[CR]was Viking cycles now Harry Quinn


Example: Framebuilders:Dario Pegoretti

From: "Norris Lockley" <Norris.Lockley@btopenworld.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 00:02:35 +0100
Subject: [CR]was Viking cycles now Harry Quinn

The Viking brand was revived in the late 70s at a time when it appeared the market for lightweight cycles was expanding - the argument being that it was better to revive a brand with a very good pedigree than to start to establish a new brand. The directiors were all from the Liverpool area and were or had been well-known racing cyclists - I think a chap called Dave Rollinson was one of the directors. In their heydey most if not all of these local and national stars had ridden frames built by Harry Quinn himself. The other connection is through Frank Clements, the brother of the renowned Ernie Clements, and himself a former top-level road man, bought out the Harry Quinn company in 1977, having used some of the space in the same building as Harry Quinn cycles to house an cycle accessory wholesale company. Frank teamed up with some other ex-riders to found the new Viking company. The decision to build a factory in Llondonderry was taken because the British government was handing out grants to companies in order to create jos in that part of Ireland. Having known Harry for a long time and respecting his 45 years as a frame-builder Frank Clements called in Harry to design the new range of bikes. The range covered kid's racing bikes with 24" wheels through club bikes up to the top model, the Superlite a thoroughbred road racing bike, modelled on the classic Severn Valley model of the original Viking company, even down to the copper-plated and lacquered finish. All the bikes regardless of the level/status in the range used Prugnat long-point lugs.. and all looked "the business" even the kid's racers. The company was quite short-lived, possibly due to the withdrawl of governemnt funds> Ironically the brand was recently relaunched.. trading on the established name, but are selling some real low-level crap. If there are any Viking enthusiasts out there I think I have quite a few Viking catalogues from that 70s era to spare. Harry Quinn himself came from a cycling family who started its business in 1890, but whether that Harry Quinn is he guy who was still building in the 70s I'm not sure. Harry was well-known for building road racing bikes that doubled up for time-trialling, with quite steep angles and short back-ends. His front ends were short too, and overlap of pedal/toe and tyre was very common place. When descending you had to remember which foot to have in the correct position when cornering. Curiously this "feature" was quite common on larger frames too. It would be in the 80s when the "Harry Quinn" name was sold into the Falcon cycle group and it was used on a wide range of very mundane sports bikes, much in the same way as the Claud Butler name has been downgraded these days. However that part of the Falcon empire fell on difficult times later that decade and Harry bought back the rights to his name and relaunched Harry Quinn Lightweight Cycles Ltd, with his son Peter at the helm. Based firstly on a farm in Wales and then in Pembroke, the company produced a very wide range of lightweight frames and bikes very much after the style of Bob Jacksons.

However the venture was relatively short lived, Peter really not having the sheer enthusiasm for bikes that had marked his father's long career, during which Harry probably supplied more amateur champions than almost any other builder, and at the same time had spawned into the lightweight cycle industry of the NW of the UK more than his fair share of frame-builders to carry on his legacy under their own names.

Norris Lockley.. Settle UK