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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:15 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:47 pm
Posts: 29
Hello fellow Retrobikers,

I've learned a great deal and spent many enjoyable hours seeing beautiful bicycles and ingenuity here at RB.

First time to start a post. I'm a novice with old bikes (even though the 3 formative bikes of my life were a Puch Mini Sprint in 1973, Raleigh Arena in 1978 and Peugeot Talisman in 1981). I've spent the last 20 years very happily with Campagnolo equipped road bikes.

I started hankering for a 531 lugged frame, preferably from the Brum/ Black Country area, and was delighted to find this: an early eighties John Perks - 531db frame & forks, Prugnat S4 lugs, Vagner DP fork crown. From the little I managed to find out, this was most likely been built by Knight Cycles of Wolverhampton or one of the Dawes framebuilders at that time. It is too early to have been an Autostrada or Andy Perks built frame.

When I got it, there was sadly a lot of rust competing with the faded ruby red paint. Shotblasting and a new finish felt the best option.

My first idea was to have the rear triangle sprung to 130mm for 10 speed Campagnolo gearing (that's what I knew!). I had a set of ergolevers that I fitted, and found that the braking power of the centrepulls increased to a decent level, even with the decades old original Kool Stop pads. I tried out the existing gearing, finding it nostalgic & fun returning to downtube levers and a 5 speed block.

...and that's where this bike is currently stuck :facepalm:

Most of the original equipment has been kept: Weinmann centrepulls (stamped 7.83), Suntour (excellent!) gearing; Power levers, Cyclone II front derailleur and an ARX long cage rear derailleur. The 5 speed Perfect freewheel is 14 to a dinner plate 34. A SR custom chainset is interesting; a 36/50 double.

The touring wheels are 27" 36 spoked Weinmanns with Mailliard hubs (stamped 82). They are anchors, and I reckon the frame deserves, and would be transformed with, a light wheelset.

The Selle Italia Anatomic saddle, shot mudguards and Lyotard pedals were replaced.

That's the story of my first retrobike. In any case, it rides beautifully and anytime out is a joy. Maybe that's the only important thing.

Apologies in advance for the poor photos (one is sideways & I have no idea how to reset it). The sun was fine today, maybe not so the 22mph easterly.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:40 pm 
Gold Trader
Gold Trader
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Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:40 am
Posts: 4092
I like it! good job on the restoration! The ergos look a little funny out there on their own, but not too much. Have a look at tektro brake levers if you fancy swapping them for standard brake levers

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:34 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:47 pm
Posts: 29
Thanks for the encouragement and heads up about the tektro levers Foz. I didn't know of those & reckon that's the way forward.

I've read a lot of horror stories about Weinmann centre pulls not wanting to stop a bike. That's not been the case here; the braking is fine with plenty of power. I wonder if there's been much history of matching up Ergolevers with centrepulls & why (in my experience) that combination would work well? Or, are centrepulls not that bad in the first place?

On a different subject, I forgot to say I'd be grateful if anyone here at RB can shed any more light on this John Perks 531 frame please, and the framebuilders who worked at Knight and Dawes in the late 70s & early 80s. The bottom bracket is stamped M 13 (not MN, though I'd love to find a Major Nichols!), 27.2mm seat post, fork rake at 2.5 inches and dropouts are Gipiemme.


 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:58 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 3:23 pm
Posts: 680
That looks great! Dia Compe areo levers might do the trick?

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:24 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:47 pm
Posts: 29
Thanks richardshill, appreciated. Will check out the Dia Compe levers.

One final photo here, with the original mudguards (cracked shortly after) & saddle (couldn't get on with).

I enjoy how versatile this frame is: descending the rapid south side of Toys Hill was rock solid, it climbs really well too (Yorks Hill), even with such heavy wheels. Bridleway gravel was fine. Comfortable for hours :) .

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