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Wheel building in Coventry

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GVB

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1 of 14  Sat 25th Feb 2012 11:28pm  
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Does anyone remember a wheel builder in Coventry who we all called Boothy (I think his first name was Eric but I may be wrong)? He had a little shop opposite the Swanswell Pool long before the bus garage was there. I believe he later moved to Copperfield Road (behind a hairdressers). He used to rebuild my motorbike wheels if I was doing any of my bikes up. This of course was in the days of chrome wheels with spokes. Incredibly capable man, used to respoke a wheel, set it up by eye and it was always spot on.
Wheel building in Coventry
Catshed
Old Chapelfields
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2 of 14  Sun 26th Feb 2012 10:05am  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:215

Yes, I used Eric Booth 'Boothy' lots of times for re-building my Triumph or BSA wheels, I only remember him in that shed round the back of Copperfield Road and seem to remember that all his possessions were an old pushbike leant against his shed (his transport), a great big vice and a 2Kw Belling electric fire. The shed floor was full of rims with their spokes in bundles waiting to be done and if you just walked in with your front or rear hub he could tell what it was from and what wheel-offset it needed as it was all in his head. He used to wear a wig that was some amusement to my girlfriend. He packed the business up and moved to Spain and passed away last year or the year before. It's a shame he's still not around as the wheels he done for my current Triumph Tiger 100 are as good as new and in 1986 cost £65 for both, now Central Wheel in Water Orton want £250 for one wheel re-build Sad Another skilled man that's disappeared from Coventry restoration scene.
Triumph - 'The Best Motorcycle in the World'.

Wheel building in Coventry
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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3 of 14  Sun 26th Feb 2012 11:08am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1604

I wondered where he'd gone - I had no idea he'd moved to Spain. Let's hope he managed to enjoy himself there for long enough before passing away. Quite a character. I used to live in Druid Road, just around the corner to Copperfield Road, and took several bicycle wheels to him to have buckles taken out. Like you said, he was extremely skilled, and the wheels were always returned looking like new, whatever shape they were before! Wink
Wheel building in Coventry
Catshed
Old Chapelfields
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4 of 14  Sun 26th Feb 2012 12:38pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:215

He was a skilled man, sometimes he would do a wheel while you waited if he had the spokes in, it took about half an hour and was relaxing to watch like someone doing woodturning is, it's certainly a skill that I've never managed to do - yet Wink This was taken last year and the wheels he built in 1986 are just like new and I've never had a loose spoke.
Triumph - 'The Best Motorcycle in the World'.

Wheel building in Coventry
GVB

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Thread starter
5 of 14  Sun 26th Feb 2012 3:51pm  
Total posts:109

I had a rear wheel for my Tiger 110 done in the early 80's, great job as always. I no longer have any British bikes (been riding a Yamaha FJR1300 since 2006).
Wheel building in Coventry
Kimbo
Leicestershire
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6 of 14  Mon 27th Feb 2012 11:24am  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:73

He put a couple of wheels together for me in the mid-late eighties when I was restoring an old BMW flat twin. He did a superb job and they looked wonderful (I specified polished stainless spokes and had had the hubs vapour blasted before i took them in). Wonder if it's still rumbling on. He was a funny little fella, but what a craftsman, and what a place! Wink If I remember that pushbike outside correctly it had some of the tattiest looking wheels you could imagine! Or perhaps my memory is playing tricks? Rest in peace Eric
Wheel building in Coventry
GVB

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Thread starter
7 of 14  Fri 2nd Mar 2012 2:11pm  
Total posts:109

I think you are correct with your view of his bike wheels. They matched his "hair" in not being quite what you expected to see Smile Please don't view that as a criticism but more as an observation of the general situation.
Wheel building in Coventry
matchle55
Coventry
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8 of 14  Fri 14th Feb 2014 4:37pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:231

As a newcomer to this site I've enjoyed reading the various topics and all credit to those concerned. As I said in my introductory post I am a motorcyclist and have been in the past one of Eric Booth's customers. Just to correct a small point, he never went to Spain, he passed away in, I believe, a nursing home on the Kenilworth Rd, though I'm not sure of its exact location.
Wheel building in Coventry
Catshed
Old Chapelfields
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9 of 14  Sat 15th Feb 2014 8:48pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:215

You may well be right matchle55, I was told he went to Spain with his old pal and assumed he passed away over there, but whatever, I dare say he's building some chariot wheels up there in the sky. He did have an old push-bike outside by the shed door which was hardly good advertising for his skill and trade as its spokes were rusty as hell, I also remember the orangey coloured wig he wore that moved when he nodded, he was one of Coventry's characters and missed by a lot of motorcycle and car restorers. Sad
Triumph - 'The Best Motorcycle in the World'.

Wheel building in Coventry
matchle55
Coventry
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10 of 14  Sat 15th Feb 2014 8:55pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:231

My mate, who was probably Eric's closest friend, recently gave me a cardboard box with some bike bits in it, on close examination it was one of Eric's wig boxes Lol Lol
Wheel building in Coventry
Catshed
Old Chapelfields
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11 of 14  Sun 16th Feb 2014 11:43am  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:215

LOL Big grin I heard a rumour most of his jigs went to Central Wheels in Water Orton? I use a wheel-builder based by the Black Country Museum called 'Black Cat wheel-builders', he works from Rob North's factory where they hand build the BSA/Triumph Triple racers, he knows his stuff like Eric did and he's half the price of Central Wheels. BTW he wears a 'pork pie' hat, but alas, no wig Smile
Triumph - 'The Best Motorcycle in the World'.

Wheel building in Coventry
charabanc
Coventry
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12 of 14  Tue 18th Feb 2014 12:24am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:167

If the care home was on the Kenilworth Road, it was probably the Beaufort, not far beyond the A45 crossroads on the right when heading out of Coventry.
Wheel building in Coventry
matchle55
Coventry
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13 of 14  Tue 18th Feb 2014 9:18am  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:231

Yes, I think that was the place my mate said he used to visit Eric
Wheel building in Coventry
Blueleader
Coventry
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14 of 14  Fri 1st Aug 2014 11:40am  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:51

Yes, I remember Eric. Most people on here remember him doing motorcycle and car wheels. Don't forget the enormous number of cycle wheels he made and repaired. I worked as a Saturday lad at Ron Shepherd cycles in the late 1960's and was always picking up wheels from Eric. He made cycle wheels and did repairs for all the cycle shops in Coventry and district. Sorely missed! RIP Eric
Ric Osborne

Wheel building in Coventry

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