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« Mystery Bikes | Main | Chicken or the Egg? »
Tuesday
Jul292014

Two Recent Finds

Two very different and interesting pieces of my past work recently surfaced and were brought to my attention.

The first is a tandem built in England in 1975 recently showed up in Scotland when it was offered on eBay.

It was bought by Ewen Docherty, who sent me pictures, it has two sets of twin lateral tubes front and rear.

Probably one of the simplest and most sturdy of the various tandem frame configurations I built over the years.

Ewen is in the process of stripping down and re-building the bike. He sent these pictures after he had cleaned up the original paint on the frame. Not bad for 39 years old.

I nicknamed tandems “Tantrums.” I would invariably have one while building a tandem frame. The problem was a tandem frame was more than twice the amount of work of two single frames, however, it sold for less than the price of two singles, so I was screwed before I even started.

Just physically handling the frame while working on it was a pain. Every time you move it in the vise, you have to hold the frame in one hand as you tighten the vise with the other. This is no problem with a single frame, but with the size and the weight of a tandem frame it is a whole different story.

Often I could not turn away work, and people would pester me to build one for them, so I agreed. When I first came to the US I built a few tandems at Paris Sport.

But, when I started my own business again in Southern California, I vowed I would never build another tandem frame. I always said there was not enough money that anyone could offer the get me to build one more. No one ever tested me by offering a lot of money, so no more were ever built.

Having said all that, finishing a tandem frame did give more than twice the satisfaction of two singles, and that still goes for today when I see one.

The second bike to show up just this week is a Recherché, owned by Stephen Bryne from Ventura, California. When Stephen first emailed me he threw me a curve. When he described the decals and gave me the frame number 001A, it didn’t jibe with the Recherché frames I built and I feared he had a bootleg version.

However, when he sent photos I could see it was the genuine article, the scalloped treatment of the tube ends at the front and rear drop-outs was one clue. (See right.)

This was also a rare find and was a part of the history of the Recherché brand. Here is the story that I have told before but bears repeating.

In 1985 two young brothers Kent and Kyle Radford owned a bike store in Rancho Benardo, CA, just north of San Diego.

They wanted their own brand of bike they could sell in their store, and also market around Southern Calafornia. They had a name, Recherché, and a decal design, I agreed to build the frames.

Kent and Kyle were both avid bike riders, so it was natural that the first Recherché frames I built would be for them. Kent got a 53cm. frame number 001, and the last I heard he still owns it today.

The frame I built for the younger brother Kyle was a 56cm. and I stamped it 001A. That way both got a number one frame.

This is that very same frame. It has been repainted, hence the different decals.

 

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Reader Comments (7)

Hi Dave! Kyle Radford, here. It's been a long time eh? I read the info on frame 001a. That indeed was my original frame, but I later decided that a 53 would suit me better. Silly me! I was younger then, and still on a steep learning curve. Anyway, my recollection is that I sold that frame to a friend/ customer by the name of Mike Morey. He rode it for years and had it repainted that green many years ago. I then bought a 53 which was painted in a lighter blue with the original white panel decals. I remember putting pink Benotto tape on it! It looked like something from a Miami Vice show! I of course still have that frame nicely tucked away in a box in the garage. I'll have to build that up with some period stuff. I think I originally had a lot of Galli components on it. Recently I found an original receipt from you for five 53 cm frames, dated April of 1985. $1000.00 was the invoice total. At the bottom left is a quote by you; " a bicycle is only as good as its frame". Still true some thirty years later! Cheers, may the wind always be at your back, Kyle.

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKyle Radford

Kyle,
Thanks for making contact, Great to hear from you. I have been in touch with Kent on several occasions in recent years.
Dave

July 30, 2014 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Wow, really enjoyed reading this post. It's got to be so cool to have these types of things show up like that. You're still out here in California? Such beautiful bikes, and to have people sending you pictures and information on them after so much time is past is super cool. No more tandems!

July 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEzra

You're welcome Dave, I hope you still find time to put the wheels to the road. Small correction to my post, that receipt was for 4 frames not five. Good to hear from you as well. I also have an original Recherché "brochure" (single page, black and white with frame specs) which I could make copies if anyone is interested. Kyle.

July 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKyle Radford

Hello Kyle (and Dave!). I own a 51cm Recherche, once owned and ridden by Dave himself. I would be very interested in a copy of the brochure. Is this something you could make available electronically or should I provide you with my email address?
Thanks you.
Martin

August 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartin W

Hey Martin, I can send a hard copy to you or scan it and send as an e-mail . Let me know what works best for you. Kyle

August 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKyle Radford

Hi Kyle,
I'd prefer that you mail me a hard-copy if okay by you.
If you send a personal email to me at mworsdall@gmail.com, I will provide you with my address.
Thanks very much.
Martin

August 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartin W

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