Hi ,I have just been given and old gold Claud Butler which my friend rescued from a skip down in Dorset approxi 10 years ago.He and his son have used with some upgrades,like new Shimano SIS rear derailleur and SKS plastic mudguards.Looking through this very useful thread it appears to be from 1979 or 1980 ,the frame number is 023591.I am looking forward to taking it out into local countryside with it 10 speeds and front chain ring of 48/36.Hello all Claud owners out there.
I’ve recently been trudging through this forum trying to collate numbers in an attempt to make sense of the various systems employed over the years to frame stamp Claud Butler bicycles, whilst doing this I noticed that over the past 10 years or so on this forum, there have been various attempts at this, lots of discussions going back and forth, guesses without photos, misreading of numbers and hanging dates off of other guesstimates as if gospel etc etc (some of which I have been guilty myself!) have made this search for clarity a bit messy to say the least.
So, here is my attempt to tidy it up, these are my interpretations, and not absolutes, with of course plenty of holes in, I have come to these conclusions after debating with various other members and reading various threads, so a lot of this comes from you guys! So here goes;
Up until the modern (& longest) Falcon ownership in 1987 and excluding any initial early 20’s start-up system or Claud Butlers attempt to re-start in competition with Holdsworth in the sixties, I believe that there are at least seven differing frame systems, namely;
1. 1928 – December 1949, Claud Butler ownership, first number = year, next = month, then annual frame count.
2. January 1950 – October 1956, Claud Butler ownership, first two numbers = year, next = month, then annual frame count.
November 1956 – March 1958 Receiver-ship black hole.
3a. March 1958 - Dec 1958, Holdsworth ownership, first number = month, next = year, then monthly frame count.
3b. January 1959 – Mid 1967, Holdsworth ownership, sequential until about 31000 Seperate thread HERE
4. Mid 1967 – Mid 1976, Holdsworth ownership, sequential from 50000 until about 71000
5. Mid 1976 – November 1985, Holdsworth ownership, six digits always starting with a 0
6. December 1985 – January 1987, Marlborough ownership. No info at present.
7. February 1987 – present day, Falcon ownership. No info at present.
Of which the first five are of the most interest to CB retro fans.
These systems differed in ways that although in the most part are very different, there are some cases (especially if you only look at the numbers out of context and only printed on a page) where they can be miss interpreted for one another, which is why photos of the numbers, frame details and reference material such as the Nkilgarif website & the VCC are absolutely essential to come to a reasonable assumption regarding type & age.
And of course, customer specials and odd shop builds will always pop up just to throw a spanner into the works!
But here are some guidelines to be getting on with;