This is the second Claud Butler to be featured on Cycle EXIF, and the second by Melbourne’s Andrew Blake. Andrew has a penchant for discovering classic frames at Swap Meets, breathing new life into them with a knowledgeable and sympathetic skill.
Most Australians will admit that Melbourne is the cycling capital of the country, so it’s natural that gems like Andrew’s latest project can be found by those who know what they’re looking at. Andrew tells the story, “I was at the Abbotsford swap meet months ago, that is mostly filled with antique bike gear, when I spied the mixte for sale…”
“Not needing it as I & my partner had townie type bikes already, but wanting it to go to a good home, I called a few people and tried to house it, eventually purchasing it on behalf of my LBS, Commuter Cycles. A friend dropped it off there for me and that should have been that. I later mentioned this ‘really nice mixte’ to my partner in passing, and 24 hours later I’d retrieved it from the LBS with the intent to clean it up and set it up as a city bike replacing the existing single speed basket bike”.
“Once in the bike shed tearing it down I noticed the Campagnolo 1010 dropouts and 27.2 seatpost size, two things I’d never seen on a mixte before. A little digging turned up the early 80s catalogues and I found that the Ladydale was Holdsworth’s / Claud Butler’s top of the line touring bike”.
“It was mostly original, the wheelset wasn’t the Campy / Super Champion as per the catalogue, but a period Suzue / Birmalux with butted spokes, and someone had replaced the 27.2 post and Brooks with a 26.8 (!) and a generic saddle. A quick seat tube reaming cleaned up the clamp area nicely”.
“The Sugino BB had never been removed or regreased in 30 years, even the cardboard bearing shield was still in place. I took the opportunity to ditch the cheap cups and install some Sugino Superbe ones I had sitting around. The original ESGE front guard had been running on the front tyre and was worn/split so they were also replaced with their descendents, SKS Chromoplastics”.
“Sadly, the new gumwall 1 1/4″ Paselas I fitted didn’t come close to clearing the guards, and given the brake pads were slammed at the top a conversion to 700C was the next logical step. At the same time I fitted a vintage XT rear mech and hacked together an early band on 600 shifter clamp with some RX100 shifters to give 7 speed indexing”.
“The rest was reasonably straightforward, disassemble, degrease, clean, polish, reinstall. Some bracket hackery to stabilise the Sunlite basket and a lot of brake housing mock ups to get the best routing. The only future mods will be some perforated tape for the bars, and stripping the paint and polishing the stem”.
PS: Happy new year to everyone as well, here’s to a big year of beautiful bikes. If you need a little inspiration to get organized this year, or even to get out and ride, pick yourself up a copy of the 2012 Cycle EXIF Custom Bicycle Calendar, it’s filled with the most beautiful bikes of 2011.