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My Old Claude Butler - Any ideas?

LimososLimosos Posts: 4
edited April 2009 in Road general

I've recently been kindly given an old claude butler road bike. It's in a pretty poor state (though I've seen worse) and I'm seeing it as a bit of a summer project. I've attached a link to some photo's so you can have a look if you like.

My query really relates to how I should go about restoring it. Currently I'm thinking I should strip the frame/forks and respray. This is mostly due to the amount of surface rust which is prolific. I'm thinking it will prolong the life of the frame. Both wheels have some wobbly spokes and I think it will be easier in the long run to just replace them entirely as, although the bearings feel fine, I've no idea what state they're in.

I'm also interested in how old the bike is, but having researched online I can see that's a bit of a foggy mine field.

Any suggestions on how to restore, or what I should be looking to do as a priority would be appreciated, so I don't muddle my way in and ruin a potentially wonderful bike.

Currently I own and use an MTB. I've only every ridden off road so I think this might be the beginning of my road riding too.

Thanks in advance.


  • NervexProfNervexProf Posts: 4,202
    See here:

    From pictures 2 and 6 I suggest that this is the Claud Butler 'Challenge' model, built at Lullington Rd, Anerley, SE20 - at around 1956/7.

    Head angle was I think 73 degree, seat angle 71 degrees. Tubing as I recall was Les Bas.

    Well worth stripping down, then getting it shotblast first, this to check the extent of any rusting, and to reveal dents, etc.

    Good luck with the project..should result in your having a nice steel road bike.

    Edit: You can get transfers/decals here: ... decals.htm
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • LimososLimosos Posts: 4
    Thank you for that, really helpful! Wow, 1956/57... I thought it was old, but I didn't think that old. I'm really happy with it thus far, lots to do but more the fun!

    I need to research sandblasting (Which i'm guessing is the same as shot blasting?).

    I'm thinking there are specific firms who have done or exclusively do bike frames?

    Any pointers on trustworthy companies in the uk would be appreciated.

    Thanks again :D
  • NervexProfNervexProf Posts: 4,202
    Two specific bike frame refinishers:

    Yes - shotblasting (sometimes referred to as sandblasting) check your Yellow pages - possibly under metal refinishers.

    You could consider powder coating...single colour, very durable and then apply the transfers yourself. Much depends on your budget.

    Powder coating would be something like half, if not more of the cost of traditional spray finish. Threaded parts of the frame need prior protection to ease refit of parts.
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • NervexProfNervexProf Posts: 4,202
    Another renovation, respray source:

    scroll down the page for price list.
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • bagpusscpbagpusscp Posts: 2,907
    The rear mech is an early Campagnolo Record ,providing the jockey wheels are not to worn{they should be steel} and there is not to much play in the cage,it is well worth saving and using if you are going to keep to bike period
    .Mercian cycles Derby are also very good for resprays .Here is a Claud Butler they restored for me.[email protected] ... 456892668/[email protected] ... 456895069/[email protected] ... 456895069/
  • LimososLimosos Posts: 4
    Thanks for that, i've just spent ages pouring over that album of bikes, what a treat for the eyes!

    The current rear mech all looks ok, thought pretty dirty. I think getting it off and cleaned up will be a priority. The company in Derby that did the work on your bike certainly did a good job.

    May I ask roughly how much it costs to have that sort of work done?

    Thanks again
  • Marko1962Marko1962 Posts: 320
    NervexProf wrote:

    Wow ta for the catalogue, I have always wondered after my first bike, a Claud Butler. Looking through the catalogues I can see that I was in possession of a Super European 5spd from around the mid 60's. My Dad bought it for me around about 1975 when I was 13, it was slightly too big at first for me but I grew into it and loved it. It might have been 2nd hand but none of the new bikes my brothers and mates bought held a candle to that CB.

    Happy memories of sunny afternoons on my CB in the countryside :D

    Incidentally- what was the gearing of those bikes, anyone know?
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    There's a Claud Butler leather saddle currently on ebay.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff[email protected]/
    More stuff:[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
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