Author Topic: Nigel Dean  (Read 18483 times)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Nigel Dean
« on: 26 March, 2011, 12:37:05 am »
For some reason I've seen lots of Nigel Deans recently, so I thought I'd have a guhgel to see where they come from, etc. And all I found was this rather old page
Nigel Dean Cycles Page
and this thread on Retrobike
retrobike :: View topic - Nigel Dean 653 repair and build

So they were made in St Albans were they? When - I guess the 80s? How many? - must have been quite a lot judging by the amount I've seen, unless for some reason they've all gravitated to Bristol. Anything else that I can amuse my mind with every time I see one whizz past me?
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #1 on: 26 March, 2011, 08:17:00 am »
Nigel Dean had an excellent reputation for making fast tourers among others.  But what he was most renowned for was the production of smaller frames - for women and shorter blokes - and he had a knack for miraculously getting the clearances right where other builders struggled.

EDIT: for some reason, I had thought he was based in the Isle of Wight.  No idea where I got that from ???
Getting there...

John Henry

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #2 on: 26 March, 2011, 02:02:30 pm »
My first proper tourer was a Nigel Dean... I think the model was called a Tour Ace or something. It was a fairly bog standard 531ST 700C drop bar tourer. I bought it as 'new old stock' in about 1998, from a dealer who'd found several of them lurking in his stockroom. I think they'd been there since the early 90s.

It was nice, though I did have one or two terrifying episodes of shimmy. I sold it to a bloke at work in the end. Of all the bikes I've sold on, this is perhaps the only one I regret getting rid of.

Edit: said dealer told me that Nigel Dean himself had closed up the bike manufacturing business when it became too much for him, and ended up in South Africa or somewhere, involved in the racing scene in some kind of coaching/managing capacity. I have no idea whether there's any truth in this.

IanDG

  • The p*** artist formerly known as 'Windy'
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Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #3 on: 26 March, 2011, 02:25:06 pm »
Is that the Nigel Dean who rode for Holdsworth?

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #4 on: 26 March, 2011, 10:11:14 pm »
Nigel Dean was a succesful rider, originally from the Isle of Man. He rode for several pro teams, including, I think you are right, Holdsworth. He made a succesful come-back as a pro as well, principally with Moducel.

One of his nick-names was Sumo, as he was a very powerful rider.

He had a bike shop in St Albans, but when he finished as a pro he went north, and bought part of the old Barton on Humber bike works, from which he produced bikes.

When this went a tad pear-shaped he disappeared, to emerge as National Coach in an African country.


Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #5 on: 27 March, 2011, 12:22:43 am »
When I was at school we were allowed to go out on bikes instead of X-Country.  A friend rode a Stan Miles from the St Albans shop and we often rode over there for a chat and a cuppa and even bought small components.  This shop later became Nigel Dean's shop.

rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #6 on: 27 March, 2011, 08:11:20 am »
They were a really common club run bike in the early 1990s and then vanished.  A lot of them were in a bright metallic leaf green.  I saw one that had just been refurbished in Argos Cycles last year, but they hadn't got the red bit in the logo.

Like most stuff from before about 1998, they predate the mass Internet hence there is little reference material available.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #7 on: 27 March, 2011, 11:23:36 am »
I remeber Nigel Dean bikes and remember someone from my former CTC DA who's Nigel Dean was his favourite bike.
I'm from near St Albans, but don't remember the shop. I got into cycling in about 1986 ish and knowing of good bike shops came at about 1988.
I remember my dad mentioning Nigel Dean too. If my dad was still alive, I expect he'd know about Nigel Dean.
I do remember hearing that Nigel was prone to crashing in road races.

border-rider

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #8 on: 27 March, 2011, 04:43:37 pm »
I have one c1992, in a fairly disgusting pink/grey fade

Nice bike for a mass-produced machine.   Now doing service on the rollers

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #9 on: 28 March, 2011, 03:40:16 pm »
There is a really small one parked at Addenbrookes hospital. Looks like its seen better days, and appears to have been subject to a series of component downgrades over the years.

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #10 on: 28 March, 2011, 03:46:46 pm »
His shop was on London Rd near the cinema from memory - I went to school in St.Albans but bought my bikes in Leagrave road Luton and then SB cycles...(run by some GS Strada guys....)in the mid to late 1980's....
My only time (a couple of years) in a cycling club (Verulam), you didnt see any of his bikes on the club runs....

