You're right about the Bates enthusiast being Vic Polanski. I spoke to Vic today and asked him who was to blame for the finishing deficiencies on his new Bates. He pointed the finger at a couple of people but, in these litigious times, I don't want to say too much. He did say that Ron Cooper had been making frames for an awful, awful long time.
Suffice to say that I'm sure the bikes your're commissioning will not suffer from the same problems. I don't think you would put your name to anything less than an excellent product.
Aside from the finishing details, Vic seems to be very happy with the ride quality and performance of his Bates bike, especially now that he's swapped from more "period" equipment to modern Campag gear. However, he might need another pair of Diadrant forks after crashing in a track event! I suppose it's possible that the bend in the forks now more closely resembles the old, original bend...
And thanks, Martin, for the extra info about the Diadrant forks. Anything else you have on Bates frames would be much appreciated.
From Martin Coopland of Classic Bikes
> I would welcome the opportunity to Bruce Robbins caution about Bates frames.
> Two points.
> Firstly he comments that a road/path frame supplied to a friend of his was
> poorly finished. If I am correct, the friend is Vic Polanski of Dundee. This
> frame was manufactured during the period when Classic bikes were not building
> Bates frames. It was supplied in parts and at the insistence of Vic, who
> liked his previous road frame so much, he felt he had to have another for
> grass track racing. The finishing work on this frame was not done by Classic
> Bikes. I feel sure if Bruce checks with Vic he can then confirm this, to all
> of us.
> As classic Bikes are again building Bates frames, the finishing will be done,
> once again, exclusively by us.
> Secondly, as to the fork profile. Over the years Bates offered Diadrant forks
> in many different "bend" profiles, along with several different blade
> sections. As a general rule, as time progressed and road surfaces improved,
> the required rake decreased. Our frames reflect these developments. This is
> the same as supplying a frame with rear drop outs spaced at 128mm or 130mm,
> these are correct to the period the frame is being built in. If you would
> like something different, you can order a custom build. Bruce's frame is in
> fact a B.A.R.model.(I know I recently swapped a transfer set for his
> excellent and highly recommended Brown CDs). The B.A.R. was the Bates custom
> frame and the customer was able to specify the fork geometry he/she wished.
> B.A.R. transfers are available for custom build models, if the customer
> For those of you out there who have period Bates frames, I now have all of
> the post '55 build records and some pre '55. These often include original
> equipment specifications, prices, and customer names. I am quite happy to
> help with the dating and identifying of Bates frames.
> Sorry if some of this is off topic Dale, it just that these are responses to
> comments made on this list and do compare contemporary steel frames with ones
> from the classic period.
> Martin Coopland