[CR]Aussie mystery bike - Claude Eagles?

(Example: Production Builders:Frejus)

Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 10:54:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: "David Ross" <dlr94306@yahoo.com>
To: CR discussion list <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
cc: Ben Kamenjas <bici_pimp@mac.com>
cc: Addo Zevenbergen
cc: Ben Kamenjas
Subject: [CR]Aussie mystery bike - Claude Eagles?

A few months ago I picked up this frameset on ebay.au, and posted the auction photos to my wooljersey gallery for comment. It arrived a couple of weeks ago, along with a boatload of other frames and parts from down under (thanks again, Ben, couldn't have done it w/out ya).

Here are some more photos hot off the press. I am eager for any help or even speculation about its origins and purpose.


The seller identified it as a "Clem Eagles" from Geelong. There was a well-known shop in Geelong started by Claude Eagles in 1922, so I think the seller mistook the first name. The seller had the frame repainted (pretty low budget, I guess) and told me that the original transfers were still visible before the re-paint. Too bad.

Some research with Aussie friends (thanks especially to Addo Z and Rod Charles) uncovered interesting details about the Eagles framebuilding operation. According to an oral history (collected by Mr. Charles from the founder's daughter-in-law, Mrs. Athol Eagles), "Claude had a licence to import good quality steel parts from Sweden - the other bike builders got cross over this." Claude's son Athol took over the shop and framebuilding operation in 1935, and built frames for many of the local racers. Rod Charles was also able to supply me a tracing of a 1920s - '30s downtube transfer.

A few observations about this frame: . highly detailed lugwork, with a sort of "poniard" theme going on . twin plate fork crown with plenty of hand worked details . Agrati rear dropouts. In my (limited) experience, forward-facing dropouts were not typical in Oz until the '60s . cable stops for rear derailleur and rear brake cables . nice pump peg braze-ons . 56cm x 56cm (ctc) dimensions, but unusual geometry. The seat angle is fairly laid back and the head angle is quite steep (just eyeballing, haven't measure the angles). Wheelbase is only 100.5cm (39.5"). Most of my other Aussie bikes have a WB of at least 104cm. . a light bracket on the right front fork blade . no eyelets for mudguards on front or rear forks ends/dropouts

So this is obviously a road bike, but not expected to be ridden in the rain. The lamp bracket anticipates darkness (or was it just fashion?). The steep head angle and short WB suggest a purpose-built time trial bike to me.

I would love to receive any thoughts about the provenance and era of this bike.

Dave Ross
Portola Valley, CA