Friday , 19 September 2014
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WTF is that… #4

Kirk Precision Racing Bike

Once again, a strange bike has surfaced on eBay. This time, a Kirk Precision racing bike. The first auction managed to bring in bids up to £256, which did not reach the reserve the seller had set. They then re-listed it, and it only managed to get a max bid of  £194. A  summary of the bike is below.

A typically British engineering failure, but few frames in 1986 turned heads like Kirk Precisions managed to, or at least that’s how I remember it anyway! Even today, this £80 heavyweight still gets plenty of attention up against £5K pieces of carbon fiber perfection sitting next to it. If you were into road bikes in 1986-1988 you might remember the frenzy this frame created at the US & EU cycle shows. Some of that magic still seems to rub off on people despite its reputation for failure! Put it up against any 1986 frame of the day from any of the so-called framebuilding masters and you have to agree its design is timeless ageless and still way ahead of its time. Not bad for a frame inspired by a Ford Sierra bumper in Dagenham!

This frame I got hold of very used and have modified it a fair bit to bring it into the future. Those in the know will notice the hump on the down tube with the bonded gear lever bosses has been removed and STI/Ergo stops riveted on in their place.

 The blanked mudguard bosses only there so they could be drilled for the Touring model have also been sliced off. Not so noticeable is the removal of the pronounced bulges on the non-drive-side rear triangle that allowed a frame pump to be fitted (co2 for me now). The rear dropout inserts have also been machined down, with 2mm taken off each side to move the spacing from 126mm up to 130mm for 10 speed and modern hubs. The frame although re-painted by me in 2K, will eventually be sandblasted and UV powder coated once I’m happy the modifications are all ok. I’ve already done nearly 300 miles on it since the weekend so far. Nothing has snapped, un-bonded itself or gone floppy despite everyone warning me all these things would happen within a few miles and I would kill myself when the frame explodes into magnesium dust at the first pot hole . What do they know : )


Believe it or not, the ride is great. The geometry is pretty much as my Look 595. T/Tube is identical with just a slightly longer wheel base and half degree of head tube than the 595. It really doesn’t ride as bad as everyone makes out they do/did/will. Sure it’s a bit heavy and slightly dead out the saddle like any 20 year old frame can be, but you really would be surprised at how little difference there is in the ride compared to my 595. I am still supprised at just how good it rides and still can’t figure it out because the frame design and manufacture is about as far removed from a 595 as you can get? No doubt the modern forks have improved the handling greatly compared to the bendy OEM Vitus alloy that came with the frame originally and were notoriously wobbly on fast roads.


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