Classic Lightweights UK
Readers' Bikes  

Gillott 'Fleur de Lis' 1957

Submitted by Peter Underwood


Gillott Fleur de Lis - 1957 - frame no. 574698; seat tube 23" C to T, top tube 23" C to C; 73° head - 71° seat tube angles, 17½" chainstays; 5/16" seatstays with fluted topeyes; rear track ends (mudguard eyes) Reynolds 531 DB tubing;  round fork blades with Simplex ends (mudguard eyes)
Re- finished by Mario Vaz (London) in black with white head and seat panel.  Chrome ends and fork crown; drilled fork crown and seat stay bridge (reinforced) for brakes. One of a pair of Gillotts built by Ron Cooper for the original owner. The second frame was a 1957 Gillott track - frame no. 574752; Nervex Professional lugs; Seat tube 22½", top tube 22½"  Round fork blades with Simplex ends, RJB fork crown.  Blue with 'Gillott' in hand-painted block letters on down tube.
Harden large flange Bacon Slicer hubs - 32/40 - rear single fixed - 15/17 double butted spokes - Dunlop Light Alloy HP  rims - Continental tyres
Or with original wheels having cut down large-flange (to small flange) double-fixed Chater-Lea hubs with unknown 27" alloy HP rims 32/40 with 15/17 DB spokes.
Chainset Chater-Lea  two-arm chainset, with single 48T x 1/8" chainring. On original Bayliss Wiley bottom bracket
Pedals Lyotard Marcel Berthet 23 (MB23) with Christoph toeclips and straps
Gears Single-speed fixed
Brakes GB Coureur - front only
Stem/Bars Holdsworth special steel lugged stem 1951 Cyclone de Luxe numbered 9072 (This would be the number of a matching frame. Un-numbered stems were stock items). with alloy Maes bars.  Black tape.
Saddle  Brooks B17 (oval badge) on 27.2 alloy post
Extra details This frame was owned from new by a good friend of mine who recently passed away. He purchsed it with a payment from the army when he returned home from military service in Korea. Whilst overseas, the army kept most of the wages due and paid a small weekly allowance.  On return to Blighty in 1957 Ken (Hogg) had a fair lump sum due to him and  he  bought two Gillotts, this one for himself and another - with Nervex Professional lugs, for his wife. The frames were custom built to their specifications.

Ken was delighted when they were told that they were to return home to the UK from Korea.  However, the hardship was not complete because, whilst sailing home through the Med in the troopship Windrush, Ken ended up swimming for hours before being rescued when the engines exploded and the ship sank. In December 2014 while I was restoring this machine, a memorial was opened to those who died in "The Forgotten War", sadly Ken missed this as it really was a forgotten war here in the UK and the troops fought for years in appalling conditions.

Paintwork was done by Mario Vaz in London. Plating by Prestige Plating.

gillott-underwood-rb-10 gillott-underwood-rb-11 gillott-underwood-rb-12
Left: seat cluster with topeye decoration.  Centre and Right: Fleur de Lis (sic) headlugs, with windows

Head and plated RJB fork crown


Two images of the Holdsworth Cyclone de Luxe custom stem #9072.

Advert showing a similar Holdsworth stem in their 'Aids to Happy Cycling'
booklet of the 1950s. The stem on this Gillott was built to match the lugs on
their 'Cyclone de Luxe' model

Harden 'Bacon Slicer' large flange hub - 32 hole built with 15/17 double-butted spokes.
See Holdsworth advert for Harden hubs at bottom of page.

Drive chain with Chater-Lea fluted 2-arm cranks, (third chainring bolt threads into back of crank)
 48T chainwheel to 20T sprocket giving 64.8" gear measured the UK way,
 i.e. chainring size (48) multiplied by wheel diameter (27) and divided by sprocket size (20) which equals 64.8
Lyotard  MB23 platform pedals with Christophe toeclips and black straps to match paint.

Page from 1952 Gillott catalogue giving Fleur de Lis details for both
bi-laminated and lugged frames

Advert for the Harden hubs, including the 'Bacon Slicer' - described as 'undrilled'.
from 'Aids to Happy Cycling' - 1949