Hello Paul..Thanks for airing this matter on the List. I feel I should offer some reply if only to save some part of my reputation.
There's quite a story to this frame. The seller listed a complete bike sometime back in May. It looked dreadful with its sloping down saddle, handlebar stem pulled up above its limit., bars canted back in "boy racer style" and a mish-mash of gears and chainset that did not fit what is supposed to be a racing frame Add to the mix dreadful photographs, poor description and a starting price of £300...it was not a crowd-puller. The bike did not get a bid. The seller sent the whole same thing round again but reduced his starting price to £100...and there followed some interest, questions etc..but no sale. I asked a couple of questions about provenance, and how did he know it was a "Bespoke"? Were there any engravings on the crown, top-eyes etc? He replied that he knew it was a Bespoke because his father had ordered it made-to-measure from the framebuilder, and it had been painted blue when new. I checked through my order sheets and although there were a lot of blue frames I could not find one ordered by a Welshman from Swansea, or anywhere else in Wales. After revealing that if the frame was as claimed..then I would have been the builder, I offered to buy it from him..and put in a bid to win the auction. The seller who had advertised his willingness to post "Worldwide" immediately asked me when I intended to collect the bike from his home. I advised him that I would require it sending. He made quite a fuss and dance about this, but then demanded £60..this being the cheapest rate offered by Parcel Force in the UK or so he claimed. I replied that I would arrange for Parcel Force to pick the bike up..and sent him a copy of the company's tariff which indicated a price of £17.
He then emailed me to say that he could not take less than £60 for post and packing. It was at this stage that I noticed his very odd email address which appeared to be in Portugal...maybe it's possible for a seller in Wales to have a Portugese address. His vocabularly and general use of language were bizarre to say the least..always on some sort of "high".
At that point I refused to buy the bike unless I was allowed to have it collected.to which the seller replied that he would complain to eBay..give me dreadful Feedback etc etc. ...And so that was the state of play when I departed for France.
This time the seller is selling just the frame with a modest starting price of £50..so far so good. I asked one of my friends to put a couple of questions to the seller, using my Christian name in the question. Someone else asked about the weight..which was given as 4 kg or about 8lbs for the frame and fork..for a small Columbus SL frame ! The description of the frame resembles many of the road racing and crtierium frames I built during the 80s..and I had virtually adopted a deep acquamarine blue as the "house team" colour in a blatant imitation of the colour used by the La Redoute squad in France on their Motobecanes. But any such Bespoke would have had acres of chrome-plating in all the usual Italian places.
The other matter that puzzles me is the length of the top-tube that the seller has given. It seems far too long for the type of frame..certainly as I would have chosen to build it. Bearing in mind that all frames I build are "one-offs" to individual specification, I could have built a long-in-the-top-tube frame...but.. I would remember it.
There is something decidedly odd here..both with the frame and the builder and I would advise anyone who might be interested if it is put up for auction again, to avoid it. I have known, as all frame-builders do, that some of my frames have ended up with other builders transfers on them..and I know that one of the finest short-wheelbase lugless testers that I built as an exhibition frame in 1981 is currently sporting Argos transfers, but I never supplied spare transfers to the companies who sprayed my frames..only just enough to do the job..so there isn''t any way in which spares can be stuck onto something else.
Any way I intend to approach the seller with an offer to buy on a cash-back basis if the frame is not one of mine. If it isn't then he's going to get a right b********g".
Assuming that the frame is a Bespoke..I reckon that the postage price of £25 wouold have been sufficient to put off anyone but a very serious bidder. The normal rate is about £11.
Thanks for the opportunity to get this off my mind
Norris Lockley..settle UK