Saturday, December 29, 2012

Question from the Classic and Vintage Bicycle Community

A visitor to this blog just wrote me and I told him that I'd post his question on this site as well as the Vintage Racing Bicycles Facebook page. Here's his question:

Vintage Racing bicycles,
I have a Masi GC 1980s and notice that the vertical stiffness of the frame while riding is noticeably stiffer than other frames in my collection. 

Because of this charcteristic, I had the rake of the fork increased by Ed Litton.  There is some improvement but very slight.  

Wondering if other Masi GC owners with frames of this era experience the same ride.
Best Regards,

If anyone has an answer, please leave a comment below. Thank you!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bicycle Books

Been collecting bicycle books for a few years and have about 40 of them now. These are the latest - thanks to my lovely wife, Elizabeth, for getting these for me for Christmas. :)

There are many out-of-print, very interesting bicycle books out there to be found. Look on Amazon in their "Marketplace" for good-quality used bike books. eBay is also a good place to look. My favorite place to find them though is at bicycle swap meets. Here you can often bundle items together to get great deals on books and bike parts. 

Check eBay and grab an entire year of Bicycling Magazine from the 70s or 80s; then travel back in time with great articles and classic advertisements. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Just wanted to take a quick second to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a wonderful, healthy, and happy 2013. 

Warmest wishes,


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Vintage Bicycle Swap - Long Beach, CA

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the first bicycle swap sponsored by The Bicycle Stand in Long Beach, CA. The swap was held on a vacant lot adjacent to the shop. It was great to see many local CR List members there, and spend some time talking about our favorite hobby. 

We're hoping that there will be another one of these in a month or two; so watch this space for news.

Plenty more photos HERE

Saturday, December 1, 2012

1976 - 1979 NY Bicycle Show Photos

Found a link to photos of the New York Bicycle Show (1976 - 1979) on so please leave a comment if the link becomes broken. 

The photos are not mine; they belong to a Flickr user. 

Great memories of a time when friction shifting and steel ruled the roads. 

Click HERE for the pics. Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Bicycle Built for Two

My daughter went with me to buy this Gitane tandem a month ago. When she first tried sitting on the stoker seat the bike seemed much too big for her. The seat was pushed down as far as I thought it could go, but her feet couldn't reach the pedals at the bottom of each stroke. I figured it would take a year before she could ride it safely, but yesterday I backed the bike out of the garage and, with my trusty 12mm socket in hand, set out to make certain that her seat was indeed at its lowest point.

Turns out there was another inch of seat post hidden under the lip of the seat that I didn't see before. Who woulda thunk? Could this extra inch plus a month of growing be enough to get my 10-year-old and me out on the bike together? 

Sure enough! She has to point her toes down on the bottom of the pedal strokes, but they're staying on the pedals! We had a terrific 20 minute ride on the streets around my neighborhood and can't wait for next weekend to do it again. It was wonderful to ride with her. We could talk without yelling and carry on a conversation while outside in the sunshine getting exercise. 

I saw a Santana Sovereign on our local CraigsList today that made me drool. The seller is only asking $795 for it and it's in superb shape with only a few minor scratches. I'll betcha he'll let it go for $650! Even comes with three new spare tires. The size for the front and rear are roughly the same as my Gitane, but really...who needs TWO tandems? I'm asking this to the wrong audience, aren't I? That's what I was afraid of. :)

Until next time...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bicycle Theft - Punishment Does Not Meet the Crime

I found this article and this video very eye-opening. The video show how easy it can be for a bicycle thief to steal a bike, even with several witnesses. People simply don't stop. I'm assuming people don't want to get involved with criminals, and there may be some who assume that the person cutting the lock is the owner who simply forgot his key. 

Even when thieves do get caught, the penalty is minimal. Scary stuff.

I've only had one bicycle stolen, and that was 35 years ago. 

