Falcon 10 speed – sold!

Only my 2nd vintage bike build, this one proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I’d expected; built some time in the 1970s, this old Falcon Panther was crying out for some TLC which I was more than willing to provide. My girlfriend gave me the usual “Really? You’re actually paying money for that thing?” look as I loaded it onto the bike rack on the car; I remain hopeful that one day she’ll share my enthusiasm for grimy, rusty old bikes…

Anyway, underneath all that grime (of which there was plenty) was a surprisingly decent paintjob with only a little rust bubbling up here and there, all steel 27″ wheels with white wall tyres, Dia Compe caliper brakes and the original 10 speed Huret drivetrain with some really nice engraved detailing.

The initial tear down complete and I was starting to get an idea of what I wanted to do with the bike; I was keen to retain most of the original features but with a modern twist. As is almost always the way with these things, the bottom bracket and headset bearings were completely shot, the jockey wheels in the rear derailleur had collapsed long ago but most of the other mechanicals were in need of nothing much more than a good clean.

I decided to ditch the original all steel wheels in favour of a brand new set with polished alloy rims and stainless steel spokes which give all the beauty and strength of the originals with none of the weight! I also managed to lay my hands on some new old stock narrow white mudguards (also from the 1970s) which fit the slightly narrower than normal 27 x 1 1/8″ Continental Ultra Sport tyres perfectly and I think they give it a really cool albeit unusual look.

To continue the black and white theme, I chose to keep the original stem and splurge on a set of Charge’s excellent Slice bullhorn handlebars which I fitted with some vintage Dia Compe bar end brake levers to match in with the Dia Compe calipers; the bar tape is also by Charge and is also white… or, was white for at least a few minutes!

From there, it was just a case of refitting the clamp on downtube shifters, front and rear derailleurs, new chain and all the cabling; I ended up having to replace the rear derailleur because some eejit had tried to replace the ill fated jockey wheels with the assistance of… well, I don’t think they were tools…

So, lots and lots of frustrated hours and a second replacement bottom bracket later and I finally got the chainline just right and the old 10 speed was back on the road! I took it into Manchester for a 15 mile shakedown ride, showed it off to the guys in my favourite bike shop and turned more than a few heads hopping over the seemingly endless tram tracks.

Yep, it’s fair to say this is one of my all time favourites!

19 thoughts on “Falcon 10 speed – sold!

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  3. Sweet ride mate! I’m about to embark on my first classic rebuild and if you don’t mind me picking your brain a bit … It would be much appreciated!

    • Thanks! You can absolutely feel free to pick my brains; I’ve certainly learnt a thing or two working on the older ones.

      What do you have planned? I trust you’ll keep us posted on the progress.

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  7. Well well.. looky there!! a Falcon Panther!!! someone still has one!!!! so yes, I need some brain picking on you too now LOLOL…Dad bought me mine in around… 1980 when I was 10, My feet only touched the floor when I was off.. the saddle “he’ll grow into it” .. lol, I did, and rode that bike everyday till I was in my early twenties, when it got consigned to the outside old coal house.. whwere, it still stands, a touch of rust.. on its wheel rims, tyres flat, but the paintwork is more or less still all fine, as are its original name stickers, but… I remember id broke a pedal on it… and as the pedal arm was moulded onto the (damn whats its name? errr… the thingys the errrr the thingy w its spikes on for the chain lol, how can I forget what its called??????????? ) anyhows.. I remember I tried to fit another of those thingys… from another old bike, it didnt fit, I tried to wedge it to fit and it jammed lol… so… my questions… can I still get a “thingy” that will fit it? and will it be easy to re fit? (assuming i can get the wedged one back out!!) and are modern wheels… still sutiable, will they still fit.. the old panther? Id love to get it going again, it holds so many wonderful memories…

    All the best

    Andy

    • Hi Andy,

      Glad to hear there’s another Panther out there somewhere! The ‘thingy’ you refer is called the chainset and, unless you have the right tools and you know what you’re doing, they can be a little tricky to work on. The best thing you can do is take it to a good bike shop and get some advice, you may have damaged it by trying to replace it with the other one.

      As for the wheels, your old ones are probably just fine (a little surface rust won’t do any harm) but again you’ll want to get them checked over by a bike shop. If you’re looking at replacing them, you can buy replacements but be careful of the size. Have a look at the tyres on your current wheels (they’re probably 27 x 1 1/4″) which means you can either buy a new set of 27″ wheels and tyres or, if you want something more modern, you could buy some 700c wheels and tyres but you’ll also need to buy some new ‘deep drop’ brakes because 700c wheels are slightly smaller than 27″ wheels.

      Obviously, 700c tyres don’t fit on 27″ wheels and vice versa.

      Hope this helps and best of luck getting your bike back on the road!

  8. Hi great looking Falcon. I have one , great bike love it. . Could you tell me where you got the saddle & post from I need to replace mine. Cheers

    • Thanks! Sadly I don’t own this one anymore, I was forced to sell it when my collection started getting too big!

      I bought the saddle from Pro Bike Kit (probikekit.co.uk) and I think I got the seatpost from eBay.

      As I recall, it’s a 26.0mm diameter but your original one should have the diameter stamped on it somewhere. As for the saddle, almost all of them use standard size rails these days so I’d recommed getting some advice from your local bike shop on what would work best for you and then all you have to do is choose the colour!

      All the best.

  9. Hi,

    Beautiful bike. Wondering if the ballhorn bars you used except bar and shifters? it’s hard to find bullhorns with a silly reach,

    • Thanks!

      I never tried them with bar end shifters but I don’t see why they wouldn’t fit, the internal diameter should be fine.

      Of course, you’d have to think about which brake levers to use as standard flat bar levers won’t fit over the bars. Crosstop levers might work…

  10. Hi. Glad to see another Panther. I have just bought an old one from gumtree. It’s the same colour as yours and I think the same size as well. These are probably the best bikes for customizing as there are no brazen ons other than the integral bits like the rear stays ect.

    I have just one question. Do you know what steel the frame is made from? Mine is light as a feather and has absolutely no rust despite having plenty of bare metal showing from chips and scratches. I suspect it’s 531 but there are no Reynolds stickers at all.

    • Hi Seth,

      I’m afraid I don’t know what the steel is but I’d suspect Reynolds too. I certainly miss how light that bike was – I ride a Surly Troll set up for touring most of the time these days which is, well, not light!

      • Falcon do have a history of using Reynolds 531. Before they were purchased by Elswick-Hopper in 78, they prety much only made mid to high end frames that rivaled even Italian manufacturers.
        Try as I might though I can’t find any definitive records of the Panther, but I am sure it’s pre 78 at least.
        If you’re interested mine will be up for sale once it’s finished 😉

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