[CR] KNIGHT frames

(Example: Framebuilders:Bernard Carré)

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 11:29:58 +0000
From: "Norris Lockley" <nlockley73@googlemail.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR] KNIGHT frames

Knight frames were based at Tower Works, Pelham Street, Wolverhampton, the large MIdlands industrial town that had been home to other cycle manufacturers such as Viking, Jack Hateley, Pollard (or were they in Birmingham)..and I think, at one time Falcon, and Wearwell

Knight, prior to building frames were tubing manipulators, and my guess is that the company saw an opening in the cycle trade as the 1970-s saw a revival of cycle-racing in the UK. The company was quite short-lived as frame-builders, starting somewhere in the mid to lat 70s and probably closing in the early 80s.

I have some literature from them, from which it is evident that they concentrated their production on one specific type of cycling , namely road-racing. They did not do club frames, touring or anything else

I would describe the Knight frame design as a plagiarised Harry Quinnone, having all the hallmarks of the well-known, and sadly recently departed, Liverpudlian frame-builder. I reckon too that they were all jig-built to a very standard design.

The cautious fashion in the 70s was to build a road racing frame that could double up as a time-trial machine ie the angles were steepish and the wheelbase short. The frames were not too steep or the wheelbase too short to make the frames unpredictable when cornering and descending, although Harry often used 74 degrees head angles coupled with short fork rakes, resulting in overlap. The frames also resembled certain models produced by MKM, but lacked that company's breadth of range. The Ebay frame without its transfers could easily be mistaken for either a Harry Quinn or an MKM.

The resemblance owes a great deal to the standardised design, but also to components used in common such as the long point Prugnat lugs, the Milremo full-sloping fork crown and the very long chamfered top-eyes, probably from Andrew Hague.

I think that the Ebay frame is the base model of the Knight rangs - a two frame range. It is likely to date from around 1979. The Knight price list gives the following details - Reynolds 531 DB throughout, Prugnat long point lugs, semi-wrapover seat cluster, 73//73 angles, 1.5 inch fork rake and a wheelbase of 38 inches.. Just a bog standard but very reliable spec. The only departure form that norm is that the drop-outs are MAVIC - yes MAVIC, whereas on the top model in the range the drop-outs were Campagnolo and the Prugnat lugs had windows. I have never actually seen a pair of MAVIC drop-outs in the flesh..and it wasn't until recently that I saw a photo of them> I cant remember the actual brand but they were stamped MAVIC.

A couple of years later Knight, possibly on the back of exports to the States, had increased its range to three models -the Monarch Road frame, built with 531SL, Cinelli crown, Campag short road drop-outs and an mengraved K seat cluster, TA bottle bosses etc. This cost £115, but as an option could be had in 531DB at £89. The next model was the Saracen one, built with 531DB, no Cinelli crown or other refinements, costong £81.50; the third frame was the Crusader Tourist, fairly similar to the Monarch but of 531DB, at a cost of £86.. All frames were built to specification, and the company by that time also offered track and cyclo-cross frames to order. There was a choice of sixteen standard colours.

Since starting this contribution I have revised my estimate of the age of the Eaby frame. I now think it is probably earlier from around 1977, as by the time 79 had come around the top-eyes had a capitial K engraved in them.

There is no reason to think that the Ebay frame is anything other than a reliable, possibly skittish and lively road bike. However the mention of the dent or froove under the down-tube would make me circumspect..as, if the frame has suffered even a light shunt, that front-end clearance would be dangerously short.

Norris Lockley, Settle UK..where the heavens have opened and it is throwing it down.