Re: [CR] Granby frame

(Example: Racing:Beryl Burton)

Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2009 16:50:29 +0000
From: "Hilary Stone" <>
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Subject: Re: [CR] Granby frame

The Veteran-Cycle Club has a marque enthusiast for Granby who is very knowledgeable on the subject. The Veteran-Cycle Club costs just 20 GBP per year and for that you get three journal and six newsletters a year as well as the help of many marque enthusiasts. Full details can be found at:

On Granby the classiclightweights site has quite a bit of information:

Granby was an important British framebuilder in the 1920s/30s.

From my Cycling Plus Design Classic article on Granby:

"In the 1920s and 30s Granby was considered to be one of the cutting edge framebuilders with several innovations to their credit as well as considerable success on the track and in time trials. Their advertising in the 1920s made great play of their competition successes \u2013 it included the 1920 and 1924 Olympics and World Championships. Their top rider was probably W J Bailey who later went onto manage the Saxon bicycle company. Granby was founded earlier - they claimed in their advertising in the 1920s that they were founded in 1913; a later letter from Percy Dean in Bicycle in 1952, one of the two partners claimed 1910 and furthermore claimed that they were first British company to pioneer the new style of lightweight bicycle that became popular after the First World War and that they introduced this style prior to the war. This needs a little explanation. Prior to WWI a typical British racer\u2019s frame \u2013 on the track or for time trialling would have had a 24in or 26in seat tube, bolted up rear seatstays, D in section and cranked, a 12in bottom bracket height and 28in or sometimes 26in wheels. There would be almost no seatpin showing and a single rod operated front brake would be standard. As we saw in C+94 one French bicycle maker changed all this \u2013 Bastide. Bastide\u2019s racers by contrast were much smaller; 19 \u2013 22in seat tubes, taper seat stays and chainstays brazed into place were used together with smaller 26in wheels, a lower bottom bracket height and with a calliper brake. It was the sensation of the 1912 London Cycle Show. Granby\u2019s claim that they were the first British company to build bikes to this new design in 1913 lacks corroborating evidence but is as good as any other.* What is in no doubt is that Granby were full of new ideas. But of much more significance was the launching in 1926 of their taper tube design.

They claimed that the taper tubes made for a more rigid bottom bracket and that this improved the feel of the frame. Shortly after the launch the correspondance columns of Cycling were filled with arguments for and against the taper tubes \u2013 one correspondent even suggested that they might work better the other way around! In all probability the tapered seat tube will add rigidity to the bottom bracket area as most of the stresses in a seat tube are bending ones but in both the top and even more especially the down tube there are considerable torsional stresses for which the taper tubes offer no advantage \u2013 the smaller than standard diameters at the head tube will almost certainly make for a less rigid frame front end.

This design was both patented and registered and featured tapered main tubes \u2013 the top tube tapered from 1 1/8in at the seat tube to 7/8in at the head, the down tube tapered from 1 3/8in at the bottom bracket to 1in at the head tube and the seat tube from 1 3/8in at the BB to 1 1/8in at the seat lug. It has been claimed that Maurice Selbach was also involved in its design. What is without doubt that both makers both started to build frames using the same tubing almost simultaneously and that the tubing sets were also offered to other framebuilders very soon after. Many of the small lightweight cycle makers offered taper tubes as an option in the late 1920s and 30s. Granby must have made good money from royalties on the taper tubing. In 1930 Granby introduced another innovation \u2013 chainstays that were square in section at the bottom bracket end. They claimed that they offered increased tyre and chainwheel clearance as well as being 5% stronger than standard stays. By the end of the 1930s fashions were changing \u2013 continental designs were becoming more fashionable. Granby was bought by Ron Argent during WWII and still continued offering taper tube frames until the middle 1950s. They had a few more innovations up their sleeve including vertical dropouts combined with an adjusting eccentric bottom bracket and a headset with built in locknut but they never achieved the popularity they had in the 20s and early 30s."

* Since this article was written an advert for Granby and talking about the new frame design has been found.

Hilary Stone, Bristol, British Isles

NEIL MCCORMICK wrote: > are there any experts on Granby bicycles _______________________________________________ > Classicrendezvous mailing list > > > >

> are there any experts on Granby bicycles