Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cooper Bikes

I'm so glad I didn't name this site "Old Racing Bicycles," as it would have really narrowed my choices for the bikes I chose for articles. Fact is, bicycles don't have to be old to be vintage. Case in point, Cooper Bikes. These great-looking rides feature classic (not compact) frame geometry, Reynolds tubing, and simple, elegant component choices. In my eye, they are the very definition of "vintage." 
Cooper T200 Championship 50 - Photo clipped from Web site

I've never ridden one, but I'd sure like to. 

These are distributed by only one US distributor, and I don't have any pricing information. Here's where to find them: 

Prestige of Mahwah

345 Route 17
United States of America
Telephone: 201-684-0700

Please chime in if you've ever ridden one. 

Dutch Racing Bicycles

Oh how I love European racing bicycles... My first racing bicycle was a Dutch Batavus Professional. Built it up with.. [gasp!] Shimano 600 components, but boy - what a great ride. Still have the frame and it's in great shape. Pulling it out of the closet this weekend to pull the brakes off of it and give it a good polish. Pics soon!

In the meantime, take a gander at these dutch racing bicycles. Thanks to Twitter follwer, Strikk for the link!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bicycle Dreams - The Story of RAAM

Asking for this DVD for Christmas. You listening Santa? :)

1971 Campagnolo Gran Turismo Derailleur

I bought this Campagnolo Gran Turismo derailleur as the start of a vintage bicycele parts collection. The Gran Turismo was introduced in 1971 and was on the lower price and quality end of the Campagnolo derailleur line. It had a super wide gearing range, and looks more like a Ninja weapon than a bicycle part. Heavy too - all steel construction without any efforts on weight savings. I dissassembled it and shined it up a bit. Looks nice sitting in my display case :)

Any experiences with vintage Campagnolo derailleurs? Chime in below by leaving a comment, or send photos and your stoy to vintageracingbicycles [at]

Saturday, November 26, 2011

1978* Alan

I bought this Alan in October from a gentleman in Studio City, CA. The ride is classic aluminum - unforgiving, but responsive and the frame dimensions fit my 6' 2" frame very comfortably. It's a 59cm C-C seat tube with a 58cm C-C top tube. About 32.5 stand-over height.

I just added the yellow tires, and was shocked at how ridiculous it looked with them until I put a few miles on them. The road dirt did wonders to help them blend better with the gold frame! Who woulda thunk that a little dirt would make such an aesthetic improvement? Ask a mountain biker or cyclocross racer, I suppose, to get an honest answer on that question.

It's equipped with Shimano 600 derailleurs, brakes and it came with a Sugino Mighty Competition crankset, which I know is a nice crank and sought-after, but it's... well ugly, in my opinion. Replaced that with a first generation Campagnolo Chorus. I might eventually convert this to a single speed, but time will tell. The Shimano Index Shifting works like a charm, so I'll keep the gears for now. No-name seatpost that didn't shine up too well, and minty Suntour Superb Pro pedals from circa 1985 - LOVE those pedals. Mavic wheels with Shimano hubs, TTT stem and bars(?) have to check the bars to make sure they're not Cinelli. 

Overall I'm very pleased with this purchase. Makes a nice new member to my stable. 

Alan frames are "glued and screwed," that is they are bonded together with industrial bonding cement and screwed into the lugs so they won't work their way out over the miles. Brake bridges and bottom brackets are the first to show signs of loosening in these as well as Vitus frames, so check for play in these areas prior to purchase. Expect to spend about $600 in 2011 dollars for a bike in this condition with similar build components.

Ever ridden on an Alan? Chime on in! :)

* Year is approximate. Can you help me narrow down the year of the frame?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Klein Team Super - The Klein Obsession Continues

If this isn't obvious by now, I love Klein bicycles. Just nabbed my third Klein tonight - this one off an eBay auction. Went cheap too - mainly because there is a 1/2 inch crack in the top of the seat tube neck. Aluminum can be welded, so perhaps I'll have that done some day. Thinking this crack can be kept in check with some steel aircraft ties, but won't know until I get the bike. 

Comes with a Campagnolo Super Record read derailleur in very good condition, so, with the price of the bike at only $85, and shipping at about half that price, I'll get a great collector frame and a nice wheel set along with a Campy derailleur for less than $150. Can't complain :)

I'll keep y'all up to date on this project bike and post more photos when the bike arrives in a week or so.

Ever ride a first generation Klein Stage or Team Super? Chime on in.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Show of Steel Bikes - December 4th 2012, Orange, CA

I'm bringing my 1980 Bianchi to show here

Will be there all day - 11am-4pm. Stop by and say hello! 

