Carlton Criterium 1972-73


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Unfortunately most of this build's photos vanished - Pictures to be found on last page (page 6) of this thread

Carlton Criterium 1972/73
Road Bike of The Month Winner October 2015


And the original Catalogue Photo

I have only ever once owned a Racer.
A Raleigh Europa - Team Raleigh report my dad bought for me second hand back in I think 1984.
But I’ve always liked the look of Racing bikes, and Raleigh and Carlton in particular.

My dream Road/Racer has been either a Hetchins or H R Morris - not necessarily because of the rarity, craftsmanship and beauty, but also because I used to walk past (and look in the show window of) H R Morris workshop on my way to school when a child and after he had sold it, it was still a Bike shop (in what is now Walthamstow Village; trendy bohemian middle class part of former working class North East London where I’m from) for a while and I bought a bike repair manual from there during my Raleigh Europa days.
Hetchins has been associated with Tottenham, Seven Sisters and Lea Bridge Road - local places which have been quite important in my life; former family home, friends, and of course Tottenham Hotspur FC, anyway I digress. I’ve always wanted a Raleigh Professional too, or a fancy road bike.

Anyway, fate takes many turns, and a few weeks ago I was perusing eBay and saw a striking bicycle on Sale - a Carlton Criterium from 1972/3 - now this isn’t a Hetchins nor a Morris, nor is it a vintage Classic cycle - but it’s lovely and I wanted it so I posted a query here in the Retro Road section and then offered to buy the frame and fork package only which I got for £50 posted.

He included the original GB handlebars and the cranks - original Raleigh cottered with that wonderful slim tapered arm - but this bike had been made into a Single Speed with a motley collection of parts and 700c wheels with a single 40T chain ring. He also let me have the Weinmann 730 Side Pull Calipers and the alloy seatpost.

This is how the Critter looked:

The frame is scratched and has paint missing, but is sound with only a few specks of rust by the seat cluster and a dot here and there.

Thanks Spokesmann and Midlife for the help and advice on my original posting here..viewtopic.php?f=12&t=332737

And the wonderful 70ies catalogues, with the fantastic photography, popping colour and evocative feel - shot in the days when people used real cameras with real Film rather than the soulless digital blandness which pervades these days.

So I was inspired to have a go at a pseudo restoration, to get the bike looking like it did in the catalogue in all it’s glory with that gorgeous Tyrian Purple (or Tyrrihian Mauve as Carlton calls it).

The original spec was as follows:

Raleigh cottered 3 Pin steel chainset 49T with 170mm tapered steel arms
Lyotard style quill pedals
5 speed Freewheel
Simplex Prestige Rear Mech
Simplex Shifter
GB Stem and Handlebar
Alloy seatpost with Brooks B17 saddle
Normandy style 27” hubs with steel Rigida/Weinmann rims and amberwall 27x1 1/4” tyres.
Weinmann 730 Side Pull calipers and Levers.
Carlton cream/white hoods.

I was also researching the possibility of a complete respray, Argos Cycles were offering some very similar Purple colours, and I was actively seeking other resprayers/powdercoaters who would offer a similar colour or colour match. Armoutex have an excellent Powder Coating service - and I had decided to take this route into a full blown restoration respray with decals to be sourced when Stressman voiced his opinion which made so much sense - he said Don’t do it, it’s only ever original once and the aged look is a natural patina - and after a few minutes thought I agreed and my fate was sealed.

I had a good look at the frame on the stand and saw that the headset was in good condition - I gave it a clean and service and new bearings.

The Bottom bracket was a Brompton cotterered with a Phillips Made in England 130mm Spindle.


I bought a set of new cotter pins and a 49T original issue steel Stronglight/TA style ring for the cranks and gave the bottom bracket a degrease and service with new bearings - but installing it - it still had an element of play and the cups were pitted. With regret it had to go and I had to make my first decision:
Another cottered Bottom Bracket or go for a Cotterless one?


And if cotterless, what cranks and rings would I use? I had to keep it 1973 and period correct.
I had that lovely chain set with the correct 49T chain ring now, and the look of that tapered steel crank arm is lovely design - but I decided to go for a cotterless set up - why? because I wanted the bike to be able to be maintained easily and swiftly as I’m sure the creators of it originally intended - but at that time I guess a cotterless set up would’ve been expensive and only offered on high end catalogue and build to order bikes and frames.

Looking at the 1973 Raleigh Catalogue of their race bikes on Sheldon’s site I saw that the Raleigh Competition Mk II had a similar Cotterless chainset to the Cottered one I had - it was a TA Professional 3 Arm (Pro 3 Vis) with a 116 BCD and 170mm tapered arms - very similar in style and looks and I then decided that that will be my purchase.


