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They call it "the perfect Sunday morning steed", we'd certainly be happy wheeling it out of the shed...

Well, here's a lovely thing. The Light Blue is an in-house brand of distributors Ison, and not one they've plucked out of thin air; the marque was used by Townsend Cycles (Ison boss Lloyd's family firm) as far back as 1895, When John Albert Townsend was making hand-built bikes for the great and good of Cambridge University.

The badge has been revived for a new range of bikes including the Trinity fixed that we've been seeing since the 2010 CORE Bike show. That was a limited run of 100 frames in Reynolds 531 and there's still a few of them left, but fast forward two years to the same show and we have this this bike: The Kings, a Reynolds-853-framed beauty that Ison describe as "the perfect Sunday morning steed"

It's pretty much your classic gate-framed steel racer, this, with a shortish head tube and angles that don't deviate much from 73/73 across the three sizes: 53, 56 and 59cm frames will be available. The 56cm has a 565mm top tube and a 150mm head tube, and the fork is a triple-butted Cromoly affair with a cast sloping crown. It's a 1" threaded steerer, of course. The frame has Reynolds 853 main tubes and double butted cromoly stays. It's built with down tube shifter mounts but you can fit cable stops there if you want to run integrated levers. There's no rack or mudguard mounts, and the rear brake cable guides run under the top tube and are removeable if you'd prefer to run the Kings as a fixed bike; it has vertical dropouts though so running a single gear might prove tricky.

It's a Taiwanese-built frame which then gets shipped over to the UK for finishing, in dark metallic blue with light blue and gold highlights. There's also a dark red version available according to The Light Blue website, but we haven't seen that yet. The stays and fork legs are chromed, and the overall standard of the finish is very high; it's a wet finish, not a powder coat, and all the decals are flush with the frame. You even get gold detailing around the lugs which compliments the gold head badge very nicely.

The Kings is available as a frame and fork package, for £800. That includes a headset, quill stem and seatpost, all from Ison's in-house brand Genetic. The show bike was built up entirely of parts that Ison distribute, and some of them are worthy of mention too.

The levers are classic gum-hooded top-exit affairs made by Dia-Compe. However, there's a subtle nod to modern utility with a top-mounted barrel adjuster for braking tweaks on the go. You can get the same levers without the adjuster if you're a real purist…

The chainset is a Genetic Heritage alloy square taper double. It's fairly clear that it's very much inspired by Campag Super Record chainsets of old, and that's no bad thing as it looks very nice indeed. At present it's only available in standard gearing in a 172.5mm crank, although there may be a compact optionn in the future. It retails for £119.99.

At the back there's a Driven NRX rear mech, from Sunrace who make a fairly comprehensive range of road groupset equipment, including integrated shifter levers, mechs and chainsets. NRX is actually a 10-speed groupset but here the mech is driving the chain across an 8-speed block using Dia-Compe downtube shifters.

Finally, the saddle is a full leather Dia Compe Gran Compe, in classic riveted style with cromoly rails and adjustable tension in the harness to tailor the ride for your behind. They're £89.99 and available in black, white and pink as well as the brown pictured here.

For more information on this frame, and the rest of the range from The Light Blue, head over to their website at www.lightbluecycles.co.uk

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

9 comments

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munded [54 posts] 4 years ago
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853? But it's lugged...?

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dave atkinson [6214 posts] 4 years ago
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Bob Jackson wrote:

LUG CONSTRUCTION IS THE PREFERRED METHOD OF JOINING 853. It allows a much larger area to be heated than tig welding which concentrates the heat to a very small area at the weld. This completely goes against the “AIR HARDENING” building philosophy of the material and adds nothing to the strength of the joint. It is however a much cheaper joining method, requiring less time and skill to perform.

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antonio [1122 posts] 4 years ago
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beautiful frame, retro lugs and down tube shifters but the vertical dropouts remove a bit of retro versatility.

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localsurfer [200 posts] 4 years ago
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800quid for frames and fork is a bit steep though - you could almost get a custom made 853 frame for that, though to be fair it would be TIG'ed rather than lugged.

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pedalingparamedic [94 posts] 4 years ago
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Tut tut, who scuffed the saddle then?!

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 4 years ago
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They won't be selling many of those round my way (unless they launch a Dark Blue sister brand)  3

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stealth [254 posts] 4 years ago
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having seen (and drooled over) the fixed frameset (want one), I've no doubt that this would be equally lovely. But then, I do have a bit of a thing for that 'classic' look. (note: I have a carbon Trek hung in my shed that I don't enjoy riding...)

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Apple Tree [12 posts] 4 years ago
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A lovely bike built in traditional style and with parts that are as period sympathetic as you can get now without resorting to a jumble.

However, Mr. Atkinson I do have to take you to task for some of your comments :

1) Why do you call it a Gate frame ? It is a standard diamond frame bike. This is a Gate frame as made famous by Baines.

http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/baines.html

2) Barrel adjusters on the brake hoods are not "modern". Brake manufacturers such as Mafac, GB and Universal had them in the 1950s.

3) "Decals flush with the frame" ? I have never found decals hovering above the frame yet.

Look on the bright side. You are obviously far too young to review old style bikes !  3

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PhilRuss [386 posts] 4 years ago
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Apple Tree wrote:

A lovely bike built in traditional style and with parts that are as period sympathetic as you can get now without resorting to a jumble.

However, Mr. Atkinson I do have to take you to task for some of your comments :

1) Why do you call it a Gate frame ? It is a standard diamond frame bike. This is a Gate frame as made famous by Baines.

http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/baines.html

2) Barrel adjusters on the brake hoods are not "modern". Brake manufacturers such as Mafac, GB and Universal had them in the 1950s.

3) "Decals flush with the frame" ? I have never found decals hovering above the frame yet.

Look on the bright side. You are obviously far too young to review old style bikes !  3

[[[[[[ Yeah! Right on, Apple Tree. Also, what's the weight of this velo as shown? About 21 lbs? One wants to compare it with one's 531C Raleigh Gran Sport, doesn't one...
P.R.