Another Tall Bike, and a Puzzle or Two

Some years ago, a decade ago more like, a friend from the Netherlands emailed that he had seen a very tall (65cm c/t) RIH frame in the Dutch equivalent of CL. Did I want it? It came with a number of parts lying in a box, some actually usable, and was to be had at a good price, so given the fact that classic frames in my size aren´t exactly frequent, I got it and collected it some months later. When looking at the frame, I was quite impressed, I remember that.

xrihdoenttransfWhat with having had the frame hang from my study wall for the best part of five years (reason: see below), and RIH having been in the news recently with the passing of owner Mr van der Kaaij last December, the closing of the workshop in Westerstraat 150 in Amsterdam´s Jordaan quarter where the firm had been since 1928, and the moving house to a modern facility, I somehow thought I might want to try out the frame on the road after all.

Slowly, and more precise: Thanks to Marten I have received info not to be found (by me) on the net. I could vaguely remember reading about this on CR, but have not yet found out how to access and search their archives.

First, Wim vd Kaaij´s wife fell ill, and he closed the shop after not finding any new owner. Later he did find successors, even taught them framebuilding in the new venue in the North of Amsterdam, and then died quite unexpectedly, literally overnight.

After all like after finding out that someone had drilled a massive hole in one of the seat stays to accomodate a chain hook:

xrihchainhook

No chrome on the screw; can´t be original.

Or like after discovering that the frame has either been built in a hurry or has had a crash already: The undersides of the top and down tubes have very small, but tell-tale ripples just aft of the headlug tips. They are that small that they don´t show in a pic at all, but they can definitively be felt. Luckily steel usually doesn´t break suddenly like light alloy does, so I´ll just give the bike a try.

xrihheadbAnother reason for not doing much with the frame was that its headbadge also was somewhat intriguing, making it look like it had been changed during a respray – possibly after a crash repair. There are three different badges, and mine didn´t really fit in the right category:

– one on which it says Holland, which some, for example on a Dutch old bike forum, say belongs to the other RIH,

– one on which it says Amsterdam, said to have been used by the Westerstraat custom shop, and

– one on which it says neither.

The somewhat unreadable letters in the diamond mean Gebroeders Bustraan , Bustraan brothers, who were the original founders of the shop back in 1921.

The other RIH? Yes, there are two firms, one, Cové in Venlo, which makes off the peg (city) RIHs, and the original firm in Amsterdam which produces the made to measure frames.* The Venlo people nowadays use the “neither” headbadge. Amsterdam RIH, more precise Willem Bustraan, the son of one of the founders, sold the rights to the cheaper half of the RIH name to Cové in 1972. Earlier, there had actually been a detour via the Fongers works in Groningen who made the cheaper RIHs for a while, even using headbadges with “Amsterdam” on them, and stamping their own year letter frame numbers on the frames, but Fongers then got taken over themselves. If you look things up on the Cové website it seems as if there never had been an Amsterdam shop after 1972, but I was there, I know there was one. Here´s a quotation from their site (my translation):

Great racers like Peter Post, Gerrie Knetemann, Leontien van Moorsel, Ingrid Haringa, Gerrit Schulte en Henk Nijdam were their customers. In all,  63 titles, Olympic gold medals, tour etappes en world championships were won “op een RIH.

That was of course mostly before the name was sold.

But now look at this:

RihAmstheadbHere´s another RIH headbadge, with Amsterdam on it, (and the “R” in RIH being of a different design). This one came off a crashed frame with its number under the b/b, and which was very obviously a cheapish, bought-in Italian eighties affair. I´m sorry I don´t have any fotos of it, didn´t think of it at the time. Amsterdam RIHs have their frame numbers (four digit mostly) on the lower headlug, like mine:

xrihframe#So mine definitively is an Amsterdam RIH, and the bike on which it said Amsterdam was not. OK, sold by them, possibly, but not more.

Before the whole thing gets even more complicated, let´s get on with my bike. I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze one more non-date matching Campag Record groupset, a modern Cinelli handlebar and an old and battered Brooks Pro from my Box, so I set to it, and after a few hours the bike was there. When the wheels are already built, Campag and RIH quality combine to make a build very easy and quick.

xrihfull

click pedals show that I really want to put the bike through its paces

So, some more pics of the frame. I said I wouldn´t make things more complicated, but I´m afraid there´s one more puzzle: My frame is a “Model Cock van der Linde”, sold at van Doorn´s bike shop in Beverwijk.

xrihcocktransfDon´t ask me who van der Linde was/is, I was told that he used to run a bike shop, and if you enter van Doorn in a search engine, there is mention of a C. vd Linde/van Doorn cycleshop in Beverwijk/Noord-Holland. They don´t seem to have an email address. So next time I happen to be in Beverwijk…

xrihdoorn

Here´s the rest of the pics, and no more complicated questions, promised. OK, there´s one, but only after the pics.

xrihbrakenutfront

fork crown drilled for smaller dia brake bolt – had to cannibalise a cheap Weinmann

xrihchainstay

transfers on both chain stays

xrihbb xrihcableeye xrihbrakebr

xrihtopheadlugtip

looks like clean brazing

xrihforkcr xrihftdo xrihforktransfxrihseatcl xrihreynolds xrihrearhub xrihreardo xrihlwrheadl

Now for the last puzzle.

I love Campag two bolt seat posts; have been using them for ages, and I find the precision with which one can adjust the saddle unbeatable. Also I find that fitting a saddle is very easy – if I don´t use the Campag tool from the tool kit.

campatoolI have been told repeatedly that this bent contraption is a two bolt stem tool plus Brooks nose bolt spanner, although I can´t really believe it. I must say that for a nose bolt the original Brooks tool is much preferable, but what happens when you use the two bolt stem end is this:

camptoolrearhexYou can´t reach the front bolt. The rear one is OK, admitted.

So what do I do? Simple, I utilize my standard cranked spanner,

camptoolrearcrankand everything is fine. Am I missing something?

___________________

* Sorry, not going into the Vienna/Austria RIH here. They´re just too far away, and the only connection is a horse, anyway. Look up the horse yourself on the net, you might not believe me.

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2 Comments

  1. Sergio Montes
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Toni,
    What about giving us a photo of the complete bike? Especially as you have gone through the details in such careful way. Seems like a delectable acquisition.
    I am always interested in a large steel frame and have managed to find a few in Tasmania, but nothing as good as the one you show.

  2. Posted July 9, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    Yes, those very tall frames aren´t common. OTOH, they aren´t very much sought after either, so I have seen some going really cheap. I can keep my eyes peeled if you wish.
    The pic of the complete bike: There is one right under the frame # detail. If that´s not what you have in mind, please let me know.

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