Amazing Chaz F Hill bike

Next up for the Vintage Bikes is the truly stunning Chaz F Hill. There isn’t a lot of information on the internet about Chaz F Hill and they’re not to be confused by the more common Hill Specials. Chaz F Hill were founded in the 19th Century and made lovely steel framed bicycles, the family are still in the bicycle business and are trading as Sidcup Cycles.

Considering this chrome-framed beauty has been in storage for about 20 years (or longer) it has polished up really nicely. I’d love to get hold of a new set of transfers and build it up to cycle it around – I think it will look stunning with a contrasting black Brooks saddle on it. I’ve got no idea what it looked like originally as there isn’t much about them on the internet!

 

Freddy Grubb Vintage Frame

I have this lovely Freddy Grubb 1950’s 20″ frameset on sale here on Ebay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/232189955526
It’s in lovely condition, and thanks to the experts who follow these bikes on Ebay, is likely to be a 1951 Perfection with exquisite lugs. As you can see the lug work is stunning and nicely picked out with the lining.

I first heard about Freddy Grubb as he is mentioned in Tim Moore’s book:
Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy which celebrates the 1914 Giro D’Italia which has the following terrifying statistics:

Longest ever average stage length: 396.25km
Smallest number of finishers: 8
Highest percentage of retirements: 90%
Longest individual stage by distance: 430km, Lucca-Rome
Longest individual stage by time: 19h 34’ 47”, Bari-L’Aquila

Tim Moore rode the same course in 2013 using a bike from the era and shared similar personal pain as the competitors the century before.

Following Freddy Grubb’s Olympic success in 1912, he turned professional and entered the hardest cycle ride ever conceived. He was famously a vegetarian and a teetotaller but this ride was to be his first and last professional ride. After returning from Italy and surviving the first world war in the Navy he set up a cycle shop in Croydon. Freddy’s bio on Classic Lightweights is none too flattering, but there is no denying his cycling and frame-building prowess. Unfortunately, Freddy died in 1949 a couple of years before this frame was made.

Stan Perry frameset

Stan Perry frameset for sale on Ebay here.

img_3217

img_3219

img_3224

img_3225

Here’s the only info I can find on Stan Perry – thanks to Yorkey on the Retro Bike Forum here.

I can though tell you a little about Stan Perry and Sudbury Cycle Works, as I worked for Stan at Sudbury Cycle Works 1977 to 1978: it was my first full time job. (And that is why I am so envious of your find: the closest I have to a frame like yours is a (Holdsworth built) Claud Butler Panache, c.1984, which is also in 531ST.)

I spent my school years and a bit more in Harrow, West Middlesex. In 1977 I started looking for a summer job, and walked in to Sudbury Cycle Works, Harrow Road, Wembley. There I met Stan who, after quizzing me a bit about what I knew about bikes and what mechanical experience I had, said yes, that when I was ready, he’d take me on. Characteristic of the man. And so I started in June, working mostly in the workshop, rather than behind the counter, which suited me fine.

I learnt that Stan’s father had started the business – I have always understood – before the First World War. He started out – as so many did then – making frames and assembling machines with mostly commercially available components. The workshop still held quite a bit of equipment from those days, and the shop wasn’t short of a few seriously old bits and pieces. Stan had a nephew who managed the shop, although Stan was in every day and very closely involved (without interfering). The nephew was very good company, and a good sub-boss, but his heart was not in bicycles. There were other lads there too, some part time, some full, and we all learnt heaps. Our week was five and half days, with Wednesday a half day.

Time trials and Sunday rides were the thing of the day, and there was a very good association with – or at least patronage by – the nearby Wembley Phoenix, so we built wheels and generally prepared and set up machines for the weekend – racing and recreational. The Wembley Phoenix were a good bunch.

The notion that Stan’s father started the business before the Great War is I think quite plausible: in 1977 Stan was a few years older than my father who was 53, so Stan, in his late 50s or pushing 60 could well have had a father of the right age. I remember new Stan Perry frames coming in from time to time mostly if not only to order, and after a while I was privileged to build up some of them. But – and this is probably one of THE questions you may have – I don’t know who was building the frames in the 70s.

I left Harrow in 1979, and fairly soon after, but I can’t remember even the year, a former neighbour contacted me to say that Stan had died. A little later I was in the area and called into the shop where Brian was still running things, but he said that it wouldn’t be for much longer – and it wasn’t!

So, seeing your frameset is a true delight, and you have prompted me to save a search on eBay in the hope that I may find one for myself.

I wish I could interpret or even just verify the frame number, but the truth is I can’t. Without the leads from other posts suggesting that the 71 refers to 1971, I would have suggested mid to late 70s based on style and fittings. I agree that it is unlikely to have been repainted – and I don’t know of anyone making Stan Perry decals, which substantiates that idea. So any dating from the Reynolds decal could help, but appears to be a bit of a contradiction as Stan died in 80 or 81, and very few frames were produced even in my time, never mind in the late 70s or after his death.

I like your ideas for building it up – not unlike how I did the Claud Butler: Campag Victory groupset, Mavic Module E2 rims, Cinelli stem, bars and tape, Brooks Professional saddle, Sun Tour New Winner six speed block and Sedisport chain – all as close to period as I could get.

So good luck with it, and happy riding.

It’s for sale on Ebay here.

Vintage bike frame to Fixie Project

1952 Rotrax Fixie

dsc_3650

dsc_3652
Given a clean and straight vintage bike frameset from the 50’s just add the following for a simple and great fixie:

  1. Flip flop rear track wheel (check rear dropout width)- Rayleigh £78
  2. Any old modern front wheel from Gumtree – Campagnolo Khamsin £20
  3. Modern Bottom Bracket English Thread (check axle width for a straight driveline and diameter and thread type) – Shimano £16
  4. Seat post 27.2mm (double check diameter!)- Campagnolo Aero £34.99
  5. Saddle- Brooks B17 Saddle £90 new (great secondhand)
  6. Crankset- Sturmey Archer FCS 44T x 170mm £23
  7. Track chain- Miche 1/8 inch £7.99
  8. Fixed Rear Sprocket- Miche 17T 1/8 inch £9.99
  9. Aero quill stem 22.2mm (check diameter)- Nitto £22.00
  10. Bull bars (watch compatiblity with the stem)- Pattern part £6.00
  11. Flat bar brakes (optional)- Tektro FL750 Silver – Pair £19.99
  12. Brake callipers check frameset drilled holes are present and in the right place – measure drop to make sure your frame works with 700C wheels. (optional)- Miche Silver – Pair £23.00
  13. Brake cableset- Jagwire set £4.06
  14. Faux leather bar tape- Deda £7.79
  15. Coloured Tyres- Lithium 2 Red £26

So that’s a unique to you Fixie with a vintage frame which will be great for thousands of miles all in for £380 (less if you use secondhand parts) + whatever you can get the vintage frame for.

DSC_1368