Re: [CR]originality vs rideability

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PX-10LE)

Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2002 09:45:18 +0000
Subject: Re: [CR]originality vs rideability
From: "Bob Reid" <>
To: <>
In-Reply-To: <>


I'd say that had your Hetchins been in it's original paint and not been re-painted and had all the original transfers and components, then you would be faced with a real quandry as far as retaining it's "originality". As it is, your frames obviously been extensively re-finished and modified and has little but the particular style of lugs and no doubt the serial number, to validate that it is in fact from 1955 or that it is technically correct. Not that his makes any difference in reality.

Nothing short of extensive work including re-finishing would make that frame period correct, and it's lost it's "originality" a long time ago so perhaps your best bet is to go for rideability (though I'd thoroughly disagree with Flash's assertion that 50's brakes are unsafe nowadays) and get a new section of hanger brazed-on. (I've now seen a few "original" bikes with the frame end milled flat to take the braze-on hanger that Simplex used)

I'd put it to you that for true British lightweights "originality" only really concerns a frame that is "as built" and untouched, finish or framewise since........You might be able to make it 'period-correct' though.

But what constitutes period-correct ? (arghh for Bruce's benefit) and Warning masses of opinion coming up so feel free anyone to flame me, but have your evidence ready !

I'm going to throw in a few points (hopefully) for the benefit of those collecting 'handbuilt' British lightweights from around the 1950's. Using Flying Scot's / David Rattray's company as an example (have you heard of them yet Hilary ?) of a medium-sized 'specialist' lightweight cycle manufacturer (approx 600 units per year) Note it does not apply to the "big" manufacturers of the time.... Raleigh et the whole these were "mass" production.

- Catalogues were for guidance only and for those customers who didn't know what they wanted beyond a "lightweight bike" the components listed were no more than a base spec.

- Even the base spec. itself changed more frequently in some cases than the catalogue. Mostly down to the variable supply of some components or just the plain economics of re-printing over bike sales. They were in the business of selling bikes equipped as and how the customer demanded, not giving out costly 'free' catalogues....

- Fashions and componentry changed quicker than ever it does today and yet there was still a demand by 'traditionalists' to fit out-of-fashion or NoS components from new.

- Even the frames were affected by this ! - for example if you felt the need, you could ask for 15" or 18" spaced pump pegs, behind the seat tube, on the down tube, under the top tube, or even not at all ! and customer frequently did. You could even get discount for fitting your own saddle.

- Finish was one of the biggest statements you could make as far as an expression of your wealth was concerned. Rattray's I'm sure as others specialised in offering exactly the same frame, but with a finish to suit every pocket from a single colour with few transfers to a fully lined "flamboyant" with loads of chrome and more transfers than 1980's Guerciotti, in "any" colour.

So what's the upshot of all this ?

You'll rarely find two machines the same, even if they were both (separately) kept in a time warp from 1955 ! and even if they have the same model name.

If it's "originality" your after, don't ever buy anything other than a machine that's been untouched since it was built. Better still get the original company or builders spec. sheet that was agreed with the customer. And most of all, don't alter it any if at all possible.

If it's "period correctness" your after, because the machines already been radically worked on or the components changed, do and fit whatever you like, but at least make sure the components "should" have been available.....

Last of all. Do whatever you like to make you happy. Many "old" Scot's were brought back once or twice for re-finishing by the original builders by Dad's passing bikes onto son's or daughters for that matter, 10 or 15 years down the line.

Okay that's it, I'll save boring you all with my observations on frame numbering as touched on by Brian Baylis till later - flame away......

Bob (there is life beyond a full Campy equipped Confente) Reid Stonehaven Scotland (mapped)