Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mavic 851 SSC (professional) Rear Derailleur





Found this Mavic 851 at the Whittier bicycle swap meet last Saturday. I'm quite pleased with the price I paid as well as the condition of this fine mech. Plus, it's just so damn cool looking!

These were made in the mid 1980s and designed in such a manner that all of the individual parts are replaceable. This is the reason that, when looking up this model on eBay, so many of the auctions are for the pieces of the derailleur - and these come at a premium price. 

This may get mounted some day, but for now, I'm keeping it clean and in a spot where it can be appreciated by like-minded vintage enthusiasts (nut cases). :)

Click HERE for the VeloBase entry for this Mavic. I kinda like the fact that mine is in better shape than the one on VeloBase. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fake Saddles, Counterfeit Merchandise - Lesson Learned

The fake saddle

The fake saddle

Photo the Selle San Marco sent me of the real saddle -
Note the "S" and the font used for Superleggera

The fake saddle. Note the "S" and the font used for Superleggera



I went to the Whittier Bicycle Swap meet last Saturday and bought some merchandise. Four of the five items I purchased were legitimate. One item was a counterfeit. 

I should have known better than to think a $325 saddle could have a $100 price tag, but hey - this was a swap meet. I've had similar deals in the past on legitimate merchandise, so I didn't flinch much in regards to the price. I asked the seller if he would accept $80, and he agreed without hesitation. 

The Selle San Marco (full carbon) Superleggera Racing Team ASPIDE saddle (runner up in the longest product name category three years in a row) looked new. It was (is) insanely light, topping the scales at a scant 95 grames. You can flick the surface with your fingernail and hear that resounding "tunk" of carbon. 

Yes, I was aware that fake merchandise is sometimes sold at these events. I examined the saddle and noted that the decals were on correctly, that it looked well-manufactured - no excess adhesive around the glued portions where the rails entered their mounts or other typical signs of shoddy workmanship. 

Returning home, I hopped on the computer and found that there were, indeed, several online sources for this saddle, including those that sold this model for $324, and some that sold them for $39. This was my first real clue that mine may have been a fake. I contacted Selle San Marco using their contact form from their Web site and received a prompt reply asking me to email them photos. I took some close-up pics and sent them on in.

Two days later I received this reply:

Hi Tom,
unfortunately I’ve to confirm you that the saddle is a fake!
You can understand it thanks to two things:

-       The price: most of times this saddle is very cheap (I don’t know how much you paid it)
-       carbon waist rails the shell (the part below) are shiny.
-       The logo “superleggera” is a little bit different from ours.

Attached I send you some photos of the original Aspide Superleggera.

At your disposal
Thanks

So now I have, what appears to be, a finely-crafted, very light weight fake saddle. I'll attempt to ride on it around my neighborhood, but do not trust it for any serious riding. Mental images of a catastrophic carbon shell failure on a 39 mph downhill are enough for me to NOT use this for anything beyond slow, casual riding. Plus... have you ever tried riding on a hard shell carbon saddle? I have. Bought one on a lark a year ago and couldn't get halfway around the block. I don't mind thinly-padded saddles. I have a Selle Italia SLR that is plenty light (135 grams) and I can sit on that all day, but NO Padding - yeOUCH!

I should make a note that this saddle wasn't going on any daily rider. I have a weight weenie bike that I've managed to get down to 12 pounds 10 ounces, and this $80 would have brought it down two more ounces, which probably sounds insane to anyone who hasn't endeavored in a project such as this, but, to educate the uninitiated, you can expect to pay about $100 per ounce to bring a 13 pound bicycle down to 12 pounds. It's a sickness. 

You may ask why I don't simply return it to the vendor. Well, I had no time to do it the day I purchased it, but there is a chance that vendor will be there in Whittier in November. I'll probably take it back to him and ask for an exchange for some other, real merchandise. He has some nice, older Campagnolo gear that I know is legit. We'll see if he complies. As with most vendors at these things - all sales are final. I could threaten to report him, etc, but really - do I have the time to squabble over $80, and all he'd have to do is claim ignorance to the saddle's origin. Open and shut case - buyer beware. I'll update this post and let you know. 

Caveat emptor! 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Seattle Bicycle Swap Meet - September 28th 2014






From a good friend, who attended:

One of the best Seattle Bicycle Swaps was held at the Seattle center exhibition hall on Sept 28th, 2014. Its main sponsor is the cascade bicycle club. Vendors representing shops such as Recycled Cycles and Eric's shop BPASeattle dba Bikes + Art filled the hall. The mix was anything used to new to special clothing to books, art, t-shirts and stickers. 

