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Tuesday
Jul142015

1978 Aero Track Frame

I came across these photos the other day of an experimental aero track frame I built at the end of 1978 a matter of weeks before I came to the US to work for Paris Sport.

The tubing was Reynolds 531, which I had modified by squishing to an oval shape between two pieces of angle iron held in a vise. The frame was a lugless filet brazed construction.

There was a sheet metal aero foil behind the head tube, and another just behind the bottom bracket in place of a chainstay bridge.

The reason for building this frame was that it went to the Reynolds Tube Company, along with a proposal that they make some special tubing for the US Olympic team bikes, to be built by me after I took my new position with Paris Sport in January 1979.

In the Spring of 1979 I did build the frames with the help of American builder Mike Melton.

The whole project turned out to be a huge fiasco and the US team never did ride the bikes.

Reynolds Tube Company had gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to produce this tubing.

The tubing never did go on the market, but Reynolds did send a few of these special sets to the French Bicycle Company, Gitane.

Gitane built an aero frame for Bernard Hinault, he rode it in the 1979 Tour de France time trial stages.

The bike got quite a bit of attention at the time, so at least Reynolds got some publicity out of it.

I got very little out of it, except for the satisfaction of knowing that if it wasn’t for the frame I built in the above pictures, then this other photo of Bernard Hinault (Below.) would not exist.

According to my record book, the frame I built was number M8292, I have no idea where it is now. The last I saw of it was when I dropped it off at the Reynolds factory just before Christmas 1978.

 

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Reader Comments (6)

Interesting. Were the frames "Melton-Moulton", or "Moulton-Melton"!?

July 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Katz

Andy Katz,
The frames were Paris Sport. Mike Fraysee, (Owner of Paris Sport and at that time President of the USCF.) made the whole thing happen. Mike Melton and myself were not paid, "It was our contribution to the US Olympic effort."

Mike Melton was later involved in building bikes for the Olympics throughout the 1980s. He was somewhat of a pioneer and did a lot of experimental carbon fiber work.

I also legitimately claim that I "Built frames for the US Olympic Team." It was no different that when I gave frames to top British riders, who rode them in the Olympics and World Championships.

When in business, sometimes things are done for profit, other times things are done to advance one's reputation. I am of course disappointed the aero frames were not used as intended, but I knew going in there was no immediate financial gain from this project.
Dave

July 15, 2015 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Fascinating - does that tubing have anything to do with the Gitane/Motobecane Profil Frames (e.g. https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/256633/)?

July 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHeinz

Heinz,
That is interesting. Your link didn't work but I found pictures of the Motobecane Profil and the tubing appears to be the exact same as I used. Thanks, I learned something today.
Dave

July 15, 2015 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Love this blog!

July 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterfoldable helmet

Dave, off topic but I was wondering, up to what size tires did your road frames accomodate?

July 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterResty

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