Claud Butler Cape Wrath History Timeline 1987-1997

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Some of you might have noticed that I’m rather partial to the odd Claud Butler, particularly the top of the range Cape Wraths (with a couple of Antaeus’s thrown in for good measure)
So, I thought I’d have a go at making up a timeline for reference, not just for “the greater good” but also to keep the info I have as accurate as possible.
It’s got some holes, and some of it is based on guess work and assumptions or on processes of elimination. as I'm missing a few catalogues and the bikes didn’t always exactly match these anyway! :facepalm:
I’m hoping with your help, that these details and facts might get a more solid base…

PS. I know plenty on here won’t see the point, but some, like me who used to look up at these bikes and wonder how we could ever afford them might just understand…

Just a little pre-amble…
Summer of 1984. Holdsworth, the then owner of the Claud Butler brand is rumoured to have bought a Specialized Stumpjumper to copy.
Late 1984. Production of a lugged, Reynolds butted 531 All-terrain tubes & forks, Stumpjumper copy starts.. Holdsworth/CB’s first MTB is named the ‘Canyon’
Mid 1985. Holdsworth goes into receivership.
Late 1985. Marlboro buy them up and trade as “The Holdsworth Co Ltd” out of Darlston’ West Midlands. They continue to sell the Canyon (only change being a new blue paint scheme & some extra stickers)
Late 1986. Marlboro start production of two “new” models for 1987. The “Matterhorn” & “Cape Wrath” (although the frames use the same 531 All-terrain butted tubing and lugs as the Canyon, with the only real differences being the introduction of a chain-stay mounted U-brake, Uni-crown forks and of course Shimano kit)
 

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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1987


Very early 1987, The Falcon Group based in Brigg, Lincolnshire, buy out both Holdsworth & CB brands from Marlboro. Production of the two new bikes stays in Darlston initially.
Although Marlboro had planned for the Matterhorn to be the top of the range, with the catalogue describing it as the “Rolls Royce” of all-terrain biking, with full Shimano Deore XT and the Cape Wrath to just have Deore, someone at Falcon decided that the Cape Wrath would be better suited with XT, so the spec got swapped in simple print on the back of the catalogue and the photos got re-taken with the kit swapped over. (Although someone forgot about the accompanying blurb)
The Matterhorn was dead (I’ve never seen even a photo of one outside of the catalogue) and the Cape Wrath took off.

1987 Frame Set Specifics
Material:
531 All Terrain
Lugs: Headtube, BB cluster, Seat cluster
Forks: 1” threaded, Cro-Mo Uni-crown with fine tapered ends.
Gear & Brake stops & guides: 1x Tri-cluster under down tube, RD stop under chain stay.
Mudguard eyes: Single pair on rear dropouts, top eye threads in seat stays, single pair on forks.
Brake mountings: U-brake studs under chain stay, Canti studs on forks.
Dimensions: Rear spacing 130mm, FD clamp size 28.6mm, Wheelbase 41.5” (20” seat tube).

Deore XT equipped1987 spec.jpg22inch 1987.JPG2113_001.jpg
 
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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1988


No catalogue has surfaced yet, but with the production moving from Darlston to Brigg, I’m assuming nothing much changed. Only the planed design of next years model, initial production of which is presumed to have started by November so as to produce the 1989 catalogue.

**Edit** I thought I had an '87 frame, but the chap I bought it from got in contact as he had found some of the original parts including the XT wheelset and the stem, both date stamped for early 1988, so my guess that the '87 model continued into '88 was correct, when this changed I don't know, but I do know that the early '89 U-brake equipped Cape also had the U mounted under the chainstay and was photographed in November 1988 for the '89 catalogue, looking very much the same as the '87 & '88 except for a slightly different seat cluster lug and new graphics before having the U mounts moved onto the seat stays.

Early 1988 Frame Set Specifics
Material: 531 All Terrain
Lugs: Headtube, BB cluster, Seat cluster
Forks: 1” threaded, Cro-Mo Uni-crown with fine tapered ends.
Gear & Brake stops & guides: 1x Tri-cluster under down tube, RD stop under chain stay.
Mudguard eyes: Single pair on rear dropouts, top eye threads in seat stays, single pair on forks.
Brake mountings: U-brake studs under chain stay, Canti studs on forks.
Dimensions: Rear spacing 130mm, FD clamp size 28.6mm, Wheelbase 41.5” (20” seat tube).

