In presenting this folder, we bring to your notice one of the most advanced frame designs of modern times-the Hobbs Continental. As the name implies, this design incorporates many of the features developed abroad under the exacting test of continental massed start road racing, but it is important to note that the design has been expertly adapted to existing British conditions. In this connection, we can lay claim to extensive riding experience on both sides of the Channel, an active participation in current racing and touring activities and a thorough knowledge of the conditions under which these new models will be used.
Every cyclist who has ridden abroad to any extent knows how unsuitable is the standard British lightweight for this purpose and, similarly, the continental racing machine, built expressly for road surfaces, gradients and conditions that have no parallel in England, is by no means an ideal mount for British clubmen. Quite apart from the obvious saving of several pounds paid in Import Dury, the special features of the Hobbs Continental alone represent an immense advantage over the imported article, while the world famous material and fitting used and the precisely accurate construction are both fields in which British craftsmanship in unique.
Before finally deciding on the frame design eventually adopted, a practical test was carried out over English roads with a Continental racing machine that had actually been used in the greatest road race in the world. From this actual test, the principal dimensions were gradually modified with the result that the Hobbs Continental retains the authentic frame angles and general design of the original while, at the same time, it is produced especially for home conditions.
Perhaps the most oustanding feature of the whole design is the inclusion of the new Hobbs T. F. front fork which, at the time of introduction in August, 1936, was the only oval section fork available in a bicycle of British manufacture. Originally made to our special design by the Reynolds Tube Co. in December, 1935, they are produced in a specially butted gauge of “531” alloy steel and are of oval section, tapered to round at a particular point and with a moderate offset confined to the lower part of the blade. The importance of the fork rake and section is attracting rather more attention than previously since riders are realising that modern competition demands speed being maintained over indifferent surfaces as over the good. The T. F. fork is accurately described as the only really resilient racing fork and it will be found to possess a remarkable degree of vertical resilience while the lateral stability of the blade is such that the fork is quite free from the losses so characteristic of the normal resilient type. This latter pattern has already been fully exploited and rejected by the hard-riding clubman.
It is interesting to note that the actual rake and section of the T. F. fork is used almost exclusively by the continental roadman in events where steadiness and resilience are both essential factors. The complex problem confronting the fork designer is obvious when one realises that, in such events, fast bunched riding over rough surfaces, fierce, hill-climbing on mountain roads, breathless descents and actual sprinting are all met with in the same race.
It will be noticed that tests extending over several months were first applied to the T.F. fork yet, within two months of its introduction, the inevitable copies appeared and our advertised assertion that the oval fork would find a place in many 1937 catalogues has already proved correct. Since it is natural that the lightweight trade should represent the keenest critics of new design, no more need be said on this subject. The trade have adopted the T.F. oval fork.
More precise details of the actual frame dimensions will be found elsewhere in this folder but, if further information on any point is required, all enquiries are assured of personal attention at all times. We would prefer, however, that interested riders who are able to visit us will inspect the actual machines for themselves as the detailed workmanship and superb finish cannot be accurately conveyed by description and illustration
DESIGN-AN IMPORTANT FACTOR
The term “frame design” is usally accepted by the rider and, all too frequently by the manufacturer, as simply expressing a combination of angles and dimensions. With the Hobbs Continental, this is definitely not the case. The finer points of cycle construction have been carefully studied with a view to producing a machine that will respond to the slightest effort.
Most cyclists are familiar with the remarkable difference that is so often apparent in the performance of two frames that are outwardly alike. There are many technical reasons for this but for the present we will merely say that it is due to the presence, or otherwise, of an essential but elusive quality known as “life”. It is only the ideal combination of correct technical design, quality material and precisely accurate workmanship that can ensure its presence. We can claim to have incorporated all these essential qualities in the Hobbs Continental.
It should be stated at once that it is possible to build lighter cycles but the models described in this folder were designed for performance alone and, except to eliminate superflous weight, extreme reduction in this direction was not studied. In this connection,. it should be noted that each of the tubes used in the construction has been produced especially for this design, a policy which is amply justified by the results obtained.
The merits of the T.F. fork are dealt with elsewhere but particular attention is drawn here to the special chain and seat stays used. The former are particularly rigid, of all-round tubing throughout and of full 7/8in. section with a scientifically graduated taper which is quite free from indents or abrupt changes in section. The resistance offered by these stays to the various stresses at the bracket is so balanced by the specially butted frame tubing used that extreme rigidity is obtained at this vital point. In many machines where correct technical design is lacking, the comparative strength of one member of the bracket assembly exaggerates the weaknesses of the others so that whip occurs when the machine is being ridden. In this particular feature, the Hobbs Continental frame is amazingly efficient.
Both models have identical angles and dimensions. The seat and head tubes are set at 70 and 72 degrees respectively, the bracket height at 10 3/4 in., the top tube length at 23in. and the wheelbase only 41in. The long top tube, upright head and the special T.F. fork ensure steady running at high speed and effortless steering while the rigid chain stays and balanced bracket suspension give an ease of propulsion that is particularly noticeable under adverse conditions. Riders desiring an even more upright frame can be accommodated with a similar design incorporating angles of 72 and 74 degrees.
The Continental Superbe is worthy of special mention as it represents the very peak of expert craftsmanship and individual specialisation. The utmost attention is paid to the smallest details and, as the work is limited to the most experienced mechanics only, a limited number of these frames can be produced in a season. Each lug is cut by hand to an original and unique design and is expertly filed down both before and after brazing. The fork crown is of the two-plate Bastide pattern introduced by us and is very light although considerably stronger than the usual cast variety. The specially tapered seat stays are brazed close in to the actual seat lug, the top being finished with a long flat taper. BSA best quality fittings are used throughout in conjunction with several lugs that have been specially cast and the construction, which is absolutely accurate in all respects, indeed represents craftsmanship of a class rarely applied to cycle frames.
Lastly, the attractive continental frame is exclusive in itself but individual requirements are fully catered for should any feature of the standard finishes not be required. Particular attention is also drawn to the quality of the chromium plating applied to the frames. This finish has four separate deposits, each highly polished and, in these days when chromium plating to cycle frames has become so strictly commercialised, this new grade of plating cannot fail to attract attention.