[CR]Armstrong Cycles

(Example: Component Manufacturers:Campagnolo)

To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 21:28:38 -0400
From: "Thomas E Ward" <tom.ward@juno.com>
Subject: [CR]Armstrong Cycles

Earlier today Stephen Fredette wrote:

actually, it finally happened to me. i was restocking the bargain books outside the used bookstore near kenmore square where i work, and i noticed a bike locked to the fence next door. at first i just noticed the fenders, but i got totally engrossed by it. the steel drop handlebars (with black rubber handgrips), the reynolds 531 sticker, 3 speed sturmey archer, the faint remains of gold box striping, the soldered brake cables. it was an armstrong, and had armstrong spelled out in the chainring.....


.... i now own a 1952 armstrong club racer.... .....alloy fenders with made by armstrong stamped into them are already mirror bright. yr obdt svt Stephen Fredette Hull, Massachusetts p.s. never try to research your bicycle by entering "armstrong bicycle" into google.

Dear Stephen & list:

Congratulations on acquiring a bicycle in that old and time-honored way. Also, good story and story-telling--and good fortune in the find, both for you AND the bike (as in: it is saved). Now, let me say thanks--for raising the Armstrong (manufacturing) subject, which has been on my mind as well. Apologies to my pal Chuck Schmidt and to all 999 of you if it prove otherwise, but the story would seem to be at the least obscureD, even if not actually absolutely obscure! I think the tale is wearing an unintended, unanticipated camouflage.

I looked in the CR archives recently, found mention of an Armstrong cycle or two, but didn't find the kind of explication that we so often enjoy. Having picked up a Nuovo Record-era Armstrong frameset recently, I found similar difficulties as those apparently encountered by Stephen--our latter-day Armstrong virtually blotting out the record of the old firm. Likely silly me for not joining the VCC yet (where there are marque enthusiasts storing the lore, I expect)--and I will get there soon--but I'd like to leap on this thread and ask the group for any memories, timelines, links and what-not related to Armstrong Cycles. I can't tell if it's a neglected topic, or just buried by the deluge of Lance info in our modern world.

Anyone have a serial number chart for Armstrong? Mine (an unbuilt frameset, recently acquired) is M74584 (as stamped on the lefthand underside edge of the Nervex bottom bracket shell), resprayed and with what seem likely to be some "aftermarket" brazeons (as opposed to original ones): rack eyelets (on the rear seat stays), a pair of bottle bosses, cable stops for barcon shifters--and two top tube cable brazeons (at "twelve o'clock"). It has Nervex lugs, 531 tubes--needs a 27.2 seat post (seat pin, yeah!). The fork has a deep arc to the "tines" (ha), but there is no lamp boss. The model name (as conveyed by the seller) is Moth--an imaginative and evocative name for a bike, I feel, and also the name of a fairly important early '40s aircraft, if I recall. Any relation to Armstrong-Siddeley? Any future independent builders employed on these Moths in their early days?

I have a few magazines and CTC Gazettes from the period, but haven't located any ads. Now, my archive is not extensive. There must've been ads. Perhaps someone with printed matter might make a few scans available to interested parties?

Here's what I'm really hoping for: perhaps someone with an affection for this marque will take time to weigh in on the subject of Armstrong frames, their nature, history, and where they fit amongst the canon of '50s - '60s (or '20s/30s through early '70s perhaps--just that I'm stuck in about 1964 myself, three years before my birth) cycles? I love that kind of thing, and some of our listmembers do it really well. Haven't heard from some beloved voices in awhile as well, so consider yourselves invited on this one--all 999 of you, but three or four especially! Apologies to anyone who finds me daft, or anyone who is researching this topic already for publication--or who may have published already! In that case, just point me to it !! If it hasn't been done though, previously, maybe we can get something up on the CR site to accompany the extant photos; I did see that there are photos of one Armstrong on the CR site, but I don't recall much in the way of accompanying text--and as Steven says, search engines are of less than their usual efficiency with this one . . . .

Cheers, & onwards and upwards, Tom Ward New York, NY where I am reading the Gallipoli chapter of Liddell Harts' 1930 work on that first big 20th Century war

P.S. Yesterdays TDC No. 9 axle found a home. Thanks!

P.P.S. Trying to be that youth element that we were speaking of a few days ago, but having just turned 37 perhaps I'm trailing the main cohort too closely & no longer count.