Hennie Kuiper! Yes, HK276 has arrived and sits in my collection right next to other TI-Raleigh riders such as Jan Raas, René Pijnen, Cees Priem and Günter Haritz. Here is a quick story of how that new addition happened.
I’m not going to elaborate on the frame detail today. Instead, I’m giving a quick introduction and recap of how it arrived. I’ll go into much more detail in the next post.
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
October – First Contact
Back at the beginning of October, I received an email from a guy called Nigel…
Hi, I have a frame which I told was a bit special. It came from the Raleigh factory as my stepfather worked there. The bottom bracket has four slots in it and it is stamped HK276. It also has a hole in the lug on the bottom bracket. Any thoughts? I would be very grateful for any information you could give me.Email from Nigel 03 October 2019
I think I was at work and read that on my phone. It was literally that brief. Clearly any email that includes a story like that and mentions a frame number like that required an immediate response. I did reply and just asked for some images and a bit more of the story regarding his stepfather.
My Initial Thoughts
I receive a lot of emails. Many of these emails are about some fascinating sounding bikes. I can get a feel that some emails won’t go any further. For instance, I often I never receive a reply to any information I send. Moreover, I know that people are sometimes on a fishing expedition and are simply after details so that they can use what I say in their selling ads. However, regardless of how I feel the situation will go, or the reason for the email, I always try and reply.
But this one had a good feeling about it.
October – A Reply!
Nigel won’t mind me saying this, but he doesn’t do technology very well. There were no images with this reply, but he did expand on the story about his stepfather.
The story behind the bike was that my stepfather who was a manager at Raleigh did some work for the race team and when the team came back from winning “The Tour” they gave him the winning bike. He said a race bike was no good to him so they took all the good bits of it and fitted standard stuff on it (shame). I don’t know if any of this is true. After my stepfather passed away the bike sat in mum’s garage for years until she decided to throw it away. I stopped mum from doing this and she said “well you take it then”.Email from Nigel 04 October 2019
The story was starting to build.
Both the emails have included a little bit of detail, but what could I tell from them?
Four Slot Bottom Bracket Shell
This bike had 4 slots under the BB. That small feature can date an SBDU frame. A 4 slot BB was used between approx early 1975 – mid 1979. That means it is spot on for the stamp of ’76’ on the BB.
That Frame Number (HK276)
Lots of frames have initials in this format stamped under the BB shell. And lots of these frames are not TI-Raleigh team frames. For that reason, in isolation, a frame stamp like this does not guarantee a team bike. I say it time and time again, to confirm a team bike, you need some evidence, provenance, facts, features, dimensions, pictures – not just a frame number or story.
“The Race Team”, “The Tour”, “The Winning Bike”
They are BIG words. Translated, they mean…
- “The Race Team” – TI-Raleigh
- “The Tour” – The Tour de France
- “The Winning Bike” – ?
I don’t put much empathsis on recollections and stories. Stories have typically been passed from buyer to buyer without anyone ever questioning them. This one is different as it is direct from the source.
The ‘stepfather‘ is real. He was a manager at Raleigh, Nigel gave me his name and he is a real person. That shows that this story has ‘legs’. The race team would be TI-Raleigh and a rider on that team would be Hennie Kuiper. There would be, at that time, an HK276 frame. The ‘Tour’ would be the Tour de France. 1976 was the first year that TI-Raleigh competed in the Tour. A bike marked as HK276, built for a TI-Raleigh rider called Hennie Kuiper would have competed. “The winning bike” – Hennie Kuiper did win a stage of the tour. Although TI-Raleigh did not win the tour, is this what the “winning bike” means?
The story is definately plausible.
A Hole in the Bottom Bracket
Looking back at his initial email, Nigel said “It also has a hole in the lug on the bottom bracket.” They are just a few words but have huge significance. I still didn’t have any images of HK276, but the ‘hole’ means a lot.
