Andy McNeil

Andy McNeil

925 Govan Road and Langlands Road

Andy and John McNeil built frames before the war (see McNeil Bros page). When hostilities ended, Andy continued on his own, building a reputation as a superb framebuilder. However, he fought a drink problem throughout the latter part of his life and the result of this was that while his good frames were really good, there were a few that appeared to fall short of that high standard.

Syd Wood's 1950s McNeil
*** From Syd Woods, "I came across your site while looking for information on Andy McNeil bikes. I currently have an example that my father bought in his youth, although it is need of refurbishment as there are no gears on the bike, the wheels could do with being replaced and the frame could do with a new coat of paint.

"I’m not looking to sell the bike; however I just wondered whether these bikes were rare enough that respraying it would be a bit of a shame and whether you know if it is possible to buy new motifs for it if I did have it re-sparayed.

"I was looking to buy a bike to go out with my 16 year old son, and as I can’t find a bike that I like for myself I am seriously considering spending a bit of money on the McNeil."

I replied, "Hi Syd. It's hard for me to say whether it would need respraying without seeing it but there are basically two reasons for doing so - to keep rust at bay and to make it look nice. If it's a bit scruffy but otherwise sound and you're not bothered cycled around on an old looking bike, I'd just build it up and use it if I were you.

"On the other hand, if it's your dad's bike and there's some sentimental value, it might be worth restoring it properly. You're talking about £100 minimum for a single colour respray at the likes of M Steele in Newcastle or Mercian. I think Steeles might be able to provide transfers because a guy I know had his McNeil done up there and he went to the bother of having new transfers made. Chances are Steeles kept the artwork and would be able to provide new copies.

"Personally, I'd rather do up the McNeil than buy a new bike. A decent bike will set you back a few hundred pounds at least (anything cheaper than that will probably be pretty low quality) and you could make a really good job of the McNeil for that.

"Summing up, then, I think your best bet would be to have the bike resprayed and kit it out with good quality secondhand parts off Ebay. Keep the old parts, though, in case you should ever decide to restore it to the exact specification it would have had when new. That might happen if the collecting bug bites. I know a few people who threw away the old parts, put new parts on their bike and then decided they wanted to make it original and had to go searching on Ebay for all the period parts again - and old stuff in good condition can be quite expensive.

"If you do decide to get the bike resprayed it would be a good idea to ask them to check the alignment to make sure the frame is nice and straight so that it rides true. The last thing you want is to end up with a bike that wobbles around because a front fork leg isn't square."

Pics below show Syd's McNeil, probably from the late 1950s judging by the post-1954 Brooks saddle and the Universal brakes, ripe for restoration. He said his dad bought the bike when he was 17 or 18 which Syd said would confirm the mid-late 1950s date.

Some more from Andy: