Dave Russel frames

GaryGkn Posts: 1,199
edited December 2012 in Road general
Last night I saw a very nice olive green fixed gear steel bicycle. I am sure the decals said Dave Russel they were on white bands on the top and down tube. I did a search and found nowt does anyone know anything about these frames and if they are still made? It looked like a new bike and the typography was considered and did not look dated.

Many thanks G


  • chriskempton
    chriskempton Posts: 1,245
    I smiled when I read your post.

    Dave Russell had a small shop in Chalvey, Slough when I was living there in late 80s/early 90s. It was a proper small local bike shop where you'd go and pass a couple of hours talking nonsense but not generally buying anything. When a sale was made, it was typically a custom made (and I think he did off the peg) steel road frame. No alu, no carbon, no MTB. He did 531 and I think 753 frames, can't remember seeing anything else.

    His frames were quite popular with riders from local clubs, and I had one for a while. It was fine, nothing revolutionary just a good British custom frame. He once helped me with an insurance quote which was pleasingly on the generous side :lol:

    As for whether he's still going, I have no idea as I moved away years ago. If you were really keen to find out and no-one on here can help, you could try asking at other bike shops in the Slough area and someone will be sure to know.
  • GaryGkn
    GaryGkn Posts: 1,199
    Many thanks for the speedy reply and the info. I saw the bike being ridden in South Ken and wish I had asked the rider where he had bought it. I then thought it would be easy to look up on the net but alas I was wrong. Although you have given me a good lead and I will attempt to locate his shop. I hope it is still going as the frame was functional with a bit of charm and character and with all the choices in this day and age a lot of frames lack that quality!
  • PaulRide
    PaulRide Posts: 122
    I know that bike! I'll let its owner know that you're curious. Its current livery is a Mario Vaz respray - I think it used to be orange.
  • alexB
    alexB Posts: 2,199

    Thanks very much for the complements on the bike. I work in South Ken at the NHM, so the bike goes through daily.
    As for the shop, I suspect it's long gone. I met another Dave Russell owner on critical mass one evening. He said that Dave was already quite old and only building a few frames a year when he had his made.
    As for mine, it was built for a mate at college, designed for criteriums and short time trials, so it's short, stiff and with quite an unforgiving ride. It's 531c, but very light, the frame weighs just a bit over 3.75lbs which considering it's a 24" frame is pretty good. Anyway Jamie sold the frame onto me since he had been seduced by a secondhand Cannondale.
    I've had it for something like 16 years now. It was originally white fading into fluorescent pink, which was a colour Jamie copied off my Dave Yates mountain bike, so for a while I had 2 bikes called Dave in matching livery.
    It had gotten a bit tatty, so I had Mario respray it in the green and cream. I then rebuilt it with a mixture of classice and modern components. The idea being to produce a bit of a sleeper. Despite the 30's touring looks it's a race frame, so accelerates very quickly and being quite light gets up to speed and stays there pretty easily. It's a great bike for around town. I've had quite a few complements about it, one unexpected one from the driver of a skip lorry. I also love the Carradice saddlebag, it's so much more practical than a rucksac, just large enough to carry a day's junk without encouraging me to overload, plus no sweaty back!

    If you wanted something similar, my best guess would be to buy a Bob Jackson off the peg, and get it painted the colours you want. They're nice frames and the price is very attractive. the cheapest decent custom would be Mercian who turn out to be very competitive, although you'll wait and wait...
  • Lysander
    Lysander Posts: 349
    The shop in Chalvey went years ago. I use to take my Holdswoth Elan to be serviced by Dave in the late 80s. The shop was a real old world bike shop. I think Dave now just builds wheels although I may be wrong. If you contact the Windsor branch of Stows on 01753 862 734 I know he has done some wheel building for them.
  • GaryGkn
    GaryGkn Posts: 1,199
    Hi AxleB that is without a doubt the bike I saw. I have a Carradice and I noticed that you had the same one. Carradice do a bag called the zip roll which is really good for town. It is smaller than the Barley but big enough for a day. Dot bike do them for about £20 with free postage and I think despite the picture they only come in black which would also suit the livery of your bike. They are neat and classic looking.

    I was actually walking and I normally cycle that way. I also noticed the black mudguards. I have actually got a BJ Vigorelli it is just on the brink of the large size I bought a 23" but wish I had got the 22". I am going to see if I can get along with it if I can't manage it I will probably opt for a Mercian.

