Stan Pike on ebay

I had an email on 17th June, 2014 that read:

Hi, I have an original Stan Pike cycle which was given to me locally on a ‘freecycle’ site. The bike is stamped under the pedal crank ‘SP1712’ and is also stamped with the name ‘Raymond Cawthorne’. I wondered if anyone could tell me anything further about the bike please. Thank you.

I contacted Stan’s son, Steve, who supplied the following information:

SP1712 was made in January 1981 for a Raymond Cawthorne who apparently lived in Williton, Somerset.  The frame was made from Reynolds 531, the main tubes were a heavier gauge 531.  The remaining tubes are noted as 531 “Best” 

The recorded spec is as follows:
25 & 1/2″ frame size, 24 & 1/4″ top tube length. 1 & 3/4″ fork rake, 17 & 1/2″ chain stay length. The head tube angle 73 degrees, the seat tube angle 72 degrees. 

It turns out that the present owner was selling the Pike on ebay…

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It sold on 22nd June for £149.00.

I’ve asked the seller to pass my details onto the new owner in the  hope that we can keep track of the bike. And possibly see the results of a restoration?

Fingers crossed.

And if anyone has any information about the original owner, Raymond Cawthorne of Williton, Somerset, please get in touch.

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SP 22964

Barry Smith contacted me and said…

I have looked a couple of times for people with interest in these fantastic machines. I have still got my Stan Pike, but it is laying neglected in the shed. Would you like me to dust it down and take some photos? It has all of the original parts (even the wheels and the slightly unsightly mud guards).

IMG_0325 IMG_0326Spot the Stan Pike – hidden away in Barry’s shed!

I think I actually got the bike on my 16th birthday, when we lived in Yeovil, as I was really into cycling and myself and my mates would go riding every weekend. A lot of them lived out in the villages so I used to start off from Yeovil and meet up on the way round. I remember getting the bike and being really nervous of riding it to school as I didn’t want to get it damaged but luckily it was only admired.

We all talked about joining a club or doing some events but we never did. Soon after finishing school we moved to Bristol and the cycling reduced as the distractions of being an 18-year-old.

The only part that was not on the bike when I got it was the saddle. I remember that was a leather one that after a little while just got more uncomfortable.

BB is stamped Barry Howley Smith – SP 22964

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Terry Manuel

I found Terry’s details on the internet after Googling ‘Stan Pike cycles’. I emailed him and he replied with loads of information and a slideshow of Stan building a frame. Now living in France,  and aged 72,  Terry is considering selling his Stan Pike (details below). 

When I first met Stan, it was to thread down a pair of forks I had shortened. At that time he was working at home out of his garage, while still being permanently employed by Westlands. At Westlands he was leading a small group of specialised welders, and all jobs were priced by him. As the work was for the MOD, all the welders had to retake exams every six months (if I remember correctly) and Stan was alone in never having failed an exam. He also helped out at the local motorcycle garage (Vincent & Jerrom), welding aluminium finned engine blocks.

Stan naturally build a lot of frames for local riders. One weekend, Bob Maslen broke his current Stan frame in an accident. He contacted Stan, who promptly build him another to the same spec to ride the following weekend.

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In 1977, after leaving Westlands, Stan moved to full-time premises – a bike shop that had previously been rather run down. I did some carpentry work for him in an attempt to keep heat in the building. That’s how I became the owner of my first Stan. He had been asked by a local rider, Brian Miles of the Somerset RC, to make a new frame using the new Shimano vertical dropout. Needless to say, the new ends were in short supply, so he built the frame and waited for delivery of the ends. On arrival, he finished the frame, had it sprayed and passed it over to the purchaser. Shortly after he realised that there had been a mistake – the frame had been ordered to track spec, although it was for road use. The owner, being a well known track rider, as such it was short (under 36″s). The dropouts were closer to the seat tube than Stan’s previous use (Campag) and as such, even with a thin locking band for the front changer, only a maximum of an 8 oz Barum tubular could be used. Stan rebuilt the frame, removed the LHS brazings, and donated the frame to me for my time spent. After the original home spray, I had it done professionally by Argos in French Blue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATerry’s first Stan Pike before its respray by Argos

As has been said he built for many others, Ken Ryall, Don Farrell etc.

