A bit bent Butler.....Claud Butler Electron?

sherlylock

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Browsing eBay for local bikes and a tatty Claud Butler piques my interest.....no bids, £10 start, day to go.

Chucked in a cheeky bid....not expecting to win........anyway, picked it up last night.

Did a bit of internet trawling last night, to try and work out what I'd actually bought!


Frame number is 68752 which according to this frame number chart suggests a '75 model.....but CB catalogue data seems very thin on the ground for the early 70's so I can't cross reference it against anything.

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The only thing that came up in searching was this thread.....suggesting it's an Electron (purely based on the similarity to Jamie's frame in the thread - Prugnat lugs, Blue paint, decals).

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=407747&p=2999436&hilit=claud+butler+electron#p2999436

A bit of closer investigation suggests a front end smack at some point unfortunately. Paint loss on the top tube and down tube and a slight bulge in the down tube near to the lug suggests previous damage which is a shame. Forks look ok though. Not sure what to do with this......worth repairing? Is it even possible to repair this sort of frame damage?

Anyways.....some pics. Was really happy with this as a project until I saw the damage......thought I'd post it up as a project thread as it may be of interest to folks.

Interested to know how much of it is original and whether anyone has any more info to share on this model......and even just to confirm that it is indeed an Electron.

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Jamiedyer

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Wow! That looks exactly like mine and the way it was, right down to the paint off from a front ender, though mine doesn't look bent or seem affected by it at all. So maybe not to worry too much.
I am sure Peachy will be along soon and he can fill you in, but yours being the same as mine means it is a rare Electron in more ways than one. It is easily identifiable due to the 1 year only decals and it is a 531 frame as well as forks.
I still have all the same running gear in a box with the Simplex der and the brakes in an old quality street tin so must have been standard fitment.

Jamie
 

Peachy!

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Evening, just checking in so I can watch the restoration if that’s what you choose to do.
As for is it worth it? Well, like Jamie’s, it is one of the last of the Electrons and because of the full Reynolds 531 it’s also considered the best from a 10 year production run.
Most were sold as frame sets, but some would have been built up by shops. I can’t see anything that’s not period correct, although I have seen some that were “upgraded” with Campagnolo.

I guess maybe first get an idea of how much a tweaking of the frame might cost?
 

sherlylock

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Jamiedyer":3pgjodg6 said:
Wow! That looks exactly like mine and the way it was, right down to the paint off from a front ender, though mine doesn't look bent or seem affected by it at all. So maybe not to worry too much.
I am sure Peachy will be along soon and he can fill you in, but yours being the same as mine means it is a rare Electron in more ways than one. It is easily identifiable due to the 1 year only decals and it is a 531 frame as well as forks.
I still have all the same running gear in a box with the Simplex der and the brakes in an old quality street tin so must have been standard fitment.

Jamie

Yeah, the similarity in front end damage is spooky! I need to look at it more carefully but it doesn't look like the frame is bent as such, more just the paint loss and a very very slight bulge in the tube (you can feel it more than see it). I'll clean up the area and make a call on whether to ride it or not.

How accessible is your frame? Would love to get some reference pics of whatever frame decals you have left on yours if it's not too much grief? I've got the remnants of the Claud Butler downtube decal and a couple of small bits of stripe left on the seat tube but nothing else. Be good to get these drawn up and reproduced.

Interesting to hear the componentry is largely the same as mine. Do you know if it was fitted with 700c or 27" wheels? My brake blocks are mounted as high as they can be in the caliper yet they don't meet the rim properly.....like the wheel is too big! They are 27"......

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Peachy!":3pgjodg6 said:
Evening, just checking in so I can watch the restoration if that’s what you choose to do.
As for is it worth it? Well, like Jamie’s, it is one of the last of the Electrons and because of the full Reynolds 531 it’s also considered the best from a 10 year production run.
Most were sold as frame sets, but some would have been built up by shops. I can’t see anything that’s not period correct, although I have seen some that were “upgraded” with Campagnolo.

I guess maybe first get an idea of how much a tweaking of the frame might cost?

There's a frame builder near me - wonder if it's worth making contact to see if they would entertain the idea of a frame repair.....

It's going to be a strip down, clean, re-lube, setup and ride type of resto to start with I think. The guy I bought it off was selling because "at the age of 86 I thought it best to stop cycling" - I think he'd had it a while, he couldn't remember how long so maybe from new. He seemed interested in seeing some after-restoration pics so I'll email him once it's at least de-greased and washed and put back together.

Found the best (worst) bodge that I've seen on a bike so far. I was worried that the seatpost may be seized in the frame as it was at its lowest setting when I viewed the bike. Turns out that the post couldn't be tightened and had slipped to its lowest position because the shim, made of newspaper(!) that he'd used to pack out the undersize seat post had failed. Couldn't believe it as I pulled out the 25.5mm post along with the Daily Mirror shim.....

