The 'Flying Gate' Project

Aug, 2014

Scroll down to see the progress!

After seeing an article way back in about 1983 in 'Cycletouring' I had always had an interest in quirkiness of the 'Flying Gate' frames that Trevor Jarvis of TJ Cycles produced, indeed my Dad would often make fun of me for liking them but that didn't put me off! I duly wrote off to Trevor for an information brochure and order form, which I still have (scans below) I promptly filled it out and, as usual, as a young man I found out that I couldn't afford one! Fast forward over thirty years, my search to find a Flying Gate from the early eighties took over five years of scanning auctions sites for a frame in a suitable size and condition and when one eventually turned up I managed to put in the winning bid. For this project I wanted to create a bike that had the look of that it had just been delivered from the manufacturer - i.e. Trevor Jarvis' workshop - so nearly every part had to be brand new or NOS as it is called. I had decided on the Shimano 600 'Arabesque' groupset which is available fairly cheaply even for perfect condition parts.

See also my visit to Trevor Jarvis's workshop in 2006

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Aug, 2014

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I bought the Flying Gate as a whole bike rather than frame only but I was soon the learn that none of the parts were usable - the wheels were miss-matched and corroded, anything that was made of steel was covered in rust and in some cases rusted right through, the seat-post was stuck fast and the chrome plating was flaking off with the dreaded rust underneath, however, the removed parts served as an important indication of the components originally used on the machine. Click the photo to see the full set.

I noticed that there were a few rust-holes in the frame tubes themselves and I started to wonder if I had bitten off more that I could chew!


Sept, 2014

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After removing the stuck seatpost (by melting it out) I set about repairing the damaged seat-lug by brazing in a new one which would have been similar to the better quality seat-lugs used back in the day. The inside of the seat-tube was cleaned up and reamed out with a 27.2 reamer for a perfect fit of the new seat-post.

Oct, 2014

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I decided to change the rear drop-outs because the originals were a bit flimsy and square-edged! I managed to get hold of some new, old stock Shimano drop-outs which would compliment the group-set that I would be putting on the bike. After un-brazing the old drop-outs I carefully filed the ends of the tubes to make a perfect fit for the new Shimano ends and I'm sure Trevor Jarvis himself would be proud of the job I made in brazing in the new drop-outs!

Oct, 2014

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A similar approach had to be taken with the forks as with the rear ends there was also some brazed-in bottle-cage boss's which were probably for a front rack and may have been a later addition so I decided to remove them.


April 2016

The Wheels
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An important part of the bike I wanted to get the original feel of the era, I had always read about Weinmann 'concaves' which were advertised extensively back in the day so I set about hunting for some, it wasn't long before I located a NOS set on an auction site for a reasonable price.

The hubs had to be the narrow 126mm OLD to fit the frame and these were available in the Shimano 600 groupset that I am planning on putting on the bike, they came with an early version of the cassette type of freehub which uses the last cog as a lock-ring. Five speed of course.

I did consider using Berg Union chrome plated spokes but in the end I decided to build the wheels up with stainless steel double butted spokes - nice.


August 2016

The Groupset
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As mentioned before I had decided on the Shimano 600 'Arabesque' groupset so I started to collect bits and pieces in new, old stock, condition or a new as I could find.


September 2016

Ready for the road!
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The frame finished and given a coat of satin black paint to protect it, built up and ready for a test ride!



April 2017

The frame has it's coat of paint at last!

I stored the bike in my shed over the winter months, it acquired a little bit of rust on the frame but noting some wire wool would sort out. The Saturday morning trip to Argos Racing Cycles is one that I know well even though I seem to go through Bristol a different way every time! I booked the frame in with Mark, who noted down my exact requirements as to colour, lug-lining, transfer placement etc, I also supplied Mark with a detailed plan of where I wanted the transfers to go. Unfortunately it was not possible to have the forks and stays re-chromed the because of the rust-pitting. I then had the six-week wait to ponder on what the frame would look like. The day arrived to pick the frame up and I was gob-smacked, the finished frame looks amazing with its stunning metallic blue colour and the transfers applied perfectly. I am sure that there may be some crushed diamonds added to the paint because it glitters in the sunlight so much. Well done Argos Racing Cycles!

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August 2017

The Karrimor rack

I dug out my Dad's old Karrimor rack which had been on his bike for about ten years and in in my shed for the remaining twenty-six years! With it's crude construction and heavy weight I never really liked these racks back then but now, thirty-six years later they have a certain charm. Most of the plastic coating had peeled off due to the underlying surface rust on the metalwork which actually looked worse than it actually was. I set about removing what was left of the plastic coating and took it to a powder-coating company to be re-finished in it's original plastic-type coating.

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My favourite pedals from the 80's were the pedals on the right, the beautiful SR SP-11, however, along came the ubiquitous Shimano SPD and although I clung on to the old ways for as long as I could until the day I was persuaded to try clip-in pedals - and I never looked back. So, for this project I decided to use the same pedals and the very first type that I used - the Shimano PD-M535.

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Finished at last! September 2017

At long-last, and just in time for the Flying Gate Weekend, my Gate gets it's new lease of life. It is always preferable to keep the paintwork in as original conciliation as possible but this frame was too far gone what with lots of rust starting to show through the paintwork and in two spots the rust had actually made holes in the tubes. The seat-post was stuck in and it looked like previous attempt to remove it had failed but succeeded in damaging the seatlug so heat was needed to melt the post out which furthermore damaged the paintwork. I therefore had no qualms about totally refinishing the frame and starting it's aging process all over again. With the frame approaching nearly 40yrs old I am wondering if my efforts will last another 40yrs? Enjoy the photos.

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It was great to see my Gate lined up with all the others at the Flying Gate Weekend 2017