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #11 on: 28 March, 2011, 03:50:45 pm »
There's a NOS Dean-built MTB for sale through the Paul Milnes ebay shop, in glorious fluorescent shades and going for a mere £170.  Not bad for 531 frame and forks and, it seems, a reasonable (if old fashioned) groupset.  I might have gone for it if I hadn't set my sights on a 1987 Rockhopper Comp.

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #12 on: 28 March, 2011, 04:25:29 pm »
I've got a Nigel Dean Tour Ace that I bought new in about 1990 or 1991 from the Ron Kit warehouse in Harrogate.  It's a tourer in 531ST, built at Barton-on-Humber, I believe.

It's nothing special, IMO, but I think the Tour Ace was built specifically for sale through the Ron Kit Catalogue, and I suspect it was built down to a price.  Mine had a pretty poor (red) paint job, prone to flaking and chipping, and the bike was also prone to shimmy when loaded.  I also had trouble with a slipping seat pin.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #13 on: 28 March, 2011, 04:26:49 pm »
There's a NOS Dean-built MTB for sale through the Paul Milnes ebay shop, in glorious fluorescent shades and going for a mere £170.  Not bad for 531 frame and forks and, it seems, a reasonable (if old fashioned) groupset.  I might have gone for it if I hadn't set my sights on a 1987 Rockhopper Comp.

I a nice navy Rockhopper (1986/7).
It walked from Sauchiehall Street in my first week in Glasgow.  :(

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #14 on: 28 March, 2011, 04:50:23 pm »
Thanks for all the replies.

Yes, I think all the Nigel Deans I've seen have been tourers or tourer-ish, and lots of them are small. Often they're mixte frames (which I happen to rather like).
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #15 on: 10 August, 2012, 04:05:14 pm »
I've just had my red Nigel Dean Tour Ace resprayed by Argos Racing Cycles. Can't wait to get some new kit to hang on it. I did the JOGLE unassisted on it in 2007, carrying tent and everything. The bike was pretty good but I'm looking forward to gearing it up as a light, fast tourer. Certainly looks good in its new blue flam livery.

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #16 on: 21 August, 2014, 10:25:06 pm »
I'm not a cycling enthusiast but had to join up to reply to this thread. Your comments about the quality of the Nigel Dean bike filled me with a sense of pride as I worked at the factory in the late 80s. The company was called Tiger Sports and Leisure and based in Barton on Humber, the old Elswick Hopper site, probably the largest manufacturer of bikes in the world in the early 1900s. The factory was small in 1988 employing no more than 20 people. I was 18 years old when I started working there and after a couple of years worked as a brazer/frame constructor. I remember the Reynolds tubing and forged lugs and ends being of really high quality and we all took pride in brazing all the components. The seat stays were cut, caps brazed on the seat end with the flanges turned flush on a belt, by hand. They were then brazed onto the seat lug by building up the brass. A good brazer made this look smoth with no lumps, Brenda was the best at this! Check under your seat for the workmanship. I've looked at countless bikes over the years and when I see the pressed flat wheel ends and pressed flat seat stays I realise that the bikes we produced were made to a high standard and I'm not sure they are made that way anymore. The 531 tourer was a great bike and the racing frames with steap heads and little clearance on the down tube were light and very good. The 753 and 653 were very light and had to be silver soldered. The shot blaster had to be turned right down to avoid warping the tubes. The bikes mainly went out as Claude Butler, Evans and Nigel Dean fitted with Shimano gear. The jobs dwindled around 1990 and I noticed that light weight alloy frames were being made elsewhere rather than steel. I was fond of Nigel as an employer and a person. He had a good sense of humor. He was fair and his motto on the badge was 'quality counts'. In an attempt to keep the factory viable cheaper bike were produced and I would imagine this stuck in his craw. Listening to the comments on this message board and elsewhere on the internet he should be proud of his legacy.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #17 on: 21 August, 2014, 10:48:55 pm »
Thanks for that bit of detail and history.
Getting there...

