Saturday, August 29, 2015

1985 Schwinn Super Sport

58 CM Center to Center Seat Tube and Top Tube

Full Shimano 600 Grey Edition

All parts removed, cleaned, lubed, replaced

Frame has only a few, very minor blemishes and nicks.

Ready to ride!

Picked this bike up from a local seller in Orange County, CA. He may not have realized what he had. Once I brushed some dirt off the top tube, I saw a beautifully-preserved 30 year old bicycle. 

Took a couple weeks taking it apart and reconditioning it - had a blast doing that, as always. 

For sale, so leave a comment if interested. 

The 1985 Super Sport was three from the top in the Schwinn line-up. Club racer with effective racing angles, light Columbus Tenax (older name for Chromor) tubing. Weighs in at 22 pounds 4 ounces on my Park scale; which is 2 full pounds less than Bianchis of the same era I have. 

Tubular wheels on this one. The original rear wheel (clincher) had a bad axle, so I swapped out the set for something more lively/light. 

Chime in if you've ever owned a Super Sport. 

Catalog can be found HERE.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Vibrating Parts Cleaner - It's Time to Come Clean

I recently purchased a 5 lb Vibratory Tumbler from Harbor Freight to clean bicycle parts and bits. Here's a couple videos showing how I used it and the results. 


Chime in by leaving a comment if you've used one of these and care to share your story. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bianchi - The New Obsession

Original listing photo. That is NOT my douug!

1982 Campagnolo NR mech and Gipiemme dropouts

Bianchi-branded Ofmega Strada crankset

Dia Compe hoods fit fine over Universal levers. I have since removed the top ferrules. 

I've always loved Bianchi bikes; particularly the celeste ones from the early 1980s. I found one on eBay recently and the seller was local, so I contacted him. It is a 1982 Nuova Racing with original components and a well-preserved paint job. I took it apart, cleaned it up, and now it's ready to ride.

Actual photos of the Tipo Corsa frame.

Not my bike, but a close-enough vision of what it will look like. 


Red cable housing. Yes!

Three weeks later, fueled by my recent purchase and the fun I had bringing that Bianchi back to original condition, I searched for another. I quickly found a 1983 Tipo Corsa 28-T that was a repaint, but well-done and quite pristine. The buyer was, again, local, so I purchased it and that is now my Summer build project.

I've taken the parts from my Guerciotti and some other I had in stock to build this, and am having a blast.

So why the interest in Bianchis? In and around 1981 and 1982, I couldn't afford any other bike than my trusty Univega Viva Sport. It served me well and I put many miles on it. Still, I longed for a "real" racing bicycle. I cut apart Bianchi, Specialized, and other brochures and created a collage on the wall next to my bed. No poster purchased in any store could have been more inspirational or fun to look at. I memorized the bicycle specs from the charts in the catalogs and dreamed of the day I could finally one one of these fine, elegant machines.

Fast-forward 33 years and I finally purchased a 1981 Super Leggera in mint condition. Unfortunately, it was too small, and I decided to sell it after two years. The ones I recently found fit fine and the experience of wrenching on these and riding them is, in every sense of the term, a dream come true.

I have my eyes open for more and am saving my pennies. The thought has even crossed my mind to sell a Colnago or two to pay for another Bianchi, but I've, so far, talked myself out of that silly notion. :)

What about you - ever own a Bianchi?

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

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. 

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