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The Light Blue Kings - a classic Reynolds 853 racer

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

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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