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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:10 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu May 28, 2020 5:38 pm
Posts: 77
This is my Rapparee in Columbus SLX 56cm c/c. Made to measure for me in April 1987 by Des and Ken Maye, Rapparee framesets.

Based in Clonard, Co. Meath, Ireland, the frames were very popular as cycling boomed in Ireland due to the Roche and Kelly factor. They built in Reynolds and Columbus. I think they were still going up to the mid late 90s but cycling in Ireland had fallen away and also aluminium frames came in.

The vast majority of Rapparees ended up in sheds or being rode into the ground I think as they are extremely hard to find now. Mine is probably the only one never off the road through the years. It's always been kept indoors.

I previously had a Mercian 531SL in orange/white which I started racing on as an U14 in 1981. I was a 2nd year senior in 87 when I got the Rapparee. I raced until 1989 when I packed it in. Didn't stop riding though and have just rode on my own ever since, 2/3 times a week, about 20/30miles a time.
In 87 I had a mixture of Shimano 600/Campag with a Gipiemme chainset. I put a Mavic chainset/rear mech on in the early 90s and Dura Ace 7403 dual pivot calipers in 93 which all stayed on until 2012 when I started finding Record stuff online, mixture of NOS and second hand.

It's all Campag now, apart from the headset. Some of the Record Ergopower is NOS and some second hand.

The Ergopower levers and rear mech are Record Titanium. The frame is in original condition. An odd paint chip here and there but no dents. It's a beautiful comfortable ride, it's still set up in race mode as I'm the same weight as 33 years ago.

The trendy frame paint job for most Raparees at that time was a 'flare job' like Stephen Roche's 86/87 Battaglin. But me never being one to follow the crowd chose a deep blue. I'd specified chrome forks as well as a chrome chainstay but when I went to collect the frame the forks had been missed out somehow.
I'm glad now though as chrome forks from 87 would likely be looking the worse for wear at this stage. The chainstay and rear dropouts are still in excellent condition though.

Rapparees were highwaymen and bandits who originally fought against William of Orange in Ireland in the 1690s. On defeat they turned to guerilla warfare initially and then to banditry. I'm not sure if they built any frames themselves though!

This isn't a project or a restoration, it's been my everyday bike since 87, apart from 6 months earlier this year when I took it off the road to finally get to grips with a seized B/B fixed cup. I honestly thought I wouldn't get it out without damaging the paintwork as I'm not mechanically minded, but I did eventually. I was lucky enough to find a NOS Look Kg233 here in Ireland to ride during that time. I will post pictures of it at some stage.



I will post more pictures and information when I get the chance. This picture is from this week.


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Last edited by Rapparee87 on Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:08 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:49 am
Posts: 339
Location: Hampshire
That's a really fine looking machine and great to have something different and unique... I've never seen or even heard of Rapparee before. Out of interest are there many other Irish frame builder's ?.... any still working ?


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:58 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:20 pm
Posts: 69
Location: London
Great looking bike! Wonderful little piece of history, thanks for the background. Looks in wonderful condition for a regular ride too.


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:43 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu May 28, 2020 5:38 pm
Posts: 77
vcballbat wrote:
That's a really fine looking machine and great to have something different and unique... I've never seen or even heard of Rapparee before. Out of interest are there many other Irish frame builder's ?.... any still working ?


Thanks. I think there are one or two who have started recently with steel but for the silly prices market.

When I joined my local club in 1980 it was all UK frames. Harry Quinn, Mercian, Woodrup, Falcon,Raleigh, Ron Kitching to name a few. There was the odd Benotto, Colnago, Olmo etc in the country. Sean Kelly had a Mercian. Stephen Roche won the 1979 Tour of Ireland on a Raleigh with the red/black/yellow colours. There were also 2 Wester Ross in my club.

Harding's bike shops in Dublin and Cork had their own frames for sale but I think they were UK built and then badged over here.

One of the guys in my club had a Tommy Donaldson from north of the border but I don't know if they were built up there or not.

Des Maye of Rapparee went to stay in England for a while to learn his framebuilding.


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:51 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu May 28, 2020 5:38 pm
Posts: 77
zerogravitas wrote:
Great looking bike! Wonderful little piece of history, thanks for the background. Looks in wonderful condition for a regular ride too.


Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:44 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu May 28, 2020 5:38 pm
Posts: 77
The calipers look like I bought them new, but they are second hand, from Italian ebay. They were a very reasonable price. Fantastic stopping power as you'd expect.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:50 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Mon May 21, 2012 4:39 pm
Posts: 150
Location: Ireland
I missed this post first time around.
That's a beauty, I love the colour.

The Rapparee workshop was about 30 miles from me and I remember these frames showing up on club rides and starting lines in the late 80's. Lovely frames but out of my price range as a schoolboy racer at the time.

I haven't seen one in decades. :(


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:05 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu May 28, 2020 5:38 pm
Posts: 77
howlindawg wrote:
I missed this post first time around.
That's a beauty, I love the colour.

The Rapparee workshop was about 30 miles from me and I remember these frames showing up on club rides and starting lines in the late 80's. Lovely frames but out of my price range as a schoolboy racer at the time.

I haven't seen one in decades. :(


Thanks! I will be checking out yours also! Yes, it's amazing there aren't more still about. They were very well made. A couple of guys I know had them, quit cycling and returned to it lately but on sloping top tube modern horrors. :facepalm:


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:11 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu May 28, 2020 5:38 pm
Posts: 77
Got the Record Titanium rear mech on adverts.ie, probably in as good a condition as you will get second hand without paying silly money. Works perfectly also.

8 speed Campag cassette 13/21 and hub.


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Last edited by Rapparee87 on Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:50 am, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:25 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu May 28, 2020 5:38 pm
Posts: 77
NOS front mech bought from Nigel at http://www.campyoldy.co.uk


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