I managed to get a minty example from France with TA dust caps and a lovely 44T TA chainring! Looked sweet and I saw that Hilary Stone had the matching 49T chainring for this crank.
I have now ordered the 49T chainring as the 44T one I have has 1/2 x 1/8 " track teeth! :shock:

From eBay I then went on a sourcing spree getting myself:

GB stem from late 60ies.
Lyotard late 60ies early 70ies quill pedals with vintage Christophe Clips and Straps.
A beautiful pair of true buttery smooth polished Weinmann Alloy Rims with Normandy wide flange hubs and Maillard skewers.
A 2nd hand Brooks B17 saddle (in a chestnut brown rather than black).
A Carlton lamp bracket with fixing.
A pair of Carlton brake hoods attached to Weinmann levers - these hoods were in grotesque condition, very dirty and looked past saving, but I paid £5 for the hoods and levers and I was adamanat that I would clean them up!
Originally I wanted brown leather handlebar tape matching the saddle plus blue cables - but I then decided to go foir the original look instead.

While doing this I had to make a decision on the Rear Mech, Freewheel and Shifters.
After some questions here on the Road forum I decided not to go with the original Simplex Prestige set up.
I have yet to hear anything positive about this particular Simplex Prestige model as fitted to this bike.
Plastic and unreliable with below par build quality and performance.
I wanted a bike to keep and cherish and to Ride confidently!



I decided to have a look at Suntour - I have a soft spot for them, and have a Suntour XC Pro set up on my Dynatech MT4 so I got hold of a Suntour 1973 PDF On Line and saw that Suntour were offering a few models of Rear Mech - I decided to go for the excellently rated and high quality Suntour V Luxe - I was unable to find one for sale within budget so I opted for the V T Luxe shirt/Mid cage version from the same catalogue and range - and I also got hold of a nice Suntour Power shifter for this Mech which was also in the catalogue. ... ducts.html

Suntour were offering the Winner, Perfect and Procompe type Freewheels. I managed to get hold of a lovely 14-28T 5 speed Suntour Perfect Freewheel which is in sweet condition.
(If this had been a Ten speed set up I’d have also bought the Suntour Compe-V front mech which was available).


My next decision was on the Bottom Bracket.

The problem with this TA crankset is that the information about it is contradictory and misleading; even TA themselves have it wrong on their catalogue:

The trouble is that this crank set requires an Asymmetrical Bottom Bracket as the drive side spindle is about 4 mm longer than the non Drive side.

I researched On Line, checking forums and asking questions here.
I emailed Phil Wood and received some helpful replies - but again all the information was contradictory:
Some claimed the taper needed was an ISO (this is what TA claimed), others said JIS, others stated it was a TA proprietry taper, and thus the spindle size was also a gamble. Some claimed a 115mm Centaur BB would suffice as it’s asymmetrical.
The only sure fire way of getting it right was to buy a TA 314 Bottom Bracket which is an exact match for this Crank Set.
Hilary Stone had one in stock, beautiful condiion for a decent enough price considering how rare they are - the problem with it is that it is an unsealed open Bottom Bracket and I had decided that I wanted a sealed cartridge unit as I wanted the least maintenance as possible for this and I wanted longevity and no problems - I always go for the Best quality when it comes to Bottom Brackets as they’re so imprtant to the foundations of the ride - my other bikes have Royce, Phil Wood and Shimano UN91 and it was one of these three I was after. I couldn’t find a used one anywhere, and I didn’t want to gamble on a new one as I could hardly retrun such an expensive item if I fit it and it was the wrong size.
Hilary Stone solved my problems as he has sold these cranks and is familiar with them - he had the TA 314 but told me that if I wanted a sealed unit the TA taper is not ISO but is closer to JIS and he advised me to go for a JIS 113mm Bottom Bracket, he kindly offered me a selection and amongst these was a Tange Bottom Bracket. Now I know these to have good reviews and to be made in Japan, his offering was bottom of the range one (I looked at Tange Seiki’s website) I then decided to go for the high end alloy hollow axle version LN7922 which I found the Cycle Clinic selling - I could take a punt on this as if it didn’t fit I could at least sell it on without taking a big blow on my pocket.
The BB arrived and I installed it, the cranks went on and I was very happy! Chain line is very good - perhaps a mm or two out form being perfect but good enough for me considering - as expected the non drive side was out by a few mm.


The last main thing was the tyres - looking at Stressman’s Criterium I saw that he had a pair of lovely amber wall retro looking Panaracer Pasela’s and I decided to go for the same ones.

