The Restoration of Wester Ross frame number 436
Scroll down to see the progress!
I was lucky enough to acquire this Wester Ross frame from Steve Griffith's, the chairman of the Rough Stuff Fellowship,
and it was quite fitting that I had to travel to wild mid-Wales to collect the frame from Steve who was staying at Dolgoch youth hostel in the Towi Valley at the time.
Although the frame looks Ok as it is and is perfectly ridable it had been altered quite a lot over the years are a few things that are not quite right for a Wester Ross, things that would probably only be noticed by a keen Wester Ross enthusiast! Wester Ross frame 436 had originally been built to use Sturmey Archer hubs gears and all the original braze-on's were to accommodate the special gear levers and cable runs that are required for hub gears and quite different from the way that derailleur gear braze-on's are fitted for which the frame had been converted. Because the bike is to kept a derailleur-geared machine some of the new braze-on's will be kept but most will be removed and replaced with replica Wester Ross type braze-on's.
One glaring problem was the non-original right hand rear dropout, the frame had originally been made for hub gears
and this rather gruesome 'Allez' dropout had been brazed in place of the original Campagnolo dropout. It has to go!
I bought the new dropouts for a reasonable price from Velo-Mine in the USA, they arrived very quickly and I was soon brazing the new dropout in. This is the limit of my frame-building expertise!
These nasty bottom bracket cable guides just weren't right on the Wester Ross so they, too, had to go. It was a spiritual moment when I filed off the guides to reveal the hidden original serial number 436. I replaced them with some older style Campagnolo guides that go on top of the bottom bracket. There was quite a bit rust-pitting underneath the bottom bracket and on the chain-stays indicating that the frame had seen some rough times over the years.
Ready to ride!
The frame is finished at last!!
I decided to restore the frame to it's original dark-green colour. As usual I used Argos Racing Cycles to do the paint job and the results are fantastic, a deep lustrous mid-Brunswick green enamel with gold lug lining. Although delicate, the 35-year-old transfers were applied with great skill in exactly the right place.
Although the frame was originally designed to use Sturmey-Archer hub gears I like to think that if original owner, Pat Orme, had chosen derailleur-type gears this is how the frame would have looked and that Pat will be pleased the way the frame has turned out.All that remains to do now is the build the bike back up and head for the mountains!
At last! The bike is on the road! - full report to follow!