Some Steel Bikes (Sorry About The Fork)

Ghastlyrabbitfat

Dirt Disciple
Hey Folks

Trying to get organised in shed/garage to create more space, and as I've not posted on this forum thought a few snaps might be of interest.

Venom: Actually a Mike Kowal build, very neat work and feels quick but it hammers you after a few hours. 531/Columbus? Yes, a right mix of kit...

Walvale: Latest build, only ridden round the block but quality feel so going to throw a double on, running 40 x 34 low. Probably 531, 70's?

Rory O'Brien: Only one I bought as a complete bike. Feels great but quite a bit of toe overlap so you need to be careful slow manoeuvring. Mid 70's 531, allegedly built by Vic Edwards. Bought from the original owner who used to live in Essex. Original finish.

Mercian: Superlight with mods. Pump pegs, fancy crown, increased rake, centre pull cable hanger, chrome ends and crown. Pleasant to ride, goes well out of the saddle. 531, 1973 frameset, kinda 80's equipment.

Ken Bird: Is it a Bird? Bought for £65, was hand painted with "Bird" stencilled on down tube. Very high quality work, frame number 20170. Have seen other Birds with similar format numbers. Assuming frame 201 of 1970. Tried to stay with 70's for build but sorry for the Gerbhardt (?) 38t small ring and the CLB levers are probably 80/81 but had good hoods. Quite a soft ride and weight ballpark for 531.

Feel free to comment on build mashup or authenticity of frames. Particularly, any help with the Bird and Walvale welcome.

Thanks all
 

torqueless

Senior Retro Guru
I'd guess the Walvale to be older than 70s- markedly non-parallel seat/head tube angles, pre-Campag. dropouts, clearances..
Nice collection. I dunno how you choose which one to ride.. or for that matter which bits go on which frame.. :)
Juxtapositions of primary colours do my head in though.. so that Venom is like a worst case scenario for me, colour-wise..
Actually the 'Walvale' seems to have Carlton Capella lugs, which afaik in theory should only be found on Carltons or Raleigh/Carltons, at least until much later, by which time that style of frame would have been anachronistic.
 
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Ghastlyrabbitfat

Dirt Disciple
I'd guess the Walvale to be older than 70s- markedly non-parallel seat/head tube angles, pre-Campag. dropouts, clearances..
Nice collection. I dunno how you choose which one to ride.. or for that matter which bits go on which frame.. :)
Juxtapositions of primary colours do my head in though.. so that Venom is like a worst case scenario for me, colour-wise..
Ha, thanks. Yep, the Venom is very nineties and the trick is not to look down too much when riding :) If it needs refinishing in my lifetime (unlikely) I'll just go with a metallic purple which should look ok with the fork!

You're right about the Walvale, thinking about it. Confused myself! There's a grease nipple on the underside of the BB, derailleur cable guides are via cable outer stops over the top of the BB and the fork is for 96mm OLD. The rear dropouts are spaced at 126mm but probably reset from 120mm in 70's/80's. Aaaannd.. the drop outs are Simplex. Nice spot!

Cheers
 

Nob

rBotM Winner
PoTM Winner
Liking the Rory O’Brien as looks like an early Time Trial frame
 

Ghastlyrabbitfat

Dirt Disciple
Liking the Rory O’Brien as looks like an early Time Trial frame
Thanks, yes, it does look "sharp" but handles really well and isn't twitchy at all. The only downside, as I mentioned, is the toe overlap which can really put the brakes on. Only annoying matter is the lack of braze-ons: there's nothing apart from cable guides/stops for derailleur cables.
It was built for the original owner who raced on the track. Equipment which is original are Cyclone derailleurs, SR Royal chainset, Campag headset and Weinmann 605 brakes. Fitted the "new" repro Cinelli bars and stem for peace of mind and the wheels are Mavic GL330 on Mavic 501 hubs (replaced the 27" Mavic Module E on Campag L/F which are now going on the Walvale).

Cheers
 

Ghastlyrabbitfat

Dirt Disciple
I'd guess the Walvale to be older than 70s- markedly non-parallel seat/head tube angles, pre-Campag. dropouts, clearances..
Nice collection. I dunno how you choose which one to ride.. or for that matter which bits go on which frame.. :)
Juxtapositions of primary colours do my head in though.. so that Venom is like a worst case scenario for me, colour-wise..
Actually the 'Walvale' seems to have Carlton Capella lugs, which afaik in theory should only be found on Carltons or Raleigh/Carltons, at least until much later, by which time that style of frame would have been anachronistic.
Yes, after some Googling, definitely Capella lugs. Not much on Velobase about them ("produced 60's") and like you say, restricted to Carltons of the era but appearing later on some Raleigh SBDU frames. Only after 1981 would they have been available to other builders after products from the Carlton/Raleigh workshop were sold on. So, yes, agree that this doesn't fit at all.

Took some pics today in case you or anyone else can offer any further help/info re the origin of the frame.

The original "Walvale Cycles" shop sticker has been preserved on the seat tube by masking when the frame was refinished. Takes a 27.0mm seat pin. Four digit frame number can be seen on the BB. No markings on fork ends; rear Simplex. Frustratingly, Campag large flange hub QR, dated 1978, will not fit the forks as the axle is too thick!

Thanks
 

Nob

rBotM Winner
PoTM Winner
Thanks, yes, it does look "sharp" but handles really well and isn't twitchy at all. The only downside, as I mentioned, is the toe overlap which can really put the brakes on. Only annoying matter is the lack of braze-ons: there's nothing apart from cable guides/stops for derailleur cables.
It was built for the original owner who raced on the track. Equipment which is original are Cyclone derailleurs, SR Royal chainset, Campag headset and Weinmann 605 brakes. Fitted the "new" repro Cinelli bars and stem for peace of mind and the wheels are Mavic GL330 on Mavic 501 hubs (replaced the 27" Mavic Module E on Campag L/F which are now going on the Walvale).

Cheers
I guess he liked short wheelbases but it’s a lovely looking frame :)
 
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