Rory O'Brien bike

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



    New Forest
    Hi everyone,

    I`m new to this site, but I thought I would mention that I too have found myself in possesion of a Rory O`brian.
    I did`nt know what it was until last weekend when I attacked the fork post with some very light wet and dry. Amazing it was when this gold backed script revealed the name Rory O`brian.
    Since then I have been trying to find out who the fella was, and that led me to this site. Very interesting.
  2. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

    So far so good! :biggrin:
    Welcome along, Chief!
    Hang around for a bit, you'll find some/most posts worthwhile, with a few laughs thrown in.
  3. Peter Gilbert

    Peter Gilbert New Member

    Rory O Brien

    I lived in Manor Park E12 and was one of of the young aspiring who every Saturday morning went to the "Rory O Brien Club" looked at the Mafacs and Weinneman, Campagnolo etc and decided the pocket money would not stretch that far - and then watched Dave Bedwell race on a Sunday if it was in Essex.

    Luckily I akso knew Rory when he indulged his second passion - racing a Shearwater catamaran on the Essex coast.

    To the point - Rory was a great influnce in British cycle racing after the war plus a most lovely man!

    Anyone got a Rory bike for sale.

    Peter Gilbert
  4. randombadger69

    randombadger69 New Member

    I am currently collecting parts to build up a Rory O'Brien frameset I have hangin' at work. It's built for 27 x 1 1/4" wheels (with mudguard clearances) and has old-skool cable braze-ons and a lip to stop the band-on downtube levers sliding down the down tube. Has Campag forward facing drop-outs and a cable hanger for the old centre-pull weinnman/mafac type brakes. Tubing is most likely 531 (27.2mm Seat pin and nice and light). I would hazard a guess at this frame being late sixties to early seventies. The only odd one is that the frame is spaced to 130mm, which i figure has been done at a later date to "Modernise" it.

    There is a numero under the B/B shell, which i will take. It may be possible to get an idea of age (if speaking to the right "enthusiast"). The people i have spoken to, which used to visit the shop say that it is most likely to have been built be a certain Mr Vic(k)? Edwards.

    Crazy where you end up when tapping into "Google"

    How it looks @ the Mo. pre resto..
  5. randombadger69

    randombadger69 New Member

    Steve has been a customer of ours (@ Madgetts Cycles, Diss) and used to manage the shop. He has the tastiest Rory O'Brien labelled frame... chrome lugs and a CK 2nut headset. Not sure how old it was or who built it, but it looked the business!
  6. OP

    pubrunner Guru

    A very interesting posting.

    I think that your bike would probably have been made by Vic Edwards. Les Ephgrave made many frames for Rory O'Brien, but he died in 1969 and I think that your bike looks newer than that.

    Vic Edwards made Rondinella frames; he also made a few O'Brien's.

    If you look at this site

    you may see a couple of O'Briens and a Rondinella.
  7. randombadger69

    randombadger69 New Member

    Older or newer than 1969? My boss has an Ephgrave hanging up at work, it's been restored and is awaiting the re-assembly. The lugs on it are true craftsmanship. The oddest thing about that particular frame is that on the R/H side of the down tube is a boss for an old downtube lever apposed to a lip or "stop". and there is a cable stop on the non-drive side of the down tube by the B/B shell even though there is no lever mount. :rofl:

    I shall get some piccys of it as it needs to be seen, a stunner.

    As for Rondinella frames we have had a couple as part-ex bikes over the years and they are very nicely finished. The seat clamp arrangement was very tidy and unique in its assembly ;)
  8. randombadger69

    randombadger69 New Member

    Is it me or are you riding with the brakes "continental"?

    Nice pic btw.
  9. OP

    pubrunner Guru

    Sorry, newer than 1969. Les was in poor health for a few years before he died - I've been told that he built very little after 1965.

    I'd be interested to see pics of an Ephgrave - I've never seen one.
  10. I stumbled across the site Classic British Lightweights, which has plenty of gorgeous pictures including several Ephgraves. Hope this helps.
  11. randombadger69

    randombadger69 New Member

    Thanks for that, very interesting and has given me some clues to it's age.

    Well after looking at Classic lightweights, im in two minds. Certain features of the ephgrave frames including the headlugs have taken my eye, but in particular this seat stay arrangement on a 1959 Ephgrave No.1 fixed wheel bike...

    It is identical on the Rory. Also look at the head lugs.. they are very Ephgrave, not as elaborate, but similar style.

    I will get pics of my Bosses frame tho, i'll try and remember 2moz.
  12. OP

    pubrunner Guru

    The seat stays are exactly the same as on my O'Brien
  13. Bean

    Bean New Member

    That is a blast from the past, Roy Hodges and I were in the same Club, the Avenue. Often wondered what he got up to after I packed it in in 1957 ??????
  14. normgow

    normgow Über Member

    Rory O'Brien's shop in Manor Park was managed for many years by Ken Kirby ,who also wrote a history of his club, the Becontree Wheelers while Rory himself spent most of his time in the Romford shop when that opened. Not far from the Manor Park shop was Hobbs of Barbican , another mecca for East London and Essex cyclists up until its closure in the sixties.
    Not far from the North Street, Romford shop was P and A Kenistons located near the railway station. Their shop was divided in two , one side selling mopeds and utility bikes the other lightweigts. This also became a mecca and the confined space often full of young enthusiasts must have frightened away many potential customers who weren't part of the Essex cycling faternity. This side of the business was run by "Mitch" Mitchell and Dave Whiting who had previously worked for Ducketts in Seven Kings.
    Getting back to Rory Obrien ,in the early sixties he sponsored a team of independents, Dave Bedwell, Ron Pannell, Jim Grieves and Bob Newell. Previously he had sponsored Dave Bedwell possibly as an individual rider but I'm not sure as that was even before my time.
  15. kdh56

    kdh56 New Member

    Sorry for not replying sooner. I got my Rory O'Brien in the seventies. The frame is a 22" and for anyone who doesn't know they are in Romford, Essex. They did have a shop in Manor Park. Bike is made up with Shimano Dura-Ace with Campagnolo headset.
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