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Sun Cycles
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1968 Chris Barber Team replica Sun

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Detail of a lovely Sun Snipe Plus c1965

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Sun Snipe Plus c1965

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Details of a Sun Snipe Prestige/Mass Start 100, upgraded to 10-speed
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Detail of a Sun Snipe Prestige/Mass Start 100 c1962

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The flam paint really glows on a sunny day

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The Worksop built Sun Snipe Prestige detail

The Sun Snipe 'Prestige' (Recently found to be a Mass Start 100 model)


This cycle was purchased as a frame and forks only in June 2013. It has now been built up into a finished machine as a clubman's tourer of the 1960s.

The frame is a Worksop built affair, dating probably from the c1963. The frame number has a 'J' prefix, however this does not necessarily following the Carlton numbering system which was used for Carlton machines. Sun were taken over by Raleigh/Tube Investments to form huge British Cycle Corporation in 1960. Sun were originally built in Birmingham by F C Parkes, the headtube badge reflected this using the Birmingham name in the design, once production was moved to Worksop and the Carlton factory, by Raleigh around the early 1960s, the head badge then proclaimed Worksop instead. In general  it has been said the better Sun frames used the Carlton letter prefix system, this frame is certainly up to the mark and displays many Carlton-esque features such as the typical wrap over seat stays. The front forks and head tube crown are both chromed and the paintwork is an eye-catching flamboyant orange with contrasting head and seat tubes in green. The frame measures 22" from top of seat tube to centre of the bottom bracket.

This frame, I believe was originally equipped with 10-speed Cyclo mechanisms, I'm keeping this build to a simpler, more reliable 5-speed set up using Huret components, sourced from my own collection - this is a lot more usable in todays traffic in my view. The rear block is a 28-tooth freewheel.

Stopping power is supplied by first generation Weinmann 999s, applying the blocks to some simple alloy rimmed 27-1/4" wheels. A well used Brooks B5N saddle completes the set up with a fetching Carradice saddle bag for on-board supplies of lemonade and cake!

New decals have been applied and I have decided to present the machine as a Sun Snipe Prestige. The model range in the 60s progressed as Snipe, Snipe Plus, Snipe Prestige and Snipe all-chrome. This machine with its chromed forks and head tube looks a little more up market than the standard Snipe, hence my choice of model designation.

Sadly as the years went by the Sun marque gradually descended into the bargain basement of cycles, probably because Raleigh had no idea what to do with the brand, already owning a top flight outfit like Carlton. That said there were a few good frames made under the name, this being one of them, although a later Carlton (Worksop) built model.

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Period accessories

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Detail of a lovely Sun Snipe Plus c1965
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Sun Snipe Plus c1965