A Show of Steel Bikes
Sunday December 4th
11AM - 4PM
BBQ at 2PM!
362 South Tustin Avenue
Orange, CA

More Vintage Bicycle Photos Than You Can Shake a Spoke At

1969 De Rosa. Courtesy of Chancertime's Photostream

Can't get enough vintage bicycle racing photos? Try one of these Flickr groups:

The Vintage Italian Racing Bicycle

Classic Lightweight Steel Bicycles

Enjoy! :)

The Bicycles of the 1984 LA Olympics

I was fortunate enough to be part of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. No, not as an athlete, although that would have been an awesome start to this post, but as a security guard for the yachting venue in Long Beach. Even back then, at age 19, I realized this was a special time and a privileged opportunity. 

During that period, I was heavily into cycling, and, on July 29th 1984, accompanied by a bevy of my Long Beach Velo Club brethren, drove the 30 miles south to Mission Viejo, CA to watch the individual Olympic Road Race. As now, I was as much into the bicycles themselves as I was into riding them. The gleaming chrome forks, unblemished paint and, of course, more Campagnolo components than I could count, whizzed by at breath-taking speed so close I was cooled by the wind they created.

Murray bicycles won the right to sponsor the machines rode by the 7-Eleven team, but the frames were most-likely made by Serotta. Campy-Only, one of my favorite bicycle blogs, has just posted a short write-up on these bicycles and posted some photos as well. Check this out HERE

Any memories of this road race or other cycling event from the '84 Olympics? Chime on in below, or send some photos to vintageracingbicycles [at]

Friday, November 18, 2011

1984* Klein Performance

And now for the updated photos showing the new fenders (3/2013)

I bought this Klein Performance bicycle from eBay in September of 2010.

I'm looking for other people with early 1980's Klein bikes to send in their serial numbers, so please chime in, either by leaving a comment here or by sending me an email. Thanks.

The components are a hodgepodge of an old red-anodized Galli crankset, an NOS pair of Suntour Superb brakes I found at a flea market (score!), a really nice long-cage Campagnolo Nuovo Record rear derailleur, and another NR for the front. The relaxed angles of the frame, coupled with the high bottom bracket and easy fork rake give this bicycle a wonderfully-stable and smooth ride. Don't believe everything you hear about aluminum frames being harsh. Klein made some of the most comfortable, high-performance bicycles you could find. 

There are a couple of good Web sites to explore if you are into vintage Klein bicycles. Old Klein Bikes focuses mainly on Klein mountain bicycles, but Diablo Scott's site is loaded with Klein road bicycle information, including an ever-growing Klein serial number database. I've communicated with Scott a few times as I was trying to determine the model of my Klein, and he's a good guy - very knowledgeable and ready to help.

Have you ever ridden or owned a Klein road bicycle? What model? What did you like/not like about it? Chime in below in the comments, or send some pics so I can post them here on this blog: vintageracingbicycles [at]

* Year is approximate If you can help determine the year - please chime in.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Modolo Brakes - What's the Product Lineup?

UPDATE: Found this page with terrific details on Modolo Brakes, the Modolo Lineup, and photos. 

I've always appreciated Modolo brakes, and have been lucky enough to own a few pair. Right now, I only have a pair of white Modolo Professional levers and calipers, but always keep my eyes open for more on eBay. 

I wanted to find out how the Modolo product line hierarchy was laid out, so I did a little research and found this Modolo Brochure. Hope it's helpful to you too!

Kronos -- Master-Pro -- Professional -- Equipe -- Speedy -- Flash -- Sporting

1988* Olmo Sintex

I bought this Olmo Sintex off of CraigsList from a guy in Orange County about ten years ago and sold it five years later for roughly the same price - $350. That was a steal, and I truly wish I would have kept it. It was a 60 cm frame made of Columbus SPX tubing - slightly thicker-walled for longer tubes, but otherwise the same quality as SLX. I don't remember the original brake brand, but I added a set of NOS black Modolo Equipe brakes that looked nice and worked very well. 

The rest of the components were Shimano Dura Ace, if I remember correctly, but the wheels were aero Rigida rims that were heavier than bricks, but looked cool. :)

Ever ridden an Olmo? Chime in with your story, and send photos to vintageracingbicycles [at]

* Year is approximate...but close. 

*** *** UPDATE *** ***

I just bought the bike back from the old friend who bought it from me eight years ago or so! Only a little worse for wear, considering how many miles he put on it - 40 per day commuting for a year or so. Am looking forward to cleaning it up and shining up the components. :)  I feel like PeeWee Herman getting his bike back. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Campagnolo - 'nuff Said?

