The bike we present here is obviously something really rather special and definitely unique.
It is a bike that intertwines the stories of a capable frame builder, an eager track cyclist and a record that would stand for 27 years.
Cliff Shrubb started his frame building experience at Claud Butler and over the course of his colourful life got in and out of touch with the frame building business. He was responsible for a number of special designs especially when time-trialling was involved. So it might not be surprising that a strong track cyclist approached him, when he needed an unusual bike.
Dave Le Grys, known to friends and fans as “Legro”, had been a successful sprinter in the world of track sprinting for quite a while already, when he set himself a new goal: to go for the world speed record in motorpaced cycling. He already held the British record at 98 miles per hour. But to achieve his new goal, he would have to go 160 miles per hour (257 kmh).
Motorpacing has been popular ever since its first big wave in the 1890s. The motorised vehicles offered some extra thrill and noise and of course higher speeds by offering slipstream for the following cyclists. It even was a thing on full-on street races like Paris-Roubaix for a couple of years until it was ruled to be far to dangerous in such an environment. In track cycling, motorpaced races are still going strong. There you do not only have the Keirin sprint in which the pack is brought up to speed by a leading moped, there are also Derny (a special Moped) led races and stayer races where cyclists follow fully grown motorbikes at high speed.
The car paced speed records are something different though. Here the driver is brought up to a certain speed on a bike which is connected to the rear of a car - until it isn’t any more. A mechanism frees the bike and the rider has to give whatever strength he has to stay in the slipstream of the ever further accelerating car.
The bike which Dave Le Grys and Cliff Shrubb came up with looks surprisingly chunky for a sports machine. But as Legro put it:”We did not want a sci-fi machine. You cannot afford to experiment at 150 mph.”
The rear triangle shows that it has evolved from tandem builds, with its extra stays, the bottom bracket shell and the extra chainwheel. Only that here it has been used to jazz up the transmission radically. The front triangle looked almost normal if it was not for its beefiness and the release mechanism attached the head tube. The mechanism was released by a front brake lever.
In 1986 the day had come. A section of the M42 motorway had been closed off. The tow car was a pure bred racing vehicle: a TWR Rover Vitesse Group A car. A huge rear canopy was fitted to it to provide enough draft. After an warm-up attempt, Legrys set a new British record at 110mph (177kmh). But when he was preparing for the final run to attack the world record, bad luck struck and rain set in. under these conditions, another attempt was impossible and Le Grys’ team had to stop. However, the record that was set on that day stood for 27 years until it was broken by Guy Martin who had Legro as a consultant. And funnily enough, Guy Martin’s bike made by Rourke, looked very much inspired by Cliff Shrubb’s machine which we offer you here
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