[CR]Hobbs? Or not a Hobbs?

(Example: Bike Shops)

Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2005 15:38:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: "David Ross" <dlr94306@yahoo.com>
Subject: [CR]Hobbs? Or not a Hobbs?
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org

Duncan Granger wrote:

"www.ebay.co.uk item # 7168141869. This does not look like a Blue Riband to me. Never seen a filet brazed Blue Riband."

I have to agree with Duncan and Peter Brown. Peter suggested that mervyn Cook be consulted. If you're listening, Mervyn, we're eager to know. In the meantime, I will share a comment Mervyn made to me regarding another lugless "Blue Riband" offering earlier on ebay (not the current auction):

"Hi Dave....A lugless Hobbs cannot be a Blue Riband unless it has bilaminated 'fancy' lugs on the head-tube. A bit of a cheat, really, but it just made them look a little special....Mervyn"

Here are another couple of items to consider. The serial number of the bike on current auction is stated to be D1857. That number *does* follow Hobbs' post-WWII scheme, and would indicate a frame manufactured in April of 1951 (not 1948/49 as listed). Something slightly odd is the round, track-style front fork blades. Hobbs prided themselves on their "true oval blades," which they claimed as their own innovation. I have not seen a Hobbs with rear road dropouts and front track blades (nice twin-plate crown, though!).

This bike may have been "restored" in a non-genuine way, perhaps long before the seller obtained it. I would stand corrected if the serial number stamped into the steerer tube matches that on the left rear dropout (Hobbs' standard practice in that era).

BTW, it's my understanding that Hobbs ceased making their own frames in 1953 when Sterling Works needed the balance of the factory floor they shared. Tonard Brazing later made "Blue Ribands" apparently as a subcontractor to Hobbs. Those frames are usually dated mid-'60s into the early '70s, though I know of one still owned by the fellow that purchased it new from the Hobbs retail outlet in 1960 (it is possible that the 1960 bike was remaining stock from pre-1954, I suppose).