I saw a couple of bargains on eBay - went for the better quality QR 610 version of the Weinmann calipers.
And a pair of Bluemels Shoirtie Clasique mud guards - in Blue matching the blue on the frame.
I couldn’t find any shirt steel Weinmann’s but I am on the lookout.

The Frame:
I deep cleaned and degreased the frame
I cleaned the rust spots with some emery cloth and fine wet/dry paper, and WD40 and worked around the frame - the seat cluster was the most affected but I had to be careful everywhere as I didn’t want to damage too much paint work.
Followed by another wash with car shampoo, then a T cut.
I then waxed the frame and gave it a good polish.
I worked on the Chrome lugs, fork and other chrome/steel/alloy parts (wheels, hubs, stem, seat post, pedals, levers and calipers) and rear mech with WD40, Foil, Autosol and plenty of elbow grease. Finally polishing with metal polish.
The Pedals and levers were especially dirty and marked but I have them gleaming. The stem has pitting on the surface which needs more work.

I soaked the Carlton brake hoods with detergent and gave them a real scrum with brillo, I then cleaned again, and then soaked over night in Bleach and detergent.
I then cleaned again and worked on them with fine wet and dry sand paper and water - they’re not perfect but at least they're presentable.

As an extra I ordered pump from SJS, plus a Simplex vintage seatpost binder - I had to include a Simplex seeing as I didn’t include the Simplex mech! :cool:
Finally to finish of some Continental tubes, handlebar tape which I opted to go for a Cinelli Cork in White rather than the traditional cloth or Bluemels.

I'm not sure about these hoods, so am looking for better ones, and I am not sure about the Cinelli Cork tape - I may change it for traditional Cloth tape, I think I will change it for that.

I've bought some Jagwire White brake cable and Gear cable set which i need to fit.

This is how she looked on eBay:


Here's how she looks now:

The catalogue Photo:

So next stages are:

i) Source better Hoods
ii) Change Cinelli Cork tape for Cloth (in White)
iii) Awaiting delivery of the 49T TA Chain ring - then fit
iv) Awaiting delivery of the Simplex Seat binder bolt - then fit
v) Need to fit the Christophe Clips/Straps.
vi) Fit Gear and Brake Cable/Outer
vii) Need to fit the Carlton chrome lamp bracket to the fork
viii) Awaiting delivery of the Pump then will fit and add Carlton Decal sticker I have
ix) Fit the Sram PC870 Chain

And then as a finishing touch I will take her out by the river and load up some Agfa Precisa 100 Slide Film in my Fuji TX2 (Hasselblad Xpan II) and shoot some panoramas in that colourful popping old skool Slide Film by the river and boats on a sunny day with blue skies - try to mirror the vibe and feel of the catalogue!

So will update...

Let me know what you think of the bike and whether I should change/add.


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Re: Carlton Criterium 1972-73 Build

That frame looks simply gorgeous, the small marks all add real character for me to no detriment of the build, great work. If it were my machine I would have used a different bar tape, Im not a fan of that 'thick, podgy' looking stuff. Lovin' that fork/headset chrome.
Re: Carlton Criterium 1972-73 Build

BTW a nice Britannia Sprint Veloce pump form Dave Marsh would go well here...
Re: Carlton Criterium 1972-73 Build

white benotto or the cloth tape would be more suitable but if its a regular rider then with UK roads in a pretty poor state then the spongy option maybe wise.
Re: Carlton Criterium 1972-73 Build

Thanks so much guys I'm glad you like her as I was dreading the reaction.

Tressorstar white cloth tape is on the way so will fit that as this fat spongy stuff is not nice to look at.

I'll have a look for that pump, I ordered the Silica Impero classica retro frame pump in aluminium for the seat tube which I will decal with the Carlton badge for now.

Now to finish her and will post!
Re: Carlton Criterium 1972-73 Build

The white cloth tape is very nice, does discolour a bit with use, but again it looks better with a bit of wear! The Britannia pump is just a suggestion. The purple is just so eye catching. I like purple.
Re: Carlton Criterium 1972-73 Build

Well you definitely got a bargain there, and nice job so far!

Don't suppose you've still got the old bottom bracket and any chance it is going spare? I could make use of that on my Parkes.
Re: Carlton Criterium 1972-73 Build

Jonny69":3m2yhefm said:
Well you definitely got a bargain there, and nice job so far!

Don't suppose you've still got the old bottom bracket and any chance it is going spare? I could make use of that on my Parkes.

No problems
Just message me your address (and if you cover postage) it's yours

I also have the cottered cranks and the 40T and 48T rings and cotter pins

Well done mate that looks ton's better and well worth the time money and effort you've spent on it and i'm rather eager now to see it completed with the cloth tape and pump fitted ;) ..