There are few classic racing bikes which are as iconic and instantly recognisable as a Bates. Their distinctive design made their frames unmistakable from the mid 1930s on.
The Bates brothers Horace and Eddie had already a reputation of manufacturing some of the nicest British racing machines since the 1920s, when they introduced some innovations to the public in 1936. The new inventions should become their signature feature and earn Bates cycles and their riders numerous victories throughout the next decades.
First there is the tubing. Bates were among the first who were convinced of the advantages of oversized tubes. A larger diameter results in a better frame rigidity while staying as light as a regular tubed one. But then again you could not use regular lugs and oversized lugs would have been very expensive and heavy at the same time.
The solution was a cigar shaped variation of light Reynolds 531 tubes, which were oversized in the middle, where the flexing stresses are strong. At the ends, the butted tubes were normal-sized and fit perfectly in standard lugs.
These Cantiflex dubbed tubes were a great step forward in providing a proper power transfer for cyclists and eliminating wobbles.
The second innovation was the Diadrant fork, which received its rake from s-bent blades. Everybody who was overtaken by this fork knew immediately that it was a Bates which passed him.
Another fine detail were the perfectly executed rack and fender mounts with 'quick-release screws'
The frame builders who were responsible for such a fine work were some of the best available and later-on made frames for olympic champions and on top, they all were racers themselves. Unlike in other companies, they earned a regular salary and were not payed per number, thus forced to hurry while building frames.
Several models were available but soon the B.A.R. emerged a top model. The sportster got its name from its success in the prestegious 'Best All Rounder' races in which it prevailed.
Our Bates B.A.R. is such a bike. It is one of the post war era bikes, produced in Westcliff-on-Sea. and it has all the bells and whistles you can expect: Cantiflex tubes, Diadrant fork, quick release bosses, chromed stays and some sweet parts. The crank and bottom bracket are the rare Gnutti splined ones, and the derailleur is Campagnolo. GB-components round the whole bike off.
This is a proper dream bike. A worthy collectible and yet it is checked and ready to be ridden.
A head turning Eroica bike and a superb racing machine.
|Frame & Fork||Bates B.A.R.; Bates Cantiflex tubing; Bates Diadrant fork; Reynolds 531 steel|
|Rear Derailleur||Campagnolo Gran Sport|
|Headset||Tange super polished|
|Crankset||Gnutti 3-pin splined; 170mm; 46t|
|Bottom Bracket||Gnutti splined|
|Stem Bar||GB; 40cm|
|Tires||Panaracer Pasela; 28-630|
|Seat Post||Classic Aluminium|
|Handlebar Tape||Cotton Cloth|
|Pedals||Period correct pedals|