Retrobike Forum Index

It is currently Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:09 pm

* Login   * Register * Search  * FAQ



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 69 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:14 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
Posts: 170
Location: SE Scotland
toons wrote:
Great thread loving the history lesson.

Why o why did the Brits stop using Drum brakes?

Cantilever brakes in the British weather make no sense.

I remember been very envious of Frank Hutton (Morpeth Bikes RIP), he had a set on his custom made frame. I remember riding in Kidland forest, it was extremely muddy and Frank demonstrating how good his brakes were.


The Brits never did use hub brakes on bicycles ~ they turned-up very rarely, but we never embraced the idea as did (and still do) the dutch.
In the early days of mountain-biking the vast majority were against the concept of hub braking, so much so that one of Jo's 'Mint Sauce' cartoons showed a mountainbiker with cricifixes and garlic because he was on a ride with another rider on a bike fitted with HUB BRAKES!
Yes, there was a lot of prejudice against any form of hub brake then, and it still exists a bit today.
To some extent, the prejudice was justified because the typical drum brake (Sturmey Archer and Sachs) available then did not work particularly well, although they were, in principle, a better brake than any rim brake. The problems were subtle, and we need not go into details here.
A little bit of personal history here: The first hub brakes I got hold of were from bikes dumped in ditches. Some were Sturmey Archers, dating from the thirties. I considered the possibility that Sturmey may still make them and plagued my local bike shop for information, but they repeatedly told me that hub brakes were no longer manufactured. One day I walked into the shop to discover the Sturmey Archer representitive there, so I did not loose the opportunity of peeping over his shoulder at the catalogue he had out on the counter while talking to the shop owner. There they were! Hub brakes!! I couldn't believe my eyes! After I'd busted into their conversation, the rep explained that this was the export catalogue (He'd mislaid his UK one) and that the hub brakes were not available. Huh, not me mate. Before he left the shop that day, I had extracted a promise that I could order a set. It was like pulling teeth. Little wonder parts of British Industry at that time was in the doldrums.
The Sturmeys I got were a disappointment in their performance, but still better than rim brakes. I have high standards. A brake doesn't just stop the wheel going round ~ it's the action that comes before that which is critical. Not to mention the rim wear, maintenance and constant adjustment associated with rim brakes.
So, the hunt for better hub brakes was on. This took another ten years. They were discovered in 'The Tandem Centre' in the Old Kent Road, London. This shop had a rather strange attitude and treated me with great suspicion, sometimes denying that they old drum brakes at all.
However, these brakes were 'the business' ~ superb braking characteristics. I couldn't figure this out, but a few years later, Dave Wrath-Sharman analysed the internal mechanism, explained to me why they worked so well, and went on to develop the 'floating cam' design idea. They may have worked supremely, but the quality of manufacture was not the best, so the weight was more than it needed to be. However, the main problem was that the spoke flanges were not wide enough apart, this I guessed was because they were designed for small-wheeled mopeds. The hubs had no brand name on them, just the letters SVDG (or something like that) which effectively meant; made in France. How I discovered that these hubs were made by a company called 'Leleu' or that the factory was in Lyons, I can't remember, but in short order, a letter went off to them, in french, asking about any other designs, how to order in quantity, etc, etc.
Leleu seemed as reluctant to part with their product and any information about it as were Sturmey Archer.
Eventually a consignment arrived. By now I was fitting rear hubs to both wheels because the spoke flanges of the rear were wider apart and the axle stronger. All the hubs needed modifications before being built into the Cleland wheels.
At somewhere around this point in this little history, Cleland Cycles went down the toilet, courtesy of the late Ron Kitching Esq, who sent the bailiffs in.
There follows an interlude, during which Sturmey Archer opened one eye in their long snooze, and invited Dave Warth-Sharman and self to a day's discussion about hub brake design, production and marketing. The outcome of which was the experimental prototype run of 50 (25 pair) of 'floating-cam' hubs. These are easily identified by their plain (without lightening holes) spoke flanges. These were a marked improvement on the original Sturmeys and worked very well indeed. Frank Hutton was in receipt of a set, and made it his business to demonstrate them to anyone who stood still long enough. They were also distributed to other movers and shakers in the mountainbike world of the time. Unfortunately, these super little brakes had a nasty habit of snatching and locking-on at unexpected times. I was assured that in the next run, this problem would be resolved, but the damage had been done. Word was, "we told you so, hub bakes are useless."
Another interval occurred, quite a few years this time, and Shimano come out with the Roller Brake.
Still huge amounts of mistrust in the mountain biking world to these brakes; lots of silly rumours about overheating etc.
I've been fitting them to my bikes for the past 12 years, and I say they are just about perfect: reliable, gentle action, unaffected by water (even underwater, see the vimeo video earlier in this thread), virually zero maintenance, and really relatively cheap.


