The Olympic bands

May 29, 2010

My regular Trade Me hunting saw me stumble across this frame and fork in early January. I nabbed it up for the sharp price of $130 from a bloke down in Wellington. It’s a 1968/1969 Claud Butler Electron Super Five according to the catalogues. The frame is in very good nick considering its age. The delicate and slim metal tubing really can’t be beat, it just has so much more character than a welded alloy frame. It has beautiful lugwork throughout and still bares the Prugnat Lugs sticker – mostly intact. Plus there’s plenty of patina all over which makes the bike look even better, especially juxtaposed with all the new and shiny bits I’ve built it up with. I coated the frame with a clear spray paint I bought from the hardware store. The idea behind this was seal the frame and prevent any further corrosion. The clearcoat has also had the effect of bringing out the colours of the frame. It was well worth the effort.

With the frame sorted it was just a matter of sourcing all the other parts needed. I’d actually picked up a set of brand new Dura-Ace 7600 track hubs before I’d found the frame. These beautiful high-flange hubs set the standard for the build – silver. It had to be silver. Admittedly not everything on the bike is comparable to these gorgeous  hubs. The headset and bottom bracket are entry-level Modus and Truvativ units. I couldn’t justify buying a Campy headset but the Modus one came in silver and looks the part, so on it went.

The hardest part to source was a seatpost. The frame uses a rare 26.4mm post. They’re actually quite easy to get hold of in black but a completely different story when it comes to silver. Once I’d finally got hold of a 26.4mm silver post from the States the whole project came together in a matter of a few days.

The finishing touches bare the longstanding name Brooks. The saddle, handlebar tape and toe straps are all Brooks. I reckon the ‘honey’ colour leather looks great against the red and the shiny silver. The standard of Brooks’ parts is second to none and you just can’t beat the look and feel of high-quality leather. And, aren’t those cork bar ends just awesome? The saddle is Brooks’ cheapest and most popular, the B17. Although the leather tape is fantastic it’s a shame it’s covering up the quality of Nitto’s finish. The bars are Nitto B125 – a chrome-finished steel bar. Most people go for the B123s but I prefer the more shallow drop of the 125. Either way, you can’t beat these NJS bars, the feel of steel is real, and like the frame, it’s great.  You can’t see the bar’s chrome, but you can see the excellent satin finish of the Nitto Dynamic stem. The stem has a 26mm clamp but I was stoked to find it clamps nice and tightly to the 25.4mm bars. I’m glad I didn’t need to source a shim as it would probably have ended up dragging the project out like the damn seatpost did.

All in all I’m very happy with the way this bike has turned out. It’s great to see ideas finally materialise, and having only taken five months, I can’t complain.

Here are the specs and some more photos. They’re shot with a 450D and a Canon 50mm USM 1.4 prime.

  • 1968/69 Claud Butler frame and fork
  • Shimano Dura-Ace 7600 track hubs laced with double-butted spokes to Velocity Aerohead rims – 28h front and 32h rear
  • Sugino Super Mighty 165mm  144BCD track cranks with a 45t French TA chainring and Uzumi chain
  • Nitto Dynamic stem in 90mm with 40cm Nitto B125 Steel Keirin bars
  • MKS Sylvan track pedals with MKS toe clips
  • Brooks B17 saddle, leather handlebar tape and toe straps
  • Continental GP4000S front and Continental Ultra sport rear

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One Response to “The Olympic bands”

  1. […] Yes, the Claud Butler is getting a makeover. You might remember it from my earlier classic-inspired build, which funnily enough I posted up a year tomorrow. That build never really worked out, the geometry […]

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