Monday, May 6, 2013

Gold, Carmine & Battleship Gray

Pictured are three British 531 frames from the 1950s – two Rudges and  a Raleigh – that have been hibernating in my basement for years. Finally, they are all back on the road.

I love the colors: Gold, grey and carmine. I love their patina – one looks like it was leaned, day after day, against an iron fence or maybe fired from a cannon. We're talking faded glory and hard knocks. Somebody somewhere along the way loved em and rode em. Now it’s my turn.

I’ve never worried too much about historical accuracy. The carmine Rudge is the closest, set up with original bars, saddle, brakes, hubs and a correct Sturmey Archer FM 4-speed hub. But there’s no mistaking that the rims, even with labels peeled off, are modern 700cs.

My favorite rider is the gold Raleigh Grand Prix Reg Harris model, set up as a fixed gear with a modern crank. The wheels are built on 1950s hubs. It was the first set of wheels I ever built and astute viewers will note the rear valve comes up at the incorrect spoke cross. I love those pencil stays on it.

The latest build was done by Jared at Oak City Cycling. It’s a single speed with upright bars. I’d seen a few of his bikes and liked how they looked, so I turned it over to him. I wanted a contrast between the many new parts and six decades of battle scars. He did a masterful job. Bonus points if you can spot the Benelux component.


No comments: