You Choose

If I was in a position to have a frame commissioned for myself there are two things I would specify over the basic requirements list:

The first would be chromed rear stays and front forks .

Hardisty Pics of Hardisty rear stays


The second would be some nice hand cut lugs , not really fussy what style just as long as they are a bit fancy.

Dunelt Frame After Refinishing

For some reason I just think chrome gives a bike a timeless classy look, where as other chromed items can look a bit tacky and over kill to me but not on a nice steel bike frame .

The cut out lugs all add to the classy look that the chrome gives, so what would chromed lugs look like if the rest of the frame was painted , I think it would or could look stunning and I don’t think it would need any luglining either .

Hardisty's Chromed Headstock lugs

This kind of craftmanship is normally only seen on steel rather than alloy or carbon machines and I should think it goes a long way towards making steel bikes even more individual compared to the masses of Alloy framed bikes that only seem to change colour with each new model year introduction .

My other must haves would be mudguard eyes front and rear along with at least one set of bottle cage mounts on the seat tube rather than the downtube and I always think brazed on front mechanisms look nicer than the clamp around variety. I would also like a pr of pump pegs on the rear stays and the ability to run up to 700c x 28 tyres and down tube lever mounts these are all personal things .

Simonici P

I think this about makes my ideal bike an Audax style machine rather than an out and out race machine but not quite a relaxed touring bike .

I have no preferance over caliper , v type or disc style brakes mainly because most of my riding has been done with single or dual pull calipers and very little experience of the other two styles . In fact the only bike I have ridden with disc brakes is our family Tandem .

As for tube material it would have to be steel , so would I go for Reynolds , Columbus or one of the Japanese variety like Tange never mind all the other brands of steel tubing you can have offered to you . Not really sure if my experience or expertise is good enough to tell the difference between any of them .

Charge Juicer 012

What colour paintwork would I go for ? Now this is really a hard choice and a difficult one to say but my thoughts are a nice shiny deep red but most definitely not white as for some strange reason I do not like like white bikes . I think I would have to have a plain colour panel on the seat tube or even a barbers pole . Seat post and handlebar stem would be chromed to match the chromed forks and stays .

As for groupset and wheels I have no favourite and not even sure if I would go for sti’s over downtube shifters , I think Shimano groupset would be my choice but no idea which one .

A quick Review

Well after commuting for the last 3 days on a Claud Butler Legend Hybrid/Trekking bike instead of my normal choice ie a retro road bike , I can honestly say I have quite enjoyed the experience .

Claud Butler Legand

Day one’s ride was hard going on first commute mainly down to the excess of other cycle/footpath users, as I left home at about the same time as the local school children did to get in to school for 8.45am along with associated parents and dog walkers. The 3 other commutes on Monday were better as there were a lot less people about on the paths . I found myself leaning forward on to the handlebars instead of relaxing and enjoying the ride . The only issue with the bike was an irritating clicking noise coming from around the crankset/bottom bracket area and an occasional vibration rattle coming from the front mud guards .

Claud Butler Legand

The clicking noise turned out to be a small sticky red plastic label that was attached between the outer ring of the crankset and the chain guard , upon removal of said label it quite plainly said “ Remove before use” so a few years afterwards it was safely removed and so was an irritating clicking noise . The mud guard vibration was also sorted by tightening the left hand front stay , both of these issues made Tuesdays commuting a lot more pleasurable plus the fact I left home slightly earlier to avoid all the foot traffic .

Along with a slight rotation of the handlebars which moved the bars forward a few cm’s but just enough to feel the difference Tuesdays commuting was quite pleasurable as I was more relaxed in my riding position and overall manner . I even found myself riding in a cruising style rather than an aggressive manner .

The return to work ride after dinner on Tuesday gave me my first scalping of another commuter on an old BSO Mtb complete with red rusty chain that squeaked and squawked with every rotation of the crank , I felt like stopping him and advising him to apply some lubrication every so often to his chain but decided in the end not to bother as he seemed more than happy .

An early morning session on Wednesday with a couple of wet wipes has removed a lot of the dust and cobwebs that the bike was covered in when I first got the bike. Not sure that it will help but at least it looks cleaner as I ride along for people to admire . I also swapped the factory fitted saddle for my spare Selle smp comfort saddle for a more cushioned ride .

