This is the project that I alluded to on my introduction.
My first racing bike was one of the Team Raleigh Banana race bike reproductions made from the supremely heavy 18-30 chromo tubing, but even though it was hardly cutting edge it was still better than my mates racing bike. He had just got a Muddy Fox Courier mountain bike, but jumped up and down at his daddy who went out and brought him one of the limited edition Raleigh Bananas made with Reynolds 531c and full Shimano 105. Two years later I brought that bike off him and had it in my possession until six years ago when I sold it to raise some much needed funds for our wedding (for the sake of the £150 I got for it I now wish I hadn't sold it). Now the craze for fixie/singlespeeds has turned up and I realised that actually a singlespeed (I can't ride fixed due to a knee op years ago) would be a great way to get to and from work in the winter months rather than coating my Giant TCR with its full Dura Ace in salty road muck.
So two years ago I took a used Raleigh Special Products division Reynolds 853 frame and turned it into a reproduction for the Raleigh Banana team bikes from the 80's, as a memorial to my beloved Raleigh Banana. The frame paint scheme was based on one of the actual team frames that I spotted hanging on the wall of MacDonalds cycles in Edinburgh (Reynolds 753), and a lot of work with a superb paint sprayer, and my own talents with decals and bike building, resulted in this.
Two years later it's still my main method of transportation to work when I'm not on-call and is still in great condition even after two winters of riding through muck (the decals are all sealed under a clear top coat).
However this year has seen my first return to time trialling properly in 13 years (I made an aborted return about two years ago), and I'm now in my first winter training for 14 years which got me thinking about my bikes again.
On the wall in MacDonald cycles was also this:-
Which was Malcolm Elliot's Reynolds 753 lo-pro that Raleigh (or more correctly Gerald O'Donovan - witness the sticker at the top of the seat tube) made for his unsuccessful attempt at the World hour record.
This got me thinking.......could I find an 'old skool' lo-pro frame, tidy it up, and build it up as a modern-ish twist on a classic lo-pro TT bike in a singlespeed variant?
Well many sniped attempts on eBay later made me realise that lo-pros are very popular with the London fixed gear community, and finding a good one was going to be difficult, and then win the bugger before I lost out at the last minute. So I put an advert on my usual haunt (the Timetrialling forum), and then got a message from Ian Cammish very kindly offering me a pair of his Dynatech track frames that were made for him from the Special Products division at Raleigh.
As these frames have some serious history in Time Trialling in this country I thought I would keep one as standard and re-finish the other in Banana colours. Considering they were both the same I thought I would use the more worn one for the re-pro once I had got the totally seized stem out of the forks. It was only once I had the forks out of the frame did something become apparent.......even though the frames were ordered at the same time and delivered to Ian, the frames were actually different geometry, and different sizes!!!!
This threw up a quandary as I had accepted the measurements based on the larger frame (I'm 6'5" so need a big frame) and the smaller would just be too short for me (it's only a 54cm top tube), so even though it needed the work I decided to keep that one as the standard and keep it in the garage as turo training motivation.
The larger frame also has this little sticker on it
So like the Malcolm Elliot frame it was made by the legendary Gerald O'Donovan except this beastie is a Dyna-Tech 23-25 Titanium job, rather than Reynolds 753 (although the forks will be 753).
Work is in progress (more to follow), and prior to heading off to paint I mocked it up with wheels and aerobars and it looked like this.
Watch this space I guess!