Claud Butler frame number identification

Butles

Retro Newbie
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;
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.C010F2A9-D5D1-424D-85B3-D5E3B249E519.jpeg
 

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Peachy!

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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.View attachment 589255
First generation (1977-80) “Majestic”
After this they appeared with Italian style cable guides on top of the top tube.
 

allenh

rBoTM Triple Crown
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A new one to add to your lists Mr P.

Its a Claud Butler Challenge I picked up this morning with frame number 9306. It looks to be in pretty tidy condition and all original.
I bought it as a complete bike along with a similar age 531 Falcon Olympic and although some of the bits are quite useful I doubt any of them will be used when I build it back up.

My questions are its age (doesn't seem to be enough digits in the number)? and I thought all these were 531? But there's no Reynolds decal and no trace of one.

Edit

I think I've managed to answer my own questions with this one, 1961 from the frame number and the colour (electric blue flam) appears in the 1961 catalogue for the Challenge which should be 531.
 

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CBguy

Retro Guru
9306 predicts to 1961. The challenge was the most “economical” Holdsworthy CB frame and was Reynolds 531 but not DB. Nice to see in original "electric blue flam". Check out nkilgariff.com.

Edit: Guess you figured that out.
 
Last edited:

David Painter

Retro Newbie
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;
Hi Peachy
I have an old bike which belonged to my late Father, am just wondering what it is! It doesnt seem to have markings that correspond with your interesting collection of info. I attach some photos and look forward to any comments.
All the best
David
 

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Peachy!

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Hello @David Painter and welcome to RetroBike. That’s very interesting, by the looks of the headset I’d say almost certainly pre-war. More photos would help, a complete picture from the drive side, close ups of the seat tube cluster, rear brake bridge, rear drop-outs (preferably from the none drive side as it won’t be covered by gear mech) I’m assuming you have inspected under the Bottom Bracket shell for a number? If that’s obscured there will be one stamped on the steering tube (the part of the fork inside the head tube) if you don’t have the tools an older independent bike shop should be able to help (not Halfords)
The frame details on this bike were on a number of different models over a number of years, so finding the frame number is absolutely key I’m afraid.
 
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Johnny Ragwort

Dirt Disciple
Here's another one for you... frame number 055667, stamped on the fork steerer but not visible on the bottom bracket shell. It's too big for me (and I have too many projects on the go anyway!) so I'm giving this one to my dad. I think it's a 1980s Holdsworth-era Dalesman, but I might be wrong. It's been in my brother-in-law's shed for years, but is actually in reasonable nick; the tyres even hold pressure!
 

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Peachy!

Retrobike Rider
BoTM Winner
Gold Trader
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Here's another one for you... frame number 055667, stamped on the fork steerer but not visible on the bottom bracket shell. It's too big for me (and I have too many projects on the go anyway!) so I'm giving this one to my dad. I think it's a 1980s Holdsworth-era Dalesman, but I might be wrong. It's been in my brother-in-law's shed for years, but is actually in reasonable nick; the tyres even hold pressure!
Yeah looks very much like a Dalesman with those Campagnolo rear drop outs. Do us a favour though and take the “E” off of the “Claud” on the down tube. It’s not original or correct, just silly. 🤪
 

Johnny Ragwort

Dirt Disciple
Yeah looks very much like a Dalesman with those Campagnolo rear drop outs. Do us a favour though and take the “E” off of the “Claud” on the down tube. It’s not original or correct, just silly. 🤪
I'll pass that on to my dad when I give him the bike. I'm guessing it's been refinished and stickered up by someone who couldn't spell "Claud".
 
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