Saturday, November 23, 2013

Elswick Hopper Lincoln Imp

Following the Jack Hearne build here's the latest cycle project on the worklist. It's an Elswick Hopper Lincoln Imp. The name alone should guarantee it a place in the pantheon of all time great human-powered two wheelers.

Bought by myself (as I suspect by many others) for the name alone the Imp (as it shall henceforth be known) isn't a particularly rare bike nowadays in comparison to many of its peers. It was a quality machine in its day with Reynolds 531 tubing and some nice lug work but was factory produced in stock dimensions rather than frame by frame. I haven't gotten round to dating it yet but it should be mid fifties.

I'm going to build it up to be reasonably period correct. Naturally the original paint will stay. Refinishing would be sacrilege! I've already had a struggle with deciding which wheel size to go for. I've got a sturmey 5 speed 700c set going spare but offering it up it looks ever so slightly roomy so perhaps a 27" wheelset needs to be sourced. A bit of a pain as nice period 27" matching wheels are getting pricey. It'll probably get moustache bars rather than full drop bars - kinder on the back as age creeps on!

More info and stories about Imps at these pages:

Stylish Lincoln Imp transfer.

Nice lugwork on the forks.

Good old school head badge.

Downtube transfer.

The Elswick Hopper Lincoln Imp frame in all its glory.


  1. Gorgeous. Had one as a child - as a reward (apparently) for failing the
    11+ for the second time. Rode it for 6 years till I went away to Uni and parents sold it. Have had it on my watch list at Ebay/ Craigslist for over 5 years. One will turn up 'with my name on it'. Mine was pale blue and black, 12 speed. Have never seen this colour before. Theyre pretty tough; I had two major accidents including going into the back of a TR4 while day-dreaming and singing Temptation by the Everlies.

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment. They turn up ocassionally. I just missed a beautifully original one on ebay. It was a reasonable price but I already have too many two wheelers! Coincidentally I have just been writing an update on my Imp, it's nearly finished, just a few minor finishing touches. Go to the top of the blog if you are interested in having a look. Best wishes, Richard