1994 M&B of Dronfield custom build (Vernon Barker)

sjcprojects

Old School Hero
1991[edit- actually 1994] M&B of Dronfield - eBay bargain I couldn't resist bought from Dronfield (near Sheffield), appropriately. Built by Vernon Barker. M&B was renamed "Vernon Barker Cycles" some time in the 90s, I believe.

All original parts apart from the stem and pedals. A few interesting features on the frame such as the integrated cable guides, and the very tight geometry of the rear triangle. Goes like an absolute rocket when in top gear.

Reynolds 531 competition frame+forks
105 groupset + hubs
Mavic open S.U.P. CD rims
ITM Super Training bars
Selle Italia Flite titanium saddle
 

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sjcprojects

Old School Hero
otherself":2h5ucoyz said:
Cool. Fag paper clearances at rear! So how much did you pay?

£195. Considering what a new frame from the same maker costs these days, I think that's a pretty good bargain to say the least. It's not all perfect - shifters are a bit dodgy, so I might well have to replace those. It's a great ride, though - definitely a keeper...
 

sjcprojects

Old School Hero
Jonny69":1rn2y3mk said:
Oh yes, LOVE those ridiculous clearances! What's the wheelbase?

Wheelbase is 98.5cm - almost 0.5cm smaller than my most similar bike with the same size frame. Not sure what effect that has - guess it makes it a bit less stable, but a bit lighter/faster?
 

399road

Dirt Disciple
Re: M + B Dronfield...

Just looking at your bike. I used to work at MB cycles in 1993. MB were Andy Middlemass and Vernon Barker. Shop was on three floors. Upstairs was clothing,helmets and changing rooms,ground floor was shop,ran by Andy with wheel building workshop,new bikes and used frames for sale and cellar was Vernon's frame building workshop and repair workshop, shot blaster,spray booth and paint oven. Your frame looks unusual to me with it having the gear cable guides on its down tube as these were commonly fitted from around '93 when most gear shifters moved to combined brake and gear levers. 91 seems a bit early for these unless this bike had been originally fitted with bar end shifters? Your frame number should be a dead give away to its year of manufacture as the first two numbers were this. It looks really tidy still and I've got a soft spot for their bikes as they were really well made. I've still got my '93 Columbus Multi shaped MB and it's also pretty original like yours. I live in Chesterfield about 6 miles from the old MB shop. ...Luke.
 

sjcprojects

Old School Hero
Re:

Thanks for the info Luke - interesting stuff. You're dead right about the date - the frame number shows it's from 1994. I thought the bloke I bought it off in Dronfield had said he had it made in 91, but he may well have said 94 or misremembered, I guess. It's a great ride and I'm looking forward to getting out on it a bit more as we come up to the summer (I managed to sort the sticky shifters out using the highly technical method of a shedload of WD40...).
 

399road

Dirt Disciple
Re:

Thanks. Keep looking at your bike and thinking it's a weird one. Close clearance rear end wasn't a standard thing and neither were those intricate frame lugs. Concealed top tube cable was also an extra and should have a guide through the top tube so when you change the rear brake cable, it just slides through without having to mess about. Non mudguard eyed dropouts,along with close clearances both at seat tube and between fork crown and tyres suggest to me that this was a race bike, yet it also has a peg on the rear of the head tube for carrying a pump? Weird??? I can remember your type of frame lugs knocking about in the workshops, but not with the cable guides yours has under its bottom bracket. A 531 standard frame set in a single colour used to be about £370 if I remember correctly, but yours,with all its extras would probably have been nearer £500. Yours also has traditional curved forks, where I'd have half expected someone who chose all your extras,would have gone for "power forks" (straight ones),which were popular and fashionable at the time.
 

sjcprojects

Old School Hero
It's definitely a proper custom frame. The previous owner told me quite a bit about how he'd specified lots of the frame details - including the tight clearances. He told me he only actually raced it once, but he was obviously going for a race-type frame - aside from the pump-peg! He said the whole bike cost £1000 when he bought it, which seemed a bit much to me, but I guess wouldn't be too far off the mark? Anyway, no doubt it was a bargain at £200 - a bit of a ridiculous one, actually. I wasn't really in the market for another bike at the time, but I'm glad I took a punt on it...
 
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