Metcalf & Mason
This marque was a premium frame, backed by Ron Kitching (RonKit) and built by two British cycling stars. The duration of the company was relatively short, spanning from 1972 into approximately 1979. The original MKM works is said to have been the constructors of certain RonKit and Anquetil models as well.
(Post script: in 1982, Adam Hill of Hill Special Cycles bought the MKM ( Metcalf, Kitching and Mason ) business from Ron Kitching, transferring the equipment and materials from Harrogate to Spring Street, Rishton. In 1983 Adam, sold off the remaining stocks of completed frames and components, together with the frame making equipment and the spraying booths and ovens purchased from Ron Kitching to an enthusiast in Liverpool who continued to produce MKM frames for a further 10 years.)
“Wes Mason learnt his frame building craft at Carlton Cycles for whom he rode for for a while. As a matter of interest, a well known British time trialist of the day, Ian White from York was the paint sprayer. The factory in Harrogate was called Chapel Works, being the premises of a former chapel which Ron Kitching purchased.” Mike Mullett, Reading, UK”
“Steve Elsworth (was the) the foreman builder, at MKM, who built most if not all of these frames, Steve, who must have been one of the UK’s top builders, particularly of lugless frames and tandems, never ever used any form of jig. Everything was done ‘by eye’, even the bending of fork blades.”
Norris Lockley, Settle UK
“I own a 1979 MKM Dominator which I ordered from MKM in August 1979. My frame was not delivered as the company had gone bust and my frameset and another were collected by my mother in October (I think it was) 1979 from Kirby Stephen from Mr Crabtree. I have read elsewhere of claims to have got the last frame from MKM but mine was definitely one of the last.”
“I still have the MKM catalogue I ordered my frameset from. There were seven models offered:
1.) Metcalfe “BAR”
2.) Wes Mason “Gold Medal”
3.) Metcalfe “Tour de France”
4.) Wes Mason “Professional”
5.) MKM “Dominator”
6.) MKM “Ace”
7.) MKM “Track”
…(snip)… The directors of the company are listed as W I Crabtree and B Crabtree. The letters appear to have been signed by a P D Broadbent. The company address is given as Chapel Works, Skipton Road, New Park, Harrogate…..My frame number was 6184, so if the frames were numbered consecutively MKM can’t have built that many compared to other lightweight builders.”
“Arthur Metcalfe, a top British rider in the 1960s, died of cancer December 11th at his home in England. Metcalfe won the Milk Race in 1964 and, in the same year, had back-to-back stage wins in Canada’s classic Tour du St. Laurent. Two years later he won both the National Road Race championships and the Best All-Rounder competition in the time trial. In 1967 and 1968 he raced in the Tour de France, once winner the combativity prize after one of his signature long, solo breakaways.
In 1972, after retiring from racing, he founded a frame building business with another road star of the day, Wesley Mason. Metcalfe and Mason- the two M’s in MKM- produced their frames from Chapel Works in Harrogate, so named because it was a former chapel. The building was owned by Ron Kitching, the ‘K’ in MKM. The business operated until the late 1970s.
Metcalfe remained a roadie and was often to be seen on his bike in the Yorkshire countryside he loved. He was a supporter of Michael Breckon’s National Byway.”