SWB0 🇭🇲 '82 Malvern Star Sprint 12

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Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Messages
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Location
Brisbane, Qld.
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BUILD JOURNAL: HERE

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The Story​

As I wheeled the rejuvenated 1982 Malvern Star Sprint 12 out of the garage my neighbour said appreciatively, “I haven’t seen a Malvern Star since the one I had as a kid.”

For a lot of Aussies of a certain age, Malvern Star is a brand that holds a special place our histories. They were *the* sought-after machines of our childhoods and youth.

Some History.​

Malvern Star opened in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern in 1902. It was started by cyclist Tom Finnigan who established the shop with the 240 Gold Sovereign prize he earned by winning the 1898 Austral Wheel Race. (The world’s oldest track race.)

Finnigan specialised in touring and racing bikes and the business grew with the popularity of cycling, despite competition from English and American firms.

In 1920 the successful business was bought by Bruce Small and his brothers.

Small sponsored cycle races, resulting in a 17-year-old racer, Hubert Opperman winning a prize in 1921, starting a long relationship with Small, who became a friend and sponsor of Opperman – and the legend grew.

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Sir Andrew Bruce Small (11 December 1895 – 1 May 1980) was an Australian businessman and politician. He developed Malvern Star bicycles into a household name in Australia, then retired to the Gold Coast, Queensland, where he developed property, and as Mayor of the Gold Coast, promoted the area to Australia and the world as a family-friendly holiday destination through the bikini-clad meter maids in Surfers Paradise. He was a legend in Queensland and referred to as the father of the Gold Coast.

Anyway, back to now.

I spotted the Sprint 12 advertised for $50 while doing my regular Facebook Marketplace ‘Vintage Bike’ trawl, and as soon as I saw it, I knew she would be mine. (Ref: Wayne’s World.)

Not only for its Australian history, but most appealing was its 64cm frame – An XXL!

I’d actually tried to create a classic road bike with my previous RRB Build Off entry, (coincidentally also a 1982 bike), but unfortunately the Peugeot ‘Le Mirage’ is ‘only’ a 58cm frame and I just couldn’t make drop bars work for a 6’5” guy, so it ended up being converted into a Sunday Cruiser with higher bars and taller stem – and it still gets plenty of use – but it’s not what I originally set out to build.

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So - to the garage.

I drove across Brisbane to collect it and started pulling it down immediately after photographing.

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It was in pretty miserable condition - it was complete, but it had obviously been sitting unused for a very long time.

The tyres had perished and there was a lot of surface rust, but it also showed very few signs of wear, the teeth on the cogs were mint, it was all good, apart from the ravages of time and some scars on the paintwork. My guess is that it had sat in a garage for most of its 42-year existence.

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I started researching this bike’s history. The serial number on the frame, and the date stamps on the lovely Takagi Tourney ST cranks confirmed its age.

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Made in Japan​

But what I found interesting is this is a first-generation Japanese-built Malvern Star.

After changing hands several times from the late 50s, the brand was eventually sold to Raleigh Cycles in 1980, and they moved some production to Japan – and later Taiwan.

This unit is an example of a first-generation Japanese build and accordingly the workmanship and quality that lay under all those years of accumulated gunk was outstanding.

As I cleaned it up, I found a nicely lugged Cro-mo steel frame, early Shimano components, beautiful chrome Araya wheels, and solid Japanese Dia Compe brakes. Jackpot!

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After I stripped it down I deliberated for a while as to whether to paint it myself with spray.bike DIY powder coat like I had done with the Peugeot – or take it to a commercial powder coater.

I opted for a professional job, and frankly, it wasn’t very good. It took me hours to wet sand and fix the rough finish and it needed 7 coats of clear before I was happy with it.

The upside was that the repop decals are now under all that nice acrylic.

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While the frame was being done, I set about restoring and polishing – or replacing components.

The rear derailleur was seized, the front was a bit rough too, and all the clamps and cable guides were rust pitted.

That lead me to a search on Ebay and I was surprised to find that I could replace all of those parts with New Old Stock. Someone has probably had them sitting on a shelf for 40 years – and even better - they were not very expensive. The other parts that I didn't replace polished up very well.

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Special​

When I got the frame right and started fitting the new parts, beautiful renovated wheels and other components, it really started to look like something special.