Campagnolo C-Record Cobalto Calipers
Photo courtesy of Sheldon Brown - Perhaps the Web's best cycling resource.

I'm a Campagnolo fan, and proud of it. While Japanese components can be equal, in many ways, I'm attracted to the nostalgia surrounding Campy heritage. I don't own any Campagnolo gear newer than 1990, and have no real interest in building up a bicycle with any of their carbon components - not now, anyway. I do have a minty first generation Chorus group, two pair of C-Record Cobalto brakes and levers, and the Campy set that's on my Bianchi Superleggera. I've also got my eye on a Campagnolo "Sport" derailleur that I spotted on CraigsList yesterday, although it may be gone before I get the opportunity to purchase it on Monday. 

I'll be talking more about Campagnolo gear in future posts - just wanted to start a conversation on the subject to fuel the discussions to come.

Do you own any Campy gear? How does it compare to Japanese or other brands? What's your favorite Campagnolo model line?

Send photos and I'll post them on this blog. vintageracingbicycles [at]

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1980* Cinelli Super Corsa

I bought this bike for $300 loaded with period-incorrect Shimano 600 components and then decided to get creative with the color-matching golden levers, yellow cable housing, bottle cage, and seat while converting it into a single speed. 

I'm not certain of the year - thus the asterisk in the title of this post. If anyone can more closely approximate the year from these photos, please comment below.

The ride was classic steel - no surprises. Stiff, upright angles made this bike a little harsher than I like for tooling around town, but hey - it's a classic! Those bars are 44cm - my favorite width and not easy to find these days. 

The chrome took a lot of polishing to get it to the condition you see here, and this isn't nearly as nice as I've seen on other Cinelli SCs. 

Regretfully, I sold this for $350 just over a year ago. Not enough room in my garage, and I wanted to make room for a Fuji Cambridge I had my eye on.

Ever own a Cinelli bicycle? Chime on in and tell your story. You can email me photos at vintageracingbicycles (at)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bertelli Bicycles - New York City

Came across Bertelli Biciclette Assemblate while browsing for new old stock components. This guy builds fixed gear bikes out of older components and some of these bikes look amazing. Small production bike builders can create a loyal following if their prices are right, and as is the case with Bertelli, their results are stunning. 

I'll write more about the "fixie" revolution in future posts. I'm currently converting my 1997 Klein Quantum Race to a single speed using a single speed conversion kit from Performance Bike. No, it's not vintage, but I may still post some photos. 'Cause... it's MY site! :)  

Ride a fixie/single speed? Talk about it in a comment. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

1981 Bianchi Super Leggera

Ahhh... Bianchi. I purchased this Superleggera in September 2011 from an eBAY buy-it-now sale. The seller lives 85 miles south of me, in Del Mar, CA, so my son and I made an early Sunday morning road trip out to pick it up. The seller buys used bicycles all across the US, and this Superleggera came from one of his clients in the Midwest. From what he told us, this bicycle was kept in a spare bedroom for two decades. It's immaculate, and a the closest thing I have to a "show bike."

It has Campagnolo Super and Nuovo record components, although I'm hard-pressed to distinguish the Nuovo record items - perhaps a reader can chime in on the differences between Super and Nuovo on the two-bolt seatposts, brake calipers (if there are any differences), headset, hubs, and pedals. Yes, the bike came with Campy pedals, as well - although they are not shown in the photos. Also included were the original Silca celeste frame pump, and the water bottle cage. The wheels are Mavic GP40, where the bike would have originally come with the sew-up equivalent, the Mavic GP4.

There were only a few, small spots that required touch-up paint, so I purchased some Celeste touch-up paint off of eBAY and mixed it with some Testors model paint - a little green and blue to match the frame color on this older Bianchi. The original gum rubber hoods are deteriorated, but still intact, so I'll leave them for now. OEM replacements are upwards of $75, so this will have to wait until they split wide-open.

The frame size is 58 C-C seat tube and 57 C-C top tube, which is 2cm shy of my ideal frame size of 60cm, but with the longer stem and the seat set far back, the ride is comfortable enough. I took off the original Selle Italia seat and bagged it for safe keeping, replacing it with a vintage San Marco Condor from the mid-80s. Interestingly, the rails on the Condor don't match perfectly in-line with the Campy seat post rail guides, so there's a tiny bit of play in the seat. This, of course, will just HAVE to be remedied somehow before any long rides.

Do you own a vintage Bianchi or have anything to add? Leave a comment below. Thanks!
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