliberately sought out some of the better ones but regular shops providing parts and servicing for commuter and work bikes are easy to find. When there's major work to do it just spills out on to the pavement, like most Chinese shops.  
What is surprising is that there are more specialist shops too. I found a cool 'fixie' shop based in a typically basic and run down Chinese establishment. 
Then there are outlets for a lot of the big global marques and I visited the Specialized, Trek and Giant stores. 
Whereas you can buy a perfectly serviceable bike at the regular bike shops for around 35 euros the prices in the big brands shops are the same as you find in Europe. I saw carbon bottle cages in the Trek shop selling for the same price as a whole bike at the shop that was literally next door.  I can only assume that cycling is a rich mans sport in China or they are only bought by expats.  


Monday, May 21, 2012

Taiwanese basket bike on

Nice to see another link to the Peugeot DL122 on . I've never seen these bikes before but they're pretty cool. I did a lot of work on the DL122 to make sure the bag in the frame idea would work, but these prove that it clearly does! It looks like they also have 20" wheels in order to create the biggest possible space for the luggage.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Les Coteaux de la Seine

I do ride a bit as well as talk about / design bikes! Here's a very poor photo of a very nice ride along the Seine on Tuesday 17th May.  210k in total. 
Thanks to Lionel, Arnaud, Philippe and Eric for the company.
Two of the many joys of France are the number of bank holidays (hence the Thursday ride) and the cycling randonees. I can find a 'rando' within riding distance of my house most weekends from March to October. Usually 4 or 5 euros to enter (though my club pay for them all) and for that you get a choice of routes, usually 30 to 100k and a few a bit longer like this one, arrows around the whole route and food both at the finish and at a couple of 'ravitaillements' on the course. 
Not races, though you can always find someone to ride 'energetically' with, they're great for learning the countryside and finding a riding partner.

Peugeot DL122

The DL122, first seen at the Geneva motor show.
I thought I'd start this first blog post with a few more images of this bike and some 'making of' photos.
The bike was created as a vision of a future Peugeot city bike and incorporates some ideas you'll see in upcoming bikes.
Since I've spent many years as a car designer I wanted to approach the design from an automotive perspective. Because bicycles are basically assemblies of parts there is often a lack of the coherence that is taken for granted in cars. Of course putting the laptop bag into the frame is the principle idea but there is also an integrated lock, hidden cables, a unique seat post clamp and belt drive.
The lock is just in front of the seat tube in a special holder. ABUS supplied one of there great Bordo locks which is as strong as a U lock but folds into a much smaller package. All the cables are fed into the combined handlebar / stem unit and are completely hidden in the frame until they reappear next the brakes and rear hub gear unit.
I think that the wood turned out really nicely. It's molded ply with the Peugeot name embossed into the sides. 
Below are a few more images, including the bag in place, one of my sketches and some of the guys working on the bike.