Claud Butler Legand 008

If I was keeping this bike what changes would I make? I think the only change would be to replace the 700c x 42 “Camel” branded tyres for some better quality 700 x 32c tyres so that the bike would roll along with a bit less drag from the existing tyres which would also help with the overall riding experience . All in all it’s a nice easy to ride basic commuting bike that seems to be well made and although it looks HUGE, it is not that heavy as the frame is 6061 grade Alloy .

I am not sure if I will see the end of the week out using this bike or whether I will revert back to one of my retro roadies tomorrow. I have not decided , but it has made me realize it has been very nice using a nice clean modern bike rather than one of my normal retro older style road bikes

Jim Soens

For Sale Latest Offering

A very lightly used Claud Butler legand that I have taken in exchange on a road bike i sold .

Claud Butler Legand
21″ sized frame very upright style , Trekking Geometry . Alloy 7005 tubing with suntour suspension fr forks .

Full shimano gear set with thumb control 24 speed Acera brifters all operational , Shimano TX71 alloy cranks . tektro alloy V brakes for extra stopping power . Alloy 700c rimmed wheels with quick release , original tyres with some cracking to side walls .

Claud Butler Legand

Alloy adjustable quill style stem with riser style bars for comfort , suspension seat post and Selle Bassano cushioned saddle .

Claud Butler Legand

As can be seen in pics it needs a dusting due to the little amount of use it has seen .

Rear pannier rack , fulll fr and rr guards make this an excellent touring or commuting bike .

Claud Butler Legand

Asking £115 collected from Wellingborough NN8 Postcode


Is it me or are there a shortage of smaller sized Vintage road bikes ?

All I have seen for sale over the last few weeks on the internet, that I like the look of have either been 23” or 58cm sized frames or above.

For whatever reason I know from experience that I can normally get away with just being able to ride up to 23.5” or 59cm sized framed bikes more so if 27” wheeled machines .

My 2nd Ian May

My buying and selling of a bike is normally limited to retro road bikes from the 70’s & 80’s with the occasional newer machine joining the stock list , so that limits my choice for fresh stock to start with never mind being limited to size restrictions as well .

In an ideal world I think a 21.5” or 22.5” framed bike would be best for me , out of my current collection of bikes both of my Soens fall in to that size area and I find both of those machine extremely comfy and pleasurable to ride . The inch difference can make a huge difference in level of comfort for the rider , some people are always saying to me buy smaller sized frames and bring saddle stem up to compensate along with a longer stem to push the bars away to help with the reach issue . These are both true and I have tried them both a couple of times and yes it does work , but sometimes they can make the bike look a bit silly .


I can understand why bikes built to an individual customers needs are a lot more expensive when compared to an off the peg machine. However, I am guessing that the extra costs are offset in terms of comfort level in riding a bike that is built to suit rather than riding a bike that is adjusted to suit . I would also think that a lot of these made to measure machines change hands a lot cheaper than on the 2nd hand market than they should do as well . It must be nice being able to specify what levels of equipment you want fitted never mind choosing colour schemes .

Roy Thame

Ok most new off the peg bikes offer a couple of choices in colour schemes and associated finishing kit , firms like Trek offer the choice of being able to customize a complete bike build but only on a limited range of top end models . I have had a couple of plays on the Trek systems, and boy, you can have some weird colour schemes that would certainly make your bike more individual .It wasn’t long ago that the only choice you had on tyres were black or tan side walls and tread pattern was always black across the complete area. Whereas now you can have complete coloured tyres or just coloured side walls , loads of different styles of handlebar tape and coloured saddles which can all make your bike more individual than the one next door.

The Difference

I tend to ride the same basic route and depending on the actual distance I am setting out to do depends on where I either turn off or carry straight on .

Somebody asked me over the weekend to time my Sunday am 13 mile ride to see if I was quicker or slower than normal due to the bike I was using !

My intended mount was my Motobecane Super Mirage , normal time for this ride is approx 50 – 52 mins which I am more than happy with no matter which bike I ride along this route . I set off at 06.45 am by the cooker digital display and upon return it was reading 07.37 am so 52 mins for ride is about right .

I actually thought it would be a bit of a slower ride due to the following reasons: bike was equipped with big clunky flat pedals so no cages or clips , a lot wider and more padded saddle than I normally ride with , down tube mounted non indexed gear levers and riding into a head wind for 2 of the last 3 miles and I was riding a semi gas pipe frame rather than a nice Reynolds 531 or Columbus tubed frameset so had an extra 1 or 2kg’s to push around .