Have you ever had one stolen? 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cycling Team Says "Nope to Dope"

Tired of the negative press cycling has received in the light of all the doping scandals? Check out the movie, "Blood Seat and Gears" on Youtube. It's in seven parts, and well-worth watching. It may just renew your faith in professional cycling. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lovely Bicycle - A Lovely Bicycle Blog

Lovely Bicycle - A Bicycle Blog

I'll let this blog speak for itself. Many posts, all well-written, with nice pics. What more could you ask for in a bike blog? Seriously! I'm asking ya, so I can make mine better too!  :)

Reforming My Inner Bike Snob

1969 Gitane "Sport" model tandem

1969 Gitane "Sport" model tandem

I'm changing the way I think about bikes. I didn't set out to change; it's happening organically. Not long ago, I was only interested in racing bicycles - specifically, finely-tuned racing machines with high-end parts. Seems the more I explore bicycle culture through my rides, speaking with fellow enthusiasts, and finding interesting bike sites online, the more I'm learning to love all types of bikes. 

My most recent acquisition, a 1969 Gitane Sport tandem is direct evidence of this. While it's not a total klunker, it's far from the type of bike I normally collect, and it's outfitted with a selection of mid and low-range components. I'm shocked at how much I like this bike! 

Could it be that my inner bike snob is melting away? I certainly hope so. And all this without an intervention. 

How about you? Have you always liked the same kind of bike, or have your tastes changed over time?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Sum of Their Parts

Some more great pictures from Ray Dobbins. 
Take a gander at this 1991 Campagnolo C-Record group. Let your eyes follow the gentle curves of the crank arm spider, the industrial, aggressive lines of the Delta calipers. The sexy contours of the levers. I love bicycles for many reasons, but if I were pressed to come up with just one word to define my passion it would be elegance. 

There's elegance in their simplicity, their mechanical efficiency, and in the way the human body interacts with them. Within each bicycle's design there's a beauty that can be seen in every detail, every component, but their elegance is always greater than the sum of their parts. 

The Great Eddy Merckx


Thursday, July 5, 2012

What Does it Take to Make a Bicycle Collectible?

2007 Trek Madone SL 5.9 

I recently added a 2007 Trek Madone SL 5.9 to my stable. Don't worry, my fondness for vintage steel remains as strong as ever; but I've been increasingly curious about owning a modern, carbon fiber bicycle with all the bells and whistles. While there's many to choose from, and some of the more obscure ones are quite beautiful, I gravitated toward this popular, iconic (sorry, last time you'll see that word here), Trek model. 

Photo courtesy of Ray Dobbins - Eddie Merckx

I have to wonder if bikes like the Trek Madone, the Colnago C40, Kestrel Talon, and others that have made significant presence along the modern road bike timeline will someday be as collectible as the Peugeot PX-10, Masi Gran Criterium, Eddie Merckx, Legnano, and the like. 

This brings up the question of "what makes a bicycle collectible?" I'll be honest; I'm nowhere nearly as knowledgeable on this subject as my mentors on the CL List, so all I can do is surmise and then solicit your input to help answer this question. 

Here's what I think are some criteria for collectibility:

1) The bike made an impact when it was first introduced (first of its kind, brought into battle during a war, significantly ahead of its time for material or design, etc)
2) The bike has something physically/design/mechanically significant about it
3) The bike has something tied to it that gives it emotional significance to a large number of people (famous racers used this bike, etc)
4) There are relatively few remaining that are stock and in decent, ridable condition
5) Owning the bike puts one in an enviable position amongst one's peers

So, what else? Chime in in the comments section below so we can keep this conversation going. Thanks!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bicycle Swap Meets

LOVE me some bicycle swap meets. I went to three in June, alone. One of them (pic above) in Leesburg, VA at the Cirque du Cyclisme, and the other two were here in Southern California. 

Yesterday I attended one in Riverside at the Cyclery USA bicycle shop. Nice little show with about a dozen vendors. It was 95 degrees by the time the show started in mid-afternoon, but quite a few people braved the heat and found some great deals. Cyclery USA had a few tables outside their shop with many grab-bag bins, shoes, lights, and components - all deeply discounted. The event was hosted by that shop and the Riverside Bicycle Club, which was founded in 1891! 

