Re: [CR]Definition of a Path Racer

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PY-10)

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 18:53:42 -0800
From: "Chuck Schmidt" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Definition of a Path Racer
References: <>

Here's some more on Road/Track and Path Racer from the archives. Incidentally, I thank the British everyday for developing my most favorite plaything... the English Road/Track bicycle!!!

Chuck Schmidt South Pasadena, Southern California

Archive-URL: From: "Mick Butler" <> Subject: [CR] British Road/ Path or Road track Bikes Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 08:11:20 +0000

The craze for this type of hybrid machine started in the mid 50's and lasted to about the early 70's. These dates are a general approximation. Road/Path models were used for everything from general club riding, time trialing, grass track and pure track. On the track they were used in sprints, pursuits, point to points and devils.Our outdoor tracks of this period tended to have quite shallow bankings. Basically they were 73 degrees parallel with a bottom bracket height of less than eleven inches and a wheelbase of around 41" invariably with mudguard clearance and brake drillings. The type of track ends used on these frames were the special 2" long slot type. This allowed wide variations in gear ratios especially when using inch pitch. Our pure track bikes of this period were of a much shorter wheelbase less than 41" and with a bottom bracket height of over eleven inches. No mudguard clearance or drillings and free from any braze-ons. Typical head angle of 75 degrees and seat of 73. Just to confuse you even more on these type of models there was a fashion in the 60's to have a road/track built with Mafac cantilever bosses brazed on the front forks. Primarily used for time trialing the weight of these machines with all alloy parts was around the 16 pound mark on fixed wheel. These were also used on the track if you could get past the scrutinizers, sometimes they refused or just asked you to tape up the cantilever bosses if you were lucky. These frames were often fitted up with a trike conversion and used as winter hacks. If you care to dig out your old 60's Cycling's there is a road test on a Mercian built to this type of specification. I have a 1960's 24" Allin Stan Butler just like this for sale. Please contact off list.

Archive-URL: Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 14:07:40 -0800 From: Chuck Schmidt <> Subject: [CR]Re: Word Game: Fixed Gear Bikes?

Here's the answer I received off-list from Hilary Stone to my question on fixed gear nomenclature. I thought some of you on the CR list would like to read his response. As always, Hilary's answer is solid gold! --Chuck Schmidt, South Pasadena, Southern California ---------------------------------------------

Track bikes were known as track bikes in England from post-WWI onwards. Path racer was a rather old fashioned term used in some catalogues and just occasionally in the press in the 20s. It was not used then to describe multipurpose machines though back in the teens path racers were often used for time trials.

Road/track iron or road/track bike was a term used mostly post-WWII (though I think it originated in the 30s) to describe a bike with rearward facing track ends which was designed for use on the road as well as the track.

Road racing had not existed in Britain since the 1890s and it was only in 1933 that the first road race was again rerun. Road racing bikes from about 1933 onwards in England were normally fitted with gears - some early ones used hub gears but the vast majority were fitted with derailleurs and used on circuits such as Brooklands, IOM or Donnington prior to 1943. Time trial bikes were different - most bikes used for the shorter distances (10s, 25, 50s) were fixed wheel in the 30s - from the middle/late 30s gears were increasingly used for longer events (100, 12hr, 24hr). Gears were not used to win the National 25 until about 1960. Derailleurs and hub gears were used initially with hub gears even then in the minority. Derailleurs gradually assumed the completely dominant position.

regards Hilary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Daniel Artley wrote:
> I've got a Jack Taylor short wheelbase curved tube bike that I've
> referred to as a path racer. Offlist I asked Michael Butler what his
> definition of a path racer was after his "list to collect" included the
> Stuart Purves 50's Number One Road Path. His reply that he OK'd to be
> posted to the list is this:
> "Dan,Of course you can. It will probably cause all sorts of controversy
> as various peoples understanding and definitions is very different.
> This would be my definition of the various terminology. Great frames
> those SWB curved seat tube Taylors and they were popular in hill climbs
> and time trials."
> And his original reply:
> "Dear Dan,
> Path is the old fashioned Victorian/ Edwardian cycling term for track.
> So a path bike is purely for the track. High bottom bracket no
> clearances and no drillings for brakes. A Road-Path is a bike with
> track ends that is dual purpose for both road and track racing, angles
> not quite as steep and bottom bracket lower than a pure path (track
> bike). Normally has the front fork crown drilled for a brake. Can also
> be built with mudguard clearances and mudguard eyes. 27" or sprints can
> be fitted. Another term for Road-Path is Road-Track.
> Makers like Selbach and others used to call this type of bike a D.P.
> prewar. Which stood for dual purpose.
> Rotrax the maker coined their name by using the word play road/track.
> This would be my understanding of the various terminology only hope
> this helps and does not cloud the issue too much.
> Best wishes Mick."
> This certainly clears things a bit for me. All I know for sure is that
> I'm hooked on them.
> Dan Artley
> Parkton, Maryland