Deore XT equippedCapeWrath1988 (5).jpgCapeWrath1988 (4).jpgCapeWrath1988 (3).jpgCapeWrath1988 (2).jpgCapeWrath1988 (1).jpg
 
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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1989


Initial frame was very much the same again; 531 Butted All-terrain tubing, with the only noticeable difference being the loss of the “pointed” detail at the top of the seat tube, a new set of graphics and of course the demotion from Deore XT to Deore (or Deore II?).
But someone must have been listening to complaints about the under-slung U-brake suffering in that position from catching too much mud, because very early in 1989 a new improved version emerged in the shops with the U-brake now mounted in the more conventional position on the seat stays. And although they continued to use a down pull front mech, all cabling came along the top tube.

Very early 1989 Frame Set Specifics
As per '87-'88 but with '89 Graphics

Mid 1989 Frame Set Specifics
Material:
531 All Terrain
Lugs: Headtube, BB cluster, Seat cluster.
Forks: 1” threaded, Cro-Mo Uni-crown with fine tapered ends.
Gear & Brake stops & guides: Gear stops under top tube, brake stops on top of top tube, RD stops on seat stays, FD stop at front of seat tube with curved pipe on top of near side BB shell, curved brake hanger bridge.
Mudguard eyes: Single pair on rear dropouts, brazed top eyes on seat stays, double pair on forks.
Brake mountings: U-brake studs on seat stays, Canti studs on forks.
Dimensions: Rear spacing 130mm, FD clamp size 28.6mm, Wheelbase 42” (22” seat tube).

Deore/Deore II equipped

Very late 1989 Frame Set Specifics
As above but with '90 Graphics1989 (1).jpg1989 (2).jpegCapeWrath1989 (7).jpgCapeWrath1989 (5).jpgCapeWrath1989 (4).jpgCapeWrath1989 (3).jpgCapeWrath1989 (2).jpgCapeWrath1989 (1).jpg
 
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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1990


No catalogue yet, but I have what I believe to be a 1990 model based on its frame number and on the late 1989 date codes on all its kit.
This looks like a completely new model, out goes the 531 All-terrain and in come 531 Magnum, the lugs are simplified, although the “pointed” top of the seat tube is back. New graphics with the main Claud Butler type face that will stay on till the end of 1992. DX group set introduced, the rear U-brake has gone, and frame has new braze on positions.

1990 Frame Set Specifics
Material:
531 Magnum
Lugs: BB cluster, Seat tube top lug only, seat tube cluster has pointed top, seat stays have long tapered tops.
Forks: 1-1/8” threaded, Cro-Mo Uni-crown with wide tapered ends.
Gear & Brake stops & guides: 2xTri-cluster on top tube, RD stops on seat stays, FD stop at back of seat tube with pulley mount at base of seat tube, straight angled brake hanger bridge.
Mudguard eyes: Double pair on rear dropouts, brazed top eyes on seat stays, single pair on forks.
Brake mountings: Canti studs on seat stays, Canti studs on forks.
Dimensions: Rear spacing 130mm, FD clamp size 31.8mm, Wheelbase 41” (20” seat tube).

DX kit with Thumbies1990 (2).jpgs-l1600.jpgCapeWrath1990 (5).jpgCapeWrath1990 (4).jpgCapeWrath1990 (3).jpgCapeWrath1990 (2).jpgCapeWrath1990 (1).jpg
 
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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1991


On the face of it very similar to the 1990 but actually with completely different geometry and a very different seat tube top cluster/lug. Also the Cr-Mo forks are no longer tapered but parallel tubes all the way with square cut bottoms.

1991 Frame Set Specifics
Material: 531 Magnum
Lugs: BB cluster, Seat tube top lug only, seat stays have medium tapered tops.
Forks: 1-1/8” threaded, Cro-Mo Uni-crown with square ends.
Gear & Brake stops & guides: 2xTri-cluster on top tube, RD stops on seat stays, FD stop at back of seat tube with pulley mount at base of seat tube, straight angled brake hanger bridge.
Mudguard eyes: Double pair on rear dropouts, brazed top eyes on seat stays, single pair on forks.
Brake mountings: Canti studs on seat stays, Canti studs on forks.
Dimensions: Rear spacing 130mm, FD clamp size 31.8mm, Wheelbase 42.5” (20” seat tube).

