Classic Lightweights UK

Granby Taperlite - 1934

Author Bill Ives




Seat tube:- 21½" C-Top. Top tube:- 22" C-C. 

Stem and bars:- Renolds (these must be a later addition as they didn’t appear until around the time of WW2.) 

Saddle post:- Alloy dome top (probably a later addition).

Mudguards:- Blumels Featherweight with quick release fittings. 

Chainset:- Williams. 

Brakes:- Resilion Cantilever. 

Gear:- Sturmey Archer K5. 

Pedals:- Anonymous rat trap.

Rims:- Modern (ish) Weinmann. Cyclo Rosa front wing nuts.

Saddle:-Brooks B5N.

This is a Granby Taperlite model with the saddle and down tubes in tapered form. The top tube is constant diameter. Granby also made another model with the addition of a tapered top tube a well called the TaperTube model. See http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/granby.html

This cycle is interesting in its own right as it incorporates all the features Granby boasted of in their catalogue. It is also notable for some points of general interest. Namely, the original finish and the frame geometry.

There is a 1938/9 Granby catalogue, originating from Madgett Cycles, several copies of which are in the public domain. The easiest way of accessing the catalogue, if you don’t have a one, is to obtain a copy of Lightweight Cycle Catalogues vol.2, published by John Pinkerton Memorial Publishing Fund and possibly still available from the Veteran-Cycle Club club sales. Also available from the VCC library via the National Cycle Museum web site.


Images of the relevant pages are included with this piece. See the catalogue page giving details of Granby’s exclusive features. (note 1) This cycle displays all of them. The Granby drop out (adjuster not fitted), forward mounted saddle post bolt, the squared chain stays and, although the reader can’t see it, the Granby bottom bracket.

granby-ives-restoration 9

Original finish see “as found” image below which shows the remains of the original finish. The frame and forks were chrome plated all over. The fork and stay ends and possibly the fork crown were masked off. The cycle was then sprayed with a translucent gold lacquer. It was an expensive, though I believe, quite popular finish and when new must have looked spectacular.


This type of finish fell from favour in later years being replaced by pearlescent and metal flake. Unfortunately time has taken its toll. When new the finish must have been quite delicate, any scratch would go right through to the chrome. How could it be touched up to achieve the same depth of colour? Over time the translucent gold has turned to a thick, murky brown. The remains of the paint were stripped. The chrome was elecrolytically removed i.e. put in the chrome plating bath with the electric current connected up the wrong way. The bare frame revealed a lovely set of tiger stripes in surface rust on the down tube where the brittle chrome had developed microscopic cracks over the years as the frame flexed. So if you’re thinking of chroming your tubes that’s what goes on under the flashy looking chrome.

Frame Geometry

The Granby catalogue offers frames in Standard or Upright angles.  This machine is Upright. Included is a comparative image with another Taperlite, a c.1932 Standard model and the difference in angles is plain to see.


The 1934 model looks, and rides, like a modern bike. The 1932 model looks antediluvian and is best described as a stately riding experience. The catalogue also illustrates some of the different fork blades available, two of which the reader can see both on the page and in the image above. (N4) Both forks use the same crown. Granby’s of this era stamped frame numbers under the Bottom Bracket and, rather oddly, the bottom of the fork crown. Both machines have a full set of matching numbers.