Bike of the Month – May 2022
The May ‘Bike of the Month’ belongs to Mark Stephens who now lives in Co Mayo, Ireland. He had the frame custom built when he was living in London. He has painstakingly restored the bike to a very high standard and we are looking forward to seeing it at the ‘OldVelos Cycling Festival’ in Curraghmore House on the weekend of the 17th / 18th September.
Bicycle Make: Ken Bird
Bicycle model: 80’s custom made Lo-Pro Time Trial
Date of Manufacture: 1987
The frame is a hand-built, custom-made for me, Reynolds 753 Ken Bird, Lo-Pro Time Trial frame which has been completely restored over the last year. This involved shot blasting the frame, silver soldering two new 853 seat stays, a respray and new NOS decals added. The frame has some nice features such as ‘shot-in’ seat stays, brake cable guides on the underside of the frame and originally I had Modolo gear levers top mounted on the down tube but unfortunately the boss broke and opted for clip-on Campag Super Record gear levers.
I’ve lost and had stolen a lot of components over the years but some of the components were original from my racing days such as the Campagnolo Super Record seat post, rear mech and the ITM Citta di Bassano cow-horn handlebars & stem. The mostly Campag Super Record replacement components were bought over a period of time (interestingly replacing those that were stolen from my Holdsworth 531) and are:
* Campag Super Record Chainset
* Campag Super Record brake calipers
* Campag Super Record front mech
* Campag Super Record gear levers
* Campag Superleggeri pedals
* Finished with 2x Campagnolo Biodinamica Water Bottles
The remaining components were then bought off a local lad selling off some of his spares.
The plan was to take the bike to vintage events such as the OldVelos event in Waterford & Eroica events (I’m taking it to Goodwood in August) and interestingly I had to change the original pedals – one of the first Time quick-release type (which I’ve still got) to those to fulfill the Eroica rules of Pedals + cleats & straps!
The handlebars are the originals from about 1985 or so which I bought from Holdsworth in Putney, when I transitioned to triathlon the handlebars were swapped for the first Scott Aero Triathlon bars with a connector at the end. This restoration takes the bike back to the original ‘look’ of 80’s low profile time trialling.
I cheated a little on the brake levers; I swapped the originals (standard type) for a pair that I had left over that I bought from China recently that fit into the bar ends – the swap was to give better braking. The bars were already pre-drilled when I first bought them with cable routing through the handlebar but then travelling on the outside of the frame.
Other information from the owner:
I had a lovely Reynolds 531 Holdsworth stolen in the 80’s and used the insurance money to buy a Lo-Profile frame from Ken Bird in 1987. I was going to use the proposed bike for Time Trials and Triathlons.. Ken Bird had a shop in south London (near Crystal Palace) and Ken Bird’s claim to fame was that he was mechanic on three Tour de Frances including the one where Tommy Simpson died on Ventoux.
I built the bike up over a few years, swapping and changing parts, including building my own wheels (without a jig I might add); I raced it at the end of the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s in mostly 10’s & 25’s and used the same bike when I started triathlons at more or less the same time where the last race I completed on it was the Nice Triathlon in 1990.
I’m going to race it again this year where I’ll compare it against a current Carbon-fibre Time Trial bike.