Ron Kitching catalogues - Everything Cycling
(Aids to Happy
Holdsworth's Aids to
Happy Cycling the Ron Kit catalogues are probably
the second most useful resource if researching component history in the
post war period. However there is a massive contrast between the two
companies approach. Holdsworth settled on the pocket-sized guide which
they kept until the late 70's whereas the Ron Kit catalogues grew and
grew until their zenith in the late 60's when they were over 200 pages
of detailed information, an encyclopedia of cycling...
Right: a cover image of
a well-thumbed 1963 edition of Everything Cycling
first catalogue in 1948 was very slim publication entitled Ron Kitching
'The Riders Agent',
then he was working out of a retail shop in
Station Road, Harrogate. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of firms
were British with only some of the clothing and tubulars coming from
Europe (Belgium). Throughout the 50's the number of continental names
increases at a dramatic rate so much so that by 1963 British names were
very much in the minority .
Later names like TA, Zeus, Cinelli, and Alex became synonymous with Ron
Kit. From the mid 50's the Milremo trade name appears (from the Milan
San Remo road race). Amongst manufacturers making badge-engineered
products under the Milremo marque were Lyotard, Super Champion, CLB,
Christophe, Phillipe. Milremo included some innovation especially in
the areas of brakes and pedals, their centre-pull of the early 60's
features an adjustable reach and is far more than just a copy.
interesting to note that Kitching seems to have a dislike for products
to share with other wholesalers, e.g. Campagnolo and Mafac, which had a
short life with him.
Left: example of
in Everything Cycling
The 70's reflect the shift to looking beyond Europe
new suppliers. In this era Suntour and MKS make an appearance. The last
full catalogue is in 1983 - after this there was a move to make it
mail order which didn't last more than a few years.
The golden age was
the late 50's and 60's, lavishly illustrated in many cases with Daniel
Rebour drawings (the Frank Patterson of technical cycle drawings). They
score highly over the Holdsworth
Aids in having far more technical and
specification detail (if you want to know the make-up of the different
tool kits then the 1959 Everything
Cycling is the place to look).
Below: Cover and page 13 from Aids to
Happy Cycling, 1952
Much more in the style of work produced by a jobbing printer