Greatest ever uk frame builder?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
brynpoeth
Posts: 10980
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby brynpoeth » 18 Nov 2018, 6:09pm

Uppadine? Mentioned elsewhere on these fora :wink:
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

Racingt
Posts: 73
Joined: 23 Oct 2015, 6:45am

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby Racingt » 18 Nov 2018, 11:41pm

Workmanship of my Chas Roberts is fantastic, but the 20 year old design feels very dated compared with my Mason Definition.
As far as I’m concerned, we’ve never had such fantastic bikes as we have today, and I’ve been riding 56 years....

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kylecycler
Posts: 644
Joined: 12 Aug 2013, 4:09pm
Location: Kyle, Ayrshire

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby kylecycler » 19 Nov 2018, 12:48am

Three HR Morris bicycles for SpannerGeek, if he hasn't seen them before:

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... asterwork/

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... le-c-1965/

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... urer-1969/

You'll see the writer of the blog frequented Dick Morris's shop when he was in his teens - it was his LBS - and he knew 'HRM' well.

fastpedaller
Posts: 2071
Joined: 10 Jul 2014, 1:12pm
Location: Norfolk

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby fastpedaller » 19 Nov 2018, 9:15am

kylecycler wrote:Three HR Morris bicycles for SpannerGeek, if he hasn't seen them before:

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... asterwork/

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... le-c-1965/

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... urer-1969/

You'll see the writer of the blog frequented Dick Morris's shop when he was in his teens - it was his LBS - and he knew 'HRM' well.



Wow! Some great craftsmanship there - the first one especially. :D

Canuk
Posts: 1105
Joined: 4 Oct 2016, 11:43pm

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby Canuk » 19 Nov 2018, 9:54am

fastpedaller wrote:
kylecycler wrote:Three HR Morris bicycles for SpannerGeek, if he hasn't seen them before:

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... asterwork/

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... le-c-1965/

https://vintagebicycle.wordpress.com/20 ... urer-1969/

You'll see the writer of the blog frequented Dick Morris's shop when he was in his teens - it was his LBS - and he knew 'HRM' well.



Wow! Some great craftsmanship there - the first one especially. :D


If I could have one great vintage British frame it would be this one. Hard to find though.

hamish
Posts: 391
Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 11:29pm

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby hamish » 24 Dec 2018, 8:54pm

I had a 1986 Woodrup bought of the peg from JD Whisker. It was absolutely immaculate with a superb paint job. Blue, 73 degree parallel 531c and a dream to ride. I wish I still had it.

9494arnold
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Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 3:13pm

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby 9494arnold » 25 Dec 2018, 12:04pm

I used to live round the corner from Major Nichols, quite an interesting chap if you got him on a good day! .
I did hear a story about someone travelling from America to get a frame built and during the discussion the Major took a dislike to him and refused to make him a frame.
He once claimed to be the man behind the idea of 700c size high pressure rims .
I do now have one of his frames, understatated but clearly well executed and a nice thing to ride.
( I have had or have Condor/ Bates/ Hetchins/ Raleigh SBDU/ Bob Jackson and it compares favourably)
He used to chide me for being a Trike rider, went in the shop once when another gent was in there to be greeted with a
" All the local nut cases are in here now" : Another trike rider !

When I was younger I did a bit of track racing at Halesowen (on a road/path Claud Butler) most of the serious locals had one of Majors' frames. Quite a few of the roadies did too.

Bowedw
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Joined: 22 Feb 2011, 10:26pm

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby Bowedw » 25 Dec 2018, 6:24pm

I have a Fred James in 853 with Cinelli lugs built by Rick Powell. I would class the workmanship as amongst the best and the quality of the paint and chrome is outstanding, I bought it second hand and enjoy using it even though it is a very short wheelbase frame. My go to bike for all round use is a 1984 Raleigh Record Ace and I rate the Raleigh bikes of that era as second to none.
Any information on Rick Powell would be appreciated.

peetee
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Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby peetee » 25 Dec 2018, 6:57pm

My best race bike is my 753 Rick Powell. Before that a 531 pro by him too. I Totally agree about his capability. His links to Raleigh and Carlton are strong. Just Google 'Rick Powell bikes'.
Current status report:
Latter side of fifty and feeling less than nifty.
Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.

