Friday, October 2, 2015

Ron Cooper

In 67 years (!) Ron Cooper handbuilt over 7000 bicycles frames without help or apprentices, so one cannot say a Ron Cooper frame is rare. He was a quirky and eccentric man in that wonderful British sort of way. For instance he was the only builder I have ever heard of that eschewed frame building jigs, though I have never heard of anyone saying a Ron Cooper frame wasn't straight and true. 

This is from a December 22, 2012 London Times obituary. I like "...and can fetch large sums" ;-)

Cooper in his workshop. His methods were not always fashionable but his frames are now much sought after and can fetch large sums. - Mark McLennon

"Bicycle frame builder whose craftsmanship earned him a devoted following in Britain and the US, Ron Cooper was regarded as one of the world’s master builders of bicycle frames, an artisan who played a part in transforming cycling from a casual form of transport into the global sport. Producing hand-made bikes for racers — he himself was a racer as a young man — and eventually for simple lovers of bicycles, weekend riders and collectors, Cooper helped to put Britain at the vanguard of bicycle-making after the Second World War, setting a standard for the rest of the world to emulate."
This 58cm 1960s(?) Reynolds 531 mixte with Campagnolo dropouts and Nervex lugs is now sitting down in the Growlery.




The decals are obviously virtually gone. I have replacements on the way from Jolly Olde England, although with white lettering. The paint is not as good as it photographs, just little nicks and scrapes, but am not crazy about the color anyway. I was thinking about jet black, or another dark color, but then this gorgeous Cinelli that Chris Kvale painted showed up on Ebay and I am having second thoughts about green. 

John Barron's Cinelli Mod B

Any thoughts or opinions would be welcome. (And likely ignored.)

Take care, be well - Gunnar

3 comments:

Michael said...

IMHO the Cinelli green is so lovely and fits right in with your constructeur touch. Another builder renown for going jig-less is Francisco Cuevas (http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA/Cuevas_main.htm). I have one of his frames and love the ride. And it happens to be green, too. Call me partial.

yellowbarber said...

There's great BBC documentary on The Taylor Brothers showing Norman at work. He didn't exactly use a jig either, rather employed a clever combination of blocks and weights.
(https://youtu.be/ALNsQpCL8LY)
And in this BBC4 documentary, Mr Taylor can be seen laying out & mitering a tubeset without a jig as well as checking the alignment with a string and sunlight.
(https://youtu.be/g0QjhGr73Ns?t=9m39s)

Justine Valinotti said...

Here's your answer:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poems/green/page-1/508923/