DX equipped with triggers1991.pngCapeWrath1991 (5).jpgCapeWrath1991 (4).jpgCapeWrath1991 (3).jpgCapeWrath1991 (2).jpgCapeWrath1991 (1).jpg
 
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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1992


Time for a change..
Drops to second in the pecking order behind the XT equipped & 653 tubed Antaeus, with the most significant physical change being the adoption of a top pull front mech…They also seem to have a few cans of Aqua Pearlescent left over from ’89!
This is the first time the Cape is seen in another colour.
The Aqua was last used on the old bottom of the 1989 range Pagan (Ignore the darker green in the ’89 catalogue, it never happened) a couple of nice survivors are on the forum.
(BTW this enabled a few owners of the old Pagans to muck about with graphics to make theirs look like Cape Wraths, but they are easily spotted by the Reynolds 500 decals and the row of three individual brake cable braze-ons on the top tube and the gears stops underneath the down tube)


1992 Frame Set Specifics
Material:
531 Magnum
Lugs: Headtube, BB cluster, Seat tube cluster, chain stay, seat stays have short fat tapered tops.
Forks: 1-1/8” threaded, Cro-Mo Uni-crown with square ends.
Gear & Brake stops & guides: 2xTri-cluster on top tube, RD stops on seat stays, FD stop at back of seat tube, straight angled brake hanger bridge.
Mudguard eyes: single pair on rear dropouts, brazed top eyes on seat stays, single pair on forks.
Brake mountings: Canti studs on seat stays, Canti studs on forks.
Dimensions: Rear spacing 135mm, FD clamp size 31.8mm, Wheelbase 42” (16” seat tube).

Change to the top tube name graphic
Claud Butler branded stem
Graphic strip is two tone only this year. 1992 pg6.jpg1992.JPG1992 Cape Wrath.jpgPagan dressed as Cape Wrath.jpg
 
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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1993


We don’t have the 1993 catalogue to refer to, apart from a scan of the Antaeus, but this at least tells us that the graphics have now completely changed. The Cape is still the top of the range steel model, and only in black, not sure if it appeared in 653 and I don’t know what group set or if it had adopted the new Ahead stem.

Distinguishing frame details;
New graphics and only in black

This version now thanks to member tjs129.573012AE-D369-4FAD-8CE2-6314175242F0.jpeg
 
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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1994


The range for this year is possibly the largest Claud Butler has offered since the 30’s with six now in 7005 aluminium topped by the Antaeus. With the Cape heading a cast of 10 steel bikes!
This doesn’t make the Cape 7th in the range though as it is just third from top in cost by £50.
It’s now definatly Reynolds 653 with most of the rest of the steelies in Cro-mo.
Its also had a group change to Deore LX and has more Tioga dressing, including an Ahead stem.

1994 Frame Set Specifics
Material:
653 Magnum
Lugs: Headtube, BB cluster, Seat tube cluster, chain stay, seat stays have short fat tapered tops.
Forks: 1-1/8” Ahead threadless, Cro-Mo Uni-crown with square ends.
Gear & Brake stops & guides: 2xTri-cluster on top tube, RD stops on seat stays, FD stop at back of seat tube, straight angled brake hanger bridge.
Mudguard eyes: single pair on rear dropouts, brazed top eyes on seat stays, single pair on forks.
Brake mountings: Canti studs on seat stays, Canti studs on forks.
Dimensions: Rear spacing 135mm, FD clamp size 31.8mm, Wheelbase 42” (18” seat tube).

Deore LX equipped
Graphics are printed in a silver/holographic finish
1994 pg9.jpgCapeWrath1994 (5).jpgCapeWrath1994 (4).jpgCapeWrath1994 (3).jpgCapeWrath1994 (2).jpgCapeWrath1994 (1).jpg254E901A-0840-49A7-A938-B128E45FF284.jpeg
 
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Re: Claud Butler Cape Wrath Timeline 1987-1997

1995


As you were really… still black, still 653, still Deore LX, still top of the steel range.1995.jpg'95 Cape Wrath with non catalogue shock .jpg
 
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