I was fortunate to find a guy who had some nice 1984 Campagnolo pieces that he'd taken off his Ciocc in 1985, only after a year of use. The gum rubber hoods are shot, but everything else, including that 130mm Cinelli 1R stem is in excellent shape. The jockey wheels on the Campagnolo Nuevo Record rear derailleur never even had enough use to get that familiar grease "plaque" between the teeth. :) Also scored five bicycling books to add to my collection. 

There's another show in La Mirada in the middle of July that I'll be sure to hit.

Have any other bicycle swap meet suggestions? Chime on in or, if you don't care to publicize to the world, send me an email: VintageRacingBicycles (at)


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Early 1970s Masi Gran Criterium

Photos used by permission from Ray Dobbins

The Masi Gran Criterium of the 1970s is a finely-crafted racing thoroughbred that is arguably the most sought-after bicycle among vintage enthusiasts. I hope to own one someday, but in the meantime, I can enjoy numerous pictures online, including some wonderful shots by Ray Dobbins, found on his site HERE

You can read more about the Masi GC HERE, HERE, and more nice pics HERE.

If you own one of these, chime in, and send some pics as well. I'll be happy to post them. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Campagnolo Nuovo Record Long Cage Derailleur

Campagnolo Nuovo Record with Rally cage

This 1976 Campagnolo Nuovo Record long cage derailleur is a freak, a mutation, a grotesque monstrosity that shifts better than any other long cage I've ever owned. Purists beware...this post may offend.

No, Campagnolo didn't offer this in their line, but a great mechanic named Spence Wolf at the Cupertino Bike shop in Northern CA did a lot of these mods back in the 70s (see pic below). 

Spence Wolf mod

Mine is simply a Campagnolo Rally cage bolted onto a Nuovo Record derailleur. It came mounted in my old Klein touring bicycle and, capably, nearly silently, pushes the chain along the six speed, 13-30 range. 

Here's a couple more mods:

[Community member quote] "I am running NR and SR derailleurs with Rally cages on two bikes, and an old steel Record with copy of last gen Rally cage which is longer, and they all shift great.  Faster than Rally and I think it covers a greater range since the upper pulley can't pull itself into the large cog.  The longer cage on the steel Record allows me to use 28-44-48 and 13-31, a range of 38 teeth, with ease.  The longer cages are being reproduced now and will be available before too long.  In versions to fit all of the above derailleurs.  Pics show the steel Record and the cage I copied on a last gen Rally."

Campagnolo Super Record with a Lepree cage

Have any photos of other derailleur mods? Send them on in and I'll post them. VintageRacingBicycles [at]   Thanks!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 Cirque du Cyclisme - Leesburg, VA

2012 Cirque Results HERE.

2012 Cirque Results HERE.

I had a phenomenal time at the 2012 Cirque du Cyclisme and wish to thank Dale Brown, MJ, Wayne, and all of those who brought their wonderful bicycles to the show. It was great to put faces to so many of the names I've become familiar with on the CL List over the past few months. This was my first Cirque, and I hope to make this an annual event.

Twenty-five years ago I hung out with "cyclists," but they were competitive racers and had no real interest in their bicycles beyond how many grams they could shave off of them. I learned a lot about riding from them, but found no kinship in my love of the gear. The fine folks that I've met through the Classic Rendezvous Google Group (The CL List) and those at the Cirque love cycling as a sport, but also love these simple, elegant machines that we collect. It isn't about weight, it's about legacy, workmanship, creativity, and inspiration. I've found my people! :)

Many photos are online, and here's a sample:

From Dale Brown - click HERE and HERE.

From Thomas Adams - click HERE.

More of mine - click HERE.

Also, please check out Mike Kelly's blog HERE. He has taken the time to do a better job writing up the Cirque and has many nice photos as well.

If you have pics of the 2012 you'd like to share, leave a comment with the link to the pics and your name, and I'll add them to this post. 

Thanks! Can't wait for next year!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Restoration Notes - Scratch Removal

Mondia Special Scratches and Paint Blemish - Before

Mondia Special Scratches and Paint Blemish - After

David Tesch Scratch/Abrasion - Before

David Tesch Scratch/Abrasion - After

About $8 at Lowes, $11 at AutoZone

It's satisfying to watch a restoration come together, and on two of my bikes, my David Tesch custom and my Mondia Special, the final steps involve detailing the frame, starting with scratch removal. I've tried a couple different scratch removal systems, including the Fix-It Pro pen, and Meguiars Scratch-X 2.0. Today I used the Meguiars, and, between the two products, I think it worked the best.

