Some time back in 2012 I answered an advert for a 1950’s Gents Racing bike for sale at a bargain price.
Once I spoke to the elderly gentleman who was selling it we agreed a time for me to come over and view the bike .
I was met by a gent in his late 80’s who was being told by all his family to give up cycling and was therefore selling his owned from new bike that he thought he bought sometime in the 1950’s with his first wage packet . He apologized for the fact that it no longer had a lot of its original parts fitted as he had worn them out over the years and had last replaced the vast majority in the late 70’s . He quite happily told me it was a Dunelt bike but was unsure of the exact model but he knew it was Reynolds 531 tubing as he paid a bit extra for this over the standard tubing .
Working from memory the wheels were the concave weinmann units laced on to maillard hubs and a nice wide range cassette unit and a fairly modern crankset , but things like bars and stem were all original, looking at the pictures I founds on my one drive over the Christmas / new year period I would say they were later additions . Each time he overhauled it he also hand painted it a different colour bless him and couldn’t remember what the original colour was or if it was under all the recoats he had done .
A quick ride around the block and an exchange of some hard earned cash and the machine was being loaded into the back of my car along with a box of bits and bobs that he had mainly used for keeping his pride and joy on the road including a very heavy wheel alignment jig .
After a couple of more short trips around the block it was time to change the tyres and brake cables and start putting some more miles on this great old bike , next job was to make it a bit lighter by removing the steel front and rear racks that were fitted . The bike was used mainly for my daily commuting miles and was also taken on holiday for some gentle rides along the seafront at Burnham On Sea .
I had always felt it was rather a shame that such a great bike with nice detailing around the lugs and other areas didn’t have a nicer paint finish , so I made the rash decision to have it bead blasted and powder coated and then re assembled . My then local powder coater’s were only offering a very bright shade of orange for anything quicker than a 3 or 4 week turnaround so that is what I went with .
Upon collection I was well impressed with the quality of the workmanship done and as instructed by them placed it up in the loft to harden up before getting it out again as and when required . During this hardening time I was offered a rather nice Mercian bike and to make ends meet I decided to sell the Dunelt to offset the cost of the Mercian a bit , so it was reluctantly sold via e bay and never to be seen again .
If i hadn’t been looking at my newly re discovered one drive it would never have crossed my mind at all , and looking at the detailing again I hope somebody has built it up and enjoyed riding it as much as I and the original owner did all those years ago .
To this day I keep an eye out for another Dunelt but they don’t crop up very often and are mainly ladies town bikes .