[CR]'54 Algurn On the Road, Pics up

(Example: Production Builders:Tonard)

Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2005 09:17:15 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Thomas Adams" <thomasthomasa@yahoo.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org, Steve Willis <smwillis@verizon.net>
Subject: [CR]'54 Algurn On the Road, Pics up

I picked up a lovely English frame this spring and finally got her on the road this weekend. The bike is a '54 Algurn Fleur d Lys, built at a time when Stuart Purves and Brian Packer were building at Algurn, so presumably it's their hands that formed the lugwork on this beauty. It perfectly embodies my ideal of fancy but not gaudy lugs. Look and see what you think.


I don't know what it is about English bikes of this period, but this is the third I've got (along with the '57 Major Nichols and '49 Ephgrave), and I have to say they form the best riding "class" of bikes I have. The Algurn is splendidly well mannered, comfortable riding but not sluggish at all, she turns easily and allows you to adjust your line in mid turn with aplomb. I haven't been able to assess ultimate climbing ability, but powering up a few highway overpasses elicited no front derailleur rub or auto shifting or other bad manners. All in all a delightful competent machine on which it is a pleasure to glide down to road. Probably not the weapon of choice for TT's or tight circuit races, but ideally suited for the other 90% of real world riding.

Even better, she came well patina'ed, indicating her previous owner put many thousands of miles on her, and now it's my turn to extend her life. I know everyone approaches this sport from a different direction, but the thought of saving a formerly beloved machine from the scrap heap and putting her back on the road makes me go all soft and mushy.

Parts were a mixed lot of whatever I had around to get her on the road. The only interesting bits are some drillium levered extra long reach Universal 68's for "brakes" (their stopping power is like reversing props on the Queen Mary even with the aftermarket Koolstop pads) and a Stronglight 49 set of cranks in 175mm that have been waiting for a suitable home. Wheels are 1st gen Dura Ace laced to modern Mavic rims, and shifting chores are handled by a set of Huret Rival derailleurs generously donated by Steve Willis at the Bike Stand. The ubiquitous SR Laprade post holds the mandatory Brooks B17 for this application.

The paint and decals are in reasonable shape, which is actually unlucky as it's making it hard for me to justify a repaint even though I'm not thrilled with the faded red finish (you can see the original shade where the 1st owner used tape to cushion any clamp on bits). On the one hand, I prefer original finishes (but not with the fervor of many) but then I imagine her with glossy blue paint and the lugs lined in gold to match the down tube logo --- . Decisions, decisions.

Thanks to the many folks who contributed to this project, including especially Mick Butler and Steve Willis at the Bike Stand. Hope to see you folks on the road with "Ally" soon.


Tom Adams, Shrewsbury NJ

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