Birmingham Wheels (1983–1986)
These frames were made at the Birmingham Wheels workshop on site at the famous UK 'Wheels Project' track, initially for the team riders (including Clint Matthews - who has provided much of this information, Simon Lawther, Bev Salt, Steve Grice, Dean Bateson, Garry Sampson, Anthony Butt plus Trev and Pat Robinson) but eventually they went on a very limited general sale. Trev and Pat Robinson both worked in the workshop located adjacent to the original Birmingham Wheels track. Very lightweight and sought after frames in the UK, made with brazed welds and using both plain gauge or optional and more expensive butted Reynolds 531 tubing; exhibiting a very distinctive large looptail design and excellent geometry. Four models were produced - M (mini), S (standard), L (long), XL (extra long). Forks were never made, with builds generally using Tange/Tioga items. Decals came in either black or yellow/gold. Original Birmingham Wheels padsets were typically white with black logos.
Initially there was just the Birmingham Wheels track and associated team as outlined above, but once the team had been established local council funding was sourced, which enabled a workshop facility to be established and fully kitted out with frame building jigs; each team rider received frames based upon their own ideas and requirements within the ability of the tube jigs and dropout designs and so on. Trev and Pat Robinson started making the frames and building the bikes (although this didn't work very well as Trev was always on the track!) As things scaled up and the team attained both National and International success the production models rolled out.
(Taken from a 1983 advert) - 'Wheels BMX frames are hand-made from the worlds number one cycle tubing, Reynolds 531. The frame design and exact mitring of the tubing is executed by former international racing cyclist Howard Darby and correct brazing techniques are carried out by Lloyd Brown. Approximate weights of Birmingham Wheels framesets range from 2 1/2 Kilos for a 'Mini' up to 2 ¾ Kilos for and XL model. Birmingham Wheels BMX frames are used successfully by the Birmingham Wheels Factory Team and are continually tested on the Birmingham Wheels track. Prices of Birmingham Wheels framesets are very competitive ranging from £79.95 for plain gauge tubing up to £139.95 for butted tubing.'
The frame shown has an 18.5inch top tube length and the seatpost tube distance from the bottom-bracket centre to top tube centre is 9 inches. Frame serial number 072 and it is still in original chrome with the remains of a black decals set. It came with Tioga Max Flo Aero (made by Tange) forks, also dated as 1983 so are presumed original to the build.