John Woodburn was known to say of him, “He was the only one he knew who built a dead straight frame. ”

In 1979, I was photographing the Isle of Wedmore Tour. Stan was providing a frameset for winning rider. After the presentation, Stan would build another to the spec of the winner, which was how they were then marked on the BB.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA At the 1979 Isle of Wedmore Tour, the lucky winner was given a Stan Pike frame. Other prizes included tubs of clotted cream, pots of paint and a bag of potatoes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStan at the prize-giving ceremony

Later, I helped out Stan by assembling bikes for him at weekends. He then offered to build me one of his “specials” (no maker decals!), which he did, silver soldered. He added 1/4″ to the rear, and 1 degree less on the head, with a little more rake. Once  finished it was lighter than a 753, and rides like a dream, even all day.

Needless to say, at his funeral, the crematorium was overflowing – top local riders from all over the county were there. It was a day not to be forgotten.

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My particular frame was made in a mixture of tubings, all chosen for their particular properties.

  • Seat tube – basic 531db
  • Top tube – 531db, but from a large frame tubing, and then with the butted ends shortened, so very little thicker tube left.
  • Down tube – 531sldb
  • Rear chainstays – Super vitus.  (very rigid)
  • Seat stays – Old 531db featherlight (says it all!)
  • Forks – Columbus road (best road forks in Stan’s opinion complete with rifled column)
  • Bottom bracket – Good quality standard with thick walls and tight threading.
  • Fork column – Cinelli investment cast

Seat tube c-t – 21.5″/54.5cm
Top tube c-c – 21″/53.5cm

When I chose the fork column, Stan approved of the choice, but immediately said I had to file it away.  It was too heavy.  When I said that worried me, his answer was, “never mind, if you get it wrong, do another one!

When soldered to the forks, he then fixed the brake bolt in place thereby avoiding the common problem at that time of the brakes moving and therefore rubbing on the rims.

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As regards the lugs, Stan did not approve of the older generations ideas.  The lug had to be an even thickness, and with 90% edges. Otherwise the heat would not be even, and therefore a poor joint.

As can be seen from my photos (see slideshow above), when Stan brazed the tubes did not get red, and therefore overheated.  A publicity shot by Holdsworthy at that time shows them forge brazing with tubes cherry red half way to the next lug. That appalled him.

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When 753 was brought out he applied for the licence and was sent two sets to return a finished BB assembly.  Sent some pieces into Westlands for testing with some 531.  The result, if overhreated the characteristics of 753 was lost, and it then was much the same as 531.  Sent off a bracket assembly (silver soldered), and Reynolds failed it.  Said it should have been sent sand/bead blasted. Stan enquired why. Answer they had to have a clean assembly to test.  He said with silver solder you get rid of the flux with boiling water.  Needless to say they did not know that.  He cleaned the sample, sent it back, and needless to say got the certificate, virtually by return.

Stan would not jig build.  He had at some time built a jig to use, but was appalled by its use. He therefore built all his spec frames off of board; tacking each joint and checking for true, before doing a final braze.  Competitors said it was not possible to do the wrap over seat join in silver, so he did one for me in his hands in front of my eyes; no problem.

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“Top eyes” he hated, far too heavy, so all stays etc were shaped by hand and brazed as such.

Regrettably, at the age of 72 and with balance problems, I will need to sell my Stan, preferably as a whole, either period or 9sp Ergo, together with lots of other parts around that period. The frame is in its original metallic silver (unmarked), fully dipped in engine oil by Stan to stop internal rust, together with a spare set of Stan decals.

If of any interest, I also have the very first Graham Tomlinson frame, which he built with some knowledge from myself.

If anyone is interested in purchasing Terry’s Stan Pike (the silver bike in the photos above), please get in touch through the contact form. 

NB.  In the slide show one shot is of a BB being brazed.  Terry points out that, in this instance,  it is being brass brazed not silver soldered.

