You'd be forgiven for not knowing The Light Blue bike brand. It was established way back in 1895 and has been under ownership of the Townsend family ever since.
Historically the brand was associated with performance bikes, but over the last decade or so, it has concentrated on producing the Parkside and Chesterton city bikes. These traditional basket-up-front, sit-up-and-beg town cruisers have proven hugely popular among students in Light Blue's home city of Cambridge.
A chance meeting in an airport departure lounge between Light Blue MD Lloyd Townsend and Keith Noronha, MD of Reynolds Technology in Birmingham, resulted in a plan for the two companies to work together on relaunching The Light Blue back into racing machines.
The first bike out of the partnership was the singlespeed/fixie Trinity, which was built from double-butted 531 Reynolds tubing, which, at the time, had only just been re-released.
The popularity of the Trinity and the number of requests for a gear-compatible version led to the release of the Kings.
This beautifully lugged classic steel frame is constructed using the much more modern premium 853 Reynolds steel and features classy touches such as a half-chromed steel fork and chromed chain and seatstays.
The Kings is constructed with Reynolds premium 853 tubing
A further four performance bikes are slated to join The Light Blue lineup for 2015, which marks the 120th anniversary of the brand. We got chance to preview the new range as this year's Tour de France passed through Cambridge.
The first new model is a 853 steel sportive machine named the Wolfson. It's a frame that Light Blue is particularly proud of – it's one of the lightest steel units around. Light Blue was quick to point out that what we were seeing were prototypes, so may recieve some tweaks once they've been through rigorous final testing.
The Wolfson in its Ultegra build – featuring a 50/34 chainset, 11-25 cassette and the new Genetic Creed bar and SLR stem combo. This model is shown with the optional Halo Carbaura 38mm carbon wheelset and 25c Schwalbe Durano tyres. The target price for this build is £2,500; the standard model is £2,000
The Wolfson is set to come in various builds, but we love that the frame is designed to take substantial tyres and features neat touches such as hidden mudguard eyes for clean looks.
The second addition to the range is the light tourer-come-Audax or commuter special, the Robinson D. It comes with sporty geometry and large tyre clearances and is built using TIG-welded 725 Reynolds steel.
The new Light Blue Robinson D is a sporty tourer made from Reynolds 725 steel, it features clearance for up to 32c tyres (or 28c with guards as featured here) as well as disc brakes, for a target price of £1,150
St Johns and Darwin
Light Blue also announced but didn't show (because the prototypes aren't yet finished) two further road bikes. First is the St Johns, which, like the Kings, is a retro-styled lugged 720 steel frame, equipped with mudguard and rack eyes.
Finally there's the Darwin, a full-on expedition style tourer, with huge tyre clearances and a full complement of mounts for guards and front and rear racks. Its also disc-equipped so it's ready for epic adventures or the rigours of a daily commute.