Way back in July 2012 I answered an advert in the local free paper where somebody was offering a gents 10 speed tourer . I made arrangements to go and have a look later that same night expecting to find a fairly modern low grade machine .
To my surprise I was greeted by what I was told was a 1950’s Dunelt 531 framed gents racer that the seller had bought new with his own wages , and had hand painted it a couple of times since so any chance of verifying its originality was lost and all I had to go on was what the elderly gentleman was telling me .
I also came away with a selection of older style cycle maintenance tools that included a cast iron wheel jig . Once home it was obvious to see this was more like “ triggers” broom as almost every original part had been replaced so it had led a fairly hard life and apart from frame and forks the only other original parts were the Reynolds 531 lugged quill stem and a set of matching handlebars .
We were off on a family holiday not long after buying this bike so I elected to take this with me to accompany my daughter on some promenade rides at Burnham on Sea . Once back from holiday I carried on using the machine for commuting and general rides , I can’t remember how many rides or miles I covered on it . But around the same time I picked up a 70’s Falcon road bike that was made with tru well tubing but its original paintwork had seen better days along with many of its components so I decided that between the two bikes I could make one good bike and have a frame set left over that could be sold . So I made a decision to have both framesets bead blasted and powder coated in a nice bright colour .
Once the pair were collected I decided to build the Falcon up and sell it on once I had covered some test miles on it and I would put the Dunelt frame up for sale and it duly sold as did the Falcon bike .
As the years have passed I have seen the Dunelt frame for sale on e bay by its original buyer and it had never been built up , so each time I put it in my watching pile but never actually placed a bid on it until a few weeks ago when it popped up for sale again at a fairly low starting price so I placed my bid and waited as the days then hours ticked by , and was surprised that nobody else had bid on it .
So when it arrived back with me , I pressed on with readying it for build by cleaning up the inside of the seat tube and fork stearer threads and then gradually started to bolt parts to it , most of these parts were removed from a Kalkhoff touring bike I had been gifted a few weeks before .
Once I finished fitting the parts I pressed on with making it road ready as quick as time would allow as I had earmarked this bike to be my main winter bike if it rode as well as I remembered it doing in 2012 . The first few outings were my daily commutes to and from work where I could make a note of what came to light as I rode along and then make the adjustments or changes once back home . After a few days of these short rides I decided a longer ride was required to check the comfort level and a couple of early morning 12 mile loops were completed without any issues .
Last weekend was the Dunelt’s first chance of doing a longer ride as I was fairly happy with the comfort and performance of the bike , so off I set on a route I had wanted to do for quite a while but had never got round to . The bike went well and answered all my questions , only issue was when the rear gear cable slipped and dumped me in 6th gear this was quickly sorted and the ride was completed with no further issues .
So 5 + years later I have a very bright and nice to ride 50’s Road bike which I tend to ride as much as I can this year