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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
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I just acquired the bicycle pictured above and thought I'd share. Mainly bought for the choice parts, but when it arrived the frame turned out to be rather nice. Other than the decals, in a lot better cosmetic condition than expected, and very nicely built; with wrapover stays, barend stops and sloping crown. There's also an original 60s - mid 70s Reynolds 531 sticker - guaranteed all tubes 531.

Yesterday I found out a great deal about Tower Cycles, Birmingham from a CTC forum member. He very kindly got directly in touch with Alan Richards, former Tower Cycles owner, whom he's know for 50 years! Thanks to his help I've managed to date and possibly ID the builder of the frame.

Dating the frame...

The parts are all top end, mainly early 60s Campagnolo, with some particularly choice ones...

- 2nd Gen. Record Derailleur, with non-slotted cable stop
- Pre '67 151 BCD Strada Crankset (1962 - 1966 version)
- Williams Rings
- Magistroni Clip style headset
- Record Strada Pedals

...but then Prugnat lugs would say later, mid '60s to mid '70s?

As both frame and rims have 'Built By Tower Cycles' I assumed built at the same time. Sure enough, locknuts on hubs revealed 1970. And thanks to Alan Richards, I learned he stamped the rims of wheels he built. I'd have never spotted this! Bit of cleaning, and a date stamp he applied indicating 1971 was revealed. So a 1971 frame!

I learned from Alan Richards via the CTC chap that the frame no. was not one of his and that he didn't build frames himself until the later 1970s. So this is one he'd have badged up. With this info and couple of snaps, the guess is it was built by Stanley Lang, Southern Cross. The next step is to wait and see if Alan can find anything in his logs to confirm this. If I'm lucky he may even be able to find out the original owners name!

So far, not been able to find out a great deal on Stan Lang or Southern Cross from the usual sources. A bit of googling reveals a little... Building in UK as Southern Cross, rumoured to have buillt Tandems for the British Olympic team in the 1930s, emigration to Australia, still building as Southern Cross over there, BMXs too, before return to the UK, in the '90s before his death in '97(?). Classic Rendevous only has a 'Coming Soon' link! And on Classic Lightweights I only came up with one picture... BUT... the frame in the photo at the foot of this page, from what I can glean seems to share the features of my own!

I'd love to find out more about Stan or Southern Cross if anyone knows the history. It looks a solidly built frame and I'll need to now decide what to do with it.

I'll try to add more photos of the parts and frame as I clean it up, as under a good ammount of grime they look to be in fabulous condition.

Well, hope this has been of some interest to someone!

Image


Last edited by Cheesedisease on Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:07 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:26 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Location: Wakefield, Yorkshire
Alan Richards in his racing days in the late 70's at Catterick finishing a 25 mile TT. Note the trendsetting Cinelli M71 clipless pedals - and no socks!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:05 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Location: held captive by baby haggis in a cave in Scotland
Really interesting on both counts, of Stan Lang and Alan Richards.
Would love to hear more, please keep us updated on what you find.

Jamie


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:53 pm 
rBoTM Winner
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I had been watching this bike on evil bay too. I am really glad that a fellow RB member bought it. A bit of a bargain too IIRC.

I look forward to the updates!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:31 pm 
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Location: Moneyscalp N.Ireland
lovely frame with some very nice period features and quality components but I can't quite get my head round the Magistroni clip headset, do you know if it was original to the date of manufacture as this style disappeared in the early 1950's and normally the head tube was flared at each end to accomodate the bearings, it reminds me of a Gnutti one I have on a 1951 Excel......either way it's a real find thanks for sharing!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
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Quote:
Alan Richards in his racing days in the late 70's at Catterick finishing a 25 mile TT. Note the trendsetting Cinelli M71 clipless pedals - and no socks!


Thanks for the snap Old Ned, I was hoping, and half expecting, you'd know something or have something to show! I think I read replies from you to a previous Tower Cycles post too?

Quote:
I had been watching this bike on evil bay too. I am really glad that a fellow RB member bought it. A bit of a bargain too IIRC.


Yes, I reckon it was a bit of a bargain too. I spotted it by accident. Wasn't looking seriously at all. Although, when you tempt yourself to use your already creaking credit card can anything be considered a bargain!!?

It certainly does need substantial TLC though. Should have taken pictures of the parts with their filth intact, but couldn't resist getting cleaning! So it's completely stripped down now and, fingers crossed it's looking like one of those situations where the grime has protected a lot of the parts. So far the only issue is a bar end shifter seized in the handlebars. And the only thing past repair are the rusted and corroded spokes, so they just got snipped. The rims may or may not be useable, but as they're stamped with the date code, should definitely remain as companions and live with the frame!

The Plan at the moment is to enjoy cleaning it all up and then see from there. Think it's nice to keep original paint where possible, so going to carefully remove the transfers at the weekend as they're very scrappy. Also, plan to pick up some enamel to match for some touching up. I have a source for new decals directly from Alan Richards, so aim to grab some of those.

Quote:
...but I can't quite get my head round the Magistroni clip headset, do you know if it was original to the date of manufacture as this style disappeared in the early 1950's and normally the head tube was flared at each end to accomodate the bearings.


Yes, the headset was a pleasant surprise when it arrived, but I agree, a touch incongruous! I knew it had a Magistroni one, which was desirable itself, but wasn't expecting a clip type one. It was just being used as a regular one inch threaded headset. Taking it apart, the 'sleeve' held inside the clip, that goes round the fork steerer does have notches cut into it, allowing it to compress when the clip is tightened. Other than that it functions and has all the parts of a regular headset. It has standard style cups that press into the headtube, so the headtube doesn't need to be flared. All in all, bearings and headset work as normal. Speaking to Alan Richards via the CTC chap, he said these were an option he was still offering. Although 1971 seems late for that. Perhaps old stock, or my guess is it came off whatever bike the other earlier '60s parts were donated from. One bonus is it meant the forks have plenty threads. If a replacement headset is needed I shouldn't have any low stack height issues, and plenty of choice.

Anyway, that will do for now! Thanks for the replies. All appreciated. I'll update the thread with photos when I finish cleaning some bits up so they can be seen in detail. And if anyone has any information at all on the frame building of Stanley Lang I'm eager to hear it.


Last edited by Cheesedisease on Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
Thanks for posting that - the sloping fork with internal crown is pretty avant-garde for the early 70s! 8)

David


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:07 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
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Quote:
...the sloping fork with internal crown is pretty avant-garde for the early 70s!


Yes, it's one of the elements I was attracted too. Gives such a 'clean' look.

I'll take some better close ups of the frame details, it really is nicely made. And why I'd love to learn more about Southern Cross's history and the builder.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:09 pm 
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Location: Moneyscalp N.Ireland
"So far the only issue is a bar end shifter seized in the handlebars."

I guess you most likely are aware but just in case have you undone the internal allen key expander bolt?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
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I guess you most likely are aware but just in case have you undone the internal allen key expander bolt?


I confess, I did almost forget last night, as the other one just slid out. But, yes I've tried and it won't budge.

I'm thinking, the same sort of process as trying to get a seized seatpost out? May try putting the allen key in a vice so I can get some purchase by trying to turn the bars. I'd rather sacrifice the bars than the shifter though, so maybe saw it out? But worried that if I get it out without loosing the expander bolt I'll never loosen the bolt and get it in another set of bars.

All tips appreciated!


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