[CR] Braxton Touring Bike On Ebay

(Example: Component Manufacturers:Chater-Lea)

Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 02:03:05 +0000
From: "Norris Lockley" <nlockley73@gmail.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR] Braxton Touring Bike On Ebay

A lot of time, effort and skill have obviously gone into the construction of this frame and clearly Sam Braxton was proud of the work he produced.

I suppose that it's just a natural habit of framebuilders to examine other builders' work and, where possible, to pick up a few "wrinkles" or tips, just as Braxton did while working alongside Jack and Norman Taylor. In the respect of picking up tips I remember looking over the details of a Charrel Randonneur a couple of years ago and just thinking..several times "Why on earth did I not think of doing it like that?"

Looking at this particular Braxton bike - the first I have ever seen, it provoked the same response in me as it had done in Owen Wrigleey....'It can't really only be a 21" - not with such a long head-tube' However reading on I noted that the top tube is only 19.5" which, of course gives rise to a longer head-tube than normal for a frame of its height..

To obtain such a short top-tube and to create a bike that handles well, avoids front end overlap etc the builder does not have too many tricks at his disposal - he can shallow the head angle or raise the seat angle...or do both, which is what Sam Braxton did with this frame.

What I wonder about is whether it was Sam's belief in the advantages of the shallow head angle, as implied by Kevin's comments about his Braxton frame that led to the top-tube being short, or whether the need by the rider - possibly due to having a short upper body -to have a short top-tube dictated the need to shallow off the head angle.

The other aspects of the frame that I cannot understand are why the frame is so small when the rider, judging by the length of seat pillar exposed, must have long legs and, secondly, whether the top tube actually slopes upwards from the seat lug to the head tube.

The other feature of this frame that I just do not understand, as with others builders who have adopted it, even Routens in France, is why the rear brake is placed forward of the brake bridge, thereby making it even more susceptible than normal to vibration and possibly fracture of the spindle.It isn't as though placing the brake in the normal rear of bridge position would cause a difficult route for the brake cable.

Joe Merz mentioned that Sam had built a frame for Ian Hibell. I have never built one for him but I did meet him once at a framebuilder's shop in the UK - Chevin Cycles/Delta Sportive in Otley, in the mid 70s and had the opportunity of discussing the design features of the frame with him. I remember that the frame had an absolute mass of braze-ons. not just for cantilever brakes, pannier racks, and many bottle bosses but also for brackets or bosses to which a small petrol stove would be bolted etc etc.etc I think jhe even had a freewheel remover brazed onto one of the pannier racks, just in case he broke a spoke on the freewheel side and needed to remove the block.

Ian insisted that all these braze-ons be fitted to the tubes, stays and fork blades BEFORE these same tubes etc were brazed to the lugs. bracket shell, fork crown. Otherwise, he maintained, the extra heat input into tubes that were already fixed at their extremities might provoke undue stresses and and give rise to weak-spots. And so it came to pass..that the braze-ons were done first...

Just prior to that meeting I had repaired an old high quality DAWES frame made from Accles and Pollock Kromo tubing..and had actually noticed that when retrospectively silver-soldering in a couple of pairs of bottle bosses that the down and seat tubes did appear to curve slightly under the slight heat - the down tube particularly. Ever since my conversation with Ian, I have always added as many braze-ons as possible prior to the tubes being brazed into the lugs...or does everybody else do that as a matter of routine..and I have been the odd one out for several decades.

Norris Lockley ( An old dog... but never too old to learn new tricks..)

Settle UK