Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme:2004

Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 08:53:54 -0400
From: "David G. White" <>
To: Classic Rendezvous <>
Subject: Re: [CR]MKM
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>


You can find some info on MKM frames here: <>.

Norris Lockley posted a reply to an inquiry I made to the CR list last year about MKM frames, saying:

"[MKM frames were]the product of the original teaming up of Arthur and the former ace roadman (as of course was Arthur) Wes Mason. This must have been early on in the 1970s, before the duo teamed up with Ron Kitching who owned the Chapel Buildings that eventually became the MKM workshops.

Of the two Wes was the metalworker and, as the story goes Arthur was the businessman..that is when he wasn't riding his bike. I have read that Wes had worked as a framebuilder for Carlton, the company for which he rode as a Pro, but I am uncertain about the accuracy of this statement. Wes was a very skilled "fitter and toolmaker", a trade he picked up later in life when he closed his own Harrogate shop.

At that time MKM employed several local racing men such as the Macklams, both framebuilders, and Ian White, former T-T Record holder, as paint sprayer.

Even after the trio of M,K, and M split up in the later 70s, the firm continued to trade under that name..."

A followup email from Norris said:

" recollection being from the mid-70s, and my MKM catalogues dating from 1976, MKM only used the large MKM letters for their head-tubes, so I assume that the shield-type transfer shown on the CR site must have been on earlier frames
>From 76 onwards through to 1980 there was no mention in the catalogues of any "Metcalfe" frames or Tour-de-France models, so it might be reasonable to assume that the use of these names was an early device to promote the new brand, Wes and Arthur being well-known throughout the UK.

In the later years MKM supplied a lot of "OE" frames into the States but I never found out their destination.. After the departure of the MKM triumvirate, the company was bought by an accountant/cyclist called, I think, Crabtree. Unfortunately Mr Crabtree lived some distance away from Harrogate and was only at the workshop a couple of days a week, therefore being forced to leave the staff to work "on trust". I remember that there was quite a lot of abuse of this trust and many frames left the works without ever showing up on the inventory.

I also had some email contact with Wes Mason earlier this year. He said:

"Many thanks for your e-mail. I don't know whether I can be of too much assistance to you but will answer what I can. All numbers were sequential as far as I know probably starting 0001 Sorry i cannot give you the range of frame numbers in any particular year and I do not know the final frame number. The business was sold as a going concern when Arthur decided he wanted to go and live in S. Africa I didn't want to buy him out so we sold but I believe it was sold on again possibly twice more and whoever ended up with it (and I am afraid I don't know who it was)should have the original book with a list of numbers in. Should have the original book with the list of numbers in. Sorry I cannot be of more assistance. Regards Wes Mason"


"I can tell you that the different models were put together using different lugs mostly Prugnat but different styles of lug.I think we used some Nervex possibly on the wes mason gold medal but I cannot be certain.Mosltly we used 531 d/b throughout.These models that you mention were all from the brochure and were standard models basically for trade buyers and we did any specs that the racing fraternity required but used the same transfers so you may find that they don't all spec up to the brochure I did not even keep one of our brochures when we sold ,it never entered my head that some 30 years later people would be wanting details and they were left with the new owners. You mentioned in your first e-mail that you got in touch through Norris Lockley, try e-mailing him for some details I am sure he mentioned that he still had one of our brochures and he may be able to help you better than I can with this details on specs. He may also be able to help on the owners because I think he new the guy who ended up with MKM. Regards Wes Mason"

Norris again:

"Hello David...and thanks for your email. I will certainly do my best to give you whatever information I might have. I read Wes's email in reply to yours. That reply was Wes all-over..very laid-back except when he was on the bike! I'm flattered that he thinks I might be able to respond in more detail than himself, but perhaps that is true to a certain extent as i had far more dealings with the company after Wes and Arthur left than before. I have an MKM catalogue but it does not show the models that you list, just two versions of the Dominator,(diffrent seat clusters) one shot of the Time-Trial, one of the Track, and one of the LadyLightweight. The catalogue is not dated but I supect that it dates from after Wes and Co left, when the new owner deleted models named after former owners/racing cyclists. I have a Wes Mason catalogue, issued when Wes set up on his own account a little later on. In this he has his various Gold Medal model etc.

I am going to attempt to send you, when I master the system, copies of two spec.lists from MKM, one dated 1979 the other 1980. What MKM offered was a range of basic frames for specific applications. As Wes stated, these frames were based on 531DB and usually Prugnat long-point lugs without cut-outs. The Time-Trial frame was a lugless one, always built by Steve Elsworth, the foreman builder on the post-Wes/Arthur period. Under new ownership this frame was deleted and a new model, the radically shaped "Ultimate" ontroduced. Steve also built these. Both of these models have superb quality workmanship due to Steve being one of the finest builders of lugless frames in the UK- bar none including Philbrook, Ron Cooper, and Barry Chick.

Based on the standard model range was an "Option Sheet" from which the extras/variations of the theme eg Prugnat "windowed" lugs or Bocamas, engraving, choice of fork-crown etc could be made. In this way many of the frames came to look alike in their specs, but differed in their geometry.

I suspect too that the "Arthur Metcalfe Tour-de-France" and "Wes Mason Gold Medal" frames were identical road frames with windowed lugs, cut-out brackets etc..and engraving, but different transfers from similar "MKM" branded frames. I have quite a lot of MKM's "Gold Medal" and "professional" transfers in stock if you need any.

the other main difference between the Wes/Arthur/Ron MKMs and the Crabtree-era models was the headbadge. Crabtree dropped the heabadge and used the big vertical MKM one on the head-tube.

Keep your fingers crossed and I might get some scans over to you.

Bye for now


Hope that helps -- it's everything I have about MKM.

Good luck,


David G. White Burlington, VT

alister browne wrote:
>Hi everyone,
> Can anyone tell me something/everything about MKM including
> Were these british frames built from Reynolds 531 double butted?
> All of them?
> What are the differneces in models - Higher end vs lower end?
> How would an MKM compare to an early 70s Raleigh Professional
> Thank you in anticipation.
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