Rory O'Brien bike

Discussion in 'Vintage and Classic Bikes' started by pubrunner, 17 Sep 2007.

  1. pubrunner

    pubrunner Guru


    I have a Rory O'Brien bike, but so far, I've not managed to find anything about either the bike or Rory O'Brien.

    I believe that the bike dates back to the early 1960s. It has a nice Brooks Colt saddle and the original Bluemels mudguards. The headset is Campagnolo. It has 26" wheels.

    It has no badge on the headset, though it looks as if one may have been there many years ago.

    It has nice curved lugwork on the headset; by the seat post & on the bottom bracket. These are shaped a bit like a Fleur De Lis. (There is probably a name for this, but I don't know it).

    I can't see any serial numbers, but under the bottom bracket is stamped the letter 'M' or possibly 'E'; it looks rather like two overlapping semicircles. Should I look elsewhere for identification marks ?

    The only identification it carries is the name 'Rory O'Brien' on the downtube.

    I would be greatful if anyone could tell me anything about the bike. Who is/was Rory O'Brien ? Did he make the frame or was it a model name for another manufacturer ? Will it have Reynolds tubing ? What sort of quality are these bikes ?

    Thank you for any information.
    Illaveago likes this.
  2. robgul

    robgul Guru

    IIRC Rory O'Brien was a shop in Romford Road, East Ham, London E6 - certainly there in the 60s/early 70s - all I remember was that a few "cool" cyclists had RO'B machines.

  3. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Rory O'Brien had two shops in the East London area, and was a well established lightweight dealer. The main shop was in Romford and had been in business since at least the early sixties, his other shop in Manor Park closed in the mid seventies. Rory himself sold the business some years back, and it was latterly owned by the John's of Romford motorcycle chain before finally ceasing to trade three or four years ago. Rory was a member of my first club, the Easterly Road Club, and he was probably the premier dealer for club cyclists in the East London and Essex areas for many years, the Manor Park branch near me resembling a clubroom on a Saturdaymorning, packed with cyclists. His frames were widely used by local riders, and it was rare to come upon a clubrun on the Essex roads without at least one Rory in the peleton. The frames were not made on the premises of either shop, being built on an industrial estate in nearby Dagenham for at least part of the time. They were well regarded as a good quality frameset, even non-cyclists would often be heard to exclaim "Wow look, a Rory o'Brien".

    Be great if you could post a pic, Pubrunner.
    Illaveago likes this.
  4. scm

    scm New Member

    Chandler's Ford
    He also sponsored an independent Brighton-based rider called Ron Pannell during the late 60s, IIRC.
  5. Bean

    Bean New Member

    Rory O`Brien

    Rory had shop in Romford Rd, Manor Park in 1950`s, and as previously stated was the Sat morning meet for lots of East London cyclists. subsequently opened another shop in North St Romford.
    Dave Bedwell worked for Rory and was I believe his wheelbuilder. Picture of Rory on Devon CTC site commemorating Dave Bedwell, shown holding up Dave at Grasstrack meet.
    Believe Rory helped to set Ephgrave up in business in E London, don`t know who built Rory`s frames but quite possibly Ephgrave.
  6. kdh56

    kdh56 New Member

    I have a Rory O'Brien, about mid 70's with Dura-ace. 260514698_284fabed68_b.jpg
  7. Nice bike
  8. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Yes, a good looking machine. It's a long time since I've seen cable clips on the top tube and a lamp bracket boss on the forks.

    How long have you owned it, kdh?
  9. ChrisWx

    ChrisWx New Member

    Me riding a "Rory" circa 1964 in a 25 on the Southend Arterial wearing the colours of University CC.
    I worked for Rory at his shop in Romford at about that time. He was a kindly chap.
    Note : Mafacs, Stronglite cotterless, handlebar control and Buddy Holly glasses.
    pubrunner likes this.
  10. simonali

    simonali Guru

    And the tape on the seat-tube protecting the paint from the metal bracket that came with the rear Ever Ready lamp!
  11. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    I never went on an evening chain gang without at least one member having to walk back along the road trying to find the bits of one of those things after it shook itself apart.

    Awful bloody monstrosities.
    buzzy-beans and Illaveago like this.
  12. rory obrian sold romford shop to johns of romford but carried the name on rory himself passed away approx 17 years ago john of romford also passed away approx 5years ago rory lived in the chase behind shop roger the mechanic moved to devon worked on post offic cycles this is all i realy now kind regards dave
  13. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Is that the original chain? :angry:
  14. rory o brian passed away about 17 years ago he sold shop in romford to johns of romford chain who carried on the rory o brian name prior to that the shop in now a grocers shop the mechanic roger moved in the 60s to devon to repair post office cycles
  15. maryhinge

    maryhinge New Member

    At which point did Roy Hodges own Rory O 'Brien? Shop was at 134 North Street Romford, run by Roy's daughter Mandy and her husband Mick. I believe Roy sold the business to John's of Romford with Steve Sach as manager.
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