    You certainly got the look right. I thought it looked like it was a classic built today. It looked very responsive and light. Classic colours and decals. Good call. Very sleek a real head turner. I am not surprised that you have had a few comments and I am sure there are many more to come. You have a very desirable machine!

    Thanks for taking the trouble to write in with the history. I never thought I was going to get to the bottom it as looking for the old shop etc... just kept hitting dead ends. At least my mind is now at rest.

    Enjoy the bike and all the best Gary
  • GaryGkn
    GaryGkn Posts: 1,199
    Many thanks for the info and the lead Lysander. While I was writing I think you just pipped me to the post. If AxleB has a pic it would be served going up on this thread. When you see it you will know what all the fuss is about.
  • Sorry to have to bring this news , My father , Dave Russell , who owned a cycle shop in slough from the mid 60's until the early 90's , then from the early 90's until the late 90's in twyford ( peter hares old shop) building both handbuilt frames and wheels, and he was definately old school with no ali or carbon fibre allowed in the shop ! He retired recently after illness but was still completing wheels and frames to order for old friends .
    his customers and valued riders of his frames and bikes included Ian Banbury (1970's national track champion) Tony Doyle ( world track champoion several times) Jeff Banks, Mathew Pincent , Steve Redgrave, british army triathlon team , thats to name a few that i know of.
    anyway the news is that yesterday, 13th July 2008 at 6pm my father passed away suddenly. If anyone who knew him wishes to know about funeral details please contact myself on 01628 663263. The funeral details are yet to be confirmed but details will be published in the local paper and cycling weekly.
    Ian Russell
  • alexB
    alexB Posts: 2,199
    Very sad to hear that Ian. I only went in the shop in Slough once, but it was a great, jumbled old-time shop.
    This is the bike under discussion:

    Thanks for all the comments. It's weird to know that people have been discussing something which I ride to work on every day. Yes, I put a lot of thought into the "look", but it's become very much a tool and I'm not too precious about it.

    As for the suggestions about the zipped tool roll. I have one in green, to match the Barley, which I use as a handlbar bag for longer rides.

  • just a little more info for anyone who wants to identify a dave russell frame .
    ALL handbuilt frames had identifying stamps on the bottom , forgive me if i am wrong but i think there were two letters , the original buyers initials that the frame was built for followed by a 4 digit date stamp with year and month of completion.
    All decals on handbuilt frames had RUSSELL on the seat tube and DAVE RUSSELL on the down tube , on the head tube a headbadge with a black or white stylised swan and the words RUSSELL Slough. in the later years after the move to twyford the Slough was dropped from the headbadge, however it was reintroduced on the frames built when he worked from home in slough.
    some frames were sold through the slough and twyford shops that were not handbuilt by Dave , these were decaled with 'DJR' on the down tube and seat tube though some had russell on either tube but the DAVE RUSSELL decals were reserved for the handbuilt frames.
    I hope this might be of use to someone .
  • alexB
    alexB Posts: 2,199
    I should add that my decals are reproductions produced by Lloyds using a different font from the original transfers.
    My frame has the frame numbering described by Ian and the fork crown, which is a rather nice sloping crown/unicrown design has DJR engraved on it.
  • My dad did have either engraved or cut outs with either djr or the stylised swan on both the fork crowns , and the rear stays as well as the odd bottom bracket on very lightweight track and road frames.
    I will let you know but i am sure there are original decals still in the workshop if any frame owners are intrested in refurbing/respraying to original condition.
  • Lysander
    Lysander Posts: 349
    I'm very sorry to hear of your fathers death Ian. I have fond memories of his shop in Chalvey. He was a true artisan.
  • chriskempton
    chriskempton Posts: 1,245
    Best wishes Ian, sorry to hear the news. I spent many happy hours in the shop in the late 80s (I remember you coming in and out as I hung around) and remember your father as a very patient and friendly man who was very happy when people just wanted to stop and chat rather than actually buy anything.

    I left the area a long time ago, but I'm sure the local cycling fraternity will remember him as I do.
  • For anyone intrested ,
    Daves funeral will be held on the 1st of August 2008 leaving from his house (12:30 ish)on the bath rd , no 553 (near the huntercombe public house) and passing the location of the old shop in chalvey , where he spent possibly his happiest times , then on to slough crematorium (1pm) for the burial after the service. The wake will be at the Huntercombe public house, near jnc 7 of the M4 .
    All are welcome to pay respects and spend time (or a few hours) milling around , drinking and just passing the time (discussing anything not just bike related) as i am sure that would bring a huge smile to his face.
  • Hodder23
    Hodder23 Posts: 6

    So sorry to hear about your father's passing. I have been riding around London on one of his frames for three or four years now. I bought it from a chap in Camberley - your father had built the frame for him in the mid 70s I think. It's still going strong now - and will do for a long while yet.

