Retro Bike Build by James Lovell

Back in November 2010 I set out on a project to build my first bike from scratch.  I had acquired a WF Holdsworth steel frame from fellow Cappuccino Club member, Martin Proctor, which was in excellent condition.  The frame is from the 1980’s and is made from Reynolds 531 ST tubing.

My first decision to make was whether to restore it or to convert it using modern components, but trying to maintain a retro feel to the project.  I opted for the later, as I had some spare parts from upgrading my main road bike.

The main challenges I faced were:

  • The rear stays were spaced at 127mm (modern wheel axles are 130mm)
  • Adapting the stem to accept modern oversized stems
  • Finding some band-on cable stops for the down tubes to enable the use of modern STI gear/brake levers

I overcame the rear stays issue after consulting a few people and was advised not to have the stays permanently spaced as they will bend to accommodate modern axels.  I tried this and it worked, so that saved me a few pounds.

The stem conversion was also fairly straightforward.  I bought a 7/8 inch quill-stem adapter, I then applied a shim which enabled me to fit a modern oversized stem.  I had found on eBay a very nice Deda Quattro stem in high polished silver finish to maintain the retro look.

My hardest challenge was to find a way of attaching band-on cable stop adjusters.  The Holdsworth frame did not have any braze-on lever bosses, so I had to trawl through eBay to see what I could find.  After doing some research in forums, and lots of phone calls to various bike shops, I discovered that I need to look for band-on bosses made by Sachs or Huret.  These were hard to come by and I ended up buying on eBay some Sachs downtube gear levers and removing the levers.  I then bought some Shimano cable stop adjusters which I attached to the lever bosses.  Job done!!

Once I had overcome these three main challenges, I then built the rest of the bike with the components listed in the specification.  I did have some help from another Cappuccino member, Jonathan Mosley, who runs the Cyclespa bike repair business.

The bike took it’s first outing on the roads recently and was put through its paces on a couple of challenging routes, with plenty of hills.  It performs really well and the ride is very smooth and very forgiving.  It is a little heavy on the hills, but that is to be expected with a steel frame and will only help make me stronger!  I am looking forward to this bike complimenting my main carbon framed bike.


Frame & Forks:  Holdsworth 1980’s frame built with Reynolds 531 ST tubing.  Size 54cm

Stem: Deda Quattro 110mm Silver Oversized.  Fitted using a 7/8inch headset converter and a shim.

Handlebars: Deda Newton polished metal 44cm

Bar Tape: Charge U-bend, brown

Gear Levers/Brakes: Shimano 105 STI 10-speed

Gear/Brake Cables: Jagwire Racer White

Brakes: Tektro 753 long reach calliper brakes, silver

Downtube Cable Stops: Sachs Huret band on bosses fitted with Shimano cable stop adjusters

Seat Post: Charge Chopstick in Silver

Saddle: Charge Spoon in brown

Chainset: FSA Gossamer Pro Megaexo Double Compact 50/34.  Cranks 172.5mm

Front Derailleur: Shimano 105 double band on, silver

Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105 short cage 10 speed, silver

Chain: SRAM 10 speed with Powerlink

Cassette: Shimano 105 10-speed 12-27

Wheels: Shimano RS10

Tyres: Continental 4 season 700×23

Mudguards: SKS Chromoplastic Road, Silver

Pedals: Shimano SPD PD-M520

About Cappuccino Cycling Club

The Cappuccino Cycling Club is a group of friends from Harrogate who enjoy cycling in a relaxed way, that normally entails stopping for a coffee somewhere along the way. Ride distances are from 25miles upwards with some members taking part in local sportive events in the Yorkshire area.
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