Better of ED: 11 of the Most Radical Street Bikes Ever Constructed


“I’m by no means happier than once I’m writing.”
~ Ed Hood, as spoken to Martin Williamson from the passenger seat, driving alongside a stage route on the Tour de France.

Pricey Readers – Our beloved colleague and buddy Ed Hood suffered a severe stroke in February.  We don’t count on Ed will make it again into our bunch, so we’ve began a GoFundMe web page to assist Ed along with his future.  Learn the complete put up right here – and please contemplate donating.

** Click on this hyperlink to donate to the GoFundMe web page to assist Ed **

We’ll be posting a collection of Ed’s work from the previous 16 years, as a result of nice story-telling by no means will get previous.

Unusual Bikes: Ed Hood has been wanting again in time when bikes have been ‘revolutionary’ in very radical methods, and never all the time for the most effective. Right here is his selection of radical/unorthodox bike designs, some artisan magnificence and a few simply plain ugly.

Stephen Roche
The low profile – The start of the top for Stephen Roche

It was Stephen Roche who mentioned that with the arrival of the low profile design, bicycles ceased to be lovely. And while right this moment’s carbon – or is it ‘plastic’ because the previous boys say? – machines are putting, it might be pushing it to name them ‘lovely’ in the best way you’ll be able to a 70’s Raleigh, Bianchi or Masi. We thought it is perhaps fascinating to have a wander by way of some ‘different’ designs of bicycle – judgement on their aesthetics is as much as you.

A factor of magnificence?

# Horace Bates:
‘Again within the day’ of Simon Pure amateurs within the 1930’s the British biking journals of the day frowned upon publishing footage which displayed the body builder’s marque too prominently. Bates got here up with their double radius ‘diadrant’ entrance forks which illustrated higher than any decal who had made the body that such and such a star was driving. However the ‘double radius’ wasn’t only a gimmick, it was supposed to present a extra snug trip – and certainly, trendy Pinarello forks aren’t one million miles away from Bates when it comes to contours. Bates different innovation was ‘cantiflex’ tubing, specifically drawn for them by Reynolds; the place the tube wall thickness was thinner within the centre of the tube, to save lots of weight however the exterior diameter of the tube was elevated in order to not compromise energy; these 30’s biking engineers have been each bit as revolutionary as they’re now.

Horace Bates – A murals

# ‘Bauer’ Merckx:
For the 1993 Paris-Roubaix, Canadian skilled, Steve Bauer appeared along with his ultra-long wheelbase, extremely ‘relaxed’ angled, Eddy Merckx machine. It was designed by Richard Dejonckheere (brother of Motorola DS Noël) with a 60 diploma seat angle and someplace round a 42” wheelbase with Rockshocks and 185mm cranks. It was snug and grabbed a whole lot of column inches however the design by no means caught on, I can’t think about why. . .

merckx bauer roubaix bike

# Dursley Pedersen:
Developed by Danish inventor Mikael Pedersen and produced within the English city of Dursley. Skinny tubes, suspension, a ‘hammock’ saddle and in keeping with Henry Meudt; ‘After greater than a century, Pedersen’s design continues to be an instance of distinctive craftsmanship in a world of mass-produced conference. Pedersen bicycles are a hyperlink to the previous, when biking introduced independence and freedom of motion, when high quality was obvious, when particulars mattered, when model was lovely. Proving that, ‘magnificence is within the eye of the beholder’ – and you’ll nonetheless purchase one within the USA, full with Columbus tubing and Shimano transmission.

Dursley Pedersen
Dursley Pedersen – It’s a bike

# Flying Gate:
Initially designed by the Baines Brothers and referred to as the VS 37 [VS as in ‘very short’] – which was the wheelbase in inches – however quickly dubbed, ‘The Flying Gate’ as a result of unorthodox ultra-short wheelbase. It loved a revival within the 70’s when Trevor Jarvis contacted Invoice Baines and requested permission to re-launch the design. To advertise the machines Jarvis sponsored the quick lived TJ Glemp Anglo-Belgian crew with riders like Maurice Burton and Bob Cary on the payroll – not that many really obtained paid. After which within the 80’s the beasts have been favoured by some prime English time trial riders like Martin Pyne. The excellent news is you can nonetheless have one constructed for you by Smithy Frameworks in Wales.

burton flying gate
Maurice Burton of Glemp T.J. Cycles crew along with his ‘Flying Gate’

