I picked the formula up today
Can’t do much with it at the moment as I’m away for a couple of nights so it is in the boot of the car at the moment!
I thought I’d start a thread for the bike by adding all the stuff I can find on Orange Formulas of this era.
This post appeared from Bedazzled13 a while back but has gone quiet which is a pity:viewtopic.php?t=152968
The frame that I have bought looks very similar – the main differences in detail being the cable guides on the top tube - his are on the top mine are on the drive side.
The serial number of mine is 133788, I have checked with Dave Yates and it isn’t one of the frames built by him which makes it likely to be one of the 6 Donohue frames referenced by michael@orange in the other thread;
Formulas are super rare and TBH even I have never seen one with that stay arrangement, I'll speak to Lester and see if he can recall how many were made like that, original B52's, Ali O's, Vit T's and Dynamo (mk1) didn't have the monostay so its not like every frame has used it but I'm actually looking at that wondering what is is, i think it might be something a bit more rare than even a Formula is
. Can you let me know the exact date you bought it please?
There are a number of different versions of Formula, Steve (Wade, Orange owner) made a number, I'm pretty sure Dave Yates also made a few for us as did Paul Donohue, its hard to know exact numbers, no-one kept a record, my best guess, less than 20 made, most went to mates of Lester. Top Mark were one of the original Orange dealers as Bill Nixon the owner was one of Lester's windsurfing friends.
I dont think we have decals, we've got very little left from the original days as the business was about selling stuff not hoarding
no first catalogue, few decals and even the artwork files got stored on floppy discs now degraded or old 11cx macs long since dead
will look next time I'm at the barn but dont hold out much hope.
We dont have a Formula in the factory museum, I've traced a couple over the years and one day might get someone to loan us one to display, a lot did go to friends of Lester, I know Graham Longstaff, former NEMBA chairman has one as do a couple of his sailing friends.
We do have a Formula road bike, built by Steve circa 89/90 with compact geometry and max tubing, a few years ahead of compact geometry ever becoming commonplace on the road
OK, a bit more on this, from Lester
"The very first Fomula’s were made by Dave Yates, but that was only for a short time before we went to Paul Donohue. We probably had 2 bikes from Dave before getting about 6 from Donohue. It was a struggle getting what we wanted weight wise, the bikes were a mixture of Reynolds road bike tubes, using 753 where we could.
Then in 89 Columbus launched their max tubing which we got. I can’t remember whether there was max chainstay, and seatstays, I think they didn’t but Steve would remember. Anyway Steve sourced some cromoly 4130 and shaped his own seatstays and chainstays which were incredibly light. That’s when the lighter Formula frames started and monostays appear.
The bike in the picture is a Donohue built frame made before Columbus tubing was used."
I hope that clears that up
On dropout almost certainly they'ed of had limited choice at that time, it was a period where the UK frame building industry was almost at its end and investment casting was moving to Taiwan so we'd of used what was available hence the bosses.
I've never seen that seat tube with the embossed logo, it is a piece of history and worthy of restoration.
I will contact Orange and see if I can find out more - happy to loan it to them for the museum when its done and I've got a few miles under its wheels too
This article posted by Dossa from MBUK has pictures of a very similar Formula in the black colourway:
I have a copy of this mag at home so I’ll do some higher res scans of close ups of the bike to see it also has the embossed logo.
Some pics of the bike that I took before below. It is going to be a full restoration, I am really hoping that the corrosion in the seat tube isn’t too bad as that is going to be a problem to fix and retain original details - stabbed at it a bit harder now its mine and seems solid enough - the corrosion product is very well adhered and hard which are good signs but who knows what the insides look like!
Plan is a full strip down, detailed photographs to record the 'as found' condition, shot blast and then a visit to Argos or Dave Yates to look at the repairs….. can anyone advise the best place for a re-spray of an Orange?
Build will be XT m730 with either m7CD or MA40 rims, Timbuk IIs, turbo etc - keep it plain
This is a really important one to get right so please let me have your thoughts suggestions etc - advice/opinions all very welcome and appreciated!