Instagram is a treasure trove of interesting cycling accounts, but without doubt one of my favourite recent finds has to be ClassicDropouts.
As the name suggests, the account consists solely of photos of classic stamped, forged and cast steel dropouts, which sounds boring, but is actually oddly compelling.
I emailed Bryan Paxton, the man behind the account, and got a little more insight into this most unusual of collections.
Bryan started collecting dropouts in 2013 after realising that there wasn’t a comprehensive list of steel ones made before 1990, which as he points out, is roughly the time when alloy frames with replaceable handers and steel bikes with easily customised CNC’d dropouts became the norm.
The collection includes a huge variety of different dropouts Bryan Paxton / @ClassicDropouts
Bryan says that it was the “mild distinctions for such tiny advantages (or claimed advantages)” between each dropout design that attracted to him to this “niche of cycle collecting.”
I was obviously horrified by the idea of Bryan chopping up frames to add to his hoard, but he reassured me that he’s only done this on a few occasions and only ever from fatally damaged frames.
The rest of his collection tends to come via eBay, with buying one usually leading to a conversation where he’s able to locate others. He also has a unit of dropout-sleuthing friends on the continent who are always on the lookout for interesting new examples.
Framebuilders who have stashed away interesting dropouts are also a lucrative resource for Bryan.
Bryan’s favourite is the Zeus 2000 Bryan Paxton / @ClassicDropouts
Naturally, I was dying to know what his favourite dropout was, with Bryan settling on the Zeus 2000, a dropout that is “unique in style and size, that looks slim and fragile” but one he has never seen break.
The key dropout that has thus far remained elusive for Bryan is a set of G.P Wilson dropouts. The remaining stock of these was sold off by Vincent Dominguez several years ago and a set is yet to surface. Let him know in the comments if you have anything stashed away!
I’m fond of this socketed Rossin dropout Bryan Paxton / @ClassicDropouts
I’m personally most fond of socketed dropouts and this Rossin Prestige from the late ’80s is probably my favourite from Bryan’s collection.
Thanks so much to Bryan for answering my questions and be sure to give his Instagram account a follow!