For both bikes, I started with a pea-sized amount of Scratch-X on a microfiber cloth and applied in both circular and back-and-forth motions for about two minutes, then wiped the area clean, reapplied the Scratch-X to the cloth, and started again. I did this about three times for each area, for a total of 5-7 minutes of buffing. I also used a Q-Tip as an applicator and buffer, as I found I had greater control of the buffing areas, being careful not to apply to too large of a surrounding area. I used light to moderate pressure, throughout. When finished, I wiped the area clean and applied a coat of Mothers Cleaner Wax, then buffed clean.

If you have any bicycle scratch removal tips or other bicycle restoration ideas, please chime in. Thanks.

David Tesch Custom 1984

[UPDATE - I had the opportunity to speak with frame builder, Brian Baylis a few weeks ago, and he took at look at this Tesch, which he painted. He observed that there was no serial number on the bottom bracket, and this indicated a very early Tesch build. He confirmed this was his paint job, that the bike was custom-built and known in the early 80s as a Tesch 100 model - not 101, which came later. He said that the purple paint scheme was very rare, and there may have only been a handful with that paint scheme.]

I found this David Tesch custom bicycle two weeks ago, and it's a handsome addition to my stable. You can find more photos HERE.

David Tesch was a local, Southern California frame builder who started with Masi, then went into business of his own in the mid-80s. He started making custom frames, like this one, in 1984, then began production of his California 101 bicycles as well as others. You can read a great tribute to David, who sadly died of a brain tumor in 2004, HERE

This bicycle is quick. The frame geometry is tight, but not skittish. When you stand, the bike moves beneath you like any good criterium frame should. I haven't taken this on any long rides yet - just tooled around the neighborhood, but it deserves to be ridden and will be. 

I'll add more about this particular bicycle as I get more info from the experts at the Classic Rendezvous Google Group. These guys really know their stuff, and are always eager to help identify bicycles and provide info on anything to do with vintage racing bikes. 

Drillium Revival

Photo borrowed from Drillium Revival

Over the years, people have attempted to create the lightest bicycle components possible by drilling and milling components and frames. Sometimes this ends badly, as the structural integrity suffers. Other times, it is simply awesome art. This guy is GOOD. He currently has a seat post on eBay that's going for a reasonable amount, considering time he put into modifying it. Click HERE to view his gallery on Flickr.

Many purists scoff at modifications such as these. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Campagnolo Mixed Group - SR and NR

Grabbed this off the Los Angeles CraigsList the other day. The seller was a former bike shop employee and this gear was covered in grime, but had very little shop wear. Grime can be your friend, as it often protects components from the elements and buffers against abrasions. Plus, I just love bringing out the chrome polish and restoring the original luster of old Campy gear

Collection included SR and NR brake levers and one set of calipers, SR crankset with extra set of NR chainrings, spare pair of Campy skewers, extra Campy brake pads, Zeus high flange hubset (haven't polished them up enough to see if they are the Gigante Road or the Criterium), SR seatpost, extra left crank arm, Cinelli Giro de Italia 40cm bars, Cinelli 120mm stem, English thread BB, two complete headsets, Cristophe toe clips and straps, SR front and NR rear derailleurs, shifters, Campy Superleggera pedals (at least I hope they are; the Super Record with titanium spindles were lighter, but prone to failure). 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Campagnolo Brake Hood Repair

This has not been road-tested. Just made this repair this morning and am giving it 48 hours to fully set. I kind of like the "scar" this created. :)

There were some colorful words spoken as soon as I realized I'd ripped this.

Any gel-type super glue should work fine. I'm fairly certain that I also bonded a small part of the hood to the lever. I'll worry about that at a later date.

I held this tightly for at least 90 seconds.

It was still holding tight an hour after being glued. I'll create another post as a follow-up after I road test this thoroughly. 

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