One of the little details that appear on many 76-82 TI-Raleigh team frames is a small hole in the lug of the bottom bracket shell. My other team frames have this ‘hole’.
Everything in the story, in the absence of images, appears to make sense.
October – Finally Some Images of Hennie Kuiper HK276
Images, lots and lots of images. Nigel did forewarn me in an earlier email that as well as removing the original parts, the bike had also had a repaint to metallic green. Seeing the bike come through in the images was still a bit of a shock though. This was very much a bike that did not look like a TI-Raleigh tour winning bike.
Nigel was drip feeding images, one per email, and there were lots of images. But wow, look at those Carlton Capella (modified) lugs! This bike was looking strange but good. Raleigh SBDU/Jan le Grand used these modified versions of Carlton’s Capella lugs on several frames in the 75/76/77 period.
Finally, the images of the bottom bracket, that ‘hole’ and the BB stamp of HK276.
I was happy that everything was looking good. However, the fork was wrong! Sadly, this does not appear to be the original fork. I pointed this out to Nigel in my reply. It has mudguard eyes and a different cut/finish to the blade end.
Is that a problem to me?
No, it isn’t a problem, absolutely not. You really just have to hope that these bikes survive, and this one has, the frame is intact. It would be great if this was a full original bike and still in the same condition it was when it crossed the line for the last time, but it’s not. Similarly, it would be great if it was just a frame and fork in original paint but it is not. However, it does have that HK276 frame number, and that is priceless to me. The frame has survived.
After the disappointment of the fork, there may be an explanation which I’ll expand on in my next blog post when I’ll look into the detail of this frame and the connections it has to Hennie Kuiper. The fork may be part of the story of this bike in the 76 tour.
This frame could be bigger than I ever expected. In addition to the connection to Hennie Kuiper, several things popped into my head about the significance of this bike when I was sat editing the images on my computer. The possible importance of this frame is massive and out ways any issue. Again, I’ll elaborate next time.
After that, it all went quiet!
What was happening?
Well I didn’t really know what was happening. One thing I don’t do is hassle people. They either want to message me or not, I never chase. But I did know that Nigel had been trying to find out about this bike and he had approached Raleigh but they weren’t able to tell him anything about it.
I went to the new Raleigh factory at Eastwood the other day in the hope that someone could tell me anything about the bike. I was told the man who had the most knowledge has now retired (more info lost). Its shame nobody cares about the history of things now.I remember showing a girl bike racer the bike and she said “its just an old bike, its nothing special”. Anyhow I will get back to you when I’ve sorted the photos out.
Nigel had also approached Hennie himself, but had not had a reply.
November came and went…
December came and went…
Big Ben rang in the new year of 2020!
And then an email…
A Visit to the North East
We’re coming up tomorrow. I thought I could bring the Hennie Kuiper bike to show you if you are available. We should be arriving around lunchtime. I emailed Hennie to see if he was interested in the bike but he said he wasn’t. (although I didn’t say that I wanted to give it to him). Anyhow let me know if you want me to bring it and give me some contact details. Happy New Year!Email from Nigel 2nd January 2020
Needless to say, we arranged a meet up for the next day and Nigel said he would call with some arrangements.
It was the next day, tick tock, tick tock… the day was disappearing fast.
I had spent the day thinking about what would happen later. Nigel and I had never actually seriously discussed this bike. I had been open from the start and declared an interest – but it was his bike and there was never any pressure from me. I had no idea if I’d be simply looking at this bike or buying it.
The day was disappearing and I’d not heard anything. I got home from work, had something to eat and was resigned to not hearing anymore.
Then at 20:30, a call on my mobile – it was Nigel, he was 30 minutes away! Busy plans and a location that killed his phone signal had stopped him calling. But he was in his van, his sat nav was on, he had a phone signal and his sat nav told him he was 30 minutes away from my house.
Hennie Kuiper HK276 Was in my House
30 minutes after his call, Nigel, Carol and HK276 were in my lounge. We spent the next 90 minutes talking about bikes, life, death, families, Hennie, Raleigh, Motor Bikes and even MK1 Ford Escorts! Complete strangers but with a connection through this bike that made everything easy!
