Half dead bird! Swallow ptarmigan finished

Tootyred

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Well, sometimes surprises are nice! Several months ago, cycling along, i see an old bike for sale on the roadside. Stop and look as you never know.

Whist most of its a pile of c××p, i notice its got some nice mavic 231s in good nick, a set of 6 speed xt thumbies and a nice m730 rear mech.......whilst im looking bloke comes out as says " it was me dads.....he said it was made by a bloke in essex".

Well i take a VAST pinch of salt with this, as its been painted with a broom and no stickers on it, plus its got suntour £10 chainset, gripshit and tyres you can see daylight through. BUT, hes not asking much and we broker a deal. Next day i do back with the car and the cash.

" spoke to dad" say the bloke....(guy looks 70 if a day and im left wondering if a seance was involved in the process)....." e says its a Swallow...built for him by guys in essex". Well i thank him and take the bike.

So armed with this info and confused...swallow ? " up north" aren't they? Humm? Looks like crap, humm. Really?

Well as it turns out....yes really. They started in essex and moved. A quick scrape and i found the frame number, which confirms the date as 87, and a small silver sticker under a mountain of goo. An email to rob at " bicycles by design" aka swallow, and they confirm it as a custom 531 swallow ptarmigan.

So its time for a rebuild. Roll the 'A team' music!
 

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2manyoranges

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Result! Yep....they did some interesting fabrication work for me during the late 80’s - including removing and replacing steerers....skilled stuff
 

Tootyred

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Re: Found a half dead bird!

Well that was several months ago and now to bring the build up to date "ish".....

The bikes been stripped and most of it chucked, the rims ive saved to rebuild onto some xt hubs for the bike, buts thats later when the weathers really cold.

The frame needed some work as it had mounts for a drum rear as well as a set of u brake mounts. I decided to go with the u brake option, so went to my old works and borrowed some space, a brazing torch and the pipe sander. It also gave me a chance to assess the rust on the top tine from the unwanted, unused, crud filled cable guides. Bad......but double power and clear top will cover it.....i think.

So, frame and forks went off to be powdercoated, i went with a suitably subtle 80s white with a light, frost sparkle. Bit like the guys in the " Get yourself seen" adverts of the time ( except no brush required).

Decals ive desiged from some images found on retrobike and an old mate of mine is cutting them for me.

Todays job was to tap all the holes, face the bb and the headstock. Thats all done and the forks are in with the m732 bb fitted.

I decided that as very little of the original bike was left and as there is no catalogue to go to, i would go full on xt m732. I thought about period correct m730, but decided i wanted the 7 speed, plus ive got all the bits.

The only annoyance was that when i came to fit the headset i discovered 2 things.

1. The frame is 26.4 iso. Bugger.
2. The xt 732 headset i had put aside for it was 27mm jis and that i had forgotten that when i removed it from another frame, it had split........explained the notchyness!

Luckily i had a ritchey logic one, so thats been fitted.

I cant go too much further till i get the decals as it makes the frame hard to handle and to set up a straight line on.
 

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velofrog

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Great story and love a U brake! :cool:




Btw, am I the only one who sees your user name as Tooty red?! :LOL:
 

MatBH5

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Great find.
Isn’t there a magazine review of Campag u-brake kit on a Swallow ... in Tenerife or somewhere?
I’ve probably got 25% of that accurate!
I do love a u-brake boss on a fork - something about the proportions to the crown, compared to canti...
 
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