miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2009

The BMX bike all'Italiana

Lo and behold! The Italian take on the budding BMX market of the second half of the 1980s. A wonderful Cinelli frame made of Columbus tubing, gorgeous Campagnolo anodised hubs and crankset, Clement 20" rims, and legendary Regina chains, all the big road Italian manufacturers banding together to create a truly bling-bling "motocross racing" bike, as they liked it to call this Ultima BMX. Click on the image for a larger view.

No wonders then that Cinelli is nowadays taking a similar approach to the fixed gear "hipster" market issuing limited edition frames in collaboration with riders-collective MASH or with artists like Barry McGee. At least, Campagnolo has not considered for the moment a limited edition reissue of its classic vintage track crankset in a whole array of anodised colours... That will be blasphemy, indeed!

martes, 10 de noviembre de 2009

Cycling Portraits from Barcelona.

Looking for some cycling memorabilia, I have just come across this pair of portraits dating back to the early 1900s. The dashing figure cut by these young men, dressed up with their jackets and loose fitting trousers, will not certainly look unfamiliar in any of the popular tweed runs that have taken place recently in the UK, USA or Australia.

For the first originators of these "nostalgic" rides, well before the fixed gear scene took them over, check The Tweed Cycling Club. Their motto: "Style not Speed. Elegance not Exertion"; wise words, indeed, for any would-be urban cyclist.

jueves, 16 de julio de 2009

The Classic Italian Racer Project: 1st version

At last I have managed to complete my "winter" bike project: a pure-breed, classic racing Italian frame from the mid 80s, fully equipped with a Campagnolo Chorus groupset from the early 90s, and 4th generation Delta Brakes. A humble tribute to that fantastic machine, the steel racing bike of 8 speeds, that characterised, both in terms of the employed frame building techniques and materials, as well as the technological solutions applied to componentry, the history of ciclying race through most of the 2nd half of the 20th century. I have nicknamed it, unknowlingly turning again a blinking eye to ciclying history or legend, "La dama bianca".


Frame: Columbus double butted CIÖCC frame. Size 55. NOS. I believe from the mid 80s.

Groupset: Campagnolo Chorus 8 speed including indexed gear shifter. Early 90s. Acquired in a relatively good nick so only a throughout disassemblage and polishing has been needed to leave it in nearly spot-on condition.

Wheelset: Campagnolo Chorus hubs laced to Mavic M40 rims. Used wheelset but the hubs are still going strong. In few months I am planning to build the hubs again, but this time laced to a Campagnolo silver tubular rim, another humble tribute to the history of ciclying and an extra bonus to get the whole "retro" experience when riding this bike.

Headset: Campagnolo Record (modern version from the mid 90s). I couldn't find the old style Campagnolo headset at an affordable price and perhaps rushed to install a modern one just to get the project going. Even if I find one now, the steerer tube is, alas, too short.

Pedals: Campagnolo Chorus pedals acquired in well-used condition: a tenatious polishing was required to leave them in relatively good-looking shape, plus the replacemente of bearing, new dust caps, cages and buttom straps. I found by chance on a LBS a pair of rare, NOS brevatto road straps, a defunct-manufacturer from the mid-80s I believe.

Brakes: 4th Generation Campagnolo Delta Brakes in nearly NOS condition. Breathtakingly beautiful set of brake calipers with astonishing manufactured finishes, above all its internal mechanism, plus a look which enlivens any frame in which they are mounted. They are, however, a minor pain in the arse to set up correctly, especially due to its top cable entry.

Steering: A 3ttt stem and handlebar, a sleaker look than a Cinelli combo I tried before on the bike. Fizik Microtex handlebar tape for that vintage look. I need to source silver bar plugs and some white electric tape for the tops.

Saddle: San Marcos Rolls and 26.8mm Campagnolo aero seatpost.


I hope to do an update with final version of the bike, once I get those tubular rims laced and deal with few other, minor improvements just to complete the whole project nicely.

martes, 7 de julio de 2009

What a craftmanship! Otero pista 1960s.

Just check this lovely fillet-brazed pista frame, produced by one the most reputed Spanish frame builders of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Enrique Otero, and allegedly ridden by Federico Bahamontes, nicknamed "the eagle of Toledo", in six day events during the late 50s and early 60s.

Otero, the brand name, does not longer produce any frame in-house, all production having migrated to the Far East, but still have one of the most respected road bike shops in Madrid, where just a few of these "beauties" still hang from the top of the walls of the workshop.

More pics can be found in Classic Rendezvous's recently added entry for Otero: certainly, a great addition to this wonderful resource for all vintage bike enthusiasts. Well done!

martes, 10 de marzo de 2009

Playing bike polo old-style

A lovely set of pictures of King George playing grass bike polo with his pals, plus a picture of an original polo bike: check out that curved seat tube, back & forth adjustable saddle position, and "circus-like" gear ratio for furious spinning and ultimate rear-wheel control.

The full set of pictures can be found here. Enjoy

jueves, 26 de febrero de 2009

Vintage MKS RX-1 Pedals

I have recently managed to get hold of this lovely pair of pedals dating back at least to the early 90s. As it can be seen from the pictures, they have been well used years ago at the velodrome by a now retired old professional rider. Despite their relatively poor cosmetic conditions (what will pass for others, including myself, as vintage charm), the pedals are still in perfect working order with bearing running smooth as silk and with no play whatsoever. Tiny NJS logo stamped on the end of the spindle and the rear pedal plate. They are going to be fitted straigh away on my fixed gear bike.

The pedals come with vintage Campagnolo steel toeclips and triple layer leather straps made by Giorni Brevettato, a toe straps manufacturer name I have never heard before that now apparently produces watch leather straps. Although these toe straps are old and worn, they are still tough as nails and hope will still withstand some skid action, no doubt helped by the superb strap retention system of the RX-1 pedals.

Here are some pics of this lovely vintage find. Enjoy.