Hobbs of Barbican Blue Riband, 1951, Argos restored frame.


Old School Hero
I bought this Hobbs of Barbican Blue Riband several years ago. It was in poor condition (photos available on request) but looked original. I stripped it and had the frame checked and restored by Argos in Bristol. It’s powder blue with gold lug lining - no expense spared. In order to make it rideable, I’ve used some later components, notably TA cranks and Suntour derailleurs. Wheels, stem, bottom bracket etc. are period-correct, at least to a close approximation. The spec is shown below - note that the Mafac Racer brakes and Milremo mudguards were new-old-stock when I fitted them to the bike and they’re still virtually like new.

There are some minor marks on the paintwork - the bike has been ridden about 1,500 miles since its restoration. These could easily be retouched the exact paint colour is available from Argos. The most notable mark is on the top tube, beneath the saddle, where a little of the paint was rubbed off by my cable lock. Again, easily retouched. There are no dings or dents anywhere on the frame.

During the restoration, the decals were applied exactly as the originals. It’s a stunning bike that is eminently rideable. Two years ago I rode it 1,000 miles in ten days, from Bath to Barcelona, carrying luggage and, apart from the chain set bolts working loose, it performed faultlessly. The photograph shows the bike as I toured with it. Please note that the luggage is not included in the sale. There are 20 more photographs https://www.flickr.com/gp/29934492@N06/8hUbdT.

Here’s the specification:

FRAME: Reynolds 531, seat tube 57cm c-to-c; top tube 56cm c-to-c; Serial number 0112.
FORKS: Reynolds 531
HEADSET: Period style, unbranded
BRAKES: Mafac Racer - NOS when fitted; original hoods on levers
WHEELS: 27-inch Fiamme Milano alloy rims laced to Solite (British) hubs; 32 spoke front, 40 spoke rear. Rear hub is threaded for a fixed wheel on the other side.
FREEWHEEL: Suntour 5-speed; 14-28
CHAINSET: TA cranks with dustups; 48-36 chainrings in excellent condition
REAR DERAILLEUR: Suntour BL long cage
SHIFTERS: Suntour power friction (non-slip) bar end types
BOTTOM BRACKET: period-correct loose bearing but can’t see a brand name
PEDALS: MKS (Campagnolo copy) with scruffy Christoph toe clips and straps
SEATPOST: Fluted aluminium, unbranded
SADDLE: Brooks B17 Special with copper rivets. Slight nick on top at the back but in otherwise near-new condition
TYRES: Schwalbe white walled HS159, 27 x 11/4
HANDLEBARS: GB ‘map of Britain’ with beautiful, clear engraving
MUDGUARDS: Milremo - NOS when fitted; complete with front mudflap
PUMP: Lapize alloy in full working order

Other notes:

In the eBay advertisement where I found the bike, it was described as a ‘Raceweight’, despite the Blue Ribband decals, which were clearly original. This is possibly because the lugs are less fancy than those found on many Blue Riband models. The seller, who I met personally, said “I inherited this bicycle from my father who would have bought it in the early 1950's and kept it for the rest of his life.” To find our more about the apparent inconsistency, I contacted the Vintage Cycling Club (VCC) marque specialist, Peter Lowry. He replied as follows: “Your frame has all the hallmarks of the last years of Hobbs manufacture. They finished making their own frames in 1950/51/52, their frames were made by other builders at a later date using Nervex lugs. At lot of this is info, Bob, is supposition as I have no definitive proof of this, however, I've seen two other frames with lugwork similar to yours and they were both badged as 'Blue Riband.' Your frame looks great! “

This is a stunningly pretty 68-year old vintage bicycle that still rides brilliantly today.

Price: £695

I prefer that it is inspected and collected from near Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. However, I am prepared to pack the bike into a box for collection by your own insured courier.


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