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Vintage Bicycles

Hand-built bicycles reflect the same history as other fine hand-built mechanical goods. Bicycles reached a peak in the early post-WWII period when talented artisans turned their attention away from war production as resources were limited and cars were in short supply. By the mid-1950's the development of new production technologies, like investment cast lugs, nearly ended the era of these custom bicycles. Still, a reduced handful of builders survived and continued to develop new ideas and designs. The bicycles in David Cooper's personal collection were all custom built by talented artisans and restored by Cooper with period components. Each was chosen for its unique features, wonderful craftsmanship, or unusual design. A handful of them are un-restored and in original condition.

  • 1899 Columbia Model 59 Shaft Drive Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1899 Columbia Model 59 Shaft Drive Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1899 Columbia Model 59 Shaft Drive Bicycle

    By the mid-1890's over 1 million bicycles had been sold in the United States. Columbia, owned by Pope Manufacturing Company--one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in the U.S., built high-quality bicycles in Hartford, CT. Pope had purchased all of the patents from other manufacturers for adjustable bevel gear shaft-drive bicycles believing it to be superior to chain drive and designed his machines to incorporate all the best features of the others. From 1898 through the 1920's, Columbia was known for their chainless line of bicycles. The Model 59, built in 1899, sold for $75 when new.

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  • 1935 Golden Sunbeam Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

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    1935 Golden Sunbeam Bicycle

    The Golden Sunbeam was considered the Rolls-Royce of British upright cycles. This particular bicycle, an unrestored example from 1935, was one of the last constructed.

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  • 1950 Bates of London B.A.R. (Best All Rounder) Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

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    1950 Bates of London B.A.R. (Best All Rounder) Bicycle

    Bates, one of the most highly regarded London frame builders, was best known for the unique "Cantiflex" varying diameter frame tubing and "Diadrant" double curve front forks. There were two Bates brothers, originally partners, but after the war they split, forming two separate companies. This frame was built by Bates of London in 1950.

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  • 1950 Rene Herse Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

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    1950 Rene Herse Bicycle

    Rene Herse was one of the great French constructeurs, particularly known for his touring frames with integrated components. Herse, a former aircraft engineer, conceived of his bicycles as complete systems, rather than assemblies of unrelated parts. In the early years following WWII, Herse manufactured his own design components including cantilever brakes, handlebar stems, and forged alloy cranksets. A large frame, like this one, is very rare.

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  • 1951 R.O. Harrison Bicycle - New Star Cycles Madison track frame - Cooper Technica Chicago

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    1951 R.O. Harrison Bicycle - New Star Cycles Madison track frame

    R.O. Harrison was a London builder of high-end lightweight bicycle frames. Their 1949 catalog describes the Madison as "A purely track model for grass, cement or steeply banked tracks and which has been used in many 6-day Races. 531 butted throughout with attractively cut lugs.

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  • 1951 Hobbs Blue Riband Road/Path Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1951 Hobbs Blue Riband Road/Path Bicycle

    Hobbs of Barbican built bicycles frames from 1933 until 1953, having a reputation for superb quality. The Blue Riband model was their top-of-the-line post-war frame. This example, a road/path type, was built on 30 March 1951.

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  • 1952 Gillott Road/Path Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

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    1952 Gillott Road/Path Bicycle

    Gillott was a high-end builder in England known for their quality workmanship and beautiful aesthetics. This is a road/path frame, built to be ridden to the track, raced, and then ridden home.

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  • 1953 Ephgrave No. 1 Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1953 Ephgrave No. 1 Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1953 Ephgrave No. 1 Bicycle

    Ephgrave was another of the master craftsmen building bicycles in the UK. He was particularly known for the precision of his frames and the high quality of his lug work. This frame, made in 1953, is a No. 1 model.

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  • 1958 Urago Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

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    1958 Urago Bicycle

    Urago was a high quality French builder located in Nice specializing in racing frames. This bicycle is an example from 1958.

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  • 1965 H.R. Morris Touring Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1965 H.R. Morris Touring Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1965 H.R. Morris Touring Bicycle

    H. R. Morris was a highly skilled craftsman in England, personally building about 600 hand-built bicycles over the years. This particular frame was custom built in 1965 and has some unusual features.

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  • 1965 Hetchins Magnum Opus Phase II Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1951-Hobbs-Blue-Riband-Road-Path-Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1965 Hetchins Magnum Opus Phase II Bicycle

    Hetchins was renowned among builders of lightweight cycles for their fancy lugged frames with Vibrant (Curly) stays. The Magnum Opus was the top of the Hetchins line, and has some of the most elaborate lug work of any bicycle. The cost, including components, in 1965 was considerable, GBP 95 14s 5d.

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  • 1967 Cinelli Speciale Corsa Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1967 Cinelli Speciale Corsa Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1967 Cinelli Speciale Corsa Bicycle

    Cino Cinelli was one of the great Italian frame builders. This bicycle, built in 1967, was a custom order in full chrome. It is unrestored and still has its original head badge and all components except the saddle. I bought it from the original owner.

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  • 1968 Hetchins Vade Mecum Mk I Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

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    1968 Hetchins Vade Mecum Mk I Bicycle

    Hetchins introduced the Vade Mecum ("go with me") lug pattern in 1953. In 1964 they updated the design with three versions VM Mk I, II and III. This track bicycle is an example of VM Mk I built in 1968.

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  • 1971 Pogliaghi Italcourse Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1971 Pogliaghi Italcourse Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1971 Pogliaghi Italcourse Bicycle

    Sante Pogliaghi was one of the great Italian frame builders, specializing in road and track frames.

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  • 1972 Schwinn Paramount P13 Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1972 Schwinn Paramount P13 Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1972 Schwinn Paramount P13 Bicycle

    The Schwinn Paramount was my dream bicycle in 1972. They were the finest American-made lightweight bicycle, built with Reynolds 531 tubing and Nervex or—for a while—Prugnat lugs. The all-chrome finish might have been slightly heavier, but it was totally cool, and different than anything else on the road. Many bicycle enthusiasts and collectors got their start with Paramounts.

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  • 1974 Harry Quinn Touring Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1974 Harry Quinn Touring Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1974 Harry Quinn Touring Bicycle

    Harry Quinn was a high-quality builder in Liverpool. This touring frame, which I believe was made in 1974, uses Cinelli long point lugs and sloping fork crown. The chainstays are lengthened and the bike was built with relaxed touring geometry.

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  • 1987 DeRosa Professional SLX Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    1987 DeRosa Professional SLX Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1987 DeRosa Professional SLX Bicycle

    Ugo DeRosa is another great Italian master frame builder. This bike is a 1987 Professional SLX model, in original un-restored condition.

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  • 1994 Hetchins Scorpion Bonum Bicycle- Cooper Technica Chicago

    1994 Hetchins Scorpion Bonum Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    1994 Hetchins Scorpion Bonum Bicycle

    This was a custom order from Hetchins in 1994. The client sent sketches and a watercolor to show exactly what he wanted. When the frame came up for sale in 2002 I bought it and built it up with Campagnolo C Record components.

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  • 2000 Cinelli Super Corsa Bicycle - Cooper Technica Chicago

    2000 Cinelli Super Corsa Bicycle MORE DETAILS and PHOTOS

    2000 Cinelli Super Corsa Bicycle

    In 1978, Cino Cinelli sold his company to the Columbo family, makers of Columbus tubing. The enthusiastic new owners continued production of Cinelli's main products, including alloy handlebars and stems, and bicycle frames but updated the company's logo. To this day, the company still makes the standard steel lugged Cinelli frameset, the Super Corsa.

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