Cream Puff

So it has taken about three years to finish, but what at bike.

White, Blue, Silver, and too much chain

About three years ago I advertised on CR to find out about any stray Ellis Briggs frames I might be able to purchase. There actually was someone from Germany who answered that he had one. He was a bike shop owner, and the bike was described as quite OK, four digit frame # (5105) which made it an original EB, so I had it sent.

Even if its a bit anachronistic, I couldn´t resist adding yet another shade of blue

I was shocked when 5105 arrived, it was a wreck with possibly lethal details and certainly not worth the money I had paid. The worst was that someone had inserted a Mavic unit bottom bracket bearing which was too small for the b/b shell inner diameter, then the bike had been ridden, and the b/b shell had been ovalised, quite literally, and visibly. Play was galactic, and how anyone could have missed it remains one of the great unsolved riddles of the cycle trade.

And They Spin Like Mad

On the other hand the frame had once been nice, very nice even, exactly what I had been looking for: Rather tall, braze ons for mudguards, Nervex Pro lugs, chrome. So instead of kicking up a fuss I put Andrew, Ellis-Briggs´ frame builder, to the test. I had been quite smitten with his work since having my Randonneur bike custom made by Ellis-Briggs, and the service was just great. I had gotten 5105  because I wanted a glimpse into E-B history, and now I could combine that with modern E-B work.

Calipers were a gift from a friend, and just in time, too

So off the frame went, denuded of all the scrap that had been hung on it (although some nicer bits were there too, admittedly), and Andrew took his large (I imagine) angle grinder to it, cut open the bottom bracket shell, pushed it together, welded it shut, re-cut the thread, cleaned everything up, and even re-did the frame number which had also been cut in two.

On the chain it says “Union Made in W. Germany”

Then the frame was refinished, chrome saved, NOS original transfers applied, and when it came back it was as good as new. From the outside there was no visible trace of the open heart surgery performed on the b/b shell, and when I fitted the Campag b/b cups they were the best fit I had ever experienced.

All the while Paul had kept contact, answering all my questions, being very patient, and all in all the whole thing was less expensive than I had thought.

Built by me, actually, but I just couldn´t take it off

It was quite exactly two years ago that the frame arrived back, and I must say I´m quite embarrassed that it took such a long time to finish the bike, but I wanted it to be special, and I just couldn´t find the time to look after it properly. Nearly all the bits came from my boxes; the crankset I had gotten in a French flea market in about 2003, the Huret parts I had had for about twenty years waiting for a bike, the saddle, a 1973 NOS Professional, I had bought years ago for 2.50 Euro in a Dutch shop which was de-stocking before closure, and so on.

Strange angle, sorry

The weirdest thing was that Ellis-Briggs had the name of the first owner on file, and he still lived in the same house where he had lived in 1976 when the bike was new, and I actually rang him. He said that he had never aimed to have a groupset on the frame, but used whatever nice parts he came across, often changing them around, so I felt free to go down the same alley.

Great stuff, oozes quality, and cost a couple of Euros

Now the bike needs some finishing touches, and then I hope to take it for a spin or two this summer.

Disclaimer: Although I´d like them to, Ellis-Briggs are not sponsoring my blog.

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3 Comments

  1. Jimmy Katynski
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Toni just lovely. And you know im a sucker for those nervex bikes.

  2. David Vines
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    Just out of interest how big us this frame ?

    I have lots of frames with the Nerve Lugs they are beautiful I also have one waiting to be refinished which is like yours and has the cinelli style crown too ! Mine has Holdsworth stickers but the serial no . isn’t their format so no idea what it really is !

    • Posted August 25, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi David,
      it´s 63cm.
      It can be bedevelling to identify mis-decalled frames. I used to have an Ellis-Briggs decalled track frame and never found out what it really was. Funny thing was, it went through two stages of wrong decals: First E-B themselves re-decalled it, then it was restored in the States without the restorer realizing that he was perpetuating a myth, so to speak.

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