MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

1958 CARLTON FLYER - INTRO

FINDING THE FLYER

BUILDING THE FLYER

REFURBISHING THE FLYER

RIDING THE FLYER

 

BICYCLES OF ENGLAND

 

 

 

 

RIDING THE CARLTON FLYER

I cannot say that riding the Carlton was a treat.  Simply put, it wasn't!  The fault in evaluating ride qualities was mine, not the bicycle's.  I made the mistake of comparing the Carlton's ride to my higher end mounts, one of which was a 1971 Carlton Professional.  Make no mistake about it, it is unfair to compare a really Old School mount to a newer and certainly more sophisticated one.

The second issue that detracted from ride quality for me was the Flyer's size.  It was just too big and I have learned after building and riding hundreds of vintage road bicycles that size is extremely important! (Something many women will not admit to! - sorry, I couldn't resist)  You and the bicycle must fit together properly or optimum ride quality can never be achieved.  It took me a long time to figure this fundamental factor out.  When I first started collecting and riding vintage road bicycles, I always went with a frame that was too big, thinking that the extra size would allow for a better sitting position.  I was wrong and I try today to urge people new to the hobby/sport to be extra careful with size choices.

There were, however, some technological issues with the Carlton.  New or old form could not be allowed to follow function.  The Old School seat post and saddle clamp assembly would have to go.  It just would not work.  I could feel the saddle swivel under me as I rode the bicycle and on more than one occasion, the saddle actually tipped forward.  This, in my mind, is both unsafe and annoying.

The transmission would work pretty good but not under any kind of load, which is to be expected.  Fast shifts were out of the question.  Shifts had to be made carefully and with thought.  The old Benelux was not built for the fast shift.  At least not the way I tuned it up.

I rode the "Flyer" for a few hundred miles, tops.  In addition to the bicycle's being too big and I had not learned to appreciate the vintage feel of an Old School ride at that time.  Today, I might have viewed the Carlton "Flyer" and its offered ride qualities differently.  I no longer have the tendency to compare Old School to new. Nor do I compare high end to entry level.  My absolutely hideous and wonderful Legnano taught me a very important lesson.  How to appreciate the bicycle for what it is rather than what I think it should be.

Today, my impression of the Carlton Flyer would be much different.  Thanks to that wonderful old entry level Legnano, I have come to appreciate the Old School feel of a vintage road bicycle.  I can still ride such a bicycle hard, if I choose to do so, but I never do.  The antiquated technology encourages a relaxed pace.  My purpose when riding an older steed is to simply enjoy the moment and I often go quite slow.

Today the Carlton Flyer has re-crossed the big pond.  A fellow in Switzerland took such a liking to the bicycle that he was willing to accept considerable shipping costs just to have the bicycle sent across the ocean.  Funny, this old bicycle has probably seen as much of the world as I have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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