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Frames – Thompson

• The Thompson Bicycle Company was based at Viaduct Mills, Savile Street, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, HD3 4PG. (This address has no connection with the T.B.C. now.)

• Andy Thompson of the Thompson Bicycle Company was approached to produce a lightweight tricycle in 1980.

• The axle used in the Thompson Tricycle was a version of the one designed by Eric Tremaine in 1980. (see Thompson Axles)

• The original intention was that Eric would use the prototype in order to search out any problems so that they could be rectified before entering an extensive programme of production.

Ron-Dorey-12-after-repair• Andy Thompson commenced the production of lightweight tricycle frames at his premises in Huddersfield in 1981, without waiting for any assessment on the performance of the frame or axle construction.
• Lightweight Columbus tubing, Reynolds ‘531’, and Reynolds ‘531’ Professional tube sets were used.

• Frames cost in the region of £300. (Dave Hardy’s Columbus built frameset cost £311.68 inc. 15% VAT on 18/05/1981.)


• Almost immediately production problems came to light: many appear to be the result of insufficient brazing material being used at the joints.

• A high proportion of frames were returned to Huddersfield for repair or modification.

• Many difficulties and problems arose over these repairs, and eventually the Thompson Tricycle ceased to be manufactured.

• It is estimated that less than twenty machines were manufactured.

• One tandem tricyle was built, originally for Harry Brooks of Welton, Lincoln. The 32ins. One Wheel Drive axle was brazed onto a prewar Arab tandem bicycle frame (20ins./20ins.). Braking is via a front wheel drum brake and a Mafac “Driver”, with a single disc brake operating on the modified rear nearside hub. The three hoops joining the two sections of the axle casing are unusually long and thin. The space for containing the 5 speed block is very narrow. This axle bent whilst being ridden to the York Rally in the mid eighties, and is no longer serviceable.

• There are a number of Thompson Tricycles still in existence.

Contributed by and with thanks to:

Dave Hardy
Mick Madgett
Martin Purser
Clifford and Eric Tremaine
Dave Wright

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