Monday Blues: Vintage Falcon...
Very light blues, at that. According to Sheldon Brown, the Falcon name is one of the classics of British frame making. I believe this San Remo model dates to the late 1960s or early 1970s. Former British racer, Ernie Clements began making his own frames as early as 1945, continuing in a design capacity through the 1950s and 1960s with the company Coventry Eagle, and finally Falcon. Like many former pros, Clements applied his racing experience to performance frame design. In the 1970s Falcon's highest end model came equiped with Campagnolo Record, while mid-level models came with a curious mix of Campy, Shimano and Weinmann. I am not sure if the mix you see on this bike are original, or if they reflect the personal preferences of the previous owner. The light blue color is the classic Falcon color, though some models also had contrasting white painted tubes. One curious aside concerning this frame is that a portion of the top tube appears to have been chromed - there are some scratches from the head tube lug back where the blue paint has been removed, and revealing a chromed surface underneath. Not sure how far back it extends.
The whole enchilada would suggest that the previous owner made some additions/upgrades, just how much I am not sure. This frame is a 62cm. I didn't get a good photo, but brakes are side-pull Dura-Ace.
This frame does not have a decal on the top tube, but does have the classic Falcon name in red on a white field decal on the down tube, and a smaller one saying Falcon Special, made in Lincolnshire, England on the seat tube with British flag
Chromed lugs at the head tube and Campagnolo headset
3t quill stem with Cinelli bars
higher end Falcon models have the Designed by Ernie Clements decal on the drive-side chain stay. Clements was a three time British National Road Race Champion between 1943 and 1946.
The Shimano Crane rear derailleur was a ground-breaking design. Introduced in 1971 the Crane has an all aluminum body with a dropped parallelogram (reputed to be the worlds first rear der. to use this design).
At some point in time, the previous owner installed an early Jim Blackburn rack for function.
Leather Belt saddle was made in Japan by the Fujita Mfg. Co. Ltd. It is well worn in, but still in relatively good shape considering its age.
Shimano Dura Ace cranks, chainrings, front derailleur, KKT pedals with Christophe clips and straps
The beautiful Falcon headbadge.
A little more history: Though Falcon may have reached a peak during the Clement years, the company actually predates the name and brand for which they are best known. Hotchkiss, Mayo & Meek Ltd was established in Coventry in the 1880s, and settled on the name Coventry-Eagle in 1897. At the turn of the century, the company began to produce motorcycles as well as bicycles, but following World War II, and unable to compete against larger companies, they focused on producing racing bicycles. During the 1930s they had begun to manufacture bikes using the name Falcon, and following the war the company itself took on the name Falcon. In later years (1970s) Clements and Falcon, along with the Belgian company Kessel, were the first builders to produce bikes branded with the name Eddy Merckx. The more recent years of the company have been characterized by a number of mergers. During the 1980s and 1990s Falcon sponsored and provided bikes to a number of racing teams, most notably, PMS Falcon and Banana Falcon. Currently, Falcon is one division of Tandem Group Cycles Ltd, who acquired the Falcon name in 1995. Other brands in the company line include British Eagle, Coventry Eagle, Townsend, Optima, Boss, Scorpion, CBR, and Claud Butler; in other words Falcon is now part of a wide ranging conglomerate with sales upwards of 300,000 units per year. Until Dale cleans it up and a buyer is found, you can see this vintage Falcon at the Velo, World's Smallest Bike Shop.