A couple of years ago Giles came to us having just received a bonus from his work to spend on a new bike. He'd seen a few Bates frames around the shop and was drawn to their unusual aesthetic and racing pedigree. The frames we had in his size needed refinishing; Giles didn't miss a beat: "Can we do a copper Bates?" Copper plating is the second step in traditional chrome plating - so we were confident of finding a firm willing to take on the task. The Bates frame in question, while clearly well-used when we took it on, showed a few scars from its six-plus decades of use. Once the layers of paint and filler were removed, it was evident a certain amount of rust had formed and been removed prior to a previous refinishing – the tell-tale pockmarked orange-peel effect showing at various points over the frame. The plating process doesn't allow the use of a filler in the same way that painting would, so we knew these irregularities would be evident in the finished frame. The end result is a textured appearance that offers a faithful representation of the age and history of the frame. Giles's build was to be a straightforward, fixed-wheel racer, true to the history of the frame - with its high bottom bracket, steep head angle, and extremely stiff proprietary Cantiflex (read cigar-shaped Reynolds 531) tubing. A beautiful, elegant Durax crank spinning on a still-silky Bayliss Wiley BB; reconditioned Airlite hubs laced to H+ Son rims - classic looks but a little tougher than the period alternative, better able to cope with the potholed roads; a vintage steel stem and shallow alloy GB bars to grab hold of; a copper-riveted (no option) Brooks to perch on.
We love the way this bike came together. It's still heading up our ongoing ‘best-dressed old-timer' competition! (The only thing that could top this would be another copper plated Bates. Which we happen to have! Get in touch if you fancy one of your own...)