By Mike Barry
Photography by Walter Lai

In around 1958 prominent Toronto racer, Trevor Allen ordered three handmade bicycles from Rotrax Cycles in Southampton, England. He purchased two identical bikes for himself, one to race on and the other as a back-up. The third he ordered for his wife. The two race bikes were equipped with the finest components available at the time. His wife’s bike had similar equipment but had only 5 gears and a “ladies style” mixte frame. The frames were all Rotrax’s top Concours model with very fine and ornate lug work. The chrome and paint finish on the bikes is superb and there is very elegant pin striping.

1958_Rotrax_01

The “ladies frame” is particularly rare as very few were made. It was usual for women who were serious about cycling to prefer a standard frame as they were thought to be “stiffer” and consequently more responsive. Certainly one would never see a woman racing on a “ladies” frame.

1958_RotraxW_01

Trevor was very particular about his equipment and he kept all the bikes in perfect condition. However, after a few years, his cycling interests waned and the bikes were not being used. In the late seventies, he offered them to me and I was excited to receive the unused race back-up bike and his wife’s bike. I never found out what happened to the race bike.

The Rotraxs are very fine examples of the type of bike being build by numerous builders in England in the 1950s. The hand but lugs were very popular at the time, but became less so in the 1960s and now the art is almost extinct.

1958_rotrox_02

These two bikes were voted as the “best British bike” at the Cirque du Cyclisme held in South Carolina in 2005.

Specifications (Men’s):
Frame: Reynolds 531 butted steel tubing. Hand cut lugs, Campagnolo drop-outs with eyelets, and chrome stays.
Fork: Reynolds 531 blades with Campagnolo drop-outs.
Wheels: Ambrosio aluminum rims, Campagnolo large flange Gran Sport hubs.
Tires: Tubular
Headset: Branpton Alatet
Handlebar: Cinelli chrome steel
Stem: Cinelli chrome steel with enameled badge.
Crankset: Campagnolo Record 51/48T rings.
Pedals: Campagnolo Record Chrome with toe-clips
Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Gear Levers: Campagnolo down tube
Sprockets: Regina Course, 5 speed.
Chain: 1/2″ x 3/32″
Brakes: GB Coureur
Brake levers: GB Superhood
Saddle: Brooks B17N
Seatpost: Straight aluminum

Specifications (Women’s)
Frame: Reynolds 531 butted steel tubing. Hand cut lugs, Campagnolo drop-outs with eyelets, chrome stays and head lugs.
Fork: Reynolds 531 blades with Campagnolo drop-outs. chrome ends and crown.
Wheels: Fiamme aluminum rims, Campagnolo large flange Gran Sport hubs.
Tires: Tubular
Headset: Branpton Alatet
Handlebar: Cinelli chrome steel
Stem: Cinelli chrome steel
Crankset: Stronglight chrome steel cottered cranks with 47T ring.
Pedals: Lyotard “Berthet” steel platform with toe clips and straps.
Derailleur: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Gear levers: Campagnolo down tube
Sprockets: Regina Course, 5 speed.
Chain: 1/2″ x 3/32″
Brakes: GB Coureur
Brake Levers: Lytalloy
Saddle: Brooks B17N
Seatpost: Straight aluminum

1958_rotrox_05

These bicycles are currently available for sale in our Ebay store.  Buy now >> Rotrax Men’s >>  Rotrax Ladies >>

At Mariposa/Bicycle Specialties we have a good knowledge of vintage bikes and equipment and can restore old bikes to their original condition ready for any of the multitude of retro bike events available today or just to hang on your living room wall. For more information, contact us at info@mariposabicycles.ca

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