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Falcon road bike from 1980s?

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Falcon road bike from 1980s?

Old 01-28-22, 09:37 PM
  #1  
molleraj
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Falcon road bike from the 1980s?

Just got this 70s or 80s road bike from a friend! He is moving from DC to Houston and couldn't take it. It's a British Falcon bike and seems to be chromoly construction. He had already inflated the tires, so I rode it from the subway station home through the light snowfall, no problem. I'm going to WD-40 the rusty bits and lube up the chain in the next couple days.

Any help identifying it would be appreciated. I am not sure what model it is but it certainly feels good to ride.


In the garage

Left side view

At Takoma Metro Station

Last edited by molleraj; 01-28-22 at 09:55 PM. Reason: Change title
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Old 01-28-22, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
Left side view
Turn that bike around!
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Old 01-28-22, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Turn that bike around!
I will do that tomorrow or Sunday and get another picture :-)
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Old 01-29-22, 06:53 AM
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Three pictures and none of them show the drive side? You can do better than that, surely!

Looks like it could be one of the lower-mid-range models, perhaps 531 three main tubes. Can't see the dropouts well enough to determine whether they're stamped or forged. That open-cam quick release on the rear wheel may be a problem; they're notorious for not clamping well enough to secure the wheel in horizontal dropouts.
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Old 01-29-22, 07:19 AM
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Having owned a few Falcons in my life, from the Black Diamond to the San Remo, I've always had a fondness for them. Even their cheap bikes (the Black Diamond) had nice frames for the money. Just guessing from the wrong side of the crank, you seem to have something better than that.

If it fits, I'll predict you'll be happy with it.
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Old 01-29-22, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
At Takoma Metro Station
i assembled a lot of Falcons that looked much like that when I worked at Proteus Bicycles in College Park MD in 1974. With both Bethesda and Tacky Park relatively close, perhaps your bike originally came form there?
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Old 01-29-22, 08:13 AM
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Looks mid-1970s to me and around the crossover between entry level and mid-range. Pending more info (drive side photo, photos of major components, seat post diameter) my leading candidate would be an Olympic 78.
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Old 01-29-22, 08:29 AM
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I have that exact bike! Black Diamond from 1974ish, around $130, then.

I sold it to a friend who never rode it, then bought it back. It's now a single speed, around town bike. Rode many a century on that bike.
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Old 01-29-22, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Looks mid-1970s to me and around the crossover between entry level and mid-range. Pending more info (drive side photo, photos of major components, seat post diameter) my leading candidate would be an Olympic 78.
I agree... the decals and full wrap-around seat stays say 70's
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Old 01-29-22, 11:20 AM
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"A Falcon is a good English bike." -- Charlie Harding, C. Harding's For Bikes, Westwood, Los Angeles, CA
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Old 01-30-22, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
i assembled a lot of Falcons that looked much like that when I worked at Proteus Bicycles in College Park MD in 1974. With both Bethesda and Tacky Park relatively close, perhaps your bike originally came form there?
Hmmmm, perhaps? There is a rubbed off decal on the top of the seat tube I think. It might say Proteus? Or perhaps just Reynolds 531. It does have a Gearing Up Bicycles sticker. As far as I know that's a bike co-op in DC.

Anyway, I will get some better side pictures tomorrow.
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Old 01-30-22, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Looks mid-1970s to me and around the crossover between entry level and mid-range. Pending more info (drive side photo, photos of major components, seat post diameter) my leading candidate would be an Olympic 78.
Nice! Definitely more and better pictures later today.
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Old 01-30-22, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Three pictures and none of them show the drive side? You can do better than that, surely!

Looks like it could be one of the lower-mid-range models, perhaps 531 three main tubes. Can't see the dropouts well enough to determine whether they're stamped or forged. That open-cam quick release on the rear wheel may be a problem; they're notorious for not clamping well enough to secure the wheel in horizontal dropouts.
Good to know! Sorry, it was cold and dark in an unfamiliar neighborhood when I got it. I did see the gears look like they are not quite flush with the chain. I will have to check very carefully about the clamp.
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Old 01-30-22, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
Having owned a few Falcons in my life, from the Black Diamond to the San Remo, I've always had a fondness for them. Even their cheap bikes (the Black Diamond) had nice frames for the money. Just guessing from the wrong side of the crank, you seem to have something better than that.

If it fits, I'll predict you'll be happy with it.
That's great! The stance is quite aggressive but with the seat all the way down it seems to fit OK. I probably rode it about a mile total so far, and it felt much better than the super short Shogun road bike I found being tossed. My feet did not hit the front wheel at all while steering.

