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wheel details



Nigel Doe

Website User
Non-VOC Member
#1
Hello,

I'm trying to get a 1936 Meteor back to a practical level of originality and find myself obsessing about the finish and details of the wheels and hope that someone can put me out of my misery/anxiety! My state of play is that I believe:

1. That the aluminium hubs were left unpainted. But were they polished or left in a machined finish?
2. The spoke flanges and bearing carriers were black painted.
3. The rims were chromed but with no central painting

However, I am unsure about the spokes. My front wheel was intact but with a badly buckled Dunlop 20xWM1 rim (black-painted no evidence of chrome, possibly not original) but was laced with single-butted spokes (moth-eaten, painted black) and 3/16th brass nipples. I've no idea whether the spokes were originally butted, and on the front only, or both front and rear? Were they black-painted or generic rustless of the period? I'm sorry to be pedantic but the shiny stainless-spoked wheels commonly seen today just don't do it for me :) and I seek guidance. And yes, what on earth is a standard Vincent..

Many thanks in advance
Nigel
 

stevee

Active Website User
VOC Member
#2
Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 08.07.41-1.png Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 08.08.16.png
The picture on the left is a 1935 Comet and on the right, a 1936 Meteor photographed at the factory. Another period shot shows a rear hub on a racing bike to be painted, probably black, and a front hub on a road machine looks to be painted black. The grey scale on the wheel photographs suggests the wheel rim centres may not be black - could they be red?
Steve
 

Nigel Doe

Website User
Non-VOC Member
#3
View attachment 23552 View attachment 23553
The picture on the left is a 1935 Comet and on the right, a 1936 Meteor photographed at the factory. Another period shot shows a rear hub on a racing bike to be painted, probably black, and a front hub on a road machine looks to be painted black. The grey scale on the wheel photographs suggests the wheel rim centres may not be black - could they be red?
Steve
Hi Steve,
Many thanks indeed. So far I haven't seen any period pics showing unpainted hubs but that more or less guarantees one will now be produced! Nice black spokes too. Interesting about the painted wheel rim centres, perhaps the fuel tank red/burgundy colour would be the obvious choice, possibly with some suitable lining either side (its hard to see in your pics if lining was used). The seemingly unrestored 1937 Comet that was at Yesterdays had black rim centres and no lining so maybe several combinations were randomly used by the Vincent works. At least I now know that I can use some artistic licence.
Nigel
 

Nulli Secundus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
#4
Those two pictures do not yell out enough to convince me that is a painted rim centre.

You do not know the lighting source when the picture was taken and it could be quite shaded in the middle of the rim area. If you study the dimples for the spokes they are clearly bright chrome. Now surely they would not mask around them?
 

A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#5
Well, I have seen many unpainted hubs on Series As and some painted ones too. But there is no conclusion that can be drawn from that statement!

Next, Bob Stafford was always adamant that wheel rims were left plain. Maybe they were tarted-up in the centres for Factory/Show specials? (Painted centres were quite normal in the 1930s on other makes). Either way, Stevee's detective work above seems quite enlightening - or is it all a trick of the lighting and shadows?! The rim outer wall will reflect light back at the camera, the rim centre won't...(?). But the dimples don't look painted; Nigel is right, there is scope for artistic licence!

Yesterday I did get to have a look at what I perceive to be 3 x original (rusty) wheels from a recently surfaced multiple cache of dismantled As. The spokes were all 9 gauge (UK) straight - no butted ones in sight. That goes for front and rear. Hope that helps!

Peter B. Oops Nulli got in ahead of me while I was typing...
 

Dinny

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#7
The build sheet for my bike (35) states chrome rims and does not mention paint in the middle. I'm unsure about hubs and will probably leave them unpainted as they are alloy like post war unless someone tells me different. Thanks for the info on the spokes.

Mark
 

davidd

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#8
I am glad some A folks chimed in. I was going to say that the Factory photos shown here look to be unpainted. The dimples look plated due to the high reflectivity, and they are in the center, which would be painted. I think what you see on the rims themselves are shadows or reflections.

