British Eagle Touristique?

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British Eagle Touristique?

Postby troutmask » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:15 pm

I have a British Eagle Touristique touring bike frame. 531ST throughout including forks. Great frame and I am getting it resprayed to build a new tourer. I know the bike is at least 15 years old. I haven't been able to find much out about it. It had top quality components on it (now all worn out!), . Does anybody know anything about the history of these bikes?Image
sorry the photo is so out of focus!
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Postby Kentish Man » Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:27 pm

Hello Troutmask,
no firm answer, just some guess work I'm afraid: Classic Rendez-Vous doesn't give any info on British Eagle, but it does mention that Coventry Eagle was bought by Falcon. Could British Eagle have been a brand from Falcon?
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Postby Mendologist » Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:49 pm

British Eagle is indeed part of Falcon, they used to market them through IBD's but now they use the brand name for mail order.
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Postby CJ » Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:53 pm

My recollection is that British Eagle was founded by a bunch of ex Coventry Eagle employees who were made redundant when Falcon bought the brand and shifted production to Lincolnshire (or South Humberside if you like :wink:)

Taking advantage of development grants then available, they headed west and set up shop in the first bit of Wales you get to from Coventry: at Mochdre near Newtown.

The Touristique was by far the most notable bicycle they produced, objectively superior to the Dawes Galaxy of its day, but usually selling for less. It's a good buy, worth keeping and upgrading. Apart from a few racing models, which never achieved much recognition amongst that fraternity, the rest of the British Eagle range was distinctly undistinguished. One good model was not enough to sustain the business, which ultimately closed.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.
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Postby Mendologist » Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:14 pm

Any idea what sort of date they closed down Chris? I can remember selling British Eagle branded bikes in the mid 90's, and they were purchased from Falcon.
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Postby PeterTurcan » Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:55 am

I know nothing about the history of British Eagle, except that I test rode a Touristique in Camden in North London 20+ years ago, thought it was something special, bought it and have used it ever since. I now commute on it a few times a week to my treadmill job at Microsoft in Seattle.
My issue is I tried out some SpeedPlay cleats - fell off - and damaged the already very worn original derailleur - oops. My question is simply if anyone has replaced the gear on a Touristique what have they had most success with?
In any case, great to hear others were impressed with this bike too and still use it.
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Postby 8Ball » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:38 pm

I bought a Touristique on Ebay last year, I would think early 80's, 531ST frame with suntour /stronglight/ modolo components, all of very reasonable quality. I agree it's an excellent bike and like others have found little on the company's history.

As I haven't done any touring on it yet could the participants of this thread give me their opinions on its durability? I'm thinking of taking it across siberia, about 6000 miles. will it make it? I am told the road surfaces are of a variable standard. Your thoughts would be much apreciated.
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Postby troutmask » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:16 pm

I have had the frame and forks repaired now and can certainly say it was well built. this bike had been involved in a serious accident, all it suffered was a small bent to the forks and a dent in the main tube. Repaired and stove enamelled it is better than new. I am now rebuilding it with mainly new equipment and will be off for a week up to Orkney at the end of march so I will let you know how it goes.
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Postby Simon L6 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 5:00 pm

two friends rode British Eagle Touristiques AROUND THE WORLD in the late 80s. Newhaven, France, Switzerland, Eastern Europe, The Near East, The Himalayas, China (they were in Tiananmen Square when the army arrived) Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Japan, Alaska, across the US, Ireland, the Goring Gap. So the bikes can't be that bad.
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Postby 8Ball » Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:51 pm

Thanks Simon and Troutmask. that news is comforting.
What components are you building it up with Troutmask? I'm currently hesitating between rear spacings and gearing, the range being six speed frewheel spaced as it is at 126mm to 10 speed cassette at 135. i'd be interested to hear what you have opted for.
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Postby troutmask » Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:22 pm

My frame is from around 1991 so was spaced for a 7 speed. The rear wheel was shot so I have had a new one built up and put a 8 speed cassette (SRAM) on it (amazingly as it had been in a serious enough accident to bend the forks the front wheel was OK!). I have used a mtb Deore XT rear mech and an old DT front mech with a triple chainset (I think its an old LX chain set, can't be sure, but all the rings have been replaced with Stonglight ones anyway).
The brakes are presently the original and rather poor Shimano Cantis, which will be replaced with Tektro Oryx Cantilever Brakes as soon as wiggle have them in stock. The seat post, handlebars and stem are all useless so a old cut down Titec Knock seatpost, a Stronglight A9 1” threaded Headset, with a TM CNC Quill To A-Head Converter, 3T THE Road Stem, Ritchey Handlebars Road Comp Road Bars, Dia- Comp brake levers.
I am just waiting on a BB as to get the chain line correct it is an awkward size so I am using my local bike shop (Red Kite in Solihull) for that. It should all be finished and ready to go by Wednesday. I will post a finished picture.
The paint job and repair was done by Apollo who are expensive, but have done a fine job.
I will also be fitting the bike with my trusty B17 saddle, front and rear pannier racks. A picture of the repaired and resprayed frame.
Image
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and here she is..finished!

Postby troutmask » Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:05 pm

Image
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Postby PW » Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:33 pm

Nice.
It's so much more satisfying to build the bike yourself than to buy it from a shop, plus the machine will ride better & be more reliable when the builder isn't working against management imposed time constraints.
Now for the next one.....?
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Postby mel » Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:02 am

I used to know a couple of girls who worked at the British Eagle, Newtown factory building the bikes, I never thought to ask them any technical questions at the time though, so not much use.
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Postby Fab Foodie » Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:31 pm

Hi Troutmask
I am in the process of renovating a Touristique as well, pulled her from the local tip. Looked exactly like your initial photo.
Wheels were nfg but the rest was OK. Now she is stripped-down and ready to go off (probably to Argos in Bristol) for a respray.
Mine originally had shimano Exage kit, Biopace chainwheel and Parallax hubs.
Will rebuild as a lightish Audax/winter bike rather than a heavyweight tourer. Good to hear that they are worth the effort.
Got some 9speed Ultegra hubs with CXP22's that already fit a treat, will re-use the original braking system at first and look for a suitable low-cost bitsa drive-train, though the exage front mech may once-more be pressed into service. Not sure if the rear will spread across 9 cogs. I'd like to use as much origibnal kit as possible.
Your article has spurred me on!
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