Nice Ken Bird Time Trial Frame *updated*

Ken Bird Time Trial Frame

A nice Ken Bird Time Trial frame, drilled for lightness with Campagnolo vertical ends. Ken Bird’s son Simon, who has commented below tells me that all his frames were built by Ken Bird himself but I think they were most likely built by a third party.

Ken Bird was a mechanic on The Tour De France during the 60s but sadly passed away a few years ago, aged 65.

This frame is definitely in need of a restoration.

10 Replies to “Nice Ken Bird Time Trial Frame *updated*”

  1. If you ever decide to get your Ken Bird frame restored I will get a set of decals off to you. I like seeing my Dads frames restored and have a few sets of decals from his shop left. I wouldnt charge you for them and these are the last few decals left in existance. The fact that you have put these pics on the net and would want to rejuvenate some of my Dads work is payment enough for me. PS I am pretty sure my Dad built all of his frames in the shop in Green Street Green as he wouldnt have put his name to anything he didn’t make himself.

    Simon Ken Bird

    1. Hello Simon,

      Thanks for your comment, it’s really good to hear some first hand info. That particualr frame wasn’t actually mine, otherwise I would have like to have it restored.

      I’ve altered the post to reflect the info you’ve given me.

      Kind Regards
      Paul

    2. Hello there,

      I have just acquired a Ken Bird frame and would love some original transfers and more info on the business if possible. If you could pass on my details to Simon it would be much appreciated.

      Regards,

      Mark

  2. To be historicaly correct. It should be added that Ken Bird never actualy made frames himself. This can be confirmed by many sources, including himself in his book.

    1. Thanks for the info, that was what I originally had in the article, before speaking to Ken Birds son.

      Regards
      Paul

  3. Hi i have just stumbled across this page searching for stickers and info about an old ken bird frame im currently restoring.Could you forward this mesage and my email address to simon?
    Thanks mike

    1. Hello Michael,

      Sorry for the delay. Family has taken my time away from this site.

      Anyway I’ll pass your details on to Simon.

      Kind Regards
      Paul

  4. I have a late 1977/78 Ken Bird, in family (Brother’s) from new, and I am about to embark on it’s restoration, The frame has been hanging in the garage since my Brother went to University in 1979 – I rescued it from my parents house when my Mother passed away three years ago.

    If Simon (Bird) reads this, I’d be interested in exchanging a few emails.

    Many thanks, Jon.

  5. Hi Simon.
    I first met your dad in 1974. It was at the Green Street Green shop. I was a young cyclist (17 years old then, Ken was 35) having come over from South Africa and living with my Grandparents in Berry’s Green. Your dad and I struck up what was to become a lasting friendship which lasted right up until his death.
    Ken was always very friendly and helpful toward me. He helped me with ‘special’ discounted prices on equipment (I was young and didn’t earn much) and with a great amount of advice on training and racing. He fascinated me with stories he could tell of the Tour and all sorts of riders. He recalled Tom Simpson’s death quite vividly. He was in awe of the talent of Eddy Merckx (weren’t we all!) and I remember with amusement how Ken used to call Merckx ‘Elvis’ – because of his long sideburns! I remember clearly the day he told me, in his little workshop, that he had told Bert Strong to eat a pound of apples a day. Bert had gone out, bought a pound of apples but then eaten the whole lot in one go! “I told him throughout the day, not in one go!” Ken exclaimed to me. We had a good laugh.
    Ken turned himself into a wheel-builder of note. Many a champion rode his wheels, all hand-built by himself. I spent endless hours in the Green Street Green shop, endless! I used to watch him building wheels with fascination, using his small hammer to tap the bend in the spokes at the nipple and using the wooden handle to help tension the spokes. The different spoke crossings for different wheel applications. The tying and soldering of spokes to certain wheels. He was an amazing craftsman at wheel-building! I also used to watch him assemble bikes and Ken would show me how to use the different tools correctly. I learned much from him.
    I went through his divorce and new marriage to Janet to a small extent with him. I loved the way he always had white cars with black vinyl roofs (I remember clearly the Ford Granada and the Ford Capri) all with number plates BBC1, BBC2, etc. The white and black of cars of course tying in with his corporate colours.
    I was a member of his Orpington/Ken Bird/Creazioni Saba team. That would have been in 1977. That team consisted of a handful of brilliant riders (Ian Hallam, Willie Moore, Colin (?) Chapman to name some). What I was doing there I don’t know – I mean, here were Olympic champs, National champs and the like, and me, no one! My role really was to assist the others in terms of blocking whilst they all went disapearing up the road. I rode only a few early season races that year (I remember Ian Hallam disappearing off the front in one race, I did my blocking thing as best as, and we never saw him again until the finish! I also remember racing around the Frant circuit with Willie Moore but don’t recall the outcome) before disappearing to race full-time (staying at ‘Ma Dean’) in Belgium for the rest of the season. Looking back, I realize that what Ken did was to offer me a great opportunity to learn and to get acquainted with a higher level of racing. As I said at the beginning, Ken treated me well.
    I spent years living between South Africa and England. As a result, I last saw Ken in 1992. I needed to find work and was going to England for this. I phoned Ken and asked if he could put me up for a while. Without hesitation (after confirming with Janet) he said “yes, of course!”. I stayed with Ken and Janet for a couple of weeks or so (try getting a bike into a Porsche Boxster!) at their house in Green Street Green. I then had to go off to Bristol so that was, most sadly for me, the last time saw him. I used to phone him very occasionally to find out how he was and things were after that. I always said to him that if he ever wanted to have a holiday in South Africa he needn’t worry about a place to stay. Then a long while went by were we were out of contact. I was back in England (yes, again!) working when I discovered via the internet that Ken had died. This was just a few months after the fact. I was stunned and terribly sad all at the same time.
    Ken Bird was a character. He was a brilliant wheel-builder. He was very kind, helpful and generous to those that mattered to him. He was a friend, and I miss my friend.

    P.S. Ken had other people making his frames. I remember the guy who built my custom frame, which I used in Belgium and back in England, was made by Dave someone. I met him a couple of times at the shop to see my frame before spraying and also to go over the rake in my forks. I had to have a smooth, continuous rake from soon after the crown, like on Merckx’s bikes! Nothing else would do.

  6. R.I.P. Ken…. Many fond memories of riding in south London with you & Ken Bonner when you where working at Lewisham Cycles. You where the only guys to get a replacement Cinelli frame for me when I crashed mine on my first ride in England while I was rubber-necking my way around Hyde Park.
    Good memories all !!

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