Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby roland4130 » 18 Dec 2020, 4:47pm

Many people will know that the Dawes Galaxy, in it's current form, is to be discontinued from the range next year. The name will carry on in some way I believe, but the traditional road-going tourer we have all been familiar with won't be included in the Dawes line-up. I'm thinking about writing an article about the bike and people's memories of it to send round to a few places to see if anyone will publish it. If anyone has any experiences they would like to share and don't mind me including them that would be great. Many Thanks.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby alexnharvey » 18 Dec 2020, 6:13pm

You should try the vintage Dawes group on Facebook too.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Dec 2020, 6:30pm

Search the forum for Galaxy and there are almost 10,000 hits. Do a posh search to remove "Hitchikers guide to" and apart from a few choc bars you more or less have it.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby jb » 18 Dec 2020, 9:09pm

It was discontinued a while ago from what I've seen of it. Mines still going strong though it's been subject to a few experiments of late, but I could rebuild it back to just how it was in 1995 if I had the inclination all with most of the original parts too.
Bomb proof paint finish.
J Bro

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby Brucey » 18 Dec 2020, 11:14pm

One of my chums had a galaxy which was already about ten years old when we did a big tour on the continent in the mid 1980s. Back when it was made (before the super galaxy even existed) the spec wasn't at all fancy; you got PG 531 main tubes, and the forks and stays were built heavy, in no-name tubing. This may have been deliberate, in that it made the thing stiff and it handled reasonably well even when it was loaded up. I remember being faintly horrified that the frameset weighed about 2-1/2lbs more than a 531DB road bike frameset did, but for loaded touring it seemed to work well. There were hardly any braze-ons and the RD used a bolt-on hanger bracket; all very basic; the only fancy thing on the bike was the aluminium head badge, which Dawes deleted in favour of a much cheaper transfer not long after that bike had been built. A few years later my chum had bought a much better touring bike; the Galaxy was demoted to 'winter beater', and of course given the then obligatory coat of hammerite.

Eventually it was deemed surplus to requirements even for that task, and the frame came to me. Up until then it had been fitted with centre pull brakes and these didn't quite have enough reach for 700Cs, so it was still on 27" wheels; I fitted canti bosses to it (such that it could be used with 700Cs or 27s), better carrier eyes, bottle bosses, welded a gear hanger on etc and passed it on to one of my chums. He painted it, built it up, and then it went through the same cycle more or less, being 'good touring bike' at first, then 'commuter/beater'. It was finally retired from active service in about 2012, by which time the chainstays had corroded so badly that there was nothing left to attach the mudguard to any more; the chainstay brace had gone, and indeed there was no adjacent chainstay to attach another brace to, either.

Once again the frameset came back to me, touch and go for the scrap bin, but after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and much weld repair it was made whole again. I have since built the frame up again and ridden it, intending to turn it into a flat barred town bike. However the steering geometry is 'low trail' and really flat bars together with an upright position don't suit it much; with no load on the handlebars the steering is super quick. So that plan is on hold, being given a dose of thinking, and it'll get dropped bars, different forks (which give more trail), or perhaps a basket will calm the front down. Anyway the bike has already had multiple lives in its 45 years and my suspicion is that it has a few more lives left in it yet; we shall see.

I guess it has outlived at least half a dozen wheelsets and must have at least 100K miles on it. It has only ever had two headsets; the 'replacement' SunTour Superbe headset has been in it for at least 35 years and about 80000 miles; in good part due to the full complement 3/16" bearings in the lower race. When I did the brazing work (first time around...) I think the only original parts remaining were the brake calipers. I wonder how many galaxies have had a similar "Trigger's broom" life history?

in the town where I live, there are still many Galaxies being ridden as daily use bikes, gently suffering the effects of daily attrition, with each visit to the LBS being touch and go whether it is a 'cost effective' repair or not. My argument is that a well-used and scruffy bike is much less likely to be stolen, and given a little TLC will do the job at least as well as a more modern machine. Doubtless if folk realise early on that the bike might last three decades or more, expending a little effort on keeping it going shouldn't be that tough a decision....?


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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby nez » 18 Dec 2020, 11:45pm

I think mine is 2008. It's a Reynolds 853 Super Galaxy. It has a Hope BB, DT Swiss touring wheels (home brewed, I'm proud of that), a different saddle, B+M lights, different canti brakes from the original, a Shimano dynamo front hub. Speedplay Frog pedals. I expect it's on the 10th taping of the handlebars. God knows how many tyres it's had. Apart from that it's all original. Like me.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby robgul » 19 Dec 2020, 12:37pm

That should be "Fond memories . . . "

I no longer have mine (sold in June 2020 to another enthusiast - I just had too many bikes) - it was a 1975 model but rather like Trigger's Brush the only original parts were the frame and forks.

I bought it in 2002 or 3 when it was in its dark brown livery with 27" wheels - I rode it for a bit and then decided to get it powder coated in burgundy (and sourced the decals) and upgrade the wheels and components in 2004. Wheels were Mavic and the groupset Shimano Deore - with MTB gear ratios, bar-end changers - I managed to get the original Weinmann centre-pull brakes to work with the smaller 700c wheels, although braking wasn't brilliant. Used it for a few more years including a JOGLE in 2005 and a ride to the S of France in 2008 - along with other tours and club runs.

