I recently met up with Ron Robson who I worked with for many of years at Dentons during the 1980s and 1990s. He was 86 and had been retired for nearly 20 years but he had a huge wealth of knowledge. I knew a lot of the later history of Denton Cycles but wasn’t too sure of the early stuff. We went over some of the history of the shop. I knew it came into existence in 1953 when Ron and Ces Jones took over Barrass Cycles on Westgate Road in Newcastle when George Barrass retired. Ron rode the Denton road race in Easter 1954 and he and Ces had been looking for a new name for the business – so in the Easter of 1954 he renamed the business and Dentons was born!
Ron built half a dozen frames himself before moving production of complete frames to Mercian and continuing with frame repairs in house at the Denton shop on Westgate Road in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Colin Davison (my old boss) took over in the 70s and 80s. Colin was an ex pro and detail obsessed which is where I believe my own detail obsessed approach to bike mechanics came from – he was precise and strict with bike setup, saddle height/angle and stem length/brake lever position was all detailed in the back of the “book”. His best year I think was 1973 when he had some success in the Milk Race, beating the likes of Aad van den Hoek who went on to ride for TI-Raleigh.
Colin was from Bishop Auckland near Durham and he went into partnership with Paul’s Cycles in Bishop Auckland – Ron believes his frame fixtures went there. From then, all Denton frames were built there until that partnership ended. Dave Yates (M Steel Gosforth) took over until we stopped making frames in the late 1990s. Like many other shops, we just couldn’t complete with mail order steel, aluminium and carbon.
I found out that the “Denton Cycles Ltd” company had been dissolved in 2014, and after speaking to Pam Davison, I asked if it would be ok to continue and use the Denton Cycles name, which Pam was more than happy for me to do. I felt there was just too much history in the name to let it disappear.
The DENTON name has been associated with the bicycle trade in the North East for over 60 years and the name will continue to make appearances on new frames in the future. The DENTON name will live on with me as a brand at Specialist Bicycle Restorations.
Please get in touch if you have any Denton Cycles related questions…