1929 Granby Taper Tube Lightweight

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The Rider of a T.T Frame has the comforting and satisfying knowledge that he has the Best Frame obtainable – one where every vital point of construction has been given very careful consideration. The Real Cyclist is quick to appreciate any improvement in cycle construction; it is of vital concern to him.

– Granby sales catalogue

The Taper Tube patent application was made in 1925, being granted the following year. M.G Selbach shared the start-up costs for manufacturing taper tube machines. The Selbach marque specialist says that he also shared the patent, though the Granby marque specialist says he did not. Both Selbach and Granby sold the first taper tube framed machines, and each company earned many accolades as a result. A Taper Tube Lightweight is a rare and collectible bicycle today, and it’s interesting to examine one closely and see what all the fuss was about…


1929 Granby Taper Tube Lightweight

21″ Frame

26×1 1/4 Dunlop special lightweight rims with Schwalbe tyres

Frame No 999

Brooks B17 Saddle


Granby made two Taper Tube models, one with all three tubes tapered and the other – like this one – where the top tube is not tapered. You can clearly see the taper on the down tube and the seat tube, which are more narrow towards the tops of the tubes.

It is in excellent restored condition, and its features include a forward facing seat pin, Brooks oval badge B17 saddle, original handlebars, Constrictor brakes, Constrictor pedals with 1930s toe clips, period celluloid mudguards with Bluemels prismatic reflector on the seat stay, a 5 pin crank with K type chainwheel, 26 x 1 1/4″ Dunlop special lightweight rims with Schwalbe tyres, steel Blumfield front hub with oiler and Blumfield alloy rear hub with fixed & freewheel. The bell is a loud B&T Components (became Bantel) Challis type and to finish it off there’s a pair of new Shockstop grips. It rides superbly.







338 New Cross Rd, London SE14 

The Granby Cycle Co was probably the first British builder of lightweights, and was formed by Bill Ewings and Percy Dean, active members of Catford Cycle Club. Their name was taken from the pub next door to their premises, the Marquis of Granby.

Thanks to Peter Hinds, the marque specialist, for the following information (printed on Hilary Stone’s website):

In 1925 they made a patent application for their Taper Tube method of construction. This design was in pursuit of a “stiff” frame, the goal of many of the lightweight builders over the years. In 1926, the patent being granted, production then started of the Marque’s most famous product. – The Taper Tube and Taperlite models, these being favourites with many clubmen in the 1920’s & 30’s. Selbach produced, more or less simultaneously, a taper tube model although he did not hold the patent. It is thought that he had shared with Ewings & Dean the undoubtedly high cost of tooling up for the initial run of taper tube stock. Granby was also supplying taper tube sets to any builders who requested them.

The Marque continued to be popular with many club and racing men. In late 1936 or early 1937 Bill Ewings died and the business moved a few doors along the road to number 337. This move provided larger premises. Shortly after the outbreak of hostilities the shop closed and did not reopen at the end of the war.

Post war the ownership of the name passed to Ron Argent, another successful Catford racing man. Argent was somewhat of an entrepreneur having a range of business interests ranging from engineering manufacture to his chain of bicycle shops in North West Kent. He later became the landlord of The Star public house in Lingfield.

For a time immediately post war Percy Dean remained within the business on the frame building side. Although ridden by a number of class riders, including Peter Beardsmore, a BAR holder, the Marque never regained its pre-war reputation and status as one of the leading lightweight names. Some nice frames were built during the 1950’s but as with many lightweight builders the Marque struggled on during the Cycling & Mopeds era but by the mid 1960’s the name finally left the lightweight scene.