Johnny Berry

Johnny Berry

193 Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Manchester, U.K.

Special thanks to Alan Woods

Alan Woods

“Johnny Berry was a well regarded Manchester, U.K., bicycle frame builder. During his 42 year career, Berry built more than 1,380 frames, first under the Berry & Bentley name and then under his own. From circa 1933 to the end of World War II, Berry built at least 471 Berry & Bentley frames. From 1946 until his death in 1974, he built 913 Johnny Berry frames.”

“Berry & Bentley frames had a serial number stamped on the left dropout and a corresponding number on the fork. From circa 1933 to 1937, frames and forks were stamped only with a sequential frameset number which served as the serial number. By 1938, Berry & Bentley frames were stamped with a 5-digit serial number; a 2-digit date code (e.g., “38” = 1938) preceded the sequential frameset number.”

“Johnny Berry frames carried a serial number on either the left dropout or under the bottom bracket. From 1946 to early in 1953, the serial number on a Johnny Berry frame almost always was stamped somewhere on the outside of the left dropout. After early 1953, serial numbers were always stamped under the bottom bracket shell, parallel to, and near, the right edge. Forks carried a serial number under the crown that corresponded with the serial number that was stamped on the frame.”

“Johnny Berry serial numbering was distinctive and is diagnostic. Typical Johnny Berry serial numbers had six digits that began with a “4”, “5”, “6”, or “7”. The first two digits of the serial number represented when the frame was built (e.g., “47” = 1947). A “1” always followed the two digit date code. This “1” was always the fourth digit when reading from the right side of the serial number. A three digit, frame number followed the “1”; the frame number ran sequentially from when Johnny Berry began building under his own name in 1946.”

“Among Johnny Berry’s most famous customers were racers Brian Robinson and Audrey McElmury. In 1969, Audrey McElmury from southern California rode her Johnny Berry bicycle to solo victory in rainy, difficult conditions on a hilly circuit at the women’s UCI Road World Championships in Brno, Czechoslovakia. Some of Berry’s later frames were adorned with rainbow stripes to commemorate her victory, America’s first world road cycling championship, and only the second world cycling championship that the USA had ever won.”

Johnny and Ida Berry’s shop in 1971 or 1972. Note blue Berry bicycle leaning on window outside, orange Bob Jackson frameset hanging in right display window, and advertisement for Ron Kitching’s “Everything Cycling” on door.

Johnny Berry in his shop with Alan Woods’ frame set.

Alan Woods' (original owner) #721891

Grey Taylor's blue road bike

Alan Woods' 1958 Johnny Berry #581656