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Design Classics - a Cycling Plus magazine column

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Design Classics - a Cycling Plus magazine column

Old 09-04-22, 02:29 PM
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Raleigh Superbe
There was a time when the mention of a British bike brought to mind the "English racer", at least in the USA. The more appropriate term would be "roadster", I believe. These are the bikes with an upright rider position, typically equipped with a 3 speed hub, fenders, and medium width 26" wheels. Of these, the Raleigh Superbe was one of the best known and respected. It first appeared in Raleigh's line-up in 1939. It stayed in production until the late 1970's.





Having spent too much time staring at the Raleigh catalogs as a youth, the Superbe was a model that stood out as quite classic even in those days! The full fenders, rear rack, and Sturmey-Archer Dyno-hub indicated that it was a bike that was meant to be useful and ridden in all conditions.
A very cool bike.


high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8034/2...aceda_3k_d.jpg

Steve in Peoria
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Old 09-07-22, 10:32 AM
  #152  
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Raleigh Team Pro
Not just the sexiest bike ever (as proven by peer reviewed research papers), but also a race winner! Hilary Stone discusses the wins in the Tour de France, the classics, and reviews the bike's history.




and as a side note, Raleigh had a prominent place in racing here in the USA too. Olympian and road champion John Howard was riding Raleighs when this article in Bicycling magazine was published in 1975.


high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/4095/3...1e505_3k_d.jpg





Also, Mike Fatka's Skunk River Cyclists team was riding Raleighs too...
a couple of photos from the Iron Horse Classic race in Durango, CO in 1982.





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Old 09-11-22, 10:24 AM
  #153  
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Rene Herse
Coming from a background in prototype fabrication for the aviation industry, Rene Herse brought a unique perspective and experience to the bicycle industry. Starting by making components, he expanded to building frames after WW II. He built his reputation as a "constructeur", fabricating custom bikes where the parts are bought or created to work as an optimized and unified whole.




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Old 09-14-22, 12:28 PM
  #154  
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Reynolds 531 tubing

Reynolds 531 has been in production for 70 years (as of 2005, when this article was published), so there's no question that it is true classic! The article suggests that Reynolds developed the process for butted tubing, leading to a separate business group called the Patent Butted Tubing Company. The steel alloy with a high manganese content was introduced in 1932, and the beloved 531 is a further development that reached the market in 1935. Reynolds introduced a heat treated version that was known as 753, allowing the use of thinner tube walls and permitting lighter frames. Further development brought us Reynolds 853, which was a heat treated steel that could tolerate higher brazing and welding temperatures. Reynolds 953 was a stainless tubing, allowing a highly corrosion resistant frame that could also be polished to a chrome-like shine.




for what it's worth... Reynolds is still busy marketing their tubing. I saw their booth at the 2015 NAHBS show.



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Old 09-18-22, 02:18 PM
  #155  
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Rotrax frames
Started by Freddy Prince shortly after WW II, and named for the bikes used for both road and track, the business soon offered a variety of frames. Of course it is the frames with the decorative flourishes that grab our attention! Business was good, with a number of people making frames in their shop and selling them through a number of agents. Sales in 1951 were over 2500, but the market dropped when rationing ended. The name Rotrax was transferred to Witcomb Cycles in the late 50's, but did come back to Mike Compton, the shop foreman from earlier days of Rotrax, in the 60's.




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Old 09-21-22, 03:12 PM
  #156  
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Rudge Ordinary
The hobby horse led to the boneshaker, which led to the Ordinary (a.k.a. penny-farthing). Daniel Rudge started building ordinaries around 1874. Innovations included hollow forks, handlebars, and backbone, as well as the use of adjustable ball bearings on the wheels. Rudge passed away in 1880, and George Woodcock bought the brand. Production increased to 8000 per year by 1885. Less expensive models were introduced in the 1880's, but by then, the safety bicycle was beginning to take the market.




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Old 09-25-22, 02:50 PM
  #157  
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Salsa la Raza
Salsa was the creation of Ross Shafer. Mr. Shafer had quite a bit of experience in frame building and began selling custom frames under the Salsa name in 1982. His frames were innovative and not bound to traditional methods.




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Old 09-28-22, 03:00 PM
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Mountain Cycle: San Andreas
An early successful full suspension mountain bike that reached the public in 1990.



disclaimer: I know nothing about mountain bikes, so I can't vouch for whether this is a classic or not.

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Old 09-29-22, 10:55 AM
  #159  
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
Mountain Cycle: San Andreas
An early successful full suspension mountain bike that reached the public in 1990.
...
disclaimer: I know nothing about mountain bikes, so I can't vouch for whether this is a classic or not.