Last edited by molleraj; 01-30-22 at 01:52 AM. Reason: More detail about bike fit
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Old 01-30-22, 12:53 PM
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-----

looks to be model Olympic 78 from right about 1974, cannot be much later

wheels, pedals, saddle pillar and saddle are replacements

original wheels would have been Normandy Sport or Sansin Matsumoto large flange 36 hole QR hubs with Weinmann alloy 27" wired-on rims

original saddle pillar would have been plain

original saddle would have been conventional leather

original pedals were Lyotard model 36 or model 460D

the machine's Sakae Ringyo Laprade saddle pillar did not exist at the time of cycle's manufacture

the Avocet saddle was contract manufactured in Italy for a firm in Palo Alto, California and had not as yet launched at the time of the machine's fabrication

---

frame is Reynolds 531 plain gauge three main tubes

saddle pillar size 26.2 or 26.4mm

ends set is Cyclo, dropouts are Cyclco stamped 3D without gear hanger

---

for the 1975 model year the gear ensemble changed from Maeda to Shimano

here is a Bicycling! magazine review for the 1975 model Falcon Olympic 78 -



-----
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Old 01-30-22, 12:58 PM
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I got a few shots of the drivetrain side, but I will try to get yet better in coming days. I am using WD-40 to pull out rust and following it up with Triflow for lubing.


Drivetrain side of the bike locked up

Drivetrain closeup

Derailleur close up

Suntour V-GT derailleur
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Old 01-30-22, 01:35 PM
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The front derailleur, which is more likely to be OEM than the rear, appears to be a 1st generation Shimano Titlist. That, in conjunction with the hangerless rear dropout, is more evidence pointing towards my earlier statement of a mid-1970s Falcon Olympic 78.
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Old 01-30-22, 01:55 PM
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-----

a Shimano gear ensemble would fit in with the large ugly Shimano chainstay stop the bicycle wears

a later date would also explain the change from a Sugino to a Sakae Ringyo chainset

molleraj - see how much more can be learned with driveside imagery!

-----

Last edited by juvela; 01-30-22 at 01:56 PM. Reason: spellin'
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Old 01-30-22, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The front derailleur, which is more likely to be OEM than the rear, appears to be a 1st generation Shimano Titlist. That, in conjunction with the hangerless rear dropout, is more evidence pointing towards my earlier statement of a mid-1970s Falcon Olympic 78.
Nice! Indeed I would guess the rear derailleur is not standard. Is it Shimano Titlist or Fitlise, which I saw in the article juvela posted? I will check the letters and go clean up the chain shortly.
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Old 01-30-22, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

a Shimano gear ensemble would fit in with the large ugly Shimano chainstay stop the bicycle wears

a later date would also explain the change from a Sugino to a Sakae Ringyo chainset

molleraj - see how much more can be learned with driveside imagery!

-----
Ha, indeed! Nice detective work. So a 74 or 75 Olympic 78? Is this entry level or mid-tier?
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Old 01-30-22, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
Ha, indeed! Nice detective work. So a 74 or 75 Olympic 78? Is this entry level or mid-tier?
This '74 Falcon catalog has a couple of models in a lower tier. Anything that has Reynolds 531 main tubes is usually middle-tier, akin to the Raleigh Super Course and Dawes Galaxy.

Falcon could be really confusing in that they slapped the "San Remo" label to lots of different models at different tiers!
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Old 01-30-22, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
This '74 Falcon catalog has a couple of models in a lower tier. Anything that has Reynolds 531 main tubes is usually middle-tier, akin to the Raleigh Super Course and Dawes Galaxy.

Falcon could be really confusing in that they slapped the "San Remo" label to lots of different models at different tiers!
Ah, I see! I just finished cleaning surface rust and lubing it up with Triflow. It rides very very nice and has a surprisingly small turning radius (maybe just due to my posture, lol). The rear cassette has six gears and the front derailleur is a confirmed Shimano Titlist. I guess this is a mid-tier road bike then? I will look up more detail on the Olympic 78.
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Old 01-30-22, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
...So a 74 or 75 Olympic 78? Is this entry level or mid-tier?
I'd place it 1975-1976, based on the 1st generation Shimano Titlist. As stated earlier, it's around the crossover between mid-range and entry level. Both levels could be argued. Personally, I'd classify it very low mid-range, given the era.
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Old 01-30-22, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I'd place it 1975-1976, based on the 1st generation Shimano Titlist. As stated earlier, it's around the crossover between mid-range and entry level. Both levels could be argued. Personally, I'd classify it very low mid-range, given the era.
Nice! Honestly I am surprised to see such a light bike from before the 80s! And even cooler than chromoly! What's the short hand for Reynolds 531 tubing? Mangmoly? Haha.

Last edited by molleraj; 01-30-22 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 01-30-22, 11:11 PM
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It appears to be the same model as mine based on the lack of chrome, similar fork crown, 'claw' derailleur hanger. Mine has a braze on rear derailleur cable stop and the lugs are a little fancier. Mine had the remnants of a Reynolds 531 decal and the San Remo decal. The guy I bought mine from said he bought it as a frameset and built it up. When I purchased it I made some changes to the components so none of it is original. It isn't a bad bike for the $42 I have invested in it.

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