19-5" tourer is it simplex or british? help req. to sell

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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19-5" tourer is it simplex or british? help req. to sell

Postby 147147mak » 8 Mar 2010, 8:11pm

Hi, i have been left this touring bike by my late uncle who died late last year. On the back of the frame where the rear wheel is fitted i found the word simplex with either 3 letters or 3 numbers before it, i know the bike is old but as from the photo attached it is in very good order. My uncle bought this frame and built and maintained it himself, he toured the north and south of ireland on it. Would anyone know of any collectors or genuine fanatics who would appreciate having this bike? The frame size is 19-5" yours truly mark kerr n. ireland

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Re: 19-5" tourer is it simplex or british? help req. to sell

Postby gaz » 8 Mar 2010, 9:19pm

I'm sorry to hear that your uncle has passed away. I'm sure he'd appreciate your efforts to find a good home for his bike.

Vintage bikes aren't my area of speciality but I'll share what little knowledge I have to give you some pointers.

Simplex were a manufacturer of cycle components including frame fittings.

From your description I believe that you have found the name Simplex on the part that holds the rear wheel to the frame. This is known as a rear dropout, one of the frame fittings manufactured by Simplex and fitted to frames from many different manufacturers, UK and continental.

To help identify the frame manufacturer look for a "head badge" on the frame between the front forks and the handlebar and any numbers around the bottom bracket (lowest part of the frame). If there's anything there, even covered by a subsequent respray, there will be plenty of people on here who may be able to help further.

Additional close-ups of any head badge or even manufacturers names on derailleurs, hubs, handlebars, etc will help date the bike, especially if they are original. It's a little tricky to tell from the picture but it appears to have 32 spokes in the front wheel and 40 in the rear. This arrangement may also help to determine it's approximate age.

Good luck.
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Re: 19-5" tourer is it simplex or british? help req. to sell

Postby ROBRIENMIKE » 8 Mar 2010, 9:32pm

Mark, Is there a badge on the head tube or any transfers with a name. Any sign of grease nipples on the LH top of the bottom bracket or on the head tube even? Any numbers under the bottom bracket or on the LH side of the frame near the seat pin?
The name Simplex refers to the fork-ends/dropouts only. Many frame builders used them according to customer preference or the gear mech in vogue. They can roughly, only roughly date a frame. There were at least three style of Simplex dropouts used over a period of years. There was a plain style with no gear hangers for single speed or hub gears and at least two with hangers. I cannot see from your photo of the LH side of the bike, which style you have.
One style had the gear hanger cranked about 3/4 inch out to the rightof the frame. This was for an early gear mech with the plunger action, eg Simplex Tour de France and Benelux. These ends are unsuitable for the later, parallelogram mechs as being set out to the right of the frame, they will not always reach your inner, low gear sprockets. I learned this by expensive experience. These lasted approx the duration of the '50s and disappeared with the advent of the more efficient parallelogram mech. Simplex then introduced dropouts with a vertical gear hanger to match their new gear mechs. There was, of course, a time overlap in use.
Just to confuse matters further, you always had and still do have the individual owner who prefers a certain, retro, style of gear and has the frame built accordingly. This can throw out the chronology.
Hope this helps. More close up photos would help also.
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