[CR] More Dawes memories

From: Peter Brown <peterg.brown@ntlworld.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 22:58:05 +0000
Thread-Index: AcqmtqsKPl3/1Z4ZT9asBf8RdcRGjg==
Subject: [CR] More Dawes memories

When I was in my teens in the 50s (if you need to know I am now 70), one of the delights in an evening was to tour round the many local bike shops to admire the window displays - no need for security shutters then, and the lights were left on. Two of the shops were Dawes agents and it was their bikes which made the most attractive displays. New models came thick and fast in that period and each had it's own dedicated transfers and finish. The names which come to mind were Windrush, Realmrider, Don Juan, Red Feather, Double Diamond, and of course the Double Blue. I believe there were others and there must have been at least a dozen models in the 50s, each with variations, options, and developmental upgrades. My knowledge then of components was not what it is now, and frame materials were not so important to us lads as how flash a bike was, and sometimes how likely it was to impress the girls.

Three years ago I acquired a somewhat dilapidated 1958 Double Blue frame with the intention of restoring it, but that was to be more difficult than I thought. Decent replica transfers had not been reproduced, and I had no idea how to replicate what Dawes referred to as Glisten Silver panels on the seat tube. I eventually had to redraw the transfers and have them reprinted, and eventually overcame the problem of the Glisten Silver panels, and it was with a good deal of satisfaction that the frame was completed last year. There are some pics at http://www.photobox.co.uk/my/album/share/public?album_id=309624755 . Unfortunately that frame is too small for me and I now have another my size which is in the restoration pipeline. You will see there are some nice touches to the frame; the Dawes own Firefly lugs, the combined cable guides and pump pegs, the decorative top nut to the head set, and the polychromatic Cambridge Blue and Oxford Blue paintwork. This is a model 28DBC which was sold with a Campagnolo Gran Sport rear derailleur and a Cyclo front. The Double Blue was a Kromo frame model, but Dawes did use 531 Double butted on some of their frames.

Clubmen were quick to spot that some of the Dawes own brand components could enhance their own machines, and among those were Dawes La France perforated flap butt leather saddles, badged stems, nicely engraved Concord bars, Tallon alloy brakes, and alloy mudguard bridges that would even match some of the more fancy Hetchins lugs. Dawes were one of the first to spot the great improvement that Weinmann Vainquer 999 brakes could bring to braking, and they would offer Mansfield Ace and Ideal saddles as options.

I believe that Nick at Lloyds has recently added considerably to his Dawes transfer range, and I look forward to seeing more of these attractive machines brought back to life.

Peter Brown, Lincolnshire, England.