Claud Butler frame puzzle

Discussion in 'Vintage and Classic Bikes' started by alanr13, 4 Nov 2017.

  1. alanr13

    alanr13 Member

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    Attached Files:

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  2. buzzy-beans

    buzzy-beans Senior Member

    So what is your puzzle with what looks like a hum-dinger of a beautiful bike?
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  3. OP

    alanr13 Member

    I bought the second hand Claud Butler in 1982. I think it was refurbished and resprayed in the late 1970’s because it has a Suntour Vx derailleur which, I think, came out in 1977. I have been trying to date the frame from the site with the old CB catalogues, but it never seems to quite match up. The numbers under the bottom bracket are very indistinct and badly stamped. But these are the features of the frame:
    Campag front and rear ends ( which only feature in the catalogue as an option from the 1967Cordon Bleu).
    Semi wrap-around seat stays. Lugs look like Nervex, but the head lugs are quite plain
    Has a brazed on front lamp boss but no pump pegs
    Has brazed on cable tidies (but NOT cable stops) on TOP of the top tube and cable tubes under the bottom bracket.
    The nearest spec I can find in the CB/Holdsworth catalogue is the 1981 Italia- Campag ends, gear cable stop under the chainstay etc. But this does not make sense. I bought the bike s/h early in 1982-I brought it home and was giving it a going over whilst listening to the Falklands invasion on the radio. The frame had no decals, but had nice gold linework around the lugs and chrome ends ( chrome on steel-always a disaster!) and seemed to have been a respray-so why would this be on a year old bike?. The fittings are a mixture- Super Champion Gentleman rims on nuovo small flange hubs; Sakae HB's on a Milremo stem, Brooks professional saddle; Weinmann brakes with quick release; nice Campag pedals with Christophe toeclips; Maillard 5 speed block (14-32!);Tange BB set.
    Any ideas you might have would be most welcome. I am beginning to wonder whether it is an earlier frame that has been upgragded -or perhaps not CB at all!
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  4. midlife

    midlife Veteran

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  5. midlife

    midlife Veteran

    First thing that sprang to mind was a Majestic but will have a think after tea and fireworks :smile:
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  6. biggs682

    biggs682 Smile a mile bike provider Photo Winner

    And a cup of tea.
    What we also have to remember is that you could also have them built to your specific requirements back in the day so might never match anything in the catalogue
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  7. swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    Nice bike! I was lucky enough to get a Claud Butler of that era, very similar beast, also 531 (which I assume that one is), and was amazed to discover just how nice it was. I was expecting it to be very good, but it was...even better! ^_^
    Illaveago likes this.
  8. Oh ! We do love puzzles.
    Nice looking bike.
    A bit of lemon or lime juice will clean up the rust on the chrome, that's what I've been doing today.
    Have you taken out the front forks to see if there is a number stamped on them?
  9. OP

    alanr13 Member

    Thanks for the compliments. Unfortunately, the rust on the chrome fork ends is the bare metal where the chrome has gone. I recall that some people used to copper plate before chroming. Chrome and steel just do not mix. I am tending to go with Midlife's suggestion of CB Majestic. Does any body know what serial numbers I should be looking for and where ( apart from on the front forks- I don't really want to take them out just to satisfy my curiosity!) The bike is a fine ride, whatever it is!
  10. Gaben

    Gaben Regular

    Your bike was indeed manufactured after CB went into receivership in 1957 and the brand was taken over by Holdsworth. The bad news of it (apart from not being a genuine CB) is that Holdsworth gave up on coding the date of manufacturing into the serial number, so there is no point in holding onto that.

    With CB bikes like yours, one can get an approximate dating by judgment of the lugs, braze-ons, dropouts and the paintwork/design as well as componentry, compared to known visual references on the Internet.

    Considering your bike sports the type of Nervex Lug which was featured on the mid-range CB frames (such as the Challange) in the first half of the sixties, my best guess would be to date the bike there.

    However, it is impossible to tell any exact year of manufacturing, unless you know for sure which components were original to the bike and look-up matches in the catalogues (e.g. here:

    Hope that helps!
  11. Drago

    Drago Soiler of Y fronts

    The good news is that if you actually like to ride your vintage bikes, the Holdsworthy era Clauds are arguably better machines. Holdsworth of the day knew every bit as much about making fine bicycles as the original CB company did, if not more, so being a Holdsworthy era machine is no handicap whatsoever...except perhaps when trying to date the frame.
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  12. Gaben

    Gaben Regular

    Agreed! :smile:
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  13. OP

    alanr13 Member

    Thanks. I bought the bike in 1982 from a second hand bike shop in Clapham (long gone). I had the choice of a curly frame Hetchins or this CB. I chose the CB because I really think that the curly frame is a nonsense-the rear triangle of a bike has to be as rigid as possible commensurate with having fine and elegant seat and chain stays. But I think that the Hetchins may have been a better investment!
    It had been refurbished frame up and from the Suntour VX, must have been in the late 1970's which would have been about right because it was in good nick when I bought it and early 1960's would have made it 12-15 years old when stripped doen and resprayed. I was not particularly thrilled by the japanese bits-chainset, h/bars/derailleur etc. but I was looking for a practical bike to ride. I see now that these jap parts are themseleves vintage! Thanks for your input
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