"ze German": late 50s Wim Grunewald /w Altenburger weirdness

mr_gumby

rBotM Winner
Hello everyone!

"You should get a proper road bike" they said. Well, here it is, my first attempt at road bikes: a late 1950s Nervex-lugged, judging from the weight (10,5 kgs/ 23,3 lbs) Reynolds tubed (Wim) Grunewald.

During my teacher training last year I was living in Wiesbaden, Germany and a befriended retro bike enthusiast told me about Wilhelm "Wim" Grunewald, who was a mechanic in charge for the German Olympic cycling team during the 1950s (hence the rings on the frame).
Grunewald used to build frames in the city's Westend, his wife tended to the repairs. The frame itself is probably a bespoke one, made for somebody of the numerous cycling clubs in and around 1950s Wiesbaden.
Well, here we go. I bought the frame because I liked the story and the parts that came with it:
-Altenburger high flange hubs along with
-Altenburger rear mech and front derailleur (the latter reminiscent of the Campagnolo Gran Sport, also called “TV set” due to its sqare shape); the derailleur cage had to be sourced from a Simplex derailleur.
Apart from that I was able to get
-Stronglight Competition Model 55 52/46; quite rusty but otherwise in excellent shape
-Weinmann Vainqueur 999 centre pull brakes
-Weinmann “Weltmeister” tubeless rims sporting a wooden core along with 2,5cm nipples
-Scheeren stem and Handlebars
-Lyotard 45CA quill pedals
-A Brooks professional saddle (no experiments here!)
-tires are Czech-made Tufo Diamond D28.

Cheers!
-Dan
 

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pigman

Senior Retro Guru
Re:

Cool!
Liking the TV set front mech and the hub drilling pattern
Frame geometry looks quite modern, no large gaps like many 50s frames
 

Old Ned

Old School Grand Master
The Altenburger rear mechs fascinate me. There is one heck of a chain wrap-round on the cogs. How is the actual change? Slow or reasonably quick? I suppose the mech had to be positioned a fair distance away from the sprockets in order to be able to remove and fit the back wheel. think a couple of the minor continental pro teams in the 50's might have used them (probably because Altenburger gave them away for publicity!) but they never became 'mainstream'. I'm sure I've got adverts from the UK distributor in period 'Sporting Cyclist' mags. I'll have to look them up.

BTW, tubular tyres aren't 'tubeless'. They certainly have an inner tube!

Just remembered that the GB Syncron brake was an Altenburger design (made under licence I presume) later taken on by Weinmann but without much success.
 

Old Ned

Old School Grand Master
Had a quick look through my stash of Sporting Cyclist mags and found these - but I'm sure there is more! I was surprised to find that GB were the agents for the Altenburger gears but given their relationship over the Syncron brakes perhaps it's not surprising after all. I've also found an advert for the Weinmann version which the advert calls 'Dynamic' but Velobase call 'Symetric'. Which is correct? Again surprisingly, Velobase doesn't have either the GB Syncron or the original Altenburger brakes listed. I would have thought the Syncron was common - I had a pair BITD and they gave them away to Milk Race riders freely it would seem from photos - but they do have the Weinmann - which I've never seen.







There is a subtle difference in the shape of the arms between the Weinmann and GB versions so perhaps Weinmann designed their own version rather than use the Altenburger castings. I'm sure I have an advert somewhere with more Altenburger items, I'll have to have atrawl through the very early SC mags.
 

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mr_gumby

rBotM Winner
Re:

Thanks a lot for posting this. I recall reading something of a relation between Altenburger and Gerry Burgess in Britain.
Well, it shifts alright but it is extremely difficult do get the gear you actually want and some gears are a bit "rattly". Haven't figured out how to make it work perfect. But then again we're in the fifties with somewhat exotic hardware.
When I'm home, I'll post some manuals/brochures I found online. They're in German, though.

-Dan
 

Old Ned

Old School Grand Master
Re: Re:

mr_gumby":2phpvah1 said:
Thanks a lot for posting this. I recall reading something of a relation between Altenburger and Gerry Burgess in Britain.
Well, it shifts alright but it is extremely difficult do get the gear you actually want and some gears are a bit "rattly". Haven't figured out how to make it work perfect. But then again we're in the fifties with somewhat exotic hardware.
When I'm home, I'll post some manuals/brochures I found online. They're in German, though.

-Dan
Ich verstehen.

I think.....................
 

mr_gumby

rBotM Winner
Re:

There you go. I translated the text of the last brochure. Enjoy!
 

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