Sunday, February 26, 2017

Raleigh Panasonic and Protar model Challenge

 OK, here is my new years challenge...
I am going to restore a 1987 Raleigh Panasonic,
and at the same time build a 1:9 scale kit of the 
same bike made by Protar, sounds simple, but 
believe me, it is not...read on.
First up, here is the Raleigh to be restored, tatty but very
original, one of the last nice production race bike's to be made
by Raleigh UK in Nottingham.
Here is what the frame should look like when finished.
And here is the box of the Protar model, the first thing you will
notice of course, is that the bike on the box art is not a 
Team Panasonic, but is infact, a low end Raleigh racer bike
of some sort, it looks like it has steel rims even.
Makes me a little nervous to open the box...
laying on top are the decals and instructions, the decals actually
look pretty good, maybe even very good, I start to feel a little 
better. I notice that the instructions have crosses through a 
number of parts, this is because Protar made several racing 
bicycle models from a 1940's Legnano, 1950's Bianchi up to 
this 1980's Panasonic kit
 All kits use the same sprues, so you only use the parts that 
are for your particular bike.
Anyway...let's look deeper...
The frame, made of metal. 
Nicely cast, and feels substantial.
As you can see, I will have to modify the seat stays, the shot
in stays of the Panasonic are one it's endearing features.
Will have to work on the lugs a  little as well.
The forks, again will need to be modified, the Panasonic's
sloping fork crown is another feature of the bike.

The stem will also need a bit of work, it looks like 
a 1960's TTT, and as we all know any self respecting Team
replica would have to have a Cinelli.
 The bars aren't really right either, but I think I 
will use them as is...can't get to carried away!
not sure I can live with those levers though...

This is the dream finish...stay tuned.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

7.9 Kg Roy Thame Campionissimo TT


The Roy Thame Campionissimo TT is finally finished.
As I explained here, I have been collecting period aftermarket 
O.M.A.S. and Cobra performance and lightening parts for this 
super light TT project bike for several years.

 I didn't actually have the right bike frame to attach the parts to
when I started the project, but when a 1979 Roy Thame TT 
frame set came along, 
I knew it was the one I had been looking for.
Thame as Holdsworth Team manager 1974

Roy Thame is mostly remembered today for being the driving
force behind the iconic British Holdsworth Professional team 
from it's inception in 1962  in sponsoring Bob Addy 
through to it's disbandment in 1978.
However Roy was also I very good TT man himself during
the 1950's and was Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club 
champion in 1952.
In 1976 the Holdsworth shops at Putney, Penge and Welling
started selling frames bearing the Roy Thame name.
Apparently many of the custom made frames where 
built by master frame builder Reg Collard at the Putney shop.

I brought my Roy Thame from it's original owner,
(unfortunately I have lost his name), he ordered the frame from
Roy at the Putney shop in 1979, it is a Campionissimo model
made in Reynolds DB 531 specifically for TT work.
I am extremely pleased with the build, sometimes you get it just
right, and I think this is one of those times.
The Blue is pretty similar to the original colour.
I couldn't find any decals that I thought where right, 
so I made my own set, which I am also very happy with.
The lugs where hand cut, filed and drilled to the club pattern
by Holdsworth employee Bob Donington, himself a top
25 mile time trailer.
Bob Donington in action on a Holdsworth.
Classic 1960's English TT style
This build really is about the sum of the parts 
being brought together to make something unique.
Cinelli bars and stem both have full O.M.A.S.
alloy kits.
CLB professional brakes, my only deviation from modified
components on this build, I did have a full OMAS lightening kit
for Campagnolo brake calipers, but the CLB are so pretty...
...although I have used alloy retaining bolts.
CLB  professional drawing by Rebour, above OMAS brake kit I didn't use.
  Huret (CLB) Sulky levers, a bit lighter than the original
CLB Pro levers, helped along with a bit of extra work 
on the factory drillings
OMAS 28 hole hubs with titanium axles and alloy ends.,
laced to Mavic Monthlery Legere rims.

 Decals I made for the build, came out quite nice I thought.
Swiss Assos saddle, actually made by Soffatti in Spain.
(but don't tell anyone) still my favorite saddle after
the Brooks Professional.
Campagnolo Pista crank set, Super Record pedals
Fides extra light toe clips.
Cobra alloy chain wheel bolts, Cobra alloy B/B nuts.
OMAS Alloy/Titanium B/B
Regin Extra SL Superleggera hollow pin chain.
Campagnolo Nuvo Record modified with full OMAS kit.
Regina Alloy freewheel.
Campagnolo chromed dropouts, drilled. 
 All up 7.9 Kg ready to ride, I was hoping to get under 8kg's
so am very pleased.
 Could I get under 7kg's?, I think I can, I have decided to slowly
keep on working on this bike to see if it is possible for me to
trim weight where ever I can over time, and achieve the
impossible dream, not quite in the Martin Luther King
league of dreams for the future...
...but a dream none the less
What it is all about for me, recreating as close as
I can those amazing TT bikes from what I consider the last 
classic period of English hand built lightweights.




Sunday, December 11, 2016

1965 Cecil Walker track bike.

This very pretty Australian built Cecil Walker track bike 
was made for Kiwi rider Hugh Grace in 1964.
Hugh (Hugie) Grace was along with his brother
Max, quite prominent in the New Zealand road/track racing 
scene during the 1960's, although because Hugh moved to 
Australia in 1964, locals are probably 
more familiar with his brother.
 Hugh Grace 
N.Z. Cycling magazine Oct. 1971

Hugh, annoyed at not been given an opportunity to be part
of the 1964 NZ Olympic squad, decided to take a trip across
the ditch to Australia to 'cool off'' for a couple of months.
He ended up there for 5 years.
 Living in Melbourne, Huge quickly became involved in the
local cycle racing scene, and as his local shop was 
Cecil Walkers, he had Cecil built him a new track frame.
Hugh told me that Cecil was an extremely likable man, and as
you can see, also a fine frame builder.
Cecil Walker add
Australian Cyclist December 1962.

Before starting his bike business, Cecil Walker was
an international road and track racing star, especially in the USA.
Apparently he is regarded by some to be Australia's
finest track rider, which is really saying something, 
considering the stiff competition for that title.
I especially like the story that he was still riding off
scratch at the age of forty.
Cecil Walker 1920's-30's racing legend.

He open his Cecil Walker Cycles in Elizabeth St,
Melbourne during the 1930's and ran the shop until
he passed away in 1969.
The Shop still operates today.
 It seems all Cecil Walkers (as did many Australian) bikes
had hand painted signwriting, and always beautifully rendered.
  Hugh's name on the top tube, such a nice touch.

Even though I have only closely inspected
about a dozen vintage Australian racing bikes, I will go out
on a limb and say from what I have seen, their best are 
up there with the best in the world.
 
Tom Harrison winning Gold in the 1962 Empire games
on a Cecil walker track frame.
Frame number W1233

Looking 'just right' a real Aussie classic.







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.