Paul

  • L'enfer, c'est les autos.
Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #18 on: 21 August, 2014, 11:05:29 pm »
I was hanging my nose over a ND at Bearwood Cycles in the early nineties. It was a touring bike but looked lean and fast with its red paint job. I settled for a Claud Butler from elsewhere in the end. It was a lovely bike and I'm intrigued to learn that it might have been the same bike underneath, Geoff Duke. However, it was only green.
What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #19 on: 27 August, 2014, 09:00:30 am »
I'm not a cycling enthusiast but had to join up to reply to this thread. Your comments about the quality of the Nigel Dean bike filled me with a sense of pride as I worked at the factory in the late 80s. The company was called Tiger Sports and Leisure and based in Barton on Humber, the old Elswick Hopper site, probably the largest manufacturer of bikes in the world in the early 1900s. The factory was small in 1988 employing no more than 20 people. I was 18 years old when I started working there and after a couple of years worked as a brazer/frame constructor. I remember the Reynolds tubing and forged lugs and ends being of really high quality and we all took pride in brazing all the components. The seat stays were cut, caps brazed on the seat end with the flanges turned flush on a belt, by hand. They were then brazed onto the seat lug by building up the brass. A good brazer made this look smoth with no lumps, Brenda was the best at this! Check under your seat for the workmanship. I've looked at countless bikes over the years and when I see the pressed flat wheel ends and pressed flat seat stays I realise that the bikes we produced were made to a high standard and I'm not sure they are made that way anymore. The 531 tourer was a great bike and the racing frames with steap heads and little clearance on the down tube were light and very good. The 753 and 653 were very light and had to be silver soldered. The shot blaster had to be turned right down to avoid warping the tubes. The bikes mainly went out as Claude Butler, Evans and Nigel Dean fitted with Shimano gear. The jobs dwindled around 1990 and I noticed that light weight alloy frames were being made elsewhere rather than steel. I was fond of Nigel as an employer and a person. He had a good sense of humor. He was fair and his motto on the badge was 'quality counts'. In an attempt to keep the factory viable cheaper bike were produced and I would imagine this stuck in his craw. Listening to the comments on this message board and elsewhere on the internet he should be proud of his legacy.
By royal appointment!  :D

Interesting on the manufacturing details and the names they were sold under. Thanks!
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #20 on: 17 October, 2014, 03:04:29 pm »
The bikes mainly went out as Claude Butler, Evans and Nigel Dean

Ah, this makes sense. Back in the late 80s-early 90s I remember Evans branded bikes being quite desirable.

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #21 on: 13 February, 2015, 05:58:55 pm »
Just to add one more to the list - I have a Nigel Dean Tour Master that I bought new from Dave's Bike Shop in Leeds in 1993, colour pale blue. Although the paintwork is getting pretty knocked about, it's still a lovely bike and I wouldn't part with it for anything.

Peter

Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #22 on: 01 March, 2015, 11:22:15 pm »
I too bought my first Nigel Dean, a red Tour Ace, in 1992 in that Leeds shop. My sister bought one too, by coincidence, in London at the same time. I rode that lovely bike until a respray in about 2010, and then wrote it off after hitting a Alfa Romeo Spider in Chepstow, on Lejog in 2012. So I bought a Danube, the same frame but very slightly different kit, and ride it most of the time. For good measure I also found a golden yellow model, barely ridden in 25 years, and might be tempted by a ND mtb if I see one. I have two spare 531st frames if anyone needs one.
There is to be a VCC article on Nigel Dean, including a current interview with him, and I believe Geoff Duke (above) has been contacted. Thanks Geoff for that. Keep the ND name current - they are lovely bikes to ride. Simon

(If I could work it out I'd add a picture of one)


Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #23 on: 09 March, 2015, 08:35:48 am »
I bought my ND World Tour (531 ST) from Geoffrey Butler in Croydon in 1991 - had a Suntour 7sp groupset.  Had it repainted by Argos a few years back - think it must have been the Leaf Green one Rogerzilla saw (with slightly incorrect stickers - but a nice job nonetheless).  Still going strong having rebuilt with 9sp Deore/XT which seems to work well with downshifters.

Gattopardo

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Re: Nigel Dean
« Reply #24 on: 05 June, 2024, 04:52:09 pm »
Holy thread necromancy

Does anyone know what the Nigel Dean frame number format is?