I wonder if anyone is going to read these ramblings ...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:22 am 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:58 am
Posts: 972
Thanks for the info Geoff. I never thought 20+ years later, I’d find out why Frank couldn’t get those brakes!

In the end, I settled for second best. Frank got a demo Pace RC100 in the shop; I tried the Magura hydro stops and ordered those instead. Which is a shame, because they didn’t even work as well, as the Drum brakes.

Did you ever speak to Frank after Northumbrian Bikes closed? Any ideas what happen to him?

GeoffApps wrote:
I wonder if anyone is going to read these ramblings ...


Hell yeah, I’m loving these ramblings Geoff, proper insight in the early days of MTB.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:30 am 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
Posts: 170
Location: SE Scotland
I saw Frank at some cycling event (it may have been BikeRite at Wooler) but didn't get to speak with him.
Have you tried googling?

There's one of those floating-cam brake hubs in a photo on the thread titled '1983 Cleland Aventura' and it's in 'Readers Bikes pre 90' (or something like that)

I'll see if I can put a link here sometime.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:42 am 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
Posts: 170
Location: SE Scotland
I also realise that the video is on a different thread, so I brought it onto this one http://www.vimeo.com/2679372
There are big rocks under that water, that's why I wobble about so much!



And I get my bus pass this year!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:48 am 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
Posts: 170
Location: SE Scotland
Looks like you're the only one reading this just now...

The problem with the spoke flanges on the 'Leleu' front hubs being too close together caused this to happen!


Attachments:
SpokeFlangeProblem.jpg
SpokeFlangeProblem.jpg [ 117.84 KiB | Viewed 971 times ]
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:13 am 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
Posts: 170
Location: SE Scotland
Oh, and by the way, here is the link to the other thread which features a restored (or being restored) Cleland Aventura which has a swing-cam Sturmey rear hub.

This is it, go visit http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=46418


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:01 am 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 924
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
A chance meeting at Bike Radar 2010 at Brands Hatch between:

*Joe Breeze (left) who made the first ever custom built mountain bike frame.

*Jeremy Torr (Right) who made the Cleland Aventura frames for Geoff Apps. The first mountain bikes to be made outside of the US.

*and behind is my Cleland Aventura. Its frame and forks were made by Jeremy some 27 years earlier.


Attachments:
DSC01439b.jpg
DSC01439b.jpg [ 95.59 KiB | Viewed 780 times ]
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:32 am 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider

Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 1508
Location: Leeds
What a good read, thank you.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:08 pm 
Retro Guru
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:39 pm
Posts: 1182
Location: wales
Great to find this.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:32 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
Posts: 16945
Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
Nice bump!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 69 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], groovyblueshed, ti_pin_man and 53 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

About Us

Follow Retrobike

Other cool stuff

All content © 2005-2015 Retrobike unless otherwise stated.
Cookies Policy.
bikedeals - the best bike deals in one place
FatCOGS - Fat Chance Owner's Group

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group