# Hetchins:
From the identical period as Bates comes the Hetchins, one other design to bypass the necessity for decals with these ‘curly’ chain stays. ‘Harry’ Hetchins began constructing frames within the 20’s and claimed the chain keep design smoothed out tough street surfaces – however have been additionally seen on their observe frames. Their different function Hetchins was famend for was their ornate lug work – often gloriously chromium plated and creeping alongside the tubes and forks. Collectors’ gadgets they now get pleasure from a cult following and command huge costs. I owned one again within the 70’s and I nonetheless see it cropping up on social media – PEZ mentor and soothsayer, Vik has nonetheless by no means forgiven me for that, ‘erreur de jeuneuse.’

ed hetchins
Ed Hood and that ‘curly’ Hetchins

# RO Harrison:
Billed as ‘hill climb specials’ with their tremendous quick wheelbase, one other from the 30’s; the ‘Shortwin’ had a twin down tube – maybe Ernesto Colnago noticed an image of a Harrison earlier than he designed his twin down tubed titanium and carbon frames? – and seat tube coming in forward of the underside bracket shell, a function Trek later adopted. Harrison’s have been produced from 1933 till the late 1950’s, my buddy Invoice Wright’s dad had one and it did look fairly cool.

ro harrison
RO Harrison – Fairly cool

# Museeuw Bianchi:
The early 90’s noticed a flurry of curiosity in suspension for street bikes with Gilbert Duclos Lassalle profitable the 1992 and ‘93 editions of Paris-Roubaix with ‘RockShox’ forks.

Roubaix - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Bianchi bike wit suspension pictured during Paris - Roubaix 1994 Archiefpicture - photo HR/Cor Vos © 20R/
Appeared a good suggestion on the time

However in 1994 Johan Museeuw went one higher, showing on a ‘full suss’ Bianchi full with rear single-pivot swing arm and quick aluminium seat tube-mounted rocker hyperlink driving a small coil-over shock. Nonetheless, a damaged chainstay meant the machine by no means noticed the Roubaix Velodrome. Modern it was, pleasing to the attention it was not.  [See our original story on a version of this bike here.]

Not successful

# Paris Galibier:
For this one I’ll pinch straight from the Condor Cycles web site, the well-known London firm having resurrected the title and design: “Really timeless and an immediately recognisable basic, the Galibier packs charisma and a tenacious trip high quality. Like its namesake mountain, the Col du Galibier, the Galibier bicycle is steeped in folklore. Launched by Harry Rensch in 1947, the distinctive body design triggered a stir amongst post-war racing cyclists.  It screamed continental aptitude and packed a punch with a form created to get rid of whip, making acceleration and dealing with higher.”

A brand new Paris Galibier by Condor

“Our trendy Galibier is an ideal reconstruction of some of the iconic British framesets. The standard of the tubing improves upon Rensch’s unique choice, however the quirky design stays. Constructed from triple-butted, warmth handled metal, the specialist tubes are made completely by Columbus for Condor. The excessive grade metal tubeset is accompanied by dropouts and fork crown which can be stronger and lighter than the Nineteen Forties model, while the bi-laminations at the moment are laser minimize for precision element.” Should you fancy one then, get an e-mail off to Condor. . .

paris galibier
A 1951 Paris Galibier

# Softride:
It was 1989 when the ‘Softride’ firm got here up with their ‘Beam’ idea; with Zipp producing an analogous body in 2001. The ‘beam’ was designed to flex and provides a snug trip nevertheless it was additionally very ‘aero’ with there being no seat tube. The design is non-UCi authorized so that you received’t see a WorldTour time trial rider on one, albeit it’s nonetheless widespread in triathlon.


# ‘Stayer’ bikes:
‘The Large Motors,’ or ‘Demi-Fond’ as they are saying ‘en France,’ the place courageous – possibly just a bit loopy – riders sit behind highly effective motor bikes at freeway speeds. The small entrance wheel, reversed forks and large extension are designed to get the rider as shut because the laws permit to his leather-based clad pacer.

Paul Curran paced by Joop Zijlaard

Gears are understandably large and tyres in addition to being glued to the edges have ‘bandages’ which observe the circumference of the rim bonding the sidewall to it.
There was a motor paced world championship, ‘again within the day’ however the Machiavellian offers struck between the pacers meant that the UCi ‘pulled the plug’ some 30 years in the past. Nonetheless, the game nonetheless has its devotees and enjoys a cult following in Germany on huge, previous concrete bowl tracks.

Kemper behind the large motor

# Tell us if we’ve missed a favorite of yours, and because of the photographers. #

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