Hello Ben and the list.
This post brought back a lot of memories for me. I worked for the "other" framebuilder in Missoula during the mid 70's. Dennis Sparrow spent six months learning frame building at Geoffrey Butler frame shop in England late 1974- to early 1975. The summer of 1976 brought the BikeCentennial riders through town. I worked 7 days a week and welcomed riders from all over the world, but, especially, as I remembered, the riders were Australian, and Dutch. What a wonderful summer!! What a variety of bikes I saw. Wish I had pics!
One of Dennis Sparrows earliest frames, was hauled over to the Braxton bike shop by our shop-"The Cyclist" 's owner, John Shubert, and I tagged along. Sam Braxton, a known cranky sort, sputtered that the "Swallow" frame (his cantankerousness wouldn't even let him acknowledge Dennis' real name) had a crooked head tube, and he set out to "prove it was crooked" by putting it on his frame alignment table. I'm not sure if he proved anything, as the results didn't convince us, but it was certainly an interesting experiment. And it was interesting to be in the bowels of Sam's shop. He had such a high opinion of himself that he would only sell you a bike if he built it himself. He attracted a good following, and was very busy when he wasn't doing his main job which was working on the trains. His shop was very well equipped, and had tons of things like TA chainrings, full stocks of wheels, etc. I still use something today that I overheard either Bart or Dalt say about spokes. That they fatigue and stretch and need replacement. I know that the Braxton boys did things like wheelbuilding for speed. Sam built the bikes for the Siples and the Burdens who did Hemistour and then started BikeCentennial. He used 26 x 1 3/8 wheels for their custom bikes as they rode from Pt Barrow, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, SA. Sam and Shirley Braxton always rode the TOSRV West, and considering their age, they rode very fast. It was heady times in the bike business in Missoula, and there was lot of bicycles being sold and ridden.
I would consider a Braxton frame to be a real gem.
I do have a custom Sparrow, built for me in 1979 with long wheelbase, Columbus SP tubing, heart shaped lug cutouts, full braze-ons. TA cranks, Campy hubs, rear Rally der, etc. We imported Karrimor racks, and bought lots of stuff from Mel Pinto.
That summer was also the first time I heard about Rene Herse.
Robb Rasmussen Sioux River Bicycles & Fitness 501 Main Ave Brookings, SD 57006 http://www.501main.com
> From: email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 08:01:01 -0700> Subject: [CR]Help with a Braxton T ouring bike> > Hello all,> > I recently purchased a nice Braxton Touring bi ke off of Craigslist Seattle.> It was made in Missoula MT supposedly as cus tom bike. I bought it from the> original owner who is now 76 years old. I a m wondering if this is in fact a> custom frame? The threading on this frame
is French. I'm wondering if they> imported a few French frames and branded
them as Braxton's? If not why the> French threading? Did builders in the l ate 70's use French threads for> touring bikes? Mine is similar to the one on the CR website minus the> integrated rear rack. It is very interesting t hat the 52/36 110 BCD> chainrings are common to both bikes as is the flippe d rear brake caliper.> Other interesting bits include a Black long cage Shi mano Crane rear> derailleur and Black Suntour cyclone shifters and front me ch.> > Thanks in advance,> > Ben Spencer> Seattle Washington USA> > _______