Despite the full tubular wrap-over top-eyes on this frame, which in certain cases can point to a low-end Carlton..or Raleigh...or Falcon..or e ven a Gillott ( in Edwarde's ownership of the brand), I am very cerain that the frame is none of these, but it might be connected in the sense that th e manufacturer built frames on a sub-contracted basis for all the other bra nds.
The frame was built in Barton-on Humber, probably in the 60s, by the Els wick-Hopper company, a manufacturer that held a strong independent role in the UK's cycling scene, building a whole range of bikes from kids' stuff th rough to reasonable lightweights not unlike some of the Dawes range. Based in the flatlands of Lincolnshire, just south of the Humber estuary, the com pany also made agricultural machinery, as well as carrying out some general engineering.
The company carried on until the late 80s/possibly early 90s, and became closely allied to the Falcon company that had relocated to Barton from the midlands, with Falcon taking over a part of the Elswick factory floor spac e. It might even have been the case that Falcon became part of the Elswick - Hopper group of companies. Towards the end of their production the compan y dropped the "Hopper" part of the name.
This frame uses Davis brand frame components, with pressed lugs of an un usual design, coupled up to a cast bracket. I don't know the manufacturer o f the fork crown or the distinctive rear drop-outs. I have an identical fra me hanging in the corner of my workshop where it has been for about thirty years. This frame is finished in white enamel with a red panel on the down- tube on which a transfer states in large block capitals "MILANO" The headba dge is a large embossed brass afair bearing the crest of Elswick-Hopper.
The bike was originally fitted out with sprint wheels built using Norman dy-type hubs on Birmalux rims. The five-speed rear mech was a Benelux. Brak es and bars were GB. The chainset was a fairly non-descript pressed steel c ottered one..
I still have a set of these lugs and, when I have little else to do, whi ch is very seldom, I match them against the lugs on a 1950s Maclean Apollo frame..the one with the very unusual gothic lugwork. I am now fairly certai n that either Maclean welded fretted plate extensions to the basic Davis lu g, or had commissioned their Apollo lugs from Davis to be stamped out to th at odd design.
One other thing that I recall, is that the forks have a very gentle rake that sweeps almost the full length of the blade - a very attractive featur e..and one that was ahead of its time.
Hopes that this will help, Allan
Norris Lockley, settle UK
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