For some time I have been assembling a set of parts to build up a mid-to-late 1930 road bike, like wood rims, a nice (I thought) set of Osgear stuff, and so on. The last thing I needed was a good frame, but these don´t come cheap anymore, and they don´t get any more frequent either. So when I was able to buy a ca. 1937/8

Ddownttransfframe late last year, relatively cheaply, too, I went for it. As it is, there´s always some bits missing, and lack of time is chronic, so I found out only today that my idea wouldn´t work.

DfullLooking at this picture I hear you say, “what´s wrong? Looks great!”, but it isn´t.

First, of course, the paintwork isn´t original. The frame was re-finished probably some time during the seventies, with not all transfers available anymore


On unpacking the frame I found that there was some sticky tape sticking to one crank. Pulling the tape off, the chrome came with it, revealing black polishing dust underneath. Wow. On the upside the frame is straight. Also it has some beautiful details, like the little chain hook on the seat stay


or the cottered b/b race;

Dbblower also for a German thirties frame the lugwork is rather nice.

DheadlugI have been told that both the lugs and the headclip are special and not usually found on comparable Dürkopps, but I´ll have to go into this. If I only knew how and where… The net isn´t exactly abounding with Dürkopp road bike info.

Also there´s a wonderful twin plate crown fork. The crown is plated, something which would have been considered a great luxury in the day as in the late thirties chrome on bicycles had been forbidden by the government in order to economize on foreign imports – they were saving up for a war after all.

DforkcrThe rear dropouts are quite simple, though, but also state of the art in the thirties.

DreardoAlso it´s obvious why it didn´t bother me too much to fit the Osgear clips, what with the paintwork being as scratched as it is. The seat cluster looks quite OK, but not awe inspiring either. Thirties standard, I´d say.


There is one relatively minor spot of bother, however: Someone has drilled holes # three and four in the brake bridge, thereby weakening it beyond its braking point, if you´ll excuse the pun. When the paint will be re-done, the brake bridge will be relatively easily replaced, though.

DbrakebridgeSo what with all these bits in my box, I thought I´d build the frame up nevertheless to see how it would be going. Good thing I did before spending any more money on it besides the hubs which I thought to be de rigueur. Dürkopp hubs were famous for their smooth bearings and their longevitiy – two traits that fit together. One I got off Classicrendezvous, a very nice front. The rear, not so nice but a large flange one, was bought elsewhere. I had seen this combination before; the low flange front being lighter, what with the flanges being hefty steel, and the large flange rear giving a stronger wheel. Both were post-WWII, but I didn´t mind that at first.

It´s easy to tell pre- from post-WWII Dürkopp stuff. First, there´s the triangular headbadge which was used in the thirties. For the post-WWII headbadge see my other Dürkopp post, .

DheadbNext, the “Dürkopp” logo changed over the years. On components, pre-WWII it would look as if it were written in upper case Italics, or even in script, which is much older. On this bike, there´s all three of them.

DheadclipThis supernice headclip bears the script logo. Perhaps they didn´t use too many of them and had a stock to use up?


DchainwhlNext, these two show the Italics version. And lastly,


Drearhubthe hubs have the post-WWII logo stamped into the barrels. BTW, the spokes aren´t correctly tensioned yet. Always a bit careful with wood rims and tight spokes.

DrimtyreThe fat tires BTW are Soviet ones I´ve had for ages. Would you believe it, they still hold air.

But that wasn´t all. The front hub fit the post-WWII front fork like a glove, but won´t work with the pre-WWII front dropouts without some filing, which I would not like doing. I still have the post-WWII Dürkopp road frame hanging on my wall, remember?

Next, the Osgear.  I have one on a ca. 1941 FW Evans which I like a lot, so I thought I would be able to repeat the pleasure. Far from it, I´m afraid to say. The reason is easy: Aftermarket. On the Evans the bike is built for the derailleur; brazed on tension arm eyelet etc. On the Dürkopp all the horrors of aftermarket fitting struck.

To begin with, the lever is ok.

DOsgLeverIt fits well around the down tube and doesn´t bother the paint too much. But the tension arm



doesn´t work well at all. Its clip has sharp edges and a grub screw which has to be grubbed into the down tube. Yuck.

But worst of all the striking fork won´t fit over the chainstay:

DOsgrearIt would have to go a few cms to the front of the bike, because the chain hits the roof of the fork, but obviously the clip doesn´t allow that. And again there´s the grub screw.

Also the gap between the crank and the tension arm end isn´t too wide, but it should be ok; on the Evans it´s even closer. But then, the shorter braze on fitted arm has less sideplay.

DcranktensionarmSo what is going to happen to my beautiful Dürkopp? One thing is for sure, the Osgear will not have a future on it. I won´t sell it, either, but I rather will take the nicer bits (some seem NOS, actually) to replace worn or unsighlty ones on the Evans. The grub screw equipped clips will be buried in my boxes forever, I hope.

And I´ll flatly refuse to do two things: Either to have the Dürkopp on fixed, or to fit any of the heavyweight Fichtel & Sachs stuff it might have come with originally, a Renntorpedo or a dreadnought derailleur. Besides, I´d have to get hold of a set.

But to give you an idea what else I´m privileged enough to be able to fool around with, look at this:

DARNow that´s something I´ve been longing to put in a bike for a long time, and yes, in my box there´s a set of 32/40h Conloys and a Rosa front hub, too…



  1. Posted February 10, 2014 at 1:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    Toni, I’m sorry your Osgear conversion did not work. What will you do on this nice frame, then? Does your conclusion imply that you might install the Sturmey-Archer or the Conloy hubs on it?

    • Posted February 10, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink | Reply

      It certainly does. I know that people at the time would have loved to have these foreign marvels, same reason for not having them as below, so I don´t have the slightest qualms about installing them now.

  2. Posted February 10, 2014 at 1:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    Toni, Is it possible that this frame originally came with the Osgear braze-ons but the person who refinished the frame might have had them removed?

    • Posted February 10, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink | Reply

      Oh no, certainly not. Osgears were more or less unheard of in Germany at the time. People might have seen them in pics, but they were unavailable because of currency restrictions.

  3. Sven
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m not sure that the “Dürkopp”-stamp on the Front hub of this Bike is Post war. Compare this stamp to the Post war stamps on your other frames Hubs. Here only the D is Upper case while the rest of the letters is lower case. The post war stamp is all upper case and the “Ü” has the special post war oval form…….I think the stamp is late Thirties/early Forties…

    • Posted January 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You´re right as I found out after publishing the post. Thanks for pointing this out.

One Trackback

  1. By The Dürkopp Contrast « starostneradost on February 19, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    […] « Failed […]

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