 

SP 16539

I was contacted recently by James, wanting to find out more about his Stan Pike frame. Here are the photos and information James sent me:

I came by the frame via a bike forum. The chap I purchased it off had just had it re-finished by Mercian cycles (allegedly it was pink beforehand) and he had it decal’d up as 531SL frame. He said he wasn’t actually sure which tubing it was built from but said that it was lighter than a 753 frame he had recently sold.

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In fact, he said it was so light, he wasn’t prepared to ship the frame by post, so the excellent price I agreed with the seller was muted by me having to drive from Norwich to Sheffield to collect it.

I told the seller, once back home with it, that the frame was built from Ishiwata 015a, the lightest steel tube-set made, lighter than even Columbus Record, which was in itself lighter than Columbus KL, another very light tube-set indeed, both lighter than 753. It’s so light that it’s recommended for smooth surfaces and a rider weight of no more than 10 stone!

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Many folk don’t realise that even with 531 there are many gauges over and above 531/531c/531st/531SL etc … such as 22/20 20/18 gauge et al.

The seller said to me, “Crikey James, I had that frame for months and knew nothing about it, you have had it a day and imparted all this information to me, how do you know all this?” I told him, ” It was dead easy, it’s all stamped into the bottom bracket …”

Here’s the information from the frame:
Ishiwata Alpha
Silver Brazed
Sam Shear
16539

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A quick internet search shows that Sam Shear was a hairdresser, time trialist and now lives in Majorca. I think he’s also member of the Veterans Time Trials Association? 

Sadly, the frame is too small for me so my goal is to build it up, with some of the lightest period parts I can find, as a 10 mile TT machine for my girlfriend.

If anyone has any further information about James’s frame,  or knows where he can purchase the correct Ishiwata decals, we’d love to know. Please contact me through the Contact form.

SP 17851

Bought on eBay in July 2011,  from a man in Chard, Somerset who’d owned it for the past 27 years. Made from 531 SL and silver brazed, he’d resprayed it at some point and added new decals.

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My bike before its restoration

I’ve been in touch with Steve Pike, Stan’s son, who couldn’t find a record for the frame number (SP 17851). However, when I sent photos of the actual frame,  Steve replied:

“Clearly from the photographs it is without doubt one if my fathers frames. It is an early one as can be seen from the seat stay wrap around attachment, he adopted different methods in the later ones.”

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As well as the frame number, the frame is also stamped with:
Winner 1976
Tour of Somerset
Ivor Earl

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After some internet searching, I sent a letter to an Ivor Earl I found in Calstock, Cornwall, who appeared to still be regularly cycling. I received this reply:

“Yes, I am the same Ivor Earl who won Tour of Somerset in 1976.

Glad to hear that the bike is still being used and looked after.

Stan donated the frame set as first prize. The race was a major local event and Stan, being a local bike shop owner, wanted to get involved. A photo of me holding the frame aloft appeared on the back page of a number of local newspapers.

The frame I held aloft was actually too big for me and Stan arranged to make a tailor made one for me. Hence the inscription underneath the bottom bracket. The frame was officially given to me at the Weston Super Mare Wheelers Club dinner later that year.

I won about 30 road races on it including Devon and Cornwall division champs and a stage in Tour of Ireland. It also travelled with me to Durham where I was 2nd in the British Triathlon Champs and to the World Triathlon Championships in Nice.”

I loved finding out about my bike’s history and it makes owning and riding it even more special.  I use the bike now as my winter bike and for touring, completing a 1146 mile cycle ride from Land’s End to John o’ Groats with my 14-year-old son in 2012. See our blog for details.

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In 2015, I had my bike restored by Chris Davey, with a respray from Argos. He did a great job. See below…

John Woodburn

“John Woodburn is a most remarkable rider… notably the End-to-End record (Land’s End to John O’Groats) which he broke in 1982 at the age of 45.”

John Woodburn (born 1937), was a British road and time-trial cyclist,  who set the Land’s End to John O’ Groats (end-to-end) record in 1982 with a time of 1 day, 21 hours and 3 minutes, with an average speed of 18.828mph. He broke the existing record by 96 minutes. 