The motivation pushing me and my collection is that I want to share everything. One day my collection will be in a location for everyone to see. But for now, anyone who visits and has an interest is more that welcome to see it. It often amazes people, maybe even shocks people, and I think Nigel and Carol were slightly taken aback with the sheer amount of bikes and frames.
I think the passion and philosophy I have regarding these bikes plays a huge part.
A Few Checks
I would be mad to not make a few quick checks.
>> Frame Number
First up, flip the bike over and check that frame number. SBDU and Team frame stamps are usually of the same format and in similar locations – this number fell within what I’d expect to see.
Apart from the wrong fork, the frame was in excellent condition with no obvious damage or areas for concern.
>> Seat Pin & Stem
This was an old bike, built up decades ago. Checking that the stem and pin move is a must. After a quick twist with a 6mm key, both moved very easily. Whoever built and looked after this bike did a good job.
I know what size road bike Hennie Kuiper rode. This bike matched perfectly.
I Know I was Lucky to Have HK276 in my House
One thing I knew for sure was that I was very very lucky to have this opportunity. Nigel had already been to Raleigh. I knew he had family too who he could pass the bike onto. There was also the contact he made with Hennie. At any point, this bike could have gone elsewhere. Nigel told me that he did eventually receive a reply from Hennie.
It is up to you what you want with this bike. I am not interesting in it. Succes with your yoice.
Sportieve groet, Hennie KuiperEmail from Hennie Kuiper to Nigel Mid November 2019
So no interest from Hennie.
The Time Had Come
After a good chat, time was disappearing and I knew they had a long drive home so we got to the crux of the night. Price was discussed, conversations were had, prices were agreed, prices were changed and bank details were given. A deal was reached, everyone was happy.
It had been an absolute pleasure to have Nigel and Carol visit. They made their way to the van, Carol was looking forward to her sandwiches and a nap and Nigel had driving duties. But importantly, HK276 was still with me.
And Now Some Images of Hennie Kuiper HK276
Thank you for staying with me as I explained the story. Saturday morning arrived and as soon as the light was good, I took some images. I didn’t even hook the chain back on or sort out wheels. This is exactly how HK276 arrived.
It has a mix of Suntour and Weinmann components. That chainset is familiar though, it is the same as the team spec part on my 1972 TI-Raleigh Team frame G4582.
The key part to this frame is the use of those modified Carlton Capella lugs. They are very distinctive. You can see the long point on the front of the lug with a circle cut out. That small detail is helpful for identifying this bike in the 1976 images of Hennie.
And finally here is the frame number and ‘hole’.
I really can’t thank Nigel enough – HK276 is such an important frame to have in my collection. He even sent me an email the next day
Thanks very much for the money. I can’t wait to give my brother and sisters there share. That will be a nice surprise for them.
It was great to meet you. Carol and I think you doing really worthwhile thing by caring about the bikes and using your time and energy to renovate them. Your collection is Amazing!
I think we were very lucky to have found you. I am pleased that the bike has gone to the right person. Thanks again Neil. Best wishes from Nigel and Carol.
The next post about HK276 will be a big one. I’ll be looking at several different aspects of this bike…
The Frame Details of HK276
The Capella lugs, oversize seat stay caps, RGF BB shell, Jan le Grand indicators, Frame ends.
The Type of Tubing
I know that HK276 is an early team bike but what exactly is it built from?
Confirming the Geometry
I’ll double check all the data points I have relating to Hennie and HK276.
Linking this Frame to Hennie Through Images
There are a good amount of images of Hennie in his World Champion jersey and riding a TI-Raleigh in 1976. How do those images match HK276?
Exploring the Possible Importance of this Frame
It’s exciting. This frame could have some very significant history. It could be a TI-Raleigh frame like no other.
Make sure you read the next post. Thanks for reading!