Found a 26.4mm post in the spares box managed to get it in the now slightly pinched seat tube, refitted the clamp bolt and all is seemingly good again. Took the opportunity to swap the polished smooth Brook B18 plastic saddle for a Brooks Swallow (borrowed from my Carlton Pro-Am).

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Peachy!

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sherlylock":b4ox7jww said:
How accessible is your frame? Would love to get some reference pics of whatever frame decals you have left on yours if it's not too much grief? I've got the remnants of the Claud Butler downtube decal and a couple of small bits of stripe left on the seat tube but nothing else. Be good to get these drawn up and reproduced.

H Lloyd cycles have everything you need decal wise. I’ll make up a list for you when I get home, although measurements from Jamie would be helpful if you want to get the placement spot on.

I think this frame size should have 27” wheels, maybe the weinmann’s that have been fitted should have been the shorter version?

My sons Electron is a 19.5” frame (smallest in the range) with Weinmann vainqueur ‘999’ brakes (750 back, 610 front) & 26” Van Schothorst “Silverseal” chrome steel dimpled rims.
 

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Peachy!

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Here you go.......

Top tube Electron name, likely to be the black with gold edge as the outline version was normally only seen on lighter colours.


Down tube Gold Claud Butler with a slight curve in the vertical lines


Fork Reynolds 1973-77


Top of seat tube Reynolds 1973-77 butted tubes, forks & stays


CB Olympic crest, middle of seat tube. Make sure it’s the London England with yellow ring. This lasted till mid 1976.


Bands, I don’t think they were the 23mm gold lined I think they were 16mm gold lined, that’s what we used on our Superfive, but I can’t find them. Maybe ask Jamie to measure his?
 

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sherlylock

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Awesome.....above and beyond Peachy! Much appreciated. I was unaware that H Lloyd offered quite so many decals!

I have the remnants of the bands on the seat tube for reference and also ghosting of where the missing ones once were so I think positioning should be easy to work out.

This has some potential to look lovely.....

Do you paint your own frames Peachy?
 

Jonny69

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Can't help feeling if you could just find an old school frame builder they'd probably be happy to clamp the frame down and cold pull the front end back into true with a decent size bar down the head tube. You need to find an old guy who did things the old way...
 

Peachy!

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sherlylock":2wf8146a said:
Awesome.....above and beyond Peachy! Much appreciated. I was unaware that H Lloyd offered quite so many decals!

I have the remnants of the bands on the seat tube for reference and also ghosting of where the missing ones once were so I think positioning should be easy to work out.

This has some potential to look lovely.....

Do you paint your own frames Peachy?

My pleasure, just glad someone wants to keep another CB rolling.

As for painting, bit of mix really. Pretty much all our MTBs have been one colour powder coat, some of the cheaper road bikes have been rattle cans... some have been stove enamelled at Bob Jackson’s who do a good quality job where one colour spray jobs at (I think) £115 are bloody good value (strip, blast, zinc prime, anti-chip prime, at least 2 coats, rub down in between, clear then rub down, decal placement, then top coat) how they get a profit out of that is anyone’s guess.
But if it needs lots of masking l, three colours, lug lining etc etc it gets a bit pricey for the standard of finish (only my opinion)
If I want lots of masking & detailing and with a very high end finish I’ll do it myself.

Love the paper shim btw :facepalm:

Ps I wonder if it’s just a coincidence, but your frame and Jamie’s are the only guaranteed butted 531 Electrons that I’ve seen... both with the same damage.... in a place I’ve not seen on a plain gauge Electron.
 

3wheeler7

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Re:

Hi
What is it with CBs and front enders?
Back in the early 70s I had one bike and one bike only and it was my pride and joy, it was a Claude Butler (531 frame but I never knew what model).
It was on fixed with tubs and sprints and I used it for everything - from going to school on, to the shop on and time trials and club runs.
I had a mate who kept pestering me to sell it to him but I resisted.
One morning he asked to borrow it to nip round to his Aunties and, when he hadn't returned by late afternoon, I walked round to the said Aunties and found him lying on the sofa with a broken collar bone.
Turns out he'd ran into the back of a van and gone straight over the bars.
Of course I was very sympathetic but obviously more bothered about what damage there was to my precious Claud.
Luckily there was none to be seen, no buckled front wheel - no scratches - no nothing, or so I thought.
I rode it home and wow, even though I could detect no bend to the forks and no damage to the frame it had developed a previously non-existent half inch toe clip overlap.
I sold him the bike when his collar bone was healed!

Regards
Tony
 
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