    Best wishes

  • tatanab
    tatanab Posts: 1,283
    ianrussell wrote:
    ALL handbuilt frames had identifying stamps on the bottom , forgive me if i am wrong but i think there were two letters , the original buyers initials that the frame was built for followed by a 4 digit date stamp with year and month of completion.
    I have GC 1092. A touring frame built in 653 all terrain tubing frame.
    All decals on handbuilt frames had RUSSELL on the seat tube and DAVE RUSSELL on the down tube , on the head tube a headbadge with a black or white stylised swan. Some frames were sold through the slough and twyford shops that were not handbuilt by Dave , these were decaled with 'DJR' on the down tube and seat tube though some had russell on either tube but the DAVE RUSSELL decals were reserved for the handbuilt frames.
    Mine had Dave Russell on the downtube, DJR on the seat tube, and a black swan head badge. So slightly different in having DJR on the seat tube.

    In 1998 I had it resprayed and went into the shop in Twyford to get some transfers. I'd specified the frame entirely on the telephone. Dave had identified me as "of a certain age" (40 at the time) because I knew exactly what I wanted of the frame. So I never met him until I went into the shop 7 or 8 years later to get some transfers. I told him the frame number and he identified me by name straight away. The frame now has Russell on the downtube and swan transfers on the head and seat tubes.

    The frame is no longer my main touring frame, but I think it is one I am attached to because it has been around with me so much on so many tours in Europe and the USA.
  • softlad
    softlad Posts: 3,513
    Ian - I am very sorry to hear the news about Dave. I still have my Russell 653 which your dad built for me in the early 90s. He also built a couple of sets of wheels for me too.

    I am a former member (and sponsor) of local racing club Thames Velo and spent many happy hours chatting to Dave in his Twyford shop.

    My bike started its life in the original Velo colours of red/yellow, but after crashing in a bunch sprint up in Cheddington in 1995 (I think), Dave replaced the downtube and I had it repainted in flam green, which is how it is today.

    I now live in west Wales, so am not local enough to attend the funeral. Dave was a friendly, warm and kind man who always had time to chat.

    sympathies to you & your family
    Andy Smith
  • CatrikeUK
    CatrikeUK Posts: 3
    I suspect the oly place to get them now is this guy;

    Welcome to the dark side.
  • Ian

    So sad that I only learnt of Daves death yesterday - strangely around the time of the funeral and only learnt of the funeral a few minutes ago.

    I would have been proud to pay my respect to your father who I have been wanting to contact for some time.

    I have a frame and wheels he built for me in 89 and I could never bear to part with either.

    He was a great influence on my life and one of the people I have always been proud to call a friend.
  • Update on info reguarding Dave Russell
    All my fathers stock will be coming up for sale on ebay over the next few months via the ruscombe cycles ebay shop , this inmcludes frames , royce hubs and so much other equipment including his campag toolsets ( both worn but one full set and one small set both as you would expect not fully complete after 30 years of use) .
    there will also be a dave russell memorial cycle jumble sale at the back end of september details tba but the remainder of the odds and sods that once furnished the shops at both chalvey and twyford . I am told that there will be a very rare frame on offer at the jumble sale , a dave russell tandem frame , one of only five he built.
    details of juble :-
    Dave Russell Memorial Cycle Jumble

    Sunday 28th September

    In conjunction with Cycles Plus Unit 2H Fryers Work, Abercromby Avenue High Wycombe, Bucks, HP12 3BW


    Ian Russell
  • I've just managed to pick up an old Dave Russell frame. Anyone know what size seatpost I should get? It seems less than 27.2 but more than 26mm!!! Was there a standard one???

    Any help much appreciated.

  • alexB
    alexB Posts: 2,199
    Mine is 27.0mm, a bit of an odd size, so perhaps yours is the same.
  • ianrussell
    I am sorry i never got to meet your father. Nevertheless Il mourn the passing of someone who's made my life so much more enjoyable. I managed to pick up one of Dave's frames a few years ago and would love to show you pictures of the most comfortable and graceful machine i've ever had. I would love very much to buy one of Dave's frames that i could build into a tourer and have taken your advice and searched for ruscombe cycles on ebay...unfortunately to no avail. Have i missed the opportunity?
    Many thanks to your father and yourself,
    Steve Taylor
  • if u email me i can pass ur number on the guy thats dealing with all of dads frames wheels etc that we have left my email is paulandtrudy@hotmail.co.uk. i dont know what is there and what is not. sorry that i cant give u anymore info than that
    trudy (daves daughter)
  • Ian and Trudy, you both must be very proud of what your father has accomplished and how many people he has affected.

