Chris Putland riding a Carpenter in a 25 mile time
trial in 1965, as a
member of the Festival Road Club
"I remember Frank Carpenter during the 1960/70s. Like most other artisan
frame builders he worked on his frame building in a tiny workshop at the
back of his shop in Surbiton Park Terrace, while his wife minded the shop!"
"His father had built racing motorcycle frames which were used by racers on
the famous Brooklands circuit at Weybridge, a few miles away. He was a
total perfectionist. At that time he did file his own lugs but mainly used
Nervex professional, which were not good enough for him, so he spent hours
filing each set away, so they were absolutely smooth and sharp. Frank was
conservative, and not overkeen on adopting the heavier seat stays and
ultra close clearances which came into fashion, preferring slim, elegant
seat and chain stays. His perfectionist tendencies led him to examine each
pair of Reynolds forks minutely, usually complaining how they were now
made by machines and the blades no longer came in matching pairs!"
"Frank was also an ace wheel builder, which also set him apart from others,
at a time of 7 ounce wood insert sprint rims, which we time trialists
wanted with 24 or 28 spokes with 5 ounce tyres, and then rode over
potholed roads! Any defective wheel with a shake of more that about 5mm
was declared 'trueable, but needs a new rim really!"
From Chris Putland