It was then I decided that I wanted to do more than just restore it – I wanted to modernise the bike and make it a regular rider. To that end I fitted a Shimano sealed cartridge bottom bracket and jiggered sealed bearings into the headset.

I also added a modern aero saddle, micro adjust seat post, new chain, braided cables with stainless inners, padded bar tape, BMX pedals (that look period correct – although the colour looked better online), modern lighting and a heap of detail touches like modern brake pads, Camelback Water Bottle and clamp-on cage, Rock Bros bell, and new ball bearings, grease and hardware throughout.

Now I have a classic bike that rides and performs much more like a new one.

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I was even surprised by how well the early Shimano friction shifters work. The Schwable Road Cruiser tyres fit the bill nicely too.

The overall result looks fantastic, is a pleasure to ride (it fits!) and draws lots of compliments and comments like my neighbour’s.

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But most importantly though, it makes me grin when I walk into the garage and see it – and I can’t wait to take it for another skid.

It’s a great, feel-good joy of a way to keep fit – with a dash of local history thrown in.

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Gotta love a build-off.

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Cheers,
Dave.

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Video walk around:​



Edited for typos.
 

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At what distance do you shoot to get the bike within frame at 135mm? Pretty long distance I would imagine.
I'd estimate around 15 metres +/_ 50 feet - I do use a 50mm for a lot of the shots as well - that's not as demanding. It's much easier to carry in a backpack too.

The Bokeh with the 135mm is worth the effort though.

fin.jpg
 
Stunning update of a great piece of brand history to build a bike that fits better and will get hundreds of miles keeping your 4 legged family happily sprinting along. The blue bike was a great inspiration to start you on the journey to this. And your professional work must be interesting judging by the skilled presentation of the bike images.
 
Stunning update of a great piece of brand history to build a bike that fits better and will get hundreds of miles keeping your 4 legged family happily sprinting along. The blue bike was a great inspiration to start you on the journey to this. And your professional work must be interesting judging by the skilled presentation of the bike images.
Thanks - here's some of my magazine work:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmRB32fm
 
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Sweet ride and presentation. Beautiful pics.

My father bought a new Malvern Star in the 1940’s to ride the 10 miles to the nearest train station. He worked at a radio factory in town. A week after he bought it, someone knocked it off.
 
Thanks - and bummer.

I had Speedwells. Same horse - different colour.
First was a dragster and later a Skidstar GT.
I'd like them to have them today.

My Grandfather was a Senior Engineer at the Port Kembla Steelworks - and a cycling enthusiast, sportsman, a Speedwell fancier, and I was his only Grandson.
I had bikes.
He even had the apprentices build me a lawn mower powered mini bike when I was three years old. Later on he got me a Deckson Rockhopper.

I was like 45 years old and my mother used to see me rock up in motorcycle leathers, and she'd throw her hands in the air and bemoan, "It's ALL your Grandfather's fault!!!"

Malvern Star branded were the same bike - in orange or red:

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I did a lot of miles around the South side of Sydney on one of these:

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The Malvern Star equivalent of the Speedwell GTS and my formative years ...
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Never say never huh. I've made a few changes of late.

The first lot graphics on the Sprint 12 were 50's era - so I replaced them with homage to the 70's livery above. Not period correct either but ... memories.

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I didn't think that headlight would work but ... dang.

And I swapped some saddles around and now it has a Brooks C15 carved - because it deserves it - and I've nearly broken it in.

The small bar-end rear vision mirror was recommended by a neighbour and I love it. Discrete and good function.

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"It's the biggest frame I've ever seen!" said my diminutive Kiwi pal Bruce.

Man, it rolls nicely.

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Some late minor mods.

The more I looked at that pic of the red 1969 Malvern Star Skidstar GT above ... well ... memories.
So I did fit the mini fenders I had in stock, and as discussed in the build thread, if I'm going down that path I may as well polish up the kick stand.

This is where it's at now. I'm going to change the entry pic to reflect it too.

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Under mod.
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It's getting plenty of use. It's a pleasure.
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Nice!

I used to have short mudguards to keep the grit out of the brakes, especially in wet weather, and now looking at yours I wonder how short they could be and still look good... ?
 
Nice!

I used to have short mudguards to keep the grit out of the brakes, especially in wet weather, and now looking at yours I wonder how short they could be and still look good... ?
These are ebay specials - I think they would be minimum size - and keeping gunk off the brake assembly is about all they do - just. Apart from look the part. :cool:
 

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