The Components

The ‘model’ examples in Carpenter catalogues were shown fitted (and priced) with top-drawer components. In many cases these were then varied according to the wishes (and pocket) of the customer.

Following the catalogues through we can see:

  • The demise of Carpenter branded components like bar stems (brazed up in house) or dural hubs (specially bought in). In place we see the switch to big specialist suppliers such as the British Hub Company;
  • As frames became more rigid there was a decline in the use of inch-pitch transmission systems in favour of the less rigid but more efficient half-inch pitch alternative – track sprint machines were the last bastion of inch-pitch chains.
  • The eventual acceptance of aluminium alloy components rather than steel, especially post-WW2.
  • The displacement of British component makers by Continental makers – Fiamme and Weinmann displaced Dunlop and Constrictor rims;  Lyotard MB platform pedals displaced British caged quill designs; TA and Stronglight cotterless dural chainsets displaced Chater-Lea then Williams cottered steel versions (Williams alloy AB77 was too little too late); GB were more progressive in their use of hiduminium for brakes, bars and stems so survived longer
  • Then finally Campagnolo swept all aside with superior designs, precision engineering and an understanding that athletes will pay a big premium for a small perceived advantage.
  • The search for a race-worthy gearing system, eventually solved by Campagnolo.
  • Through all this, the extraordinarily long dominance of Reynolds 531 tubing and Brooks saddles.