1951 Hercules Kestrel - What now?

SSmatty

Well-Known Member
So I've bought an old Hercules Kestrel bike because my dad had one.
It's really rough, so gonna repaint it.
Some original bits ( notably saddle and chainset ) and a few non originals ( everything else )
I want to rebuild it it a style that is sympathetic to the late 40s / early 50s style but as a lightweight fixie / track bike.
Where can I get away with modernish bits and what ones are best?
I really want an old style but lightweight chainset.
Any ideas?
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Hit the classifieds and auction sites?
 

sittingbull

Über Member
Location
South Liverpool
A friend of mine has this dilemma frequently, sometimes he only has a salvageable frameset and he tries to restore the bike with components as accurate to the originals as possible, certainly to within 10 years. Some components are scarce and sell for a premium. He attends bike jumbles, checks the small adds/classifieds etc. and some builds can take years to complete. Some of his rarer bikes have been restored to showroom condition and have been done so as an act of love as they tend not to justify the cost. These bikes are rarely ridden, so those sought after components will now last a lifetime.

On the other hand I like to ride my bikes in all weathers and want to be easily able to replace worn out components, and mix 'n match them, so I go for modern groupsets, this depends largely on the frame rear dropout spacing and the rear hub.

I realise this hasn't directly answered your question on what you can get away with but you're on the right track with a sympathetic restoration, so search around for what you like the look of that is available.

I like this 1949 Hercules Kestrel I've lifted from the 'net:

:49_hercules_kestrel.jpg
 
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I like retro bikes, I'm not so keen on(relatively ) fragile retro components. I'd go down the route of new bits ( if they're hidden it doesn't matter) go for full actual retro parts for levers, wheels saddle, bars, tape etc.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Some retro parts are tougher, others should be let go if you want to ride it much... for drivetrains, the devil's probablyin ththe details... SA AW3 hubs go on for ages... most old cassettes, not so long.
 
OP
SSmatty

SSmatty

Well-Known Member
Here is the bike as purchased looking a bit sorry for itself.
The gold Kestrel and the Violet Lapwing are for inspiration.
I will repaint it Gold, same as my Dad's, but take some styling cues from the Lapwing
Hercules Kestrel 1.JPG
Kestrel Club 1949.PNG
Lapwing 1953.PNG
 
U

User42423

Guest
So I've bought an old Hercules Kestrel bike because my dad had one.
It's really rough, so gonna repaint it.
Some original bits ( notably saddle and chainset ) and a few non originals ( everything else )
I want to rebuild it it a style that is sympathetic to the late 40s / early 50s style but as a lightweight fixie / track bike.
Where can I get away with modernish bits and what ones are best?
I really want an old style but lightweight chainset.
Any ideas?
I once owned an Ex-shop display Kestrel. It had never been used / ridden, so was immaculate. However, when I tried to ride it (for 1st time), it never went in a straight line!. I was later told that the frame was out of line, which was a pity. As it had top quality parts fitted. In the end, I gave it away!!.
 
OP
SSmatty

SSmatty

Well-Known Member
Today I managed to buy a stem I like and some bars and brake levers.
I doubt any of them would be anywhere near original spec, but that's the beauty of sympathetic resto.
if I like the look I can use it.
I am In two minds about the brake levers as I like the clean lines of the Lapwing so might go pure track bike.
 
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OP
SSmatty

SSmatty

Well-Known Member
image.jpg
image.jpg
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
I've always thought that a nice quill stem is one of the loveliest components. But the one on the Lapwing in the picture is revolting.
 
OP
SSmatty

SSmatty

Well-Known Member
I've always thought that a nice quill stem is one of the loveliest components. But the one on the Lapwing in the picture is revolting.
Yes, it's horrible!
It's the no brakes thing that appeals to me.
I have no idea what era my new Atax stem comes from, but it is much nicer than the lapwing monstrocity and more retro than most alloy quill stems around.
I rememember Lots of racers at school in the 70s that had chrome steel versions like that, so that is why I got it.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
I think that to be legal if you intend to ride it on the road you'll need at least a front brake (if the rear wheel is fixed) and front and rear if the rear wheel has a single speed freewheel. But don't take my word for that, I may be wrong.
 
U

User42423

Guest
I think that to be legal if you intend to ride it on the road you'll need at least a front brake (if the rear wheel is fixed) and front and rear if the rear wheel has a single speed freewheel. But don't take my word for that, I may be wrong.
Morning Dogtrousers. Yes, you are correct in your legal assumption. You must have at least one brake attached to the bike (especially fixed). The "Lapwing" bike SSmatty is trying to recreate designed purely for track racing.
 
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