Monthly Archives: July 2011

Nervex Seat Cluster

Retro Rides – Finding A Good ‘Un Part 1

Gorgeous 70s Favori with full Campag

So your after a nice retro bike, you know you want one.

…but it is truly a minefield if you don’t know what your looking for.  Not only does quality vary massively but also bikes over 20 years+ often have a dubious and unknown history.  With a few pointers from this guide you should be able to find yourself a nice frame.

This week I’m going to cover the differences between modern frames and frames of 20+ years old.

The first thing to remember when buying any old frame is that although bikes essentially look the same, things have changed quite a bit in the last 20 years.  If your planning on fitting period equipment, then its no big deal.  On the other hand if your wanting a retro bike with modern equipment then you need to be careful what frames you look at.


The first thing to bear in mind is what wheels the frame was originally built for.  Depending on the age and the purpose of the frame it may have been built for 27 x 1 1/4 wheels.  Unlike the 700c wheel that your probably used to on your modern bike, 27″ wheels are basically an obsolete size. 27″ rims are also slightly bigger diameter than 700c rims which means it will be hard to find modern brakes which are deep enough. Finding a frame that was made for 700c wheels doesn’t always get you out of trouble either.

The best rule of thumb is to measure from the brake mounting hole to the center of the axle, and it should be around 365mm or less. The forks are most important, because if the measurement on the forks is too high then there is nothing you can do really and you will struggle to get brakes that are deep enough to work.

its this measurement that is key to what width dropouts you need

Frames have been built with diferent axle spacings over the years to fit anything from track hubs, to 5 speed screw on hubs and right up to current 10 and 11 speed hubs.  Modern road wheels need 130mm between the rear dropouts. If the frame has anything less than 130, it will need to be opened up if you intend fitting a modern wheel.


Measuring fork column for stack height, you need at least 1″ 1/2 for a modern headset

Another little, often forgotten detail is fork column length.  Generally if your talking about older frames, they will have been designed for a threaded headset and quill stem.  Now, all headsets are not the same.  The amount of space the headset needs above and below the head tube is called stack.  Modern headsets tend to need more than older ones, so you can end up with a for column that isn’t long enough to fit a modern headset.  Again it’s not the end of the world but having a new fork column fitted is another cost to add to your build.


Allen key and nutted caliper brakes

Aside from the wheel size problems that I mentioned earlier, modern caliper brakes all fit with a hidden allen key nut, where as older brakes fitted with a normal nut.  Now it doesn’t sound like much of difference but the frames brake bridge and fork crown are slightly different.

Courtesy of Paul Gibson @

cycling up Babyhouse Lane into the sun

Paul Brought The Sunshine Back!

cycling up Babyhouse Lane into the sun

Well Paul brought the sunshine back as promised, for our ride over Lothersdale and Gargrave and back.  We climbed out of Cross Hills with the sun in our eyes but we were rewarded with great views of sunny Lancashire but grey clouds loomed over Yorkshire.

As we descended to Elslack, we kept the sunny weather.  We headed up the Clitheroe road before turning right at Martons Both.

Paul had promised us that the road from Martons Both to Gargrave was a great ride and it more than lived up to our expectations.  Wonderful scenery kept us all quiet admiring the view and a slight downhill kept us all rolling along.

On the way back we rode two of our usual favourite roads from Gargrave to Broughton and then to Carlton and Cononley.  Finishing with the climb up Cononley Brow.

Dodging thunder showers above Silsden

Thunder and Punctures

Dodging thunder showers above Silsden

Well I haven’t had a good week for punctures.  Of course its my own fault for stubbornly refusing to give up riding tubs.  Tonight I only made it to Addinghim before I had a massive rear will blowout that sounded like a shotgun going off!

We’d just had a nice ride over the tops from Kildwick, dodging lightning, rain and Ilkley CC!  I did manage to get one shot with the camera before it started to rain.

By the time we were in Addingham and I was fitting another tub, it absolutely pee’d it down!

Anyway I decided to limp home as my spare tub had a slow and the lads completed the ride to Bolton Abbey and Skipton.  Home you had a good one.

Special thanks to Tim for lending me a plastic bag to keep my Iphone and camera in!  Also thanks to Ilkley CC for passing up a chance to gain a new member be ignoring him.  Another good reason to join us instead, anyone is welcome.

And the moral is, “get some clinchers!”


The Sunshine Club was out on Thursday night again

We couldn’t have asked for a better night on Thursday this week. Glorious blue skies, hardly any wind and amazing views.

Haygill Nook

We set off from our usual Glusburn Institute start at 7.10pm and headed up through Kildwick and up over the moors. Practically no traffic whatsoever awaited us, along with stuning views of the surrounding area. It really is a diferent world up there, highley recommened as part of any ride.

Anyway we then dropped down to the the main road (A65) which we crossed before descending through Draughton Village. There was a brief stint on the A59 before we took a right to Halton East, then it was more traffic free (well nearly) all the way through Bolton Abbey and onto Ilkley.

It really is a nice piece of road all the way to Ilkley. The few cars you do meet are used to seeing cyclists on that road and they drive fairly slowly. We also were over taken by Ilkley Cycling Club‘s Thursday ride, who were’nt dawdling along like us.

Bank Lane (above Silsden

After Ilkley its another bit of main road before we turn left and head up hill. Cocking Lane takes us over the tops to Silsden. Its a hard climb, but your rewarded with views of Wharfe Valley behind and Aire Valley in front.  You then drop down, over the main road (A65) and through the older part of Silsden village before Climbing back up Skipton road and over the top back to Kildwck.

Then its just a quick blast back to the Institute.