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Mystery bike with cracked head tube

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Mystery bike with cracked head tube

Old 11-17-22, 05:47 PM
  #1  
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Mystery bike with cracked head tube

I noticed this for sale locally and, while some of the parts seem nice, I couldn't get past the cracked head tube.








Now, looking a bit closer, I'm curious about the bike manufacturer. Specifically, the drilled out head lugs is probably a give away to the well-informed, but I don't recognize it.

It looks relatively upscale with the lack of braze-ons and sloped fork crown, chrome socks, etc. The rear dropout appears stamped, so I'd not call this a top tier frame.



The seat-stay wrap around the seat lug screams English builder to me, but doesn't quite look like Falcon to me. Maybe something from Nishiki?



I haven't bothered to contact seller and don't really have any plans to, so all the info is what I can glean from the ad photos (link). I've cropped and enlarged the frame details from those pics.


Any thoughts?
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Old 11-17-22, 06:06 PM
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I would think its value is only in its components. The frame is worth nothing till fixed.
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Old 11-17-22, 06:12 PM
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That'll buff out.
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Old 11-17-22, 06:14 PM
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I'd get it for the parts if it was cheap. Big fan of stems like that. Nice 26mm ones are kinda rare and a big fit improvement for many people/bikes. Preferable to a technomic imo.
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Old 11-17-22, 06:59 PM
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-----

dropouts are Campag 1060 so that rules out Nishiki



agree that combination of crown and seat stay treatment suggests Britain

this can sometimes also indicate another anglophone land

domed stay ends are also suggestive of Britain

chainstay stop detail may help one of our detectives

Bob Jackson is one of several Brit marques who made fairly extensive use of these frame ends
they are also the proprietors of the JRJ and Merlin (steel) marques

lug pattern is a longpoint version of the Prugnat 62/d, the lower head lug may be a 62/d which has been lengthened

date appears clearly mid to late sixties

unfortunately we have no view of shell

MauriceMoss is sure to see much more upon the occasion of his next drop-in

-----

Last edited by juvela; 11-17-22 at 07:07 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 11-17-22, 07:24 PM
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With that countersunk pattern in the lugs and the location of the crack, what about the possibility of it being a novice framebuilder's custom frame? It would explain the crack; they may have cooked the top headlug in the process.

It's obvious there was some tension in the frame seeing as the top of the tube pulled back too. Perhaps the mitering was slightly off and the builder forced the HT into position and brazed it in under tension?

-Kurt
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Old 11-17-22, 08:00 PM
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When I see a ruined frame, I just value at the two best parts on the bike. So if it is priced at that level or below, I'm in. Higher than that, I let someone else buy it. I already have enough parts.
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Old 11-17-22, 08:07 PM
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Could be a stuck stem gone bad. Heat applied to the head tube and the stem wouldn't budge. Look at the black crud on both headset ends. Might be burned grease/lube. That's a shame.
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Old 11-18-22, 08:51 AM
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Cant make out the word on the front brake caliper. SRAX, STAX, SPAX? There is a brake caliper listed on Velobase as Astra.
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Old 11-18-22, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Could be a stuck stem gone bad. Heat applied to the head tube and the stem wouldn't budge. Look at the black crud on both headset ends. Might be burned grease/lube. That's a shame.
-----

interesting idea there!

another possible cause for the presence of the black crud could be that the assembler lubricated the head cups when pressing them it and this is just a bit of grease which has collected dirt in the time since the assembly.

[have no horse in the race]


-----
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Old 11-18-22, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Could be a stuck stem gone bad. Heat applied to the head tube and the stem wouldn't budge. Look at the black crud on both headset ends. Might be burned grease/lube. That's a shame.
Heating up a head tube to remove a stuck stem is just plain dumb for many reasons, one is which the stem is stuck in the steerer tube, not the head tube. Heat transfer from head tube to steerer would be extremely poor as there is an air gap between them.

It's possible some idjit tried this, but highly doubtful compared to other explanations.
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Old 11-18-22, 09:32 AM
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I'm a parts guy with a build usually in process so I look for deals on stuff like this . If reasonable, I would consider it for parts .
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Old 11-18-22, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Cant make out the word on the front brake caliper. SRAX, STAX, SPAX? There is a brake caliper listed on Velobase as Astra.
The brakes are reminiscent of the MAFAC LS2. Could that be the SPIDEL version or another rebranding? The crankset appears to be Campagnolo Gran Sport. The hubs, or at least the skewer nuts, appear to be Campagnolo (Nuovo) Tipo. The headset is definitely Shimano.

Last edited by T-Mar; 11-18-22 at 09:55 AM. Reason: added image
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Old 11-18-22, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The brakes are reminiscent of the MAFAC LS2. Could that be the SPIDEL version or another rebranding? The crankset appears to be Campagnolo Gran Sport.
Nice work on naming the brakes, and "Yes" on the cranks.