David
 

Nulli Secundus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
#9
There is a perhaps less than perfect restoration of a pre Series A, a Rudge Python model, in a museum I think, and it has the Post War Vincent rim finish (ignoring the non chrome for one year only (?) finish).

I think there is a danger that people look to give their bikes more bling than the factory ever did. My pre Series A Python Sports had all black rims.
 

vin998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#10
I knew a series A owner who I first met 28 years ago who bought his series A Meteor in 1945 2nd hand. Still had it when I met him in 1990. That bike is the reason my Dad bought the A Comet I now own. Anyway Johns bike had the back wheel fully chrome and the front wheel Black centre with red lines. John said it was corect as the Vincent factory rebuilt the front wheel with a C painted rim in 1952 when he crashed the A. He said the back wheel was always full chrome without any paint or lines.
 

Nulli Secundus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
#11
I knew a series A owner who I first met 28 years ago who bought his series A Meteor in 1945 2nd hand. Still had it when I met him in 1990. That bike is the reason my Dad bought the A Comet I now own. Anyway Johns bike had the back wheel fully chrome and the front wheel Black centre with red lines. John said it was corect as the Vincent factory rebuilt the front wheel with a C painted rim in 1952 when he crashed the A. He said the back wheel was always full chrome without any paint or lines.
That could go some way to explain why others follow the painted rim centres.
 

Robert Watson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#12
I have pictures of my A twin from the mid fifties..... No paint on the rims. I was always lead to believe that this was a post war only feature. In fact when I look at the two A's in Sammy Miller's museum I cringe as I believe that if one is going to present historic machines to the public, they should be right. I always makes me wonder how many liberties he has taken with the rest of the collection
 

Nulli Secundus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
#15
I have pictures of my A twin from the mid fifties..... No paint on the rims. I was always lead to believe that this was a post war only feature. In fact when I look at the two A's in Sammy Miller's museum I cringe as I believe that if one is going to present historic machines to the public, they should be right. I always makes me wonder how many liberties he has taken with the rest of the collection
I cringe at the shade of red too.

As you say it is the presentation of wrong features to the public in a museum that is a worry because it should be a source of reference to other restorers or researchers. That is why I am not happy about the pre A Vincent Python with the wrong rim finish that is in a museum.
 

stevee

Active Website User
VOC Member
#16
Having looked at more photos I am convinced that davidd is right and this is a shadow effect - here are some pictures taken in front of the 'factory' white sheet of the same back wheel on the same bike on the same day - an "A" racer with high exhaust. Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 06.31.23.png
Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 06.31.52.png The illusion of a centrally painted rim disappears when the wheel is photographed at an angle. Apologies for trying to start a myth! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters_(2008_season)#Episode_104_–_"NASA_Moon_Landing"
 

BigEd

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
#17
Having looked at more photos I am convinced that davidd is right and this is a shadow effect - here are some pictures taken in front of the 'factory' white sheet of the same back wheel on the same bike on the same day - an "A" racer with high exhaust. The illusion of a centrally painted rim disappears when the wheel is photographed at an angle. Apologies for trying to start a myth! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters_(2008_season)#Episode_104_–_"NASA_Moon_Landing"
One of the first rules of journalism. (For the gutter press.) Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
Moon landings are way off topic unless the Apollo moon landing gang left some original "A" bits behind.
 

A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#19
That could go some way to explain why others follow the painted rim centres.
True, and others paint them black/red because they like the look of the post-war wheels and don't really care about originality/concours.

As Robert said, here is the A Twin in Sammy Miller's Museum. The '35 A Meteor is the same. It's not just the rims - it's a complete mess. For example, 'jubilee clips' on the oil and petrol lines:eek:, a solid block of steel where there should be a small, grooved, rotating wheel operating the rear brakes:eek:. I could go on but I won't - it upsets me too much. :mad:

Peter B
View attachment 23565
View attachment 23565
 

Attachments

A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#20
I couldn't get the Sammy Miller '35 A Meteor to upload to the same page above. So to quicken the pulse of 'Dinny' here it is - warts and all. For those not familiar with the early crankcases, take a look at this one.

Peter B
Sammy Miller Museum 021.jpg
 


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