Rebuild of Hobbs pre-war frameset

Outlaw Hobbs

Well-Known Member
It is not without some trepidation that I am starting this thread as it may upset the purists amongst you.
The background to this build (briefly ) is that I have been the custodian of my late father's pre-war Hobbs bike frame since my teenage years. Father rode it competitively before the war (on the road and at Herne Hill track) then joined up but after being demobbed never really could get back to competitive racing. I suspect that the death in combat of his brother with whom he had cycled had something to do with this.
Way back in the 60s the frame was dragged out of the loft and we had it painted and fitted with parts of that era. I then rode the bike enthusiastically for about 10 years since when it has languished in various garages and sheds.
This summer I vowed to resurrect the bike and here is how it sadly looked pulled from my shed:

After stripping off the parts here is how the frame looked:

Research suggests this bike is a Hobbs 'Continental' but I am prepared to be educated on that by someone who knows better.

Now comes the controversial part. On inspection the head clamp was fractured, the headset bearings were not in the best of shape, the fork blades were bent and cracked where they entered the crown and the chainstay and seatstay bridges were cracked.

The wheels and brakes and other parts were in poor shape and not much was salvageable. I looked into availabilty of original parts and found them to be hard to find, expensive and probably not all that durable. The decision was taken to modernise and update the frameset to facilitate the fitment of modern parts but in as sympathetic way possible and create an 'homage' bike.

After doing some more research and speaking to a few framebuilders it was obvious Argos Racing Cycles in Bristol would be a good choice so off I went to Bristol and had a long discussion with Mark. We decided to make new forks, upgrade to an 'A' head, re-space the rear end, cut off the old mudguard and pump lugs, replace the broken stays, braze up the oil hole in the BB, replace the rear dropouts. New guides for the modern brake and gear cables were then brazed on.

After all that work and a repaint with the addition of reproduction decals carefully chosen to reflect the pre-war nature (so 'Hobbs' but not 'Hobbs of Barbican') this is the result:

I appreciate that some may consider it sacrilege but it is my decision and I wanted a bike that will be strong and reliable on long rides.

I have accumulated the necessary parts and little bits and pieces ready for the build except for a seatpost. As it comes together over the winter I'll update this post. First thing to do is protect the paint with some wrapping to avoid damage whilst building (as recommended by the framebuilders). Any tips would of course be welcome. I'm planning to start with fitting a chainstay guard fabricated from helicopter tape.


Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
Not sacriledge to me: otherwise it's simply a display piece *. I look forward to following this.

Note that I'm in the process of restoring a 1975 Carlton Corsa that was destined for the tip and it's definately not staying original as my 14yo's done the design brief:


I was right about that saddle
I have an 80's bike with parts from the 2010 onwards - it was the economical way to get it back on the road and I love it.


I think from what it looked like on the first pic to how it looks now is great.The thing really is it's going to be useable and its personal too.
What was the name on the down tube.
Outlaw Hobbs

Outlaw Hobbs

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the supportive replies - I'm sure someone will be along soon to scold me for not keeping it original though :laugh:

Here's some info on Hobbs of Barbican:

I have to say that the lugs on yours don't look like those on the Continental on that page... but I'm no expert on Hobbs, so I can't suggest any other model it might be.
That's a good source of information. I found on another web page a copy of a Hobbs catalogue with a picture that looks like my frame and it is a 'Continental' - I wonder if the 'Continental Superbe' was a more upmarket version whereas mine is the 'vanilla'? Here's the catalogue :
1937 The Continental cataloguecat_37_conti.pdf

I think from what it looked like on the first pic to how it looks now is great.The thing really is it's going to be useable and its personal too.
What was the name on the down tube.
In the picture before restoration the name on the downtube was my own surname made up from some transfers I had left over from making model gliders as I recall :laugh:

My word but that's a beautiful frame now.

The colour is exactly what I'm aiming for in my own conversion: was it powder coated?

And where did you get the Repro decals from?
Argos painted the frame in their own facility - the colour is Rosso Red with a matt lacquer. Powder coating is a more economical process and gives a durable finish but I think you have a more restricted choice of colours. The Hobbs decals (they are actually olde worlde transfers) came from H Lloyd and can be ordered on line from their shop and on eBay:

The transfers are tricky to apply but Argos have plenty of experience and lacquered over the top to help with duability.



Senior Member
I have three Hobbs of Barbican (two in family from new), and the only comment I would make - a criticism, is that Argos could have used period braze-ons for the cables etc - or at least less modern ones and I wouldn't have installed bottle bosses (there are other methods of carrying drinks).



I wouldn't have installed bottle bosses (there are other methods of carrying drinks).
I'd rather a bottle was secured to the frame with set screws, rather than one of those strap-on retro-fit things you can get. The bottle bosses may not be period correct but they are unobtrusive. If there's anything I don't like its the modernised headset, because it looks wrong and offers zero benefit, unlike a bottle cage - which is at least useful.
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