Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bates Classic Tandem

British classic 

I bought this tandem for it's beauty, great design and engineering, that would be hard to match today! 
Also, of course they went for strength and durability in those days. It's a touring model complete with front & rear panniers, where travel is my other love so inspired me even more to buy it.
Far as I can tell, the tandem only had one owner that passed it on to his niece, who definitely was a true cyclist, new great engineering and how to do his own maintaining .
(21 February 2014 I have now sold this Tandem which was hard to let go off, but the frame was 2 inches too small for me) I am now looking for a replacement.....................

Bates Tandem
Bates tandem British steel double diamond frame and odd shaped 'diadrant' forks (Pre war) 1939
Vintage water bottles

Only 75 tube sets made by Reynolds (531 tubing) 
Model Grangewood Tandem 
Unique 'Cantiflex' frame tubing and odd-shaped 'Diadrant' front forks & Chrome plated headtube

Frame measurements center to center:
Cross bar full length 43" 
Cross bar front 22"
Cross bar rear 21"
Seat tube front 21"
Seat tube rear 20"
Bottom bracket to bottom bracket 21"

Bates is one of the most highly regarded of the English lightweight frame builders. The company became famous for its racing successes of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s but it is probably best known for the unique 'Cantiflex' frame tubing and odd-shaped 'Diadrant' front forks used for many of their racing and club machines. These ingenious features were not mere gimmicks but were genuine improvements. The result was a responsive frame of unusually high rigidity while the front fork design was claimed to possess the ability to effectively absorb road shocks despite the short wheelbase and steep head angle. What is more remarkable is that these designs were developed and patented way back in the 1930s when lightweight cycles were in their infancy. Bates Cycles was set up in Swete Street, London E13 in 1926 by Horace T Bates. That same year he began to produce his first frames and in 1927 was joined in the business by his brother EG (Eddie) Bates, The name was changed to Bates Brothers. Before long, they moved to larger premises at 632 Barking Road. Even at this early stage the Bates brothers specialised in high performance lightweights of exceptional quality for the clubman and racing cyclist. Both road and track machines were produced and a good reputation was soon established in the London area and beyond. The symbol used on the name badge of Bates machines was that of a bat and this has remained throughout the very long production history of Bates cycles. 

Diadrant' forks

By the early 1930s Bates offered club and racing machines as well as framesets. In 1934 they exhibited at the Lightweight Cycle Show with four solo models and two tandems. Their range-topping Volante was a track model that weighed a little over 15lbs on silk tubulars and aluminium sprint rims. The demand for Bates Brothers cycles was such that the company expanded into a larger shop just over the road (589-591 Barking Road), while the old shop was converted for use as the frame-building workshop. The men taken on to build the frames and machines were all racing men and of course they rode Bates cycles. One of them, Stan Butler, was a prominent rider in national time trial events and his successes certainly helped Bates Brothers reputation. That reputation was further enhanced when the Bates Cantiflex frame and Diadrant front fork was announced at the end of 1935

Cantilever brakes and complete with head badge

Throughout the 1930’s they were one of the hallmarks of a quality lightweight.
The Resilion Cantilever was introduced in 1929

Rear hub and grease nipple.

The cogs move sideways, the derailleur stays in place

The invention of the Trivelox in 1931 in which the lever moved the sprockets into line so chainline was always maintained and found its way onto tandems.
The twin-jockey mechanism was actually fixed, with no lateral movement; it was simply there to take up chain tension. Instead, the three sprockets themselves moved laterally, and affected the chain derailing. Naturally the TriVelox's main component was its special hub and sprocket assembly which had to be built into a new or existing wheel.

3 Speed gear shifter 

Tandem oversize headset with grease nipples 

Eccentric-mounted bottom bracket with grease nipples 

Bates Spare Parts, Sprockets, Brake Blocks & Tools
The tandem is also complete with tools & spares 

Front and rear panniers.

Photos of Bates Tandem

Double Chainring

26 x 1 3/8" tyres

Vintage water bottles

Frame number:  SO 22  5LA12  (3303) 

Having some fun with Juliana

74 Years on and still going strong

I don't know a great deal about Bates, and would love to hear from readers who know more about them than I do, especially this tandem.

Thank you for looking Martin

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