Motobecane Mirage

I was surprised in one respect but must admit not in others as I have ridden the same route for over a year now using a variety of bikes from single speed machines to 21+ geared bikes and always seem to be about the same time . One day I will have to try out a carbon fandango machine to see how much quicker I would actually be .

BH Carbon Road Bike

All of my rides are done with no tracking or gps equipped devices hence why I check the cooker clock before and after my ride , I must admit one bike does have a trip recorder fitted but purely for checking distance compared to what Google map says for same route . I also try and ride at a pace that I am comfortable with rather than going hell for leather . The same goes for my attire no lycra in sight .

Soon I shall be able to get my Sunday best Ian May out and give that a blast round and see what happens , now I am not expecting it to be much if any quicker at all but let’s just say it will be a nice ride that should be able to put a smile on my face , as do most of my rides . My cycling is done for exercise and a bit of relaxation from the day to day stresses of normal life .

My First Ian May

It Aint Broke So Dont Fix

Why do some manufacturers change a proven product and yet others don’t ?

I can think of two products that are totally different yet one has changed and the other hasn’t as far as I am aware although I am sure the makers could prove it has over the years .

The first item I am going to deal with is the McVities Digestive biscuit which was first produced in 1892, although I can’t claim to remember that far back , I do remember them always been called “TIMMY’S” biscuits in my household for the simple reason that I went to stay with my cousin Tim in my early years and tasted them there and for whatever reason the name has stuck over the following 30+ years . I would also like to think that during that time there can’t have been many weeks when I have not dunked a Digestive into a nice cup of tea and enjoyed the taste and sensation .


Over the more recent years more and more people make their own version of the “Digestive” biscuit and there can’t be many large supermarket chains that don’t sell their own version of said biscuit , and they all taste very similar to the genuine article . About 7 years ago I noticed a big change in the taste of the genuine item and contacted them to voice my disappointment and from what I can remember they replied explaining the difference .

For some strange reason the chocolate variation or any other variation has never really hit the spot for me where as no matter who’s brand they are, a standard plain digestive does and is normally my first choice of a biscuit whenever I am offered a selection to choose from . And I even prefer them over other biscuits when eating with cheese especially if it’s a nice tasty blue one .


The other product that I am saying has had very few if any changes is the Brooks B17 saddle. Yet again I can remember this product from my childhood days and can even remember my parents mentioning them when they talked about their cycling days in the 50’s & 60’s and one of my first road bikes . According to the Brooks website you can trace it back to the 1890’s so well over 100 years . I wonder if any of those early examples still exist anywhere , I am sure none of the original Digestives do !

Brooks b17

Again there have been various other saddle makers who have released similar products , some of the names that spring to mind are Middlemores, Wrights never mind the more modern Spa copy amongst others . My experience with B17’s is limited but I do think they are a nice saddle and loads of other cyclist swear by them so they cant be that bad can they .

With the variations of themes available to cyclists these days it must be a wonder to many a cyclist why or how Brooks saddles are still in existance !

For The Grace Of God

In the last 2 days there have been 2 major incidents both involving cyclists and motor vehicles .

Both of these incidents have happened within a mile of our house on the outskirts of Wellingborough and during daylight hours in good clear conditions , from what has been reported in the press the first incident involved a cyclist and a small van . This cyclist is in hospital with possible head injuries amongst others it sounds like he wasn’t wearing a helmet . As the 2nd incident had only happened about an hour before I typed this blog I have no idea of any other details , other than they were still lying in the road surrounded by emergency services as I cycled pass .

Now, the above 2 incidents have made me realize that cyclists should be wearing our helmets at all times , ok they might not offer much protection but they have got to help a bit . A few years ago I had a low speed collision with a loose dog on a cycle path , upon picking myself up of the floor I noticed that my helmet had cracked .


So yes accidents can and will happen no matter how safe we ride but it must make us think a bit more , I know it has me and the first thing I will change is I will ride to work on the cycle path as I am lucky as I can join the cycle path about 100 yards from our front door and it can get me to about 200 yards from the works entrance .

Obviously I can’t do all my cycling on cycle paths but the most of my non commuting rides are done in the quieter hours of the day if that makes any difference . And as per normal a helmet will be worn and lights will be turned on .

Motobecane Mirage

The only downside I can see is that it will seem such a waste riding a road bike on a cycle path , so it might mean I have to get my “olde faithful” Marin Bear Valley mtb out for these commutes and leave the road bikes for the leisure riding duties .