FD looks to be Campy NR? Not sure about the shifters.

Regardless, I wasn't trying to ID based on the parts since who knows what's original (if anything).

Thanks for the comments so far, but it looks like we're still far from an identity. No matter, as it's just an idle exercise of curiosity for me.
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Old 11-18-22, 12:03 PM
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There were a couple West Coast custom builders who used the drilling of holes in similar fashion to these headlugs ( I recall that early Bruce Gordons sometimes had them, see a couple examples below) but nothing else here looks like it's of the same high-zoot quality as BG's work or someone "in that league".
I suspect it's the work of an amateur who mimicked BG's style but also probably over-heated the head tube....too bad!

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Old 11-18-22, 12:10 PM
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What about the rear chainstay shifter cable guides? Is that a ferrel and a hump it sits on or something brazed on as a cable stop?

Edit: It appears to be a loop, a ferrel and some kind of stop the ferrel fits in.

Last edited by seypat; 11-18-22 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 11-19-22, 05:38 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Soody View Post
I'd get it for the parts if it was cheap. Big fan of stems like that. Nice 26mm ones are kinda rare and a big fit improvement for many people/bikes. Preferable to a technomic imo.
I never really understood the Technomic stem. I have several of these and while they can be a PIA to get on the bars they give me a very comfy riding position
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Old 11-19-22, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
That'll buff out.
I was thinking a little JB weld and a grinder would make that look like new.
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Old 11-19-22, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
What about the rear chainstay shifter cable guides? Is that a ferrel and a hump it sits on or something brazed on as a cable stop?

Edit: It appears to be a loop, a ferrel and some kind of stop the ferrel fits in.
-----

frame will exhibit one other braze-on: a no-slide pibb on the downtube


-----
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Old 11-19-22, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

frame will exhibit one other braze-on: a no-slide pibb on the downtube


-----
Aha!!! I always wondered what those were called, but never remembered to ask. 🤔😉

I knew it wasn't a "stop things from sliding thingy". 🙄😁😉
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Old 11-19-22, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Schweinhund View Post
I was thinking a little JB weld and a grinder would make that look like new.
-----

have also heard that chewing gum can work wonders...

...or for a particularly robust repair chewing gum AND duct tape...


-----


-----
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Old 11-19-22, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
----- chewing gum AND duct tape...
Oh sure, only bring out half of the holy grail of okie repairs. God of Bailing wire I implore you to strike fear into the hearts of these unbelievers!
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Old 11-19-22, 09:33 PM
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Frame could be fixed. Honestly!

@scarlson might want to chime in, but hack out the head tube, file it nicely and fillet braze in a new one, it’d be a bilaminate construction.

Not worth paying someone to do it, but it could be done.
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Old 11-19-22, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
@scarlson might want to chime in, but hack out the head tube, file it nicely and fillet braze in a new one, it’d be a bilaminate construction.

Not worth paying someone to do it, but it could be done.
Or die-grind the headlugs from the inside until a new tube can slide into both and re-braze.

-Kurt
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Old 11-20-22, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
@scarlson might want to chime in, but hack out the head tube, file it nicely and fillet braze in a new one, it’d be a bilaminate construction.

Not worth paying someone to do it, but it could be done.
I could do that, sure. I sorta did that on my Holdsworth Claud Butler which had a cracked lug, and it is holding up well, years of hard commuting later. But I wouldn't do bilaminate for this bike. The lugs here are intact!

Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Or die-grind the headlugs from the inside until a new tube can slide into both and re-braze.
I would flay (fillet?) the head tube with a hacksaw blade, heat the lugs up a bit, and peel out the head tube fragments with vise grips from inside the lugs, being careful not to distort the lugs too much or melt the braze holding them to the top and downtubes. Then the angles could be tweaked to get everything lined up properly by bending things around, then clean it well, slide a new head tube in with flux, a dab of braze, and bob's your uncle. You'd also need to ream the new head tube to take the headset. The bike is very cool and possibly worth it if you wanted to try your hand. If you were in the area I'd offer. It would be fun. You could also add proper cable and water bottle braze-ons. Put on posts for cantis or centerpulls if you don't like those anemic sidepulls. Get a wet paint job to preserve the chrome socks, maybe with contrasting color in those dots. It would be a bangin ride after all that.

Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
It's obvious there was some tension in the frame seeing as the top of the tube pulled back too. Perhaps the mitering was slightly off and the builder forced the HT into position and brazed it in under tension?
I don't know if we can say that for sure. The bike was likely ridden with the crack, and I'm assuming the headset was adjusted right for the headtube before it broke. The fork would want to move front to back and side to side during riding. The two halves of the head tube would be getting wedged all over as the balls try to climb out of their races in response to bike and rider's weight, brakes, bumps, etc. In my view we are lucky they are still as aligned as they appear to be.
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