And guess what? He rode the the 848 miles on a Stan Pike. Actually, two Stan Pike bikes were used*.

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A postcard sent by John Woodburn to Stan Pike on completion of the record-breaking ride

Click on the extracts from Cycling, May 12, 1984 to read about his epic cycle ride.

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A film by Ray Pascoe, John Woodburn: 2 days and 2 nights Revisited, is available on DVD here. There are several shots of Stan and a closing shot of him with the record breaking bike at the end.

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Stan Pike with the record-breaking bike he built for John Woodburn

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John’s time was beaten by Andy Wilkinson in October 1990 by less than two minutes. The record is now 44 hours, 4 minutes and 20 seconds, set by Gethin Butler in 2001 when he cycled a route of 840 miles.

John added to his long list of achievements by winning the RTTC’s national 12-hour championship on a Stan Pike…

JW_3 Sept 1983 Cycling Mag 12 hour champ

*Two frames were made for the record breaking event. One broke (and we think was later repaired and returned to John), and the other is owned by the Pike family. Both frames were made from Reynolds 753.

There have been a number of frames advertised for sale with descriptions such as:
“It is the same build as the John Woodburn frame that he rode on his End-to-End

The Pike name will forever be linked to the Woodburn record. When people advertise a frame with the description “same build” as the record-breaking bike, they own a Stan Pike frame, built by Stan Pike, but not a replica of the Woodburn frame.  No replicas of the John Woodburn frames were ever built.

John passed away, aged 80, on Friday 15th April 2017.

SP 21545

Jack Wood got in touch  and said…

I have had my Pike for roughly 3 years. It was passed on to me from my dad who I’m pretty sure bought it from a small local bike shop in Newton Abbot, South Devon some time around 1995.

The BB is stamped with “SP 21545” along with the name “COLIN URQUHART” who I can only presume was the original customer. I don’t know anything about the frame tubing or age, but it has Shimano drop outs, a fastback seat cluster and trefoil piercings in the pointed lugs.

The frame, as I recall was in good physical condition with a bit of a mix of kit on it that my dad set about in most part replacing with quality second hand (near-ish period correct) components. He aquired a number of other quality vintage road bikes in the next decade and a bit, including a high end Pinarello and a USA Team Raleigh but continued to use the Pike on a very regular bases as his main bike, riding in and around devon and Dartmoor on it (including, I think, a 200km audax).

When I got my hands on the Pike in 2010 I kept it as my dad had it for roughly a year, in which time I completed a 24-hour London to Paris ride as well as roughly 1000 km of training and fun, then started slowly refurbishing the frame and updating the kit. I have now updated all but the stem, bars (both Cinelli) and seatpost (campag) to Campag Athena (alloy), a Fulcrum wheel set and a remake San Marco Concor saddle. I also had the frame resprayed in the original mid brunswick green by Argos in Bristol a year and half ago.

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The bike rides very nicely and is a lot of fun. It was always a lively bike (without being harsh or uncomfortable) with seat tube and head tube angles of 73 and 74 degrees respectively and a reasonably tight rear triangle, but the new wheels have added a more instant reaction to changes of pace and climbing. I’m currently living in Seoul and spend a lot of my ride time heading up or down one or another of the various mountains in and around the city. Most of the local guys that I ride with are on top end modern carbon bikes (and probably think I’m a bit of an oddity) and safely keeping up with them on the winding descents required a much higher performing set of brake callipers than I had previously on the Stan, so this was another of the main reasons for the updating.

I plan to take a ride out to Crewkerne when we return to the UK (hopefully Bristol) in a couple of years. May be even getting the bike back to as close as possible to its place of creation as possible if I can find an address for Stan’s old workshop.

I cycled to Richmond park last summer to watch the men’s Olympic road race and just as we found our chosen viewing point I was rushed at by a very excited young man shouting “STAN PIKE”. Turns out he had hunted down and bought a Stan Pike frame after reading about him on line and was in the process of returning it to its former period correct glory. And on a number of other occasions I have had strangers come up and comment in a knowledgeable way about the bike and Stan.

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