1937 Claud Butler Tour d’Angleterre
Claud Butler made some truly fantastic bicycles, but this is our favorite.
There are so many great design elements on this bike that it’s hard to know where to start. There are oil ports all over the bike. There’s an integrated chain lube reservoir. The shifting system is amazing. The paint is beautiful. The tubing must be awesome because the whole bike is really light. Oh, and the name!
The Tour d’Angleterre (Tour of England) was probably a tribute to the bikes that were used in the Tour de France that summer of 1937. The frame angles on this bike are much steeper than was common in the 1930′s, and the bike rides similarly to modern machines.
Reynolds 531 frame tubing made this a surprisingly light (23 pounds with fenders) and responsive bike. In two spots around the head tube and one spot on top of the bottom bracket shell there are ports where you can add oil to the bearings housed within. On the seat tube there is a port that can hold about 4 ounces of chain oil. At the bottom of this reservoir there is a spigot that can be rotated to drip lubricant right onto the the chain. You could even operate this feature as you pedaled!
The three-speed shifter on the bike is an “Osgear”, fully known as the Constrictor Osgear Super Champion. 1937 marked the first year that bikes with gear changers like the Super Champion were allowed in the Tour de France. The name ‘Osgear’ was a take on the name Oscar Egg, the designer (and a famous Swiss-French cyclist from the era). The Osgear was light yet sturdy, and fairly simple to operate. Fitted to the chainstay is a cable operated guide arm that moves the chain right or left across the three sprockets. The tensioning arm near the crankset takes up the slack of the chain, and has a guide-loop of metal on the pulley to keep the chain from coming off.
You’re probably thinking that there’s no way a bike should look this good after 75 years. You’re right. If you were one of our commuters, your could make your bike look like it had been ridden through a war zone in about a week. This bike saw many miles before it was restored to showroom condition sometime in the late 1960′s by a British bike collector. Since then, the Tour d’Angleterre has been treated well and it now only “tours” on special occasions…