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The business began in 1890 as Coronet Cycles, and Harry Quinn was the son of the founder. Initially, the company was based on Walton Road, Liverpool. Harry worked in the Walton Road premises for his father, alongside his brothers and sisters. When Harry obtained the business, brothers Ronnie and Jack set up Quinn Bros Cycles in Edge Lane, Liverpool. Harry was an influential figure in the British cycling scene, also training frame builders Terry Dolan and Billy Whitcomb in his Liverpool premises. After Harry lost sight in one eye, the business was sold to Frank Clements, brother of Ernie Clements, in 1977, with Harry kept on as Master Frame Builder. Sometime after Harry retired, Falcon Cycles were badged as Harry Quinn, but did not carry the Harry Quinn frame numbering system. Late on, when Harry re-acquired the Harry Quinn company with his son Peter, the business relocated to St Florence, Wales. The company was wound up sometime in the 1990s.
Famous cyclists to have ridden competitively on Harry Quinn frames include John Atkins, Alan Ramsbottom, William Moore, Colin Sturgess, who won the world professional pursuit title on a Harry Quinn, Gordon Singleton World Keirin Champion 1982, Kevin Apter, Dave Penketh, Terry Tinsley, Frank Lyons, John Clewarth, Graham Daniels, Phil Roberts, John Atkinson, Brian Pownall, Paul Sherwen and Bill Bradley, who won the Milk Race in 1959 on a Harry Quinn.
When Reg Harris made his famous comeback in 1975 at the age of 54 he asked Harry to build his bikes.
His hand-built bikes were known for their short wheelbase and steep angles, relative to other marques. In 1979, he was one of only three frame builders qualified to use 753 Reynolds tubing, the others being TI Raleigh and Bob Jackson. Harry Quinn also designed bikes for Viking Cycles.
Harry Quinn died on 1 October 2009, aged 92.
The title of the song A Lilac Harry Quinn by the band Half Man Half Biscuit on their 1991 album McIntyre, Treadmore and Davitt relates to a bicycle of that colour, although no mention of cycling nor the bike is made in the song, except for the repeated outro: 'Sturmey Archer, Campagnolo'.
- 1. Kolin, Michael J., and De La Rosa, Denise M. (1979) 'The Custom Bicycle', pp. 75-82
- 2. Gould, Christopher. (2004) 'Wheels of Change'
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