An American Bates

Sometimes things go very slow. About 17 years ago I was sold a ca. 1945 Bates Vegrandis frame relatively cheaply, but then, the poor thing was in a state. Rust pitting on the chainstays, adventurous paintwork – you know the feeling.


So the frame languished in my cellar until Doug Fattic and I got talking, and I decided to hand him the frame for restoration work. I had wanted to get an American restored frame for some time, and here was my chance. Again things took their time, Doug using the frame as a demonstrator when teaching painting to another framebuilder, but at long last, actually some years ago, the frame arrived back, and wasn´t it worth the wait.


No traces of any pitting left, the transfers covered under an invisible clear coat, the whole thing glassy smooth, just perfect. Transfers, speaking of which: For a ca. 1945 vintage the “Bates of London” transfers are not quite correct as HE and his brother only split up roughly two years later. Oh well. Here´s some more snaps.


Plating was left in as found condition – far too good to replate.

VBbb VBbrakebr VBfarmeno VBforkcr VBfrontdoVBfullseattubetransf VBheadclBSA VBheadtransf VBknurledmudguard VBlampbr VBmatchnoforkcr VBreardo VBreyntransf VBrosette VBseatcl VBseatstemBirml VBtopheadl VBvegrtttransfThe only daft thing about such a wonderful paintwork is that I don´t dare build the bike up because of the certainty of scratches under wing nuts, brake bolt nuts, gear lever bands and so on.

Here´s the master at work, and some instances of the long and involved process of restoring paintwork.


A good example of what paintworking can mean: All of this for the few square millimetres of paint on the fork crown.

AWhite:Gold BRed CLining CTransf DMeasuringtransf EBatesdowntmeasure ETransfsoak EXDownt FDowntdone GVegrapplic HVegr2 IClearcoatJClearc2The workshop photos are courtesy Marten Gerritsen.


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