13 October 2014

A Good Bike Mystery

While I was riding yesterday afternoon, this bike caught my eye:

If you've been following this blog, you know my favorite color is purple, followed by certain shades of green and certain shades of blue.  Well, that bike is one of those certain shades of green. But somehow I knew it wasn't the only reason to look at it.

Clarks of Harrow.  Hmm, I've never seen that name on a bike before.  Obviously, it wasn't made by them.  But a close-up look provided me with some possible clues:




The lamp bracket on the front fork is almost a dead-giveaway that the bike was made in Great Britain for the British market.  Another clue to the English nature is this:

Flat-plate wraparound seat stay caps were used almost exclusively by bike makers in Blighty.  After establishing with near-certainty that it is indeed a British bike, I wondered who might have built it.

One possible clue lies here:

The lug, while fairly simple, seems to have been scalloped to a point in the manner of another English maker:

This 1966 Witcomb L'Avenir shows a lug style it often used during the 1960's and '70's.  Then again, so did a number of other British builders, including Holdsworth and Claud Butler.  I don't think Mercian ever used such a lug shape, and I simply can't imagine Hetchins having employed it.

In brief, it was a pretty nice bike that caught my eye. About the only components that looked original were the seatpost (I couldn't see an identifying mark) and Campagnolo steel headset.  The rest of the parts included a Velo Orange crankset, new Dia Compe 610 brakes, Shimano Tiagra derailleurs and Tiagra hubs laced to Sun M-13 rims and shod with Continental Gatorskin tires.


  1. It is also odd how the bike is well locked, but not secured to the fence in any way.