Wester Ross frame 239.

Sean Carthy has sent me details and photos of his amazing restoration of his Wester Ross, thanks Sean!

Sean writes :-

"Wester Ross 239 was built circa 1982 for my friend Gil Davies of Preston, Lancashire. It is a 23” frame, 73 degrees parallel, no mudguard eyes and was built from Reynolds tubing (531 DB) as a pure racer. It was raced locally in the 80’s by Gil in veterans’ road races. Initially when new the frame was burgundy in colour. I got to know Gil in the mid 90’s and remember seeing him at the Priory café in Scorton, near Garstang, Lancashire on this frame. By this time Gil had relegated it to a training bike and I recall it was showing its age! About 10 years ago Gil had the frame repainted by a local garage in plain post box red. There were no decals on it but he built it back up with 70’s Campag parts and a leather Brooks B17 saddle.

In September 2011 I was building up a turbo training bike for my son to do his winter training, he is 17 years old and likes his road racing. All I needed was a downtube gear lever. Gil said he had one, so I rode with him from the café to his home and out came the Wester Ross with the gear levers on. They were Campag 70’s type with the gnarly edges, I had a pair like that on my first road racing bike 33 years ago!

Anyway, I ended up buying the frame from him. I did a bit of research on the Wester Ross brand, loved the photos and the story of the restoration of Number 436, and decided to restore it. However….. the purists will hate me here……. I decided I wanted to use modern equipment, so I asked Paul Hewitt cycles of Leyland, Lancashire, to widen the rear dropouts from 126 to 130mm. This could be done ‘cold’ as opposed to applying heat, due to the frame being made from 531 tubing. The process is reversible. Paul Hewitt sent the frame off to be painted and got the amazing people at H. Lloyd Cycles of Penrith to provide replica original decals. Using the insight of the guy who restored Number 436 I showed Paul where the painters should best apply the decals. H. Lloyd Cycles also supplied the exact Reynolds 531 decals for the period of when the frame was originally built. Thirty years ago I had a frame painted up in a beautiful dark metallic lustrous green known as ‘verde scuro.’ I decided to have the frame painted in that colour. Before it went off Paul Hewitt drilled the rear of the fork crown so it would accommodate modern brake stirrups. He also filed out 1mm of metal on the rear brake bridge so it would again take modern brakes.

Bit by bit I acquired matching parts, 2009 Shimano Ultegra SL 10 speed finished in ice grey. I the put a pair of Shimano RS 20 wheels on it. They are understated and look better. We did try my son’s Mavic Ksyriums on it but they just didn’t look right. The bladed spokes detracted, in our opinion, from how it should best look. The finishing kit is a specialized a-head stem attached to a quill adapter above the original Campag Record headset. Bars and seat post are black alloy Easton EA-70, saddle is a classic Rolls with gold protector. Tyres are all black Continental Triathlon slicks.

My 17 year old son Hugh gets all the credit for the immaculate build, the chromed cable outers he obtained really make it sparkle! I will ask him to send you photos of the finished bike, I hope you will like it. Credit must also go to the expertise of Paul Hewitt Cycles, Paul and all his staff, and also to the painters he uses, who have done an amazing job with paint and decals".

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