Category: Kerry’s – Single Speed History Mystery

Kerry’s Single Speed – Done!

This, ideally, should have been posted last Sunday. I’d laid down the primer, allowed it to dry and sprayed on the top coat ready for reassembly on Sunday. It didn’t go quite to plan in terms of colour though. I wanted a nice bright yellow bike but it seems grey primer reacts with yellow paint and turns it green. After using up all the cans I had I was still left with a green bike, however, I actually liked it. It had highlights and shadows and some character. Sunday came and I started to reassemble the bike.

Not wanting to damage the new paint in the jaws of my work stand I grabbed a cloth and wrapped it around the top tube. I fitted a brand new bottom bracket, axle and crankset, refitted the forks with new bearings and fitted a pair of used bars. When it came to fit the wheels I opened up the clamp and heard the distinctive sound of sticky paint. My heart sank. The cloth I’d grabbed had the faint smell of white spirits and while the bike had been clamped in place the paint stripper had eaten straight through the new paint right down to the metal. Devastated.

I couldn’t go any further with the assembly so I looked around for solutions. I had a can of white paint so I tried to respray the top bar in white but it just didn’t look right. I needed more of the primer and yellow top coat I’d used before. It was ordered Monday and arrived Wednesday. The whole bike was taped and covered apart from the top bar so I could respray it, but the for the final coat I removed the masking to blend in the new paint work. It covered up nicely.

I’ve spent today adding the final touches to the bike. A bit of polish here and there, double checking all the bolts and more importantly fitting the brake cables. The cables have been routed with some new cable clamps as the bike was originally designed for rod brakes. It looks tidy and I’m happy with the overall finish.

From an old battered frame to a working single speed bike. What do you think?

If you are interested the bike is for sale here.

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Kerry’s Single Speed – The Start

This is a mysterious bike. It’s one of five frames I picked up in a “job lot” last year and possibly the only one where I don’t recognise the manufacturer. As it stands, I have a ladies bike frame, made from steel, in a blue colour with only the head badge as a distinctive marking.

That head badge reads:
Kerry’s – Great Britain Ltd – London E(I forgot the number…)

Now you’d think that would be enough to find some information out about the company / bike but you’d be wrong. Try a Google search and the only related links lead you to someone asking the same question as I am… Who are Kerry’s? I have no idea, but, I can tell you some things about the frame… It’s steel, blue, has horizontal drop outs and all the mountings for rod actuated brakes.

The drop outs were a happy coincidence as I have a set of 26″ single speed wheels lying around and they’d work great in this frame. Test fitting them also revealed the frame spacing was perfect for the wheels so that idea is set in stone. By the end of this I’ll have for sale a “vintage” ladies single speed town bike. I’ve actually already gathered all the parts I need, including all the paint so here’s where the build starts.

Stripping and priming!

The eagle eyed among you may have already guessed what I’m about to discover. Blue is not the original colour. I started to strip the paint off with a good dosing of Nitromors and some coarse wire wool. The blue paint stripped off with ease but it left a some what impenetrable green layer underneath. No decals, just hard green “paint”. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say the bike was originally sold in this dark green and in later years someone decided they just wanted to paint over the top of everything. I think the green paint looks better than the blue but I need it all off to start again so here is where the manual labour begins.

The green layer didn’t seem to react to the nitromors and wire wool so I’ve been forced to remove all the old paint using good old sand paper. Today, I’ve spent most of my time in the garage inhaling paint dust. My snot is now black but the bike is bare. Stripping off the old, and original paint revealed a few things. On the underside of the bottom bracket shell is the stamp “DD”, on the non drive side rear drop out is a five digit number and all the welds / joins on this bike as terrible quality.

This leaves me thinking the brand “Kerry’s” was probably a house brand, perhaps a catalogue brand. A budget bike where quality didn’t really matter. Maybe the “DD” stamp relates to the shop it was sold in and the five digit number is the frame number? Either way it’s slightly disappointing to find such low quality welds but the build must go on.

Six cans of primer later and the frame and forks are drying in the garage. Tomorrow I’ll be applying the colour, a lovely shade of gloss yellow, and then on Monday I’ll start fitting all the components. With the bike originally designed for rod brakes I’ve made two slight modifications in order to fit caliper brakes. The front fork has been drilled out ready to accept a nice new caliper and the seat stays have had a plate welded to them in order to fit the rear caliper. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out. It’s not going to be anything special but I think it should be a nice little town bike for someone.