The powder coat wasn't brilliant so in 2009 I had it redone in a metallic red with a gloss over-coat and put the bike back together with just a change to the brakes to Alhonga dual-pivots which were rather more effective. Another E2E, LEJOG, in 2010 and then overseas tours in 2012,13,15,16 - as well as lots of other riding. A few sets of cassette/chainrings/chains - and an upgrade to a Brooks B17 saddle.

Acquisition of a couple of Ti bikes and an Orbea Gain e-bike meant that the Galaxy was ridden less and less - moving house in early 2020 prompted rationalisation of the bikes and so it was sold.

The bikes I have now are excellent, but the Galaxy was an old friend - riding it after having not done so for a few months was a bit like putting on an old pair of corduroy trousers . . . comfortable and familiar.

The About me page at has a couple of pictures of the machine at the same spot in Glencoe on my two E2E rides.
Cytech accredited mechanic . . . and woodworker

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby resus1uk » 19 Dec 2020, 1:48pm

Mine came from the sale of redundant hire bikes from a National Trust site. It went to two universities with my son, used as the house bike and stored outside.
Refurbished back to original, then taken to various flats and used for commuting. Finally stolen from the "secure" foyer despite locks and ID tags.
It rode well and carried big loads, always comfortable.
Simple design.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby simonhill » 19 Dec 2020, 6:12pm

My memories of the Galaxy are bittersweet.

I never had one, but my 2nd best mate did, of sorts. Our local (ex Dawes dealer) LBS had a frame and they built it up for him as a flat bar general purpose bike. When his daughter moved to Oz, he shipped it out there in their container so he could ride it when visiting.

After one Oz visit, he flew it out to Thailand for a Thai > Cambodia > Thai trip with me. On a beaten up road in Cambodia his rear rim started to split at the spoke holes (Mavic) and he needed a new one. 700 rims weren't available in Cambodia then (rare now) and we realised he would have to go to Thailand to get a new one. We got a bus to a hotel and he removed the wheel. Bus, taxi, bus, etc to Bangkok where he got the wheel rebuilt at Probike. Meanwhile I had pedalled off leaving his part bike in the paid up hotel room after explaining to the proprietor (who fortunately spoke a bit of French) that my friend would be back to claim his bike the next day - honest. All went well, he got back to hotel and then pedalled off to meet up with me a couple of days later.

On his annual trips to Oz, he continued to ride the bike including following me on a Melbourne to Brisbane trip. Four years ago he was riding from the local swimming pool when he got knocked off by a car. He suffered head injuries, never recovered consciousness and died about 4 weeks later. I flew out to his funeral and to accompany his wife home.

As far as I know, the Galaxy is still in use by the family in Oz.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby rmurphy195 » 20 Dec 2020, 5:05pm

Mine dates back to the early '90's, BRG "Hard-as-Nails" paint, cantis etc. Lasted me well for over 20 years of day rides, occasional commuting,shopping, being chucked in the car and taken on French hols (still have a piccie of me somewhere returning from the bakery with a couple of baguettes sticking out of the pannier!), club rides and the like until it was totalled by a small truck. Frame is still haging up in the garage, can't bear to part with it.

I remember collecting my son's Christmas present from Brum town centre on the bike - a set of weights. I could feel the frame flexing slightly under me as I rode (slowly) along!

Went through a couple of chainsets/sprockets and one set of wheels, and of course numerous brake pads.

It felt great popping to the shops in France with it's green paint and little union flag stickers, terribly British.

Here we are on the Tissington Trail
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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby colin54 » 20 Dec 2020, 10:16pm

rmurphy195 wrote:Mine dates back to the early '90's,

What's the maximum width of tyre could you get in that era Galaxy do you think please?
I met a bloke whilst out on friday who I think of as 'Galaxy Dave' to differentiate him from another Dave I ride with !
I'd forgotten his face but remembered the bike......

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby Elizabeth_S » 21 Dec 2020, 12:59pm

I bought mine from Stuart Wilson in Stirling (the old shop) around 1985, blue and I loved it, best bike ever. Stolen in at the university in Cardiff in 1988. I was heart broken, still am, best fitting and riding bike I ever had.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby roland4130 » 21 Dec 2020, 2:59pm

Many thanks for all the replies on this, I've got a bit distracted by everything that's been going on this weekend and just catching up but an amazing response, thanks to all.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby Si » 21 Dec 2020, 5:25pm

Mine was a 1991, bought on this very forum for £40. I changed the saddle and added V brakes and a rack. It was a really nice bike to ride..always felt very smooth.

Managed one camping tour on it, with plenty of gentle off road, and it was lovely.

Alas, I traded it in fr a recumbent due to damaged neck. Really wish I still had it.

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Re: Memories of the Dawes Galaxy

Postby grufty » 21 Dec 2020, 5:56pm

Bought ours in 1978 from Brian Rourke in Burslem for £130 each, semi chromed forks, metallic paint. Not so good was 40" bottom gear and dual lever brakes.

Bought Galaxy tandem from Dave Quinn of Davies' in Chester in 1990, fitted out with  kiddycranks from George Longstaff and used on the school run and cyclecamping.