Classic Lightweights UK
Readers' Bikes  

Ephgrave No 1Road/Path - 1954

Submitted by Alan Woods

 Les Ephgrave road/path #2557 LE (1954) – Black/dark green seat tube panel. No. 1 lugs lined in gold. Mudguard eyes. A simple post decorates each top eye and the adjacent part of each seat stay. Reinforced, rear facing, track ends. Round fork blades. 
Geometry — 73º (parallel) head and seat angles. 
Measurements — Seat tube: 23 1/2" (c to top).  Top tube: 23" (c to c). Chain stay length: 17 5/16"± 5/8" (c to c). Wheel base: 41 13/16"± 5/8". Front center distance: 24 15/16".  Bottom bracket height: 10 3/4" (with 27 mm tubular tyres). Rear drop out spacing: 110 mm. Bottom bracket shell width: 66 mm. Fork offset: 1 7/8".  Trail: 2 1/8". Fork blade diameter: 7/8" (at crown). Brake drop front: 2 1/8" (with sprint rims). Brake drop rear: 2 7/16" (with sprint rims). 
Fiamme Red Label sprint rims (ferrule at valve hole, Brevetto Longhi) and 27 mm wide tubular tires on 36/40 hole T.F. Blumfield Duralite large flange hubs with oiler nipples. Blumfield blue anodized alloy wheel nuts. Fixed, 19T cog. Lock ring. Double butted spokes, tied-and-soldered.
Chainset Chater-Lea 6 1/2" steel, cottered crank arms with Chater Lea 48T chainring. Bayliss Wiley bottom bracket with Bayliss Wiley No. 15 hollow axle. Chain 1/8" wide x 1/2" pitch 
Pedals Chater-Lea Sprint with Christophe toe-clips.
Gears 67" single-speed fixed
Brakes GB Coureur front brake caliper. GB Superhood brake lever.
Stem/Bars GB Spearpoint 3 3/4" alloy stem;  Maes-bend 16 1/4" wide alloy handlebar.
Saddle  Brooks B17 Champion Sprinter saddle on 27.2 mm Reynolds alloy seat post.
Extra details  Road/path bicycles appeal to me because they combine the performance, reliability, and durability advantages of a fixed gear with the practicality of mudguard clearances,  eyelets and brakes. It is a class of bicycle that has largely disappeared from the marketplace.  

I have long admired Peter Underwood’s 1959 Ephgrave No. 1 road/path bicycle (pictured elsewhere in the CL Readers’ Bikes section).  Unfortunately, large Ephgrave frames rarely are offered for sale, so my wait to own one was long.  I bought Ephgrave #2577 LE from a dealer, Hilary Stone. Bill Stevenson, frame builder from Olympia, Washington, inspected, repaired, and aligned the frame; as part of the process, he replaced the steerer tube that had been damaged by an over-tightened stem. Jeff Pinard, of Olympia, refinished the bike to a high standard and did the brush striping and lining. Corey Thompson, of Olympia, built the wheelset. The crankset, hubs, headset, and saddle are new old stock items purchased from Ray Etherton. No. 2557 LE is a good bicycle to ride, with excellent performance and handling. As pictured, the bicycle weighs less than 21 3/4 pounds. Its long wheel base (relative to modern standards) makes it steady on the road, but does not dull the handling too much.

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Lugwork detail at seat cluster, head and fork crown emphasised with very good gold lining on black

Drive chain with Chater-Lea chainset and pedals

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Left: Ephgrave seat-stay bridge which will help to identify an Ephgrave frame
Right: Classic Blumfield hub with barrel 'collar' and grease nipple

Above: Flat-lying Ephgrave seat tube badge transfer showing correct position,
'EPHGRAVE' is diagonal. Restorers have been known to position this in the horizontal plane.

Below: Classic period down-tube transfer