From talking to the vendors, there was a huge interest in vintage stuff and a lot of it sold early, which brings me to my rule #1 for bicycle swaps - come EARLY. (Editor's note: My friend is right - If a swap is scheduled to start at 8:00 AM, come at 6:30. Help the vendors move their merchandise to their locations; talk to them... see what they have to offer - you get the idea. ;)

Everybody was friendly and willing to engage in conversation. Now that I have been to one bike swap (yes it was my 1st) I want to plan more!

Thanks for that report!

Now - for the readers - Have other swaps you want to tell me about? Comment below, please.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

1969 LeJeune





I bought this LeJeune frame off ebay and sourced the parts through various collector friends and The Bicycle Stand in Long Beach, CA. The Bicycle Stand did the final build - putting the period/country-correct components together for a smooth-riding machine. 

The bars are country-correct Belleri, and have sweeping tops that allow for some surprisingly-comfortable hand positions. The Mafac breaks and levers work great. New brake pads, tires and tubes, cables and housing, and the rear Simlex derailleur completed the build. The shop did a great job, as always. 

I opted to keep the original paint and decals. Love the patina, fades, and small blemishes. They speak of many happy miles over the years. 

I think I'll add bar tape today. Sunday afternoons are my favorite time to wrench on bikes. :)

Own any French bicycles? Comment below. 



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Vintage Bicycle Eyewear




Chick Magnets...Meh.

Somehow I've kept these Jones cycling glasses for over 30 years. I bought them in 1984 and I remember them as being one of the only dedicated cycling glasses available. Before these, people wore regular sunglasses or rounded motorcycle goggles. These came out around the same time that the "Gargoyle" glasses made famous by The Terminator. 

Does anyone else remember these? They worked great! Plenty of front-facing coverage, but the ear pieces were thin and flimsy. Stylish as all get-out, ehe?



1965 Paramount








The popularity of classic steel bicycles is still on the rise, and, as more people discover the wonders of these vintage machines, bicycle shops are cropping up with the means to restore them. Even shops that typically stock the latest in bicycle technology are beginning to see the benefits of having mechanics who can wrench on these machines and understand the nuances in components and frame details from this era.

There's two shops, in particular that I love and that do exceptional restorations of vintage bicycles. The Bicycle Stand in Long Beach, CA, and Adrenaline Bikes in Orange, CA. Both offer a full range of modern bicycles, but also have plenty of vintage frames, parts, and accessories, as well as mechanics trained in working on vintage racing bicycles. 

One more shop to check out, when you find yourself in the Washington DC area, is Fathom Custom Rides.

The 1965 Schwinn Paramount in the photos above was recently brought into The Bicycle Stand and they had to snap a few pics of this wonderful specimen. The shop added the racks and fenders, but, because it was in such exceptional, original condition, otherwise left it unchanged. To see many examples of restorations the shop has done, click on over to their Facebook page. I had my 1969 LeJeune restored there, and they did a superb job for a very reasonable price. 

Adrenaline Bikes is tucked away in a strip mall off Tustin Avenue in Orange. Blink and you'll miss it, but this isn't a shop you want to miss! Jesse and his team sell a lot of high-end modern machines, but, as an avid vintage bicycle collector himself, Jesse also made sure his shop was well-equipped to handle everything from vintage part sourcing to full vintage rebuilds and restorations. His team is terrific, well-versed in the new as well as the old cycles, and always a treat to talk to. This shop has worked on several of my bikes - new and old. Check out the Adrenaline Bikes Facebook page for more details and great pics.

What's your favorite bike shop that handles these vintage steel beauties? Chime in on the comment section, below. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2002 Isn't Vintage! Oh yeah?

I love traditional, lugged frames with standard tube sizes. The 2002 Look KG261 has all the elements I look for in vintage designs, but is built of carbon fiber with titanium lugs. While I wouldn't consider a carbon monocoque frame to be vintage, I think this Look has strong ties to traditional frame geometry and aesthetics.

So, is it vintage? Not really, but it sure makes me smile. 

I asked Adrenaline Bikes of Orange, CA (Jesse and his team put on the Show of Steel Bikes, as well) to swap parts from a too-small Ciocc over to this Look frame for me. As always, they did a great job.

What's your opinion? Can a 12-year-old bike be considered vintage?



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