Classic Lightweights UK
Classic Frame Builders
Alpex - APL Bicycles
Author Mick Butler
The frame featured here is not a Jack Denny or a Hetchins as was originally thought, it is a very rare Alpex from 1949. Alpex were made by Ayley's Products Ltd. 61 Caxton Road, London ,S.W.19. They were an engineering and welding specialist before venturing into frame building in 1949. They also started making fork sets for the trade about the same time. The name they used was A.P.L. Bicycles. They were have supposed to have pioneered a new brazing technique with a special formulae flux which ensured greater penetration of the joint by the brazing metal. They reckoned to have a stronger joint and with the added advantage in that the joint requires little subsequent cleaning.
The Alpex lightweight frame had a curved seat tube and chainstays, this gave the frame a 40" wheelbase. I purchased one of these frames in early 1973 it was thrown in as a give away when I got my tandem. The frame was a massive to me at 24" but I was curious as to who had manufactured it. Our club use to visit Alf's shop regularly when it was in Seven Sisters Road. It was Alf and Jack himself who told me what it was when I took it in there. My frame number was 31, the same number as my flat, that is how I have remembered it after all these years. I sold the frame, as it was far to big for me, shortly afterwards.
Alpex were at the 1949 Cycle Show and I am absolutely positive if you look in the cycling press for this year you will find further information about this rare marque. My research back then led me to believe that they only made about 250 frames. The original Jack Denny frame had curly seat and chainstays. There is also a very similar frame that came out of St. Albans in Hertfordshire at the same date. This was a Grandex with exactly the same seat tube but conventional seat and chain-stays.
© 2006 Classic Lightweights