Dave Moulton

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« How a movie changed the course of my framebuilding career | Main | Understanding Accents »

Two from the Seventies

Just this last week I was contacted by two owners of bikes I built in the 1970s. Leyland Vail contacted me and sent pictures of his 1979 Paris Sport. Repainted and the original decals gone, but I definitely recognize my own work. I don’t mind the road grit on the bike, it is proof that it is still being ridden.

Leyland was 18 years old when I built this one for him using the French Super Vitus 971 tubing, and French Prignat lugs. Leyland also speculates that he is probably the youngest original owner of one of my oldest US built frames. He could well be.

The other contact was made by Ian Jackman from Newcastle upon Tyne, in England. He had recently bought a custom bike from the original owner. Built in 1977, Ian asked me what I could tell him about the frame, but my UK frame number record book lists only a customer name and a frame number. It doesn’t even have the frame size. (21.5 inches.)

The reason? Back in 1977 I was simply building frames and writing the frame numbers in a book just the keep track of how many frames I was building. Furthest from my mind was the thought that I would be corresponding with owners 40 years later. Even further from my mind were visions of the Internet and email.


Footnote: Here is a link to my new YouTube video.  1/29/17

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Reader Comments (6)

Nearly every Moulton frame I see in pics looks very small (judging by head tube length). Did you specialize in making small frames or did your frames have an odd geometry that resulted in a shorter than normal head tube giving the illusion of small frames?

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterandrew MacElvy

I think you are just seeing pictures of the smaller frames, If you go the the Photo Gallery of my bike registry (Link at the top of this page.) you will see a variety of sizes. Having said that in the 1970s my British customers were almost exclusively racing cyclists an rode smaller frames. Coming to the US in 1979 I found Americans to be taller on average, and tended to use lager frames than their European counterparts.

January 30, 2017 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

I imagined Europeans would use lager frames and Brits used bitter frames (although mine is stout).

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpeter

It is interesting to me that many bikes imported into the USA had 27" (British influence?) did you Dave build your 1970s bike with brake clearance for 27" or just 700c I have a 1969 French Follis and 1960 Legnano that both, sold in the USA have 27" wheels.Wonder if the same bikes sold in their own country's had 27" or 700c.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjohn Crump

Can you say something about the Vitas 971 tubing? There seemed to be a buzz about that tubing at the time and it's one of the reasons I purchased the frame. I'm also curious about the type of rider for whom the frame was intended.

And finally, you call the that bike a "Paris-Sport", and so do I sometimes, but it was actually labeled as "Vigorelli" when I purchased it at the store. The only other one I have ever seen is in a photo on the Classic Rendezvous site - http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA/Paris_Sport.htm I know there was more than one, where did they all go?

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLeyland

On that first bike, is that grey a flat paint (anti-theft camoflauge?), or primer for an upcoming paint job? Also, don't your forks usually have your M-clover insignia on the shoulders?

February 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

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