Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cicli Boom x Pancalen Cycles: Antha's Roberts

These hubs finally found their new home!

Roberts Cycles is the last custom framebuilder located in Selhurst near Croydon, South London. Beginning soon after WWII, Charlie Roberts started as a framebuilder for Holdsworth, Claud Butler and Freddie Grubb. Later in the early 1960s, Charlie branched out on his own and started up Roberts Cycles.

Yes, "Roberts Hot Pink" is their signature colour. It's manly pink, you know.
Not long after, Charlie was joined in the workshop by his then teenage son Chas, who runs the business today. Chas started part-time at 14, brazing together carriers. At 17 he joined the business full-time, but it took a further seven years as a hard working apprentice before he was allowed to start building frames with the Roberts name. Antha's Roberts is built by Chas, as written on the toptube.
Chas's younger brother Geoff also joined the company for a time, but in 1979, Charlie, the founder of the business, sadly passed away and Chas took over at the helm. Since then, the company has embraced innovation, building some of the very first British mountain bikes back in the early 1980s and setting the pace with low-profile time-trial and triathlon bikes.
Chas rarely builds a bike from a single stock tubeset and lugs, preferring to mix and match to more closely meet the rider's needs. This 53cm bicycle we built have a Columbus SL label stuck on the seattube, but the lugs are from different manufacturers: Cinelli on the seat cluster, Campagnolo on the front derailer braze-on, and Roberts-engraved lugs elsewhere. The fork is a chrome-plated Tange 124.

Look closer and you'll find the distinguished "C" logo near the seatstay...

...and a nice Campagnolo shield near the bolt hole.
We decided to period-correct built this frame with plenty of Shimano Ultegra/600 6400 2 x 8-speed groupset that Cicli Boom sourced from Speedbicycles. For a more-than-a-decade old second hand groupset, they performed flawlessly.

Antha is a great fan of Selle Italia Turbo saddle, he also owned one on his Peloton track bike. As a nod to the Cinelli-Campagnolo lugs, we repeated the mix on the cockpit choice. Campagnolo Record 27,2 x 250mm seatpost, Cinelli 1A 90mm stem, and Cinelli Giro d'Italia 400mm dropbars wrapped with Arundel cork bartapes.

Front brake is on the right side lever. British style.
To keep in touch with the latest trend on road bike wheels, Antha decided to use the Velocity A23 rims on this build. Recently launched at 2010, the A23 rim is based off Aerohead race rim. With a wider footprint (23mm outer width, hence the name), the A23 allows for a more aerodynamic rim/tire combination when paired with a 23c tire. The tire profile mimics the characteristics of a tubular, gaining increased control and lower rolling resistance without the inconvenience of tubular glue or the dangers of irreparable roadside mechanicals. Paired with Dura Ace 7403 hubs, they still made a reasonably lightweight wheelset.

32 holes, 3-cross, 295mm Richman black double butted spokes.
Black wheels on pink frame, topped with perfect components. And it rides like a dream, smooth and nimble. Surely a bicycle build worth waiting for!

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