Ein englisches Dürkopp

Some time ago I obtained a rather nice ca. 1939 Dürkopp road frame, and for want of the original Dürkopp parts I unsuccessfully tried to build it up with an Osgear – you may remember https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/failed/. There are some photos of frame details in that post, too.

Since then I had the brake bridge repaired so that it will now hold a sidepull caliper safely, and yesterday and this morning I built the bike up with the British parts I had mentioned in February. I even found the time to take it for a shakedown spin. It rides sweetly as the AR is a great hub, although somewhat limted in gear ratio – but then, that´s the idea.

DAfullHowever, I think the bike looks horrible with the long seatpin and the extension stem protruding from the frame which is far too small for me – there´s about 5 cms lacking. I´m not sure if I´ll leave it together even. Also not all parts are to my liking – i.e. having to make do with post-WWII brakes

DAbrakecalas well as 50s Chater pedals.  Here´s some details of the nicer bits:

DAfthubDAsaddle DAtriggerThe AR is an interesting item. You need to concentrate to find out if there is any difference at all between gears. It gives a 7.24% rise in third, a direct second and a 6.76% drop in third, as Tony Hadland says in his Sturmey-Archer Story. It wasn´t advertised as being ultra close-ratio for nothing.  It used two epicyclic gear trains and was made to withstand the rough and tumble and the high torques experienced in racing, not least because its internals moved more slowly than those of other hubs. You can actually hear this when riding – the pawls click very slowly.

The hub was only made for three years from late 1936 to the outbreak of WWII, and I feel privileged to be able to try one out. The “AR-8” means that it dates from 1938 and is the second version without the indicator rod on the left. Also it´s missing its q/r toggle – cable connector.

DAARAnd I do need a larger 12 spline cog.



  1. Sergio Montes
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 4:29 am | Permalink | Reply

    I must agree with you, that small frame looks bad with the high seat post, and the high stem compounds the problem. I am sure you will find a buyer that is more suited to the frame.
    On another topic, I saw in a couple of your photos ( not this Durkopp) bikes with grease fittings on the steering and on the bottom bracket. These fittings are most uncommon and I assume that is quite impossible to direct the fresh grease to where it is needed. By the looks of the position of the grease fittings, it goes anywhere except to the bearings. Otherwise it seems a great idea to expedite maintenance, but there must be good reasons why, apart from the slight extra cost, that they are not fitted more often. Do you have any insights on this question?


    Sergio Montes

    • Posted August 14, 2014 at 6:26 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Sergio,
      luckily selling is not a necessity in the Dürkopp case as my son also is into cycling and will, I´m sure, only be too pleased to try it in an old bike event or two. The Dürkopp is exactly his size.

      Lubrication fittings – there´s a couple sorts I can think of. One, the oilers you see most frequently, and with them it´s not really important where they are – the oil will go anywhere eventually.
      On British bicycles Tecalemit oilers are often mistakenly thought to be grease nipples, but they are made for a special oil gun and many of them are fitted onto threads leading to channels which make the oil go just where it´s needed. But then again, they also often work along the lines of flooding everything.
      Real grease ports are rare on bikes, what I used to do on old Campag Record hubs with no sideplay to be remedied for instance was file the end of a syringe to make it fit the port, squeeze white grease in the hub barrel until it would appear outside the dustcovers. I would then clean off the old, darkened grease and bingo, repacking without readjusting. It is debatable, of course, if the Campag hub´s port isn´t an oil hole anyway, and as not all of the old grease would be flushed out of the bearings, a decent service would have to be executed from time to time.

  2. Sergio Montes
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 4:17 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the enlightening comments on my question, Tecalemit oil fittings were they, not grease fittings. If I remember correctly, Tecalemit is (or was ) a well known firm specializing in lubrication, and I remember older British cars with centralized Tecalemit lubrication, depress a pedal and your car is lubricated.
    As you say, the oil channels built in the bicycle frame are still rather special, probably costly to execute, hence abandoned by most makers.


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