    It's a strange story that brings me here to this forum from my home in Virginia Beach, Virginia in the USA, especially at this time.
    I'm not involved in cycling, but my father was. In all of my life I can only remember one time when he bought something just for himself. It was, of course, a custom built bike from Dave Russell, #6082.
    He bought it in 1973, give or take a year, while we lived in Farnborough. Shortly afterwards, we moved to the US. I can only remember him riding the bike twice, both times in races.
    The first race was a 50 miler that one of his bike buddies convinced him to ride even though he hadn't been on the bike in years. He won the race, but couldn't walk for days. His friend, who had been training, wouldn't talk to him for a bit either. He was in his mid 50s at the time. Just incredible.
    The next race was a triathalon and he was the cycling leg of the team. Again, without any training, off they went. It was a bit of a disapointment this time as the bike had developed a slow leak in one of the tires from sitting unused for so long. It was a short race so there wasn't time to fix it. He just stopped each lap and filled it again and again.
    The bike still has the leaky tire and I believe it was the original tire from when Dave built it.

    The timing of this thread is interesting. My father passed away nearly 10 years ago and I've been storing his bike for all these years and through three major moves. I was out cleaning the garage and was once again faced with Dad's bike. What to do with it? Like every bike that isn't being used, it takes up quite a bit of space. I was going to take it to a local shop and see if they were interested, but just couldn't do it. I decided to do a little research instead and came accross this forum.

    So now you know the story behind the Dave Russell frame in Virginia Beach, VA.
    Greg Weate
  • I would like to thank everyone for all their great stories and memories about my dad, we are all so proud of both mum and dad and wish that they could see just how much dad meant to people and how much he is missed. dad had so many friends and was so well respected its really very touching and so nice to hear what people say. when dad passed away to me it showed just how he was thought so much of by the amount of people that wanted to help arrange things and sort things out and for all those that made so many calls on our behalf and made arrangments for me thankyou so much. it may have just been little things like making a phone call but to me it meant alot. without dave and smilier i really dont know what i would have done they have been there for me every step of the way and i cant express how gratful i am to everyone. all of the posts on this site and others will be printed off and i am putting them into a book i am making for my children and my neice who dad never got to meet i want them to see just how much dad was thought of and hope they can too be as proud as i am. dad is one in a million
  • Hello Ian, Trudy and Paul,
    I am so sorry to hear of Dave's passing. The last time I saw him was on the 21st June when I went to the house to collect my frame he had been working on. Left after 5 hours of chat and coffee! I first met Dave at the Chalvey shop in 1989 and lost touch till last year when I met him again at the Charlotteville Ripley Bike Jumble. He still remembered me, he had such a good memory for so many people. Since then I have been over to the house several times as he was fixing my bikes. We always had good times talking. He missed Pam a lot. I bought Pam's bike last time I was there as it fits both me and my wife Sue. It wasn't one of his but it was badged up with his transfers. Hopefully I can get a new set at some point. It's through Dave that my enthusiasm for cycling has been rekindled something I shall allways be grateful for. I will be at the Memorial Bike Jumble perhaps we can share some memories then.
    with my deepest sympathy
    and kind regards
    Paul Brown
  • PAC
    PAC Posts: 1
    I'm really sorry to hear Dave has passed away.

    He made a set of wheels from one of my bikes in 1988, and then built my road bike for me in June 1990 - stamped PC6690! It's an 18 year old classic now, but still going strong with all the original components, except the saddle, pedals and tyres which I have changed! It needs a respray, but it's still a great bike to ride. I was measured up at his shop in Chalvey just before it closed, and my bike built in the shed in his back garden, ready for delivery the day before the London to Brighton bike ride!

    with kind regards and sympathy,

    Peter Corfe.
  • Seeing the turn this thread has taken, I hope my post doesn't seem out of turn or disrespectful, as I've never had any dealings with Mr Russel. However, seeing the bike pic, I have a question. I've been considering getting flared bars and yours seem so from the pic, could you id them for me please?

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad