Great stories of the past, very interesting. Would you know how the collaboration developed between Jan Legrand, chief mechanic of the TI-Raleigh team, who build most of the team frames, and Gerald O'Donovan? I have a picture of Jan Legrand, Gerald O'Donovan and Didi Thureau looking studiously at a frame, in the Raleigh factory. It is well-known over here in Holland that Legrand went over to England in the winter to build the frames for the new season. I'd be interested how ideas, riding styles, etc., influenced each other, and ended up in Raleigh products for the general public. Was Jan Legrand the mediator, or were it his own ideas, from his Presto experience?
Freek Faro Rotterdam Netherlands
2009/2/26 Hilary Stone <email@example.com>
> Carlton was by no means small when Raleigh bought the company - I would
> gues even in the slump in the bicycle trade in the late 50s they were still
> building 3-5000 frames/bicycles a year. From after WWII they specialised in
> proper lightweight bikes... though by 1960 they were diversifying into more
> sports machines as well. They sponsored a team back in the 1940s. More
> importantly they had found ways to make superb looking bikes for less money
> than most small framebuilders were able to do - the International with its
> elaborate lugwork was a lot cheaper than outwardly similar offerings from
> Hetchins or Rotrax for example. And the Capella lug with its interesting
> fancy shapes was a stroke of genius - they managed I believe to get the lugs
> pressed with the shapes and holes in Italy and they used them on their
> cheaper frames with relatively little preparation. They continued to use the
> design right through into the 1970s. The very top end Carlton frames were
> built in much smaller numbers and Carlton used traditional small
> framebuilder methods with these. They had used derailleur gears on their
> bikes since the 1930s - Raleigh had only three years of experience with
> derailleurs when Carlton was bought. Gerald O'Donovan was extremely talented
> and started experimenting with both titanium and carbon-fibre in the late
> 60s/70s before going onto assist in development of the Reynolds 753 tubing
> with Reynolds. He was undoubtedly a quick learner too and after the
> formation of the continental based Ti-Raleigh team understood pretty much
> perfectly the needs of the pro rider.
> Hilary Stone, Bristol, British Isles
> Harry Travis wrote:
>> Raleigh acquired Carlton precisely because they were determined to
>> get some race and lightweight design expertise which they got by the
>> bucketfull with Gerald O'Donovan who was part of the family that
>> owned Carlton - he stayed on with Raleigh until the mid 1990s...
>> Would you elaborate on the "design expertise...by the bucketful[l]"?
>> I'm sure many experience framebuilders have the same, for individual but
>> uneconomic fabrication, costs of which are absorbed or covered by
>> customization, including paint. But, manufacturing, including small
>> manufacturing expertise is surely some of what you have in mind. Can you
>> tell us more about that technology transfer?
>> Harry Travis
>> Washington, DC