Saturday, 2 April 2016

Silver Eddie Soens

A big thank you to Rob of Chester, for sending in the photo's and info on his Eddie Soens bicycle.

I have been reading several references to Eddie Soens frames on your site, and also here and elsewhere comments from Mr Bill Soens about the history of the family and frame-making. I have an Eddie Soens, frame number 331, so I presume it was built by Bill. I have had it since 1972, having bought it second hand from Mr Bill Twiddle’s shop on Lawrence Road. I think it’s a beautiful and elegant frame.

A couple of photos are attached of the bike in its current condition. I am talking to C&G Finishes in Liverpool about restoring it, since it is almost certain that they did the original job!  Note the head badge. I am trying to source copies of this, but I suspect that it is hand painted, as is the name on the down tube.

The name ”J Dorian” is sign written on the left side of the top tube. I have failed to discover who he was – perhaps a club cyclist in the Sefton Park or Edge Hill  area. I would like to think that the bike was built and painted especially for him.

The original equipment (or rather, as I bought it) was as follows:
A badly worn Zeus Chainset and rings; Campagnolo Record gears and shifters (still working perfectly after all these years); Fiamme sprint rims on FF Atom hubs, with Wolber Junior tyres; Universal brakes with Wienmann levers; A Wienmann stem; and a Brooks Professional saddle. After several years of neglect, in 1990  I replaced the wheels with Mavic MA2 rims on Shimano 105 hubs, and inexplicably replaced the saddle with something more comfortable. I have regretted that since finding out the cost of replacing it with an original one again.

I don’t know if any of this is of interest, but I thought I would share it anyway.
Certainly a lovely looking bike.

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Single speed GPH

Colin of Ellesmere Port, sends the following info.

I wonder if you can help me? Last year I bought a GPH restored Clifton Bikes frame on eBay. Had it built up as a single speed and I’ve ridden it through the Winter. The freewheel is already showing signs of serious wear! So I’m planning on a new rear wheel at some point but I’m now thinking of having the frame resprayed/re-chromed too. Read your blog about Geoff Hughes and it was mentioned that he still has some original decals? I do go to the Eureka now and again but was wandering if you’re able to contact him and ask him if these decals are indeed still available for sale? The picture shows the bike when it had just been rebuilt, original paint job. There’s probably an argument to leave as is and on the whole, apart from the wheel set, that’s what I intend to do. However I’d like some bottle bosses adding and the cable guides/down tube shifter mounts removing, hence the respray and the question about the decals. There’s a name on the frame as well, it belonged to K.S.N. Orum of the Anfield BC, it’s a Reynolds 531 frame set and rides beautifully.

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Thursday, 31 March 2016


Thanks again to Roy out in Slovenia.

  Here are a few pics of the Corrado - it's a little too large for me, otherwise I'd definitely keep it as it rides lovely, it really does have that special lively, magic, something :-)

Corrado Custom Cycles appear to have been the last Merseyside frame builders, (unless you know any different) and gained a fine reputation while they were in business.

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Friday, 25 March 2016

Red Whitcomb

Thanks to Ricky, for sending in some photo's of his lovely Bill Whitcomb.

I must say the Whitcomb looks stunning in red and chrome.

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Long way from home

A big thanks to Roy, out in Slovenia. For sending photo's and information on his new project.

I'm writing to you regards an old Jim Soens frame that I acquired on a recent trip to the UK.
I've attached 5 pics but will send a few more in a separate email. Please accept my apologies for the low quality of the images.
I'm originally from Liverpool but have lived in Slovenia since 2002 (never lost my accent, always a scouser) so have  had a long interest in bikes from Liverpool builders, having owned a Harry Quinn, a Dave Quinn and a lovely Corrado which I've just sold.

Anyway, I bought this frame from a chap near Bilston and have just unpacked it today.
It appears to be an original Jim Soens going by the information I can find on the web. The paint may even be original and the remnants of the Jim Soens decals can be seen on the downtube. It has a small 'Soens Bros' decal with 'Liverpool' below with a Union Jack and Olympic style rings.
The head tube decal (J Bodman, Woodgreen) may have been a bike shop?
It has the nice fluted, almost wrap around, top of seat stays that I believe was a bit of a Jim Soens trademark, and the bottom bracket and lugs are Nervex.
It has a serial No. on the bottom bracket as well as other numbers which at first I thought were the frameset angles. The rear OLD is 116mm and I'm sure it would have had 27" wheels.
It's no lightweight and going by it's relaxed frame angles, I'd say it was a touring frame.
The splined bottom bracket has intrigued me as it doesn't look like any of the modern ones that I know of, so I'll have to investigate some more.

Incidentally, I came across your excellent website as I was trying to find out some info about the frame. I've bought wheels & a frame in the past from Pete Matthews so I was pleased to see the Jim Soens connection re. the same shop premises in Lower Breck road.

Hoefully Roy will keep us informed of his progress.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Wife's Fothergill.

Frame pre-restoration above.
A big thank you to Neil Jones of New Brighton Cycling Club. Who sent in the pictures of his wife's James Fothergill.
New Brighton Cycling Club have a facebook page, and a new website coming online soon.

Friday, 18 March 2016

RJ Quinn restoration

Many thanks to Vaughan Ward, for the pictures and info on his lovely RJ Quinn.

I used to live in North Wales in the 60s and started dabbling in 10 mile TTs.  My brothers' old Falcon that I was using weighed half a ton so with my first few months wages I treated myself to a bespoke frame made by R J Quinn.  Sadly, we parted company when I left N Wales to seek my fortune (in the RAF!).  Almost half a decade later, I decided to recapture my youth and start a project.  Via eBay, I purchased this old warhorse last winter:

  It was being used by a chap in Liverpool as an all-weather somewhat battered and unloved commuter.  Nevertheless, a starting point.  So I ditched the various bolt-ons that were different to my original and did my best from memory to replicate them, including the colour scheme.  I don’t remember RJ giving me a choice……it was blue and white.  Was he a toffee supporter?  I seem to remember brother Harry’s bikes were often red.  Is this why they fell out?  I digress.

So here is the ‘copy', having finished it last month.  
I took up cycling again on early retirement 2 years ago and have really embraced it with a couple of modern carbon bikes to help get me up the hills (I live in the Chilterns).  I took the beautifully running (if I say so myself) R J Quinn out last week with my usual club, in a mid-stream group I usually have no problem staying with.  My goodness me: what a salutary lesson as to how far bikes have come in that time.  To the uninitiated, a ‘racing bike’ (as we used to call road bikes) looks just like any other.  The basic triangle with a wheel at each end and a pair of pedals in the middle.  So what’s new?  But I had to work so very hard on the Mighty Quinn to try and stay with these carbon/alloy/titanium-mounted guys.  I still love it though.

When I research online, I seem to be able to find a fair amount of info about brother Harry’s bikes, but little about the Edge Lane faction.  Any RJQ tit-bits from your readership would be useful.

Vaughan War
Happy Owner - Amersham Road Cycling Club

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