14 Feb 2011

Higgins conversion on Claud Butler


A Higgins trike conversion has come up on eBay:

Higgins Tricycle Conversion on 1950s/60s Claude Butler on eBay (end time 23-Feb-11 16:41:47 GMT)

While the images weren't razor sharp they were well taken and avoided untidy backgrounds. So it deserves to be recorded for posterity. Without which no record would exist beyond the end of the auction. I own a similar Claud Butler myself. Though its badging and original transfers are long gone. I have resized the images to a larger 800 width and increased gamma and contrast to crisp them up as usual.

This is more of a trike than a conversion but not quite the full Monty. The bike seat stays have been removed and the Higgins trike stays substituted. This saves the weight of the Claud Butler seat stays and looks much neater for it. The front forks have been modified to match standard trike practice. Only a reasonable expert would recognise this as a conversion. Rather than a complete trike frameset.

If desired a skilled frame builder could tidy it up further by removing the rear drop-outs. Then brazing the CB chainstays direct to the Higgins axle. A reinforcing loop would save further weight over the solid steel, cross bar and heavy attachment brackets. This would lose the original paintwork of course so I only mention it as an option.

As I have said so many times previously: Chris Hewitt Cycles could smarten it up in the correct period with a restoration. A more ambitious (and wealthier) sporting rider could take advantage of Geoff Booker @ Trykit's wares. By using his frame building skills to bring it right up to date with all modern, alloy kit, wheels, indexed gears and even 2WD if the rear end was fully converted to a trike. From memory, I don't think the Trykit 2WD fits a conversion set.


General view from drive side: 27 x 1.25" wheels all round.

Head tube and fork crown showing typical brake extension stem.

 Nearside. At a wild guess I'd say it is somewhere around a 22.5" frame size.

Front brake arrangements. Braze-on callipers and side pull on forward extension.The CB head badge extant.

Rear cluster and 5 speed sprocket block. It looks as if the axle clamping bolts have almost escaped from the donor bike, rear drop-outs. This should be checked before riding it. The chain wrap looks a bit odd. Higgins brass badge still in place.

Suntour rear changer on gear hanger on brazed-on boss.

Bottom bracket and steel, cottered Williams chainset. Cotter pin is loose and lacks securing nut.

Chrome on original Higgins seat stay.

The only thing I miss is the straight-on rear shot. Also confirmation of the Reynolds 531 butted tubes transfers. Usually visible on the upper seat tube an forks. Though brazing may have removed this evidence of pedigree. 

Starting bid is £140. It will be interesting to see how this one goes.

Well, it finally sold for £140 with only one bid.


No comments:

Post a Comment