Bowedw
Posts: 268
Joined: 22 Feb 2011, 10:26pm

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby Bowedw » 26 Dec 2018, 7:41pm

Thanks peetee thats really useful and good to know that you also appreciate a Rick Powell frame.

brynpoeth
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Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby brynpoeth » 26 Dec 2018, 8:20pm

brynpoeth wrote:A S Gillott of course

Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

irc
Posts: 4537
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby irc » 26 Dec 2018, 10:37pm

Earlier in the thread Dave Moulton was mentioned. For anyone who hasn't seen it he has a long running blog discussing his frame building and other issues.

http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com/

A customer called me saying his Fuso Lux frame he had bought had a tiny bubble in the Columbus decal. Columbus decals were always a pain because of the material they were made from caused them to bubble when the paint was being baked in the paint oven. This is why you don’t see a Columbus decal on a custom ‘dave moulton’ frame.

I told the customer to send the frame back. When it arrived the “bubble” in the Columbus decal was buried deep within the clear coats and was so tiny you almost needed a magnifying glass to see it. I stood there looking at it, seething with anger. I had finally come to terms with my own perfectionism, but still had to deal with the perfectionism of others. This customer expected me to repaint this frame and there was no guarantee if I did that the Columbus decal would be any different, and maybe it would be even worse.

The frame was in a vise held across the bottom bracket faces. If a fit of rage I grabbed the head tube and folded the frame in two with the head tube ending up next to the rear drop-outs. This time I did not cry; I did not stay up a night building a replacement. Instead I walked into my office and wrote the customer a check for the full retail value of the frame. I attached the check to the frame with scotch tape, threw it in the box and shipped it back. I never heard from him again.

brynpoeth
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Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby brynpoeth » 2 Oct 2019, 12:48pm

Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

colin54
Posts: 1065
Joined: 24 Sep 2013, 4:34pm

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby colin54 » 2 Oct 2019, 4:20pm

brynpoeth wrote:Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott


It would be nice to see a picture of your Gillott.

David9694
Posts: 346
Joined: 10 Feb 2018, 8:42am

Re: Greatest ever uk frame builder?

Postby David9694 » 4 Oct 2019, 11:04pm

SpannerGeek wrote:
mercalia wrote:apart from the frilly bits is there much difference between these bepoke frames and one that fits you and made of good quality tubes but off the shelf? seems to be boutique by another name.


It's a bit like the Japanese Samurai tradition after a bit. Some frame builders are just better craftsmen than others, and that, in the end is what you're paying for. Essentially these are works of art in metal, so as with a good painting, what you're getting is the creative end result of thousands of man hours of experience, probably gained from a time served artisan before them.

Off the shelf usually means 'in a hurry', ie they're just banged out as many and as quick as possible. Quality of course will suffer. Fortunately with tube sets like Reynolds 531 which were so robust it really didn't matter. But Reynolds 753 and 853 builders had to do extensive training and testing and they could only be built by 'approved' craftsmen. I've never had an off the shelf frame which was other than 'ordinary' to ride. My Bob Jackson 853 on the other hand... It's beautiful, to ride and to look at!


On 853, oh no they didn’t. I did the frame building-course at Downland Cycles in 2015 and worked in 853. Further along the thread Brucey lists a number of flaws poorly made frames can have - I wonder how many mine has got. Argos politely offered to realign a couple of my wonky braze-ons when I got it painted. It was a five day course and for an office worker like me, very physical, especially mitring five main tube ends by hand.

The tutor selected the tubes: I went lugged, so when we’d established my measurements he made sure that there would be a sufficient run of thicker tubing at each end. You drew a straight line with a Sharpie down each tube to denote “up”. An ancient looking computer programme produced the shape of the mitre taking account of angle and thickness and printed out a template which you glued to the end of the tube and got busy with the half moon file. They were a decent enough fit, I thought.

There’s a lot that’s done solely by eye, such as the brake bridge: position, length and positioning most braze-ons. I opted for a screw hole in the back of the seat tube Rather than a chainstay bridge.

By the time I got to brazing my last joint, I was beginning to get a feel for the amount of heat needed and how to get the melted brazing material to flow into the the joint (it follows the heat), and stop when the little silver beads appeared at the far end of the lug. The welding mask rendered me all but blind, though. More sandpapering to get the joints smooth.

I rode the frame regularly for three years, it’s taking a break at present, it rode very nicely although if it drops to bits, I’ve no one to blame...

Branded drop-outs, fancy lugs, and and a nice brake bridge, not just a cheap bit of tube with a hole are visual clues to likely overall quality.

Not sure the thread has so far really captured what the magic is with a good frame, though. I agree with the comment about a Raleigh Record Ace, mine is early 1980s vintage - great ride!