Steve in Peoria
Yeah, it's the earliest model of a full-suspension mountain bike that you might still actually want to ride today in its intended terrain (there were earlier full-suspension bikes, but you probably wouldn't want to ride them!). With some of the earliest functional disc brakes as well. Prescient for 1990.
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Old 10-02-22, 12:24 PM
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Saxon twin-tube
If one seat tube is good, it only makes sense that two seat tubes must be better! The Saxon Twin Tube was intended to provide clearance for the rear tire, which permitted the use of shorter (and stiffer) chain stays. Stiffer means faster, right? It also means more problems with rear derailleur operation and the mounting of the front derailleur. This Saxon uses the Simplex Champion du Monde derailleur with no front derailleur, so at least one of the complications has been avoided.
The Rigi is a more recent incarnation of the use of a twin seat tube to achieve short chain stays.
RIGI, main




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Old 10-05-22, 12:07 PM
  #161  
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Shimano Dura-Ace indexed rear gear
Indexed gearing started long before Shimano produced their very well behaved Shimano Indexed Shifting (SIS) system. The first that Hilary notes is the Super Champion Osgear from the 1930's. Shimano's first indexed derailleur was the Positron, which was a low level derailleur with the indexing occuring at the derailleur itself. Improvements in the shape of the rear cogs, cable housing, and the incorporation of slant parallelograms in derailleurs were among the factors that made the Shimano system so well behaved and therefore so successful in the marketplace.




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Old 10-05-22, 01:49 PM
  #162  
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Shimano was strategic. They needed the Slant Parallelogram to make it a product.
the SIS system was developed while the Suntour patent was in force.
it lapsed.
Bam, file THIER patents and exploit the market.
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Old 10-05-22, 02:59 PM
  #163  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Shimano was strategic. They needed the Slant Parallelogram to make it a product.
the SIS system was developed while the Suntour patent was in force.
it lapsed.
Bam, file THIER patents and exploit the market.
I was re-reading Frank Berto's "Sunset for SunTour" (iirc), and he made the point that Shimano had a lot more design engineers than SunTour. SunTour had some good ideas, but they really weren't putting enough resources into R&D.. at least compared to Shimano. Shimano definitely had some years when they were busy coming up with ideas and going to production with them, regardless of whether they were really a good idea (I might be thinking of Dyna-drive, and some of the years when Dura-Ace was designed to be incompatible with anything else), but they did eventually focus on better shifting, better brakes, good clipless pedals for MTB, a good strategy for a product line-up, etc. The move to STI was a game changer too.

I gotta suspect that others might have been waiting for the SunTour patent on the slant pantograph to expire... or perhaps that's just what I imagine as the reason for Campy to not be doing any noticeable development beyond just making their stuff more aerodynamic and sleek?? It was as if the rest of the bike components world just said "Okay Shimano, we acknowledge you as the undisputed leader".

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(but I might have a skewed view of history)
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Old 10-05-22, 06:24 PM
  #164  
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How did the Europeans let the Japanese bike industry set the design trend in 1979-80?
Should not the Italians with all their design history and talent been the influencers? Japan set the aero trend of form over function. Everyone else has to update to the new style.
In the meantime Shimano SHIFTs back to function over form. All the other manufacturers are two generations behind but the groundwork was set in the 1970s. Must be a story in there somewhere.
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Old 10-06-22, 09:30 AM
  #165  
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I was re-reading Frank Berto's "Sunset for SunTour" (iirc), and he made the point that Shimano had a lot more design engineers than SunTour. SunTour had some good ideas, but they really weren't putting enough resources into R&D.. at least compared to Shimano. Shimano definitely had some years when they were busy coming up with ideas and going to production with them, regardless of whether they were really a good idea (I might be thinking of Dyna-drive, and some of the years when Dura-Ace was designed to be incompatible with anything else), but they did eventually focus on better shifting, better brakes, good clipless pedals for MTB, a good strategy for a product line-up, etc. The move to STI was a game changer too.

I gotta suspect that others might have been waiting for the SunTour patent on the slant pantograph to expire... or perhaps that's just what I imagine as the reason for Campy to not be doing any noticeable development beyond just making their stuff more aerodynamic and sleek?? It was as if the rest of the bike components world just said "Okay Shimano, we acknowledge you as the undisputed leader".

Steve in Peoria
(but I might have a skewed view of history)
Review Campagnolo's design patent application late 1970's to the end of Suntour.
Campagnolo was desperate to come up with an alternate
The A-B rear mech and the rod actuator on the Chorus were about the only real unique designs that saw the light of day.
Campagnolo groped around with the traditional parallelogram way too long.
Their slant parallelogram took almost 7 -8 years to see series production. Too Proud, They were used to being the Company that WAS Copied.
Valentino admitted in an interview that the "outside industrial designers" did not do well for the Company.
He was not cut from the same cloth as his father, was not groomed early enough.
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Old 10-09-22, 03:03 PM
  #166  
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Simplex Plunger - push-rod derailleurs
Lucien Juy was a bike shop owner who created Le Simplex derailleur in 1928 and got them into competitive use in 1931. Compared to other mechanisms that had a separate metal guide to move the chain left and right and a separate chain tensioning mechanism, this combined both functions into a compact unit. Once the metal guide was replaced with an upper pulley, it took on a form that resembles the modern parallelogram derailleur.




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Old 10-12-22, 01:32 PM
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Stronglight cotterless cranks
I only had one bike with cottered cranks, but they impressed me as being a crude and problematic design quite quickly. When I upgraded to the still humble Sugino Maxy crank with the square taper axle, it was such a joy! Later I moved on to a Raleigh Gran Sport with the classy Stronglight 93 crankset. I had no idea that it was Stronglight that came up with the square taper that was used to fit the axle and crank together. Stronglight came up with this wonderful idea back in the 1930's, and it has managed to still be useful nearly 100 years later!




edit: I thought I'd add this Bicycle Guide article by David Herlihy, well known cycle historian. It provides another perspective on Stronglight and its history.





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Old 10-13-22, 12:44 PM
  #168  
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Excellent!
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Old 10-14-22, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
Raleigh Superbe
There was a time when the mention of a British bike brought to mind the "English racer", at least in the USA. The more appropriate term would be "roadster", I believe. These are the bikes with an upright rider position, typically equipped with a 3 speed hub, fenders, and medium width 26" wheels. Of these, the Raleigh Superbe was one of the best known and respected. It first appeared in Raleigh's line-up in 1939. It stayed in production until the late 1970's.





Having spent too much time staring at the Raleigh catalogs as a youth, the Superbe was a model that stood out as quite classic even in those days! The full fenders, rear rack, and Sturmey-Archer Dyno-hub indicated that it was a bike that was meant to be useful and ridden in all conditions.
A very cool bike.


high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/8034/2...aceda_3k_d.jpg

Steve in Peoria
but the DL-1 could run off curbs, wayward children and small dogs with aplomb.
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Old 10-14-22, 06:22 PM
  #170  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
but the DL-1 could run off curbs, wayward children and small dogs with aplomb.
Honestly, the DL-1 was like the wooly mammoth in Raleigh's line-up. Anachronistic and from another era, somewhat of a death trap (i.e. rod brakes), weird 28" tires that no one else used, but still pretty cool and intriguing. I'm happy that I never disillusioned myself by actually owning one, however.

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Old 10-15-22, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
Honestly, the DL-1 was like the wooly mammoth in Raleigh's line-up. Anachronistic and from another era, somewhat of a death trap (i.e. rod brakes), weird 28" tires that no one else used, but still pretty cool and intriguing. I'm happy that I never disillusioned myself by actually owning one, however.

Steve in Peoria
Mine has three brakes, one is a coaster type along with the internal 3 speed.
the rod brakes do need true wheels, the concentricity monitored on the inside of the rims where the brake track is.
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Old 10-16-22, 08:53 PM
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Sturmey Archer ASC 3-speed fixed hub
While the rest of the cycling world was developing external gearing, i.e. freewheels and derailleurs, the British were focusing on internal gearing. The most well known of the internally geared hubs is Sturmey Archer. We know them best for their standard 3 speed hub, but they also did a 3 speed fixed hub! With this hub, you can develop your fixed gear riding skills while enjoying the luxury of multiple gear ratios!




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Old 10-16-22, 10:30 PM
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Another excellent read!
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Old 10-19-22, 02:39 PM
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SunTour's Slanted Rear Derailleurs
SunTour was originally founded as the Maeda Oron (Iron?) Works in 1912. It wasn't until French derailleurs were imported to Japan after WW II that SunTour's most significant innovation occured. Nobuo Ozaki, head of product development at Maeda, developed the slant parallelogram in 1964. This allowed the gap between the freewheel cogs and the derailleur's jockey pulley to be consistently small, leading to improved shifting performance.



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Old 10-19-22, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
SunTour's Slanted Rear Derailleurs
SunTour was originally founded as the Maeda Oron (Iron?) Works in 1912. It wasn't until French derailleurs were imported to Japan after WW II that SunTour's most significant innovation occured. Nobuo Ozaki, head of product development at Maeda, developed the slant parallelogram in 1964. This allowed the gap between the freewheel cogs and the derailleur's jockey pulley to be consistently small, leading